Productivity & Time Management

Episode #348 – Knowing When To Call It a Day (When You’re An Overachiever)

June 25, 2024

I’m Cherylanne.
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In today’s episode, we’re tackling a challenge familiar to every driven, growth-oriented woman: knowing when to call it a day. If you’re an overachiever who can’t resist checking off just one more task, this episode is your guide to setting healthy boundaries.

Cherylanne shares actionable steps to help you recognize when it’s time to switch gears and recharge. Filled with real-life examples and practical strategies, this episode will empower you to maintain your productivity without sacrificing your well-being.

Let’s master the art of balance and elevate our brilliance together!

Show Highlights:

  • Do you find yourself constantly pushing to do more? 00:55
  • How to decide when it is enough? 03:34
  • Discover the power of recognizing your tiredness 06:05
  • The significance of planning your day 07:56
  • What to do when you can’t complete everything on your daily plan  09:28
  • How to have a renewed sense of productivity  10:52
  • How can you commit to a bedtime and stick to it no matter what? 14:28
  • Is your work overshadowing all else in your life? 18:47

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Today’s episode is one that I think will really resonate with you if you find yourself staying late at the office, sitting at your desk at home longer than you planned to, or maybe even catching up around the house, doing the next household chore before you give yourself permission to go to bed for the evening.

This relentlessness to get more done and always look at the next thing on your list is the tendency I want to talk about today. It’s such a prevalent concern that I hear from the audience of women I typically work with. Most of them would label themselves overachievers in some way, shape, or form. This can be a problem when it comes to learning how to turn it off.

You might have peers or friends or family members who say, “I don’t get enough done in a day, I don’t know how to get motivated.” That’s a different problem. This episode is specifically for people who always see just one more task that can be done and aren’t really sure when they can give themselves permission to pack it up and try again tomorrow.

This is an encore episode. I did this a while back, several years ago, actually, under a different title. I think it is as resonant today as it was back then. As I get ready to head out of the office for a few days, I am going to re-share this episode with you and see if you can find a fresh insight in it that is helpful to you in this chapter of your life. Here we go.

If we’re honest, some of us live like we are accountants in tax season all year round. So today, that is exactly what we are digging into. We are talking about how to decide when you’ve done enough for the day. Because there are really two kinds of people: those who can’t get started and those who don’t know how to stop. Today, we are talking to the people who can’t stop working, the people who just can’t sit still.

Maybe you’re someone who needs to fold laundry while you’re watching TV, or you can’t sit down to read that book until everything in the kitchen is spotless. Or you can’t take a shower until you get one more email out. You know the type, right? By the way, this is me. I am speaking from firsthand experience here, and it’s exhausting when left unchecked. We are no fun to be around when we work all the time.

So today, we’re going to teach you how to decide when it’s enough. I was thinking a little bit about the movie “Christopher Robin.” Some of you may have seen this movie that came out last year. My son really wanted to see it with me, so we went, just the two of us, which is not something we get to do very often. It was a delightful day. In this movie, the character of Christopher Robin is now a grown-up and has a daughter of his own. What you learn very quickly is that he has become a massive workaholic. He has a demanding job and a lot of pressure put on him by his boss. He believes that he needs to work all the time and that all the things his family might want to do, like his wife and daughter, are nonsensical.

The story goes on a wonderful arc of him rediscovering the magic of spending time with his family and having leisure time, through his own reconnection with his childhood characters. It was a poignant reminder because, I’ll be honest, I identified more with his character than with the mom. For a lot of women who have big jobs and feel deeply connected to their work, that can be uncomfortable because it’s not necessarily our cultural narrative. Women are not typically the characters in movies who are prone to overworking.

Today, we are talking about how to decide when it’s enough. When have you done enough, and it’s time to stop for the day? You cannot work 100% of the time, and honestly, you shouldn’t. I know you feel like you have so much to do. Believe me when I tell you, I can relate. I come by it honestly. I remember watching my mom work all the time. She was a teacher fully dedicated to her vocation. She would get up early in the morning and work in the evening, and it was joyful. She wasn’t resentful, but there was a lot of it. I remember her saying, “If I iron while I watch TV, then I won’t fall asleep.” If you have to stand at an ironing board while watching TV to not fall asleep, it’s a clear indication that you are tired.

We think if we keep going, we’ll prevent ourselves from falling asleep. I said the same thing when my kids were tiny: if I sat down in the evening, I would fall asleep. I didn’t want to sit down until I was at the point where falling asleep was okay. This is a clue that we are pushing too hard.

If you struggle with this, we have two new goals for you today: sleep and fun. Call me crazy, but this will start with one important precursor. You need to map out a plan for when things need to be done to stay ahead of your deadlines. Schedule things so you know what you’ll be doing for the day in advance. This is important because, without that plan, how would you ever decide you were done for the day? There’s this never-ending to-do list that we all face. If you’re staring at that without having decided what you’ll do in the day, it can feel like, “I’ll just do one more thing.” One more becomes ten more, and before you know it, you have eliminated any opportunity for rest or leisure from your day, and you’re probably starting to eat into your sleep.

What we want to do is have a clear plan in advance for what you intend to do during the day. This will allow a framework to snap into place, giving you freedom as long as you have established that plan. That’s a really important step. If you haven’t gotten into that cycle, you may want to go back and listen to the episode “What Gets Scheduled, Gets Done.” We talk a lot about building that plan and determining what you’re going to do on the day.

Let’s assume you have the plan and have declared in advance which things would get accomplished. When you’re trying to decide if you’re done for the day, you want to ask yourself a few questions. The first one, not surprisingly, is: Have I done what was on my plan? When you’re new to the process of building a plan, you will often put too much on it. So be realistic. If you feel like you were overly ambitious for the day, even if you have not completed everything on your plan, you may in fact be done. If you have done everything on your plan, you’re definitely done. You have earned your right to say, “Now it’s time for some leisure or to get prepared for rest.”

The second question you want to ask yourself is: Have I met my deadlines? This is your plan B. If you have not completed everything on the plan, have you at least met your deadlines? Do you know what to do the next day, for example? Let’s say your son has signed up to do Muffin Monday, and you need to bring muffins. Have you made the muffins? They need to be ready if you’re going to take them in the next morning. Maybe you have a big meeting the next morning. Are you prepared for that meeting? Maybe there’s no time left in the evening to make dinner. Have you gotten your stuff together so that when you come home the next night, it’s going to be easy to get a meal on the table? Always look one step ahead to ask, “What’s up the next day? What’s due? Am I prepared?” As long as you are, everything else can wait. It can get pushed into the next day without repercussions.

The third question, which is kind of plan C, is: Have I hit diminishing returns? Are you slowing down? Are you getting less done per hour? Is your productivity starting to fade because you’re tired? Would you be better off stopping to get some sleep or just getting away from your desk for a while, regrouping, and taking a break so you can come back with renewed productivity? Rest is really powerful, as is having time for rejuvenating leisure. You may be done for the day, even if you haven’t met your deadline or finished everything on your plan, if you’ve noticed that you’re in a downward spiral of diminishing returns. Often, I like to call it and say, “I am better off going to bed and getting up earlier the next morning if there’s something I really need to tune up before a deadline.”

Balance Builders, any chance you’re feeling overwhelmed by your overloaded schedule? I’ve been there. That’s why I created “14 Days to Calendar Control.” This is my step-by-step program where I share my personal system and set of tools to help you transform your chaotic weeks into easy breezy ones. Maybe not easy breezy, but at least edited and organized. There’s training, templates, and tools in there to help you get things under control quickly. Say goodbye to constant conflicts and chronic rushing and say hello to calendar control. Curious? Head to for instant access. That’s

Now back to the show. It’s not always about gutting it out and working more hours. Many of us build those habits young, staying up later to get more done, particularly in college. How many of you pulled all-nighters in college to study? It’s that cramming factor. Somehow my mom was so wise, like she knew that was a common phenomenon in college. I remember being sternly warned never to do it, and I never did. I had been taught to shut it down for the evening when diminishing returns kicked in and go to sleep. If you’re studying, it allows everything you’ve studied to move into long-term memory. When you wake up  refreshed, you’ll have better performance on that exam than you would if you stayed up cramming. Many of us built bad habits by staying up late and going to bed with a head full of ideas or feeling like there’s more we should have done.

I know how hard it is to make the transition from work to personal time, but it is so important to let your brain have that separation and to know that you can come back to it tomorrow. I am going to share three practices you can try on to help with the transition, especially if this is a challenging point for you, whether you’re transitioning from a home office to the kitchen or from a commercial office to home.

The first one is to create a ritual that symbolizes the end of your workday. When you’re leaving an office and going home, it’s the closing down of the computer, shutting off the lights, walking out the door. This is still important if you’re working at home. If you work from a home office, have a clear ending ritual like shutting down your computer, walking out, and closing the door behind you. If you don’t have a dedicated home office space, do something to mark the end. Maybe you walk around the block or get the mail. It’s a physical shift, signaling your body and brain that work is over, and the personal part of the day is beginning.

Another powerful transition technique is to change your clothes. I know a lot of people have work clothes and home clothes, but it’s really helpful to use this as a ritual. You come home and immediately change. It might be into something more comfortable or symbolic of the switch from professional to personal.

Finally, having a transitional activity can help shift your mindset. This could be listening to music or a podcast on your way home. I know many people love audiobooks for their commute. If you’re at home, you might do a quick workout or read for a bit, something that creates a mental and physical shift.

The key takeaway here is to have a clear plan in advance for what you intend to accomplish each day. Ask yourself if you’ve done enough by considering your plan, deadlines, and if you’re experiencing diminishing returns. Create an end-of-day ritual to transition from work to personal time effectively.

If you practice this, you will find a better balance between work and personal life, leading to greater satisfaction and overall well-being. Until next time, I want you to stay balanced, stay focused, and keep achieving your brilliant balance. See you soon.

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