Efficiency Time management Stress reduction: Get out of the hamster wheel of your own ego


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Overwork, overwork, stress - many complain about this. It not only helps to work more efficiently: the stress factors are often due to your own ego. We explain why.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.

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none eMails - finally more time?

Imagine: the computer goes on in the morning and it is not eMail in the mailbox. Absolutely nothing. Nobody thought of you, dead pants. What would you do?

Become eMail- Reduce traffic, increase productivity, make less dependent on electronic communication, which would be happy about it. Because now is finally time to work up left over, to do what you wanted to do all the time, to take a day off (more for the self-employed) and and and. Would not it be great, no eMails in the mailbox?

Caught in the hamster wheel of your own ego

The truth looks, I say, differently. You always notice that very well, when there is nothing going on - at the end of the year. Or because of the server on which the eMails lie, suddenly fails.

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Then a certain disillusionment sets in that hardly anyone talks about (because it's kind of embarrassing somehow) - but sometimes then. Like a well-known German blogger who announced on a January 5 afternoon: “Inbox Zero. And that wasn't even a silly resolution for 2012. ” I thought it was good and honest.

End station burnout - who is to blame?

Many are not so honest. And do not look for the error for burnout syndrome, but for others. Like Miriam Meckel, partner of TV presenter Anne Will and  Professorin and director at the Institute for Media and Communication Management of the University of St. Gallen. Meckel has an impressive career behind him:

First a journalist, 1999's youngest chairwoman in Germany, 2001 State Secretary and government spokeswoman for North Rhine-Westphalia Professorin, editor-in-chief and editor of Wirtschaftswoche.

The luck of the inaccessibility?

And in 2007, Meckel wrote a book about the overwhelming demands of modern technology. In it, for example, Meckel showed herself as a slave to her Blackberry, which she constantly forces to communicate, does not give her any time for necessary breaks and also intrudes into every private situation. On page 139, she aptly describes where she thinks the journey for the knowledge worker of the future is going:

Step by step, neo-nomads become the normal case in our working and living environment. Work is increasingly “virtualized”, keyword conference call. We can take everything we need to work with us wherever we go. On the one hand, this makes mobility easier and, for example, allows you to drive home on Thursdays or only on Tuesdays. On the other hand, it meant that private life does not begin at home, but that work continues under different circumstances and in a different environment.

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Will Goldmund no longer be Narcissus?

Meckel is just such a good example of her own thesis because she suffered from burnout a short time later. The logical consequence of a social development in which only remains on the ball, who is constantly reachable and can react as quickly as possible? That sounds scary logical - and yet it is the wrong conclusion. When reading Meckel's book it always seems that the real problem is not technology, but above all our way of dealing with it: Simply put, the basic dilemma is our desire for love, social recognition and success. Sarina Pfauth has Meckels problem in the Süddeutschen Newspaper aptly analyzed:

How can someone even retire after a burn-out if they previously lived in such a frenzy of speed? ... Does someone want to disappear into the obvious insignificance of a middle-class life? No. Doesn't Goldmund want to be narcissist anymore? No.

Caught in your own ego

What Miriam Meckel describes also applies to many other users of the Internet: they go to great lengths to be significant - and then wonder about their own work overload. For worse than a crowded eMailMailbox is for many people one in which yawning emptiness reigns. Because that means, for heaven's sake, that we are completely insignificant and nobody needs us! And maybe that even puts the job in danger and threatens its existence? A horror performance! Practical love withdrawal!

No wonder that we always come across people who loudly emphasize their importance at the airport or on the train by mobile phone. One out of every four mobile phone users has even simulated a cell phone call in order to be better in front of others, as James E. Katz found out. Simplified, one could say: Work overload through mobile Internet and social media results primarily from the desire for recognition and respect Manager, Colleagues and acquaintances.

Intentionally into the hamster wheel

What follows from this for me: Instead of constantly complaining about the hamster wheel, you should make yourself clear that you have deliberately chosen this life. Or change it. But never complain about the constant overload and do not really change anything about it. Like the journalist Meike Winnemuth, who states on a trip around the world:

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The hamster wheel that made me so happy to get out for a year? I soldered this myself, climbed it without help from others and kept it going with all my might. Like all of us, I've often moaned about all the to-dos: nonsense. You have to do so much less than you have to admit. Honestly, I would have said: I want. I had decided for the hamster bike life. And should I return to the wheel, then consciously and without grumbling.


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German edition: ISBN 9783965965508

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  1. Bernd

    The ego as a time waster - I have never seen it that way!

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