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Crib Notes from a Recovering ‘Type A’

When it comes to personalities, those believed to be ‘Type A’ are considered quick, competitive and decisive, with a tendency to multitask and a dislike for wasting time. Spurred by bucketsful of ambition, ‘Type As’ are hyper-organised, highly focused on their goals, and prone to impatience when faced with delays. Armed with a sense of urgency that sees them tackling more and more – often without a break – ‘Type As’ are prone to criticising themselves heavily and experiencing high stress levels.

If these sound like traits you can relate to, and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, overly anxious, and increasingly over it – ALL of it – it may well be time to make a change.

Whether you’re trying to meet manic deadlines, or keep up with the constant pressure of modern living, it’s important to recognise that working too hard for too long can actually be bad for you – bringing with it the risk of unhappiness, health problems, and even, occupational burnout.


That’s why, at We Grow SA, we’ve taken the time to compile five tips that will hopefully go a long way to ensuring you can let go and grow, while keeping the burnout at bay and still meeting the demands of your daily life;

1. Take a Break. We get it. Deadlines are looming and there’s the threat of an email avalanche at any moment. Most days, a lunch break feels like a luxury. But research shows that being slumped in your seat before a screen for hours on end can harm your productivity and contribute to increased anxiety. Changing your scenery, by eating outside or taking a walk, can enhance your brainpower and improve concentration – ensuring you can handle whatever comes your way.

2. Do First Things First. You may be on the brink of burnout because you’re no slacker, putting 110% into everything. But constant hard work can make life harder if you aren’t working smart, too. Use the time of day when you feel your best to focus on the most creatively and cognitively demanding tasks. This’ll ensure you’re in top form when it counts the most, leaving mental sludge tasks, like chores or answering emails, to the times when your attention span and energy levels drop.

3. One at a Time. Multitasking may seem like something to brag about – but trying to do everything at once can actually harm you. Research shows that multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%, with one study suggesting it can cause multitasking men’s IQs to drop by 15 points, while another found it may physically harm your brain. Give your attention to one task at a time to keep yourself – and your grey cells – in good shape.

4. Sleep Well. Early commutes, long hours, and life’s many responsibilities, all contribute to bad sleep, which has negative effects on your health and performance. Worryingly, research shows that it only takes a single night of bad sleep to create a big deficit in our abilities. Make the effort to wind down after hours so you can fall asleep with ease when your head hits the pillow and perform optimally when you’re awake.

5. Sharpen the Axe. The Internet suggests Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Put into more of a modern context: it’s always worth investing in yourself to ensure you stay sharp. Dedicating time to improving empowers you to make faster and more accurate decisions, limiting the anxiety that can come from feeling overwhelmed and inexperienced.

When it comes to protecting yourself from the pitfalls of being a ‘Type A’ personality, our final word of advice is to reward yourself.

And while it may not always be possible to do so with an all-expenses-paid holiday, taking time to do something you enjoy can make a world of difference. Having things to look forward to that aren’t related to work, can keep you motivated to keep going.

So, whether it’s an iced coffee at your favourite café, a We Grow SA course in Photography, or a 45-minute massage, the one thing we can assure you is that you DO deserve it.

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