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Commentary: Why you should promise to do less this year

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LONDON: Typically, people start a new year resolved to achieve more than the previous year.

How, though? Some people make what I have always thought is a frankly strange commitment to “say yes to everything”. Others do the opposite, resolving to say no more frequently.

In reality, either of those extremes could lead to bad outcomes.

Take the commitment to be busy, busy, busy all the time. Workaholism beckons for those who cannot turn down requests.

Being absorbed in the task can mitigate workaholism’s worst effects, according to an Academy of Management Discoveries study published last year, but still anxiety about the job or obsessive ambition paves a pathway to health problems.

Accumulating multiple commitments poses other risks, too. If you try to do more than one thing, you will not be as efficient as if you concentrated on a single task.

A 2001 paper found that people toggling between tasks took longer to solve complex math problems than those who concentrated on one job.

A separate 2015 study of Milanese judges determined that those who tried to handle several cases simultaneously took longer to complete them.

Still, the cult of busyness is a powerful one. If you started this year with a........

© Channel NewsAsia