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What Do You Mean by “Doing Your Best?”

Doing your best does does not mean working like crazy, all the time, always-on until you're worn out, exhausted, and no longer able to work at all.
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Karl W. Palachuk
June 29, 2024

Work Life Balance 1400

I know you’ve heard the phrase, “I’m doing my best.” And you’ve probably used it yourself. But here’s a question to consider. What does it mean to be doing your best? For most of us, this phrase is colored by our culture’s emphasis on working and over-working. People use workaholism as a badge of honor.

But doing your best does does not mean working like crazy, all the time, always-on until you’re worn out, exhausted, and no longer able to work at all. Too much working, without taking time to relax and recharge you physical and emotional batteries is counter-productive.

We’re all different, of course. But no human can work all the time. Period. And you can’t even work all the time at 75% or 80% of your capacity. For effective, long-term work, you need three important things.

First, you need focus. Why are you working at all? Is it because you love your work? Or you need the money? Or you feel trapped and don’t have a choice? Is it to save money for a long-term goal? Or so you can help someone? Without a purpose, your “work” is just activity that fills the day. With focus, you can work with a purpose. Once you have that, all kinds of goals (long-term, short-term, and intermediate) can be set and achieved.

Second, you need a work schedule that’s sustainable. When you work “all the time,” you really work effectively some of the time and ineffectively some of the time. When you doing this day after day, week after week, the ineffective portion grows larger. In short order, you’re working ineffectively most of the time! This is where balance comes in. Work. Eat. Sleep. Have a life outside work, beyond eating and sleeping.

Third, you need a non-work schedule that’s also sustainable. This is activity that recharges your batteries. Yes, sleep does a lot to help. But recharging your person batteries means more than that. It means refreshing your spirit. What gives you energy? For some, it’s music. For some it’s leisure reading or gardening. For some it’s sports.

You need to do the things that help your brain relax and be creative. It’s much more than simply not working. For many people, it’s a mix of things. Socialize a bit. Then work on a hobby. Whatever it is for you, you should find time to build “recharge” activities into your schedule on a regular basis.

Doing your best does not mean going to work and working until you die. Doing your best means working the right amount to sustain the balance that keeps your mind, your body, and your soul healthy. And, as always, it comes down to working on balance – the only work that never stops.


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