top of page

STOP trying to complete your work

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

When Less Really Is More

You see that pile on the desk. The one you have sorted through countless times. The one you are trying to get to the bottom of…..

I am going to let you into something I discovered about that pile, and still amazes me today.

Many years ago I was a Prison Governor. A stressful and demanding job. My desk was always full and I worked harder and faster to get to the bottom of my pile of papers. Then one day I had a realisation. It really hit me.

It is never going to happen. I can shuffle and shift the papers but I am NEVER going to get to the bottom. It was a real lightbulb moment.

So I stopped trying. I worked through what I could and at 5pm I would leave the office. I would leave that pile just as it was.

And guess what happened? It will come as a shock!! Hold onto your hats! Make sure you are sitting down…

Here goes..


Nothing happened.

Zip, Zilch, Zero


I stopped chasing my tail. I got home on time. I spent my evening relaxing. One by one my colleagues picked up on it too. Soon most of us were doing it

That one action probably did more for my mental health than any other single practical action up until that point. It really took the edge off.

So next time it gets to going home time, and you are staring at that seemingly endless pile, then know this.

It is endless, it is relentless. You will never reach the bottom.

Go home. Have fun. Go in tomorrow relaxed and refreshed, ready to start again

Martyn Dawes is a Coach, Social Care Consultant, and Author of The Overwhelmed Manager: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

1 view0 comments


bottom of page