Blogger with many niche specialties. I write about dogs, all things under homesteading, personal finance, how to blog, and beauty/fashion.
This topic came up recently because I'm decidedly working too much. I've had a couple of issues in my life that possibly some workaholics can relate to.
The first issue, I'm changing apartments so I'm getting a new crop of random roommates. I had one of the new girls contact me wanting to meet. I'm like well I'm literally working every spare minute I have, maybe I'm doing 80 hour or 100 hour weeks?
I'm not sure anymore. Right now I have time critical goals so I just don't have the time to do the usual roomie getting to know you razzle-dazzle. I don't have time for friends even other than a couple of messages here and there.
I think people misinterpret this as me being a jerk and not wanting to talk with them. No, it is just I don't have time for leisure people for my leisure time. If I prioritize any person into my day to day life right now, it is because there is something mutually beneficial about our contact. They are people on the same mission as me in some form and we can help each other. The exception being my boyfriend as we are around each other to enjoy each other.
My second issue, I lack the free time to do stuff with my boyfriend. He doesn't complain, it is just apparent he needs more attention. I already have a pretty good idea of the changes I should make. But what about everyone else? What about other people?
Are You Working Too Much?
This all leads into the real meat of this article. Do you work too much? How does one define "too much" work?
People have differing opinions on Elon Musk ranging from the fact he smoked weed, named a son like he was a calculator model, called some guy a pedo because of the boys trapped in a cave thing, and various other things. The thing I want to focus on is the fact that he has worked some startups considered to be successful. How much time was he forced to work?
Elon is on record for working 120 hour weeks when Tesla was getting started. He has shared his thoughts on how many hours to work a couple of times.
His tweets pretty well sum up today's work environment. Love him or hate him, that is the attitude right there.
Employers ask you to be committed to the cause, driven, focused on the end goal that angles toward a favorable outcome, you need to work well in teams, you need to invest long hours, practically marry yourself to the company, and be willing to go above and beyond. This is what is required for those top-shelf jobs that set you up for life.
But wait, should the job end outside of the hours of 9 am and 5 pm? Is there any time to just go home and relax? Or are people who want to secure a high-level cushy existence just destined to work a job that consumes their life?
Too Much Work
The majority of people are not a person like Elon Musk. Their goal is to work as little as is required to be comfortable and spend the rest of the time doing whatever the heck they want.
Part of this plays into stress tolerance. If you feel as though you are only working and cannot de-stress outside of work, you are probably working too much for you. If work feels like all you do in life, you might need to prioritize some breaks.
This plays into feeling that you have zero free time. Do you spend every moment at the office or home office? Do you have anxiety that you will relax and then miss some important work email?
Maybe you stare at beach pictures or vacation destinations, then you close the image and snort. As if YOU can even take a vacation. How would you relax anyway? The entire time you will be worrying about what is going on at work and wondering what sort of workload you are returning to.
You forget the days of being a kid running around playing with leaves and sticks. Where your only stress point was not being vigilant and you miss the ice cream truck.
Now you find yourself working more than eight hours a day, maybe you feel overwhelmed. Then you find yourself perpetually stressed and exhausted. Relationships get affected because your partner has to constantly deal with your overworked self and depending on factors they might not understand where you are mentally. This just adds more stress.
How Do You Fix This?
When I think about this topic, I often think of that old Robin Williams film "Hook". At the start of the movie, he is chained to his job. He always has his cellphone at the ready to take work calls and he constantly misses his son's baseball games. He isn't there at all for his family while ironically working his hardest to keep everyone's needs met with his high demand job.
The rest of the movie is overly fantastical, but his dilemma with the work-life balance is relatable and a lesson worth considering. It isn't healthy to fill every possible moment with work. It is important to prioritize rest, free time, and keep your family bonds healthy.
You also need to be sure to prevent yourself from burnout. Talk to a manager and figure out more realistic responsibilities. Are you doing work that isn't really even your job because of the aptitude of coworkers? Maybe you should stop doing it. The main thing is to figure out how to get some load off your back.
Are you the sort where even if you aren't working, you think about work? You think about work when you go to sleep. A real cyclical hell is when you dream you are at work and you aren't even being paid for it. You wake up thinking about work. Your partner is talking to you about somthing funny the dog did and you start wondering if you responded to that work email appropriately. Did you sound too aggressive? Not aggressive enough?
This is a warning sign you really need to unplug a little. Bond with your partner more and be actually present. Call up a friend and do some sort of fun activity. Try to do anything and everything that can remove your brain from "work"
If you are an introvert then you can read a book, watch movies or shows, or maybe work on a new skill.
Goals Are All About Your Job
Say you are having a chat with your friends and you start talking about future plans. Maybe your friends are talking about traveling or decorating. Maybe they want to join a club or attend some sort of class. You? You realize you are just thinking about your career and career goals.
You want that promotion or you want that sweet pay raise. All the goals swirling in your head can be directly tied to your job.
Life is about more than just your job. A job is supposed to be a part of your life and not your whole life. How you bring in the money and all that is a big part of life, just not your whole life and not the path to future life satisfaction past a certain point.
Do You Talk About Anything Other than Work?
Another issue of a person stuck in work mode is all they talk about is work. My ex was a workaholic and was in one of those high paying and high-stress jobs. He was also depressed, mentally unstable, erratic, and all-around not in a good place.
He would come home and just want to sit on the couch for about 30 minutes in silence while he checked over his youtube subs for new videos. Then he would want to go out to eat so he could discuss work over drinks.
Such dinners were honestly pretty intense. He would drink too much and vent his big stresses of the day because stuff was always going wrong and he was always having to fix it. Any conversation we had really was either him talking about work or him putting me down (an unrelated matter).
Check with yourself and see if any of that sounds like you. It doesn't matter who it is, you always want to talk about work.
The fun thing is this is an easy correction. You just look around outside of your work bubble and think about other topics of interest. You can also ask other people about how they are doing or what has been on their minds lately.
Death to Productivity
Many people start to suffer in the productivity department when they work too long. There was some study floating around about how even if people are at work 8 hours a day they are really only doing about 3 hours of work.
People do other things at work like play on social media and check the news. They also take bathroom breaks and smoke breaks. Maybe they have a spouse that calls in so they end up talking for some unknown period of time. They are texting people or eating snacks.
Doing 8 hours a day is usually too much for people. You need to figure out your productivity potential. How long can you work on something before you are just burned out? Don't put in long hours if you are wasting those hours.
Now in terms of productivity, I like the method adopted by a guy I used to know who ran his own gym. He was often heavy in working out the latest marketing campaigns. His method was a slight variation of the Pomodoro-technique.
He divided the work time into blocks where each team member would work for 30 minutes and then do a 10-minute rest. After the rest, they would work another 30 minutes. The number of cycles they did in a day would depend on the urgency of the job.
Sleep is Suffering
Another big one is being able to shut the mind off to sleep. Your mind will be whirling with ideas and you might feel tempted to check work at night. This is double trouble if you are like me and you seem to enter work zen mode at night. The day-walkers don't really know what to do with nocturnal people. You may end up in a weird cycle where sleep is just no sufficient.
The problem is your productivity will decrease and you will end up grumpy all the time. People also have severe mental disturbance when they go too long without good sleep. Sleep is also critical for stress alleviation.
The other thing I recommend is working out. Back when I couldn't sleep I used to run myself or swim myself tired.
It also helps to have a morning ritual to help get yourself centered for the day. Some people do yoga, some meditate, and in my case, I do my blogger checklist while drinking my coffee.
It is great to try to be the best you can be at your job. Just be sure to keep clear priorities when you are spending your time day to day. Be sure to let people know they are important to you too. If work is becoming too much, make some changes so your work life is more sustainable.
© 2020 Raven Rae