If your work pace resembles a jet stream, you’ve probably heard all that advice about relaxing. Forget those critics—what do they know? Go for maximum stress. Stress hormones, particularly adrenaline, give you the cheapest biochemical high legally available without a prescription. Drug addicts take speed to get the same kick you can get, legally, by wiring yourself to the max and working 50 to 90 hours a week at warp speed.
If you’ve told your coworkers or employees that vacations and three-day weekends are for sissies, right on. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to take time off. If circumstances force you to take a vacation, make sure you carry your cell phone, pager and iPad with you. Better yet, take your laptop and install new software while on the beach. That way, you can spend your beach time waiting hours on hold for technical help and worrying about what’s happening in the office. If your employees, customers, or coworkers don’t call you, call them.
To keep a real adrenaline rush flowing, avoid prioritizing and delegating. Schedule more each day than you can possibly get done. Why decide to cut things out when keeping too many projects going at once gives you an adrenaline high so intense your teeth grit? In fact, train yourself to put all major projects off indefinitely or until the deadline is NOW. Tell yourself that you work better that way.
Similarly, avoid any activities that might give you perspective. Don’t go for walks, spend time with your kids, or watch a great movie or read a good book. Leave perspective to those who study art.
Instead, worry about everything you can’t control. Commit yourself to perfectionism by setting impossibly high personal and professional standards for yourself and others. Beat yourself up when you don’t meet your expectations. And, if unremitting overwork and pressure begin to get to you, get nasty with others. Stir things up and you can achieve a stress high so extreme that you carry yourself and those around you to new adrenaline highs.
Meanwhile, don’t confuse yourself with exercise or nutrition. You don’t need toned muscles, an improved cardiovascular system, or the glow that comes from having done something for yourself. Remember— exercise costs you a minimum of two stress “fixes” a day. And then there’s nutrition—what’s wrong with mainlining coffee and donuts? Nothing keeps you going like a sugar high.
Finally, take all criticism to heart. If a coworker, employee, or supervisor criticizes you and says they’re really talking about what you’ve done and not you, don’t believe them. Take any comments as direct personal attacks. Don’t be a wuss and clarify what you could do to improve. Instead, get offended and attack back.
Remember, you can either enjoy relaxation, a balanced life, and a sense of humor or you can thrive on unremitting stress. The choice is yours. Staying stressed is no laughing matter. Why risk losing the edge that keeps you wired to the max?
© Lynne Curry
Stress Junky was originally published in Solutions, which has 65 of my best articles from three decades of article writing on topics such as how to remember names, handle energy vampires or challenging bosses or coworkers, https://amzn.to/2URQsM4 (rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com). Send your questions to email@example.com or follow me on twitter @lynnecurry10.