Whether you know it or not, you are training everyone you interact with each day. When you answer that email at midnight or take that call at 8PM, you are sending a message. The message is that you work any time and you are willing to sacrifice your personal life for the job.

In typical over-achiever fashion, you are reacting to each request without regard for your personal well-being. After following this pattern for years, I have realized that I need to stop the vicious cycle.

Here are a few things that I have learned:

  • Prioritize and focus. Understand the actions that are most beneficial to your career advancement. Many times I have found myself chasing the shiny object without understanding why.

  • Say no gracefully. When enough is enough, just politely say no. Set your boundaries. Be reasonable but firm, anyone worth their salt will respect your boundaries.

  • Ignore when possible. There are times when saying nothing is the best thing to do. Add value where you can but don’t drive down a path that you cannot sustain. Under promise and over deliver.

To be clear, I am not advocating begin lazy or apathetic. Quite the opposite, I am saying that with the right priorities you can focus doubly on what matter to achieve twice the effect.