Experience is the best teacher, and being in my twenties I feel like big (and small) life lessons hit me every few weeks. I’m sure you learn new things at every age, but it amazes me how I find myself to be a different person at the end of each year. At the same time, I’m becoming more aware and accepting of who I really am.
For me, 2015 was all about setting healthier boundaries and learning to take better care of my time, mind and body. Along the way, I read an article that really hit home. In it, there was a statement that made me rethink a lot of my deep-rooted patterns. It goes like this…
An 80-hour workweek is not a badge of honor
First, let me be clear that there’s nothing wrong with working a lot. Some people obviously thrive when the heat is on. They feel fulfilled and excited when working hard and often need the extra time to get to their highest goals. I’m one of them! I completely understand.
The reason I do want to talk about this, is that I see so many young people around me feeling a sense of pride and worthiness when they can state they’ve worked an enormous amount of hours this week – or this month – or last month. I know, because I’ve done it in the past. Hey; as a matter of fact, I probably still do sometimes.
After all, saying you worked a 60 or 70 or 80 hour week is indirectly telling someone else how well your new company is doing, or how successful your website is, or how invaluable you are to your boss and co-workers. Of course, making long weeks is inevitable sometimes – especially when you’re just getting a new business off of the ground. But to me, working such long weeks without taking the necessary breaks, mainly means I’m doing something wrong.
It means that I’m trying to do too many things at once.
It means: I’m trying to be too many things at once.
It means: I’m trying to find things in work that I should be looking for in other places.
It’s time to be a little less proud of constantly overworking ourselves. It’s an unhealthy pattern, it actually limits your progress in the long run and most of all… it’s unsustainable. What we should be striving for instead, is creating a working environment that is efficient and organized, where the aim is to spend productive hours on meaningful work.
I know it’s mostly up to me how I spend my hours and ideas. This year, I’ve come to understand that overworking myself doesn’t necessarily get me closer to where I want to be in a year. I’ll need some peace of mind for that too! I’m curious to hear what your experiences are with feeling overworked or overwhelmed – and how you try to take your power back. Liked reading this? See Lesson #1 about online (im)perfection here.
Illustration by Marie Bodié