Close this search box.

5 Tips to Stop Playing SuperHero at Work

5 Tips to Stop Playing SuperHero at Work

How many items do you have on your “list?” Everyone is busy and distracted is the typical state of mind.  You probably have a ‘to do’ list with more items on it than you can achieve in the course of a day. If you listen in on conversations happening around you, people complain about how much they have to do, at home and at work.

Being super-busy is not a badge of honor or a sign you are “successful.” It may be a symptom of you trying to be the “Super Hero.”

Super Hero Syndrome

Are you tensing up even before you get to work? Do you dread walking through the door? You might be suffering from super hero syndrome and overwhelm. If you have been taking on more work or feeling like you carry the responsibility of the whole department, it is time to find a new perspective. Besides you are setting yourself up for chronic stress; the consequences include multiple physical and emotional symptoms like high blood pressure, anxiety, chronic urgency, frequent colds, irritable bowel, and other gut issues.

Tips to stop being the superhero:

It is time to get control over your day.

#1 Be honest with yourself about what you can (really) handle.

If you are the type to give it your all every day, you might need to learn the difference between pushing yourself to the limit and pushing yourself over the edge.  Know that your “100%” changes from day to day and with situations and jobs. It is important to know how much juice you have available and then make the critical decision about how much you need for yourself and what is most in line with your highest priorities.

Do you know what the most important thing is that you should be focusing on? This is part of the fall out from chronic stress, a lack of clarity due to the chronic sense of urgency.

This takes us to the second tip.

#2 Spend 5-10 minutes every day to plan.

Keeping a written plan will help you stay focused when distractions creep in to take over your day. Use your plan to get you back in alignment with what is most important.

Set a timer, enter this planning time into your calendar and turn off your phone, close the door and give yourself 10 minutes. Breath deep, take a sip of water and then think about what is most important for you to work on. Write it out.

#3 Ask for help! (It is actually empowerment in disguise)

John Donne, a 17th-century British poet, famously wrote, “No man is an island.” I have to repeat this mantra to myself often because I’m a very independent person, especially when it comes to work. However, I’ve learned over the years that you can’t be a lone ranger. You need your co-workers; learn to work as part of a team.

Learn to delegate things that may help other people stretch and grow. Is there someone who needs a challenge or practice doing something or perhaps needs to feel more valued?  Have them help you get things done.  Anytime you can help someone else grow, it is a win – win-win for you, the individual and the company.

#4 Take time OFF!

Now more than ever, US workers are refusing to take their vacation days. This could be for a variety of reasons. Some may feel like they will lose respect if they take time away from their work or that someone might step in and take over while they’re gone. Others might feel like they don’t have a choice, that if they took even a single day off they would fall even farther behind than they already are.

The US Travel Association reports that on average 160 million vacation days go unused, resulting in approximately $52.4 billion of benefits lost. It also reported that 40% of employees feel intimidated by the pile of work they would have on their desks when they returned, so they forgo vacation.

Take your time off; you’ve earned that. Not only that, but use your vacation time for vacation. The root word of “vacation” is “vacate.” Vacate your position during this time—no email, no phone calls, no part of your mind left at the office!

#5 Say No!

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Say No to your inner Super Hero!

You were hired to do a certain job. Do you often find yourself doing other people’s jobs, too?

While it’s important to accept delegation and be a team player, you don’t have to be a pushover. Learn how to say no. This can be difficult for people who are “nice” and “helpful.” These people feel compelled to “swoop in and save people.” The need to maintain this image can drag you straight into overwhelm if you don’t know how to say no when necessary.

The Driving Force behind Super Heroes

Is guilt the only emotion driving your decisions?

Knowing what is important and in line with your ultimate goals will help you focus.

Super Heroes are usually looking for approval in all the wrong places, hoping someone will tell them they are “good enough.”

And this is usually not even a conscious thought, making it harder to change! If you are addicted to being busy or maybe addicted to approval, you would benefit from developing self-awareness.

What is really going on underneath your superhero cape?

If you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, it is time to develop your emotional awareness and stop the bottleneck of emotional pressure. Emotional bottlenecks create confusion and even chaos. You need a strategy to tune out distraction, so you can tune into you.


Subscribe to receive our weekly training. You will receive actionable strategies to help you focus and finish!  

Subscribe Form: Blogs

Related Posts


Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents