How Overachievers Stay Sane and Avoid Burn-Out

How could this article not appeal to us? We mean, it’s gotta be about your friendly neighborhood Team TVWriter™, right? Overachievers, yeppers, that’s us!


by Elizabeth Grace Saunders

One of the fastest paths to burnout is when brilliant people get so stuck on making everything they do AMAZING that all they have to show for their efforts is a string of sleepless nights, broken commitments, and work left undone. But life doesn’t have to be this way.

It is possible for overachievers to get more done, improve their performance, and be less stressed, but it doesn’t always mean grinding out that extra task on the to-do list. Sometimes, we need take a step back and embrace the concept of “satisficing.” The power of this concept was explored by Dr. Barry Schwartz’s teamin a 2002 paper and is probably best summarized by researcher Emilia Lahti:

 “Satisficing simply means to not obsess about trying to maximize every single task outcome and ROI.”

Here’s how Lahti personally applied this powerful principle to her master’s degree program (emphasis added):

For my second semester at Penn, I tried this satisficer tactic. I approached the assignments without my usual over-achiever angst and “must seek validation for my existence on this planet and exceed all expectations” -mentality. I began my course work with a conscious attitude that “I will simply do enough, and enough is what I can do within reasonable limits… The result of not giving a damn: three A’s and an A-, but most importantly I enjoyed every minute of the ride. The trick: your mind believes you when you tell it something. We CAN override old patterns of behavior and create new associations.”

Here’s how you can apply this principle to your life to get more done, be happier, and feel more successful:

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