Working too much in a day…
You probably have those days where you were exhausted from working too much. How much is ‘too much’? Personally, it’s when my job starts to neglect my well-being, and the relationships I have.
Those endless nights of pulling an all-nighter to churn out reports and presentations still makes me cringe. Working overtime for a prolonged period, results in your social life being undervalued and the only Netflix and chill date you’re going to get is unfortunately, your couch.
Often, this can’t be helped due to the nature of the economy, life, or the job. But how does it really feel working too much? Let me dive in to my own personal experience.
Assuming you’re working corporate hours, working past the 6PM mark indicated that you were extra hardworking and perhaps even ‘doing more’ than you should.
According to psychologists, our brains can only be focused for 90 to 120 minutes each time before we need to take a short break, to perhaps recharge. Being obsessively immersed in your job could lead you to overlook other important things in life, and even instill a negative energy upon you.
Some common symptoms include:
1. Voracious appetite
2. No strength for social events/networking
3. You crave sleep badly
Other attempts to separate you from the bed seems futile; even the phone call to the person you’re dating might seem like a chore. At work, your mind is in the adrenaline pumping fight-or-flight phase and when you get off work, this goes off, which puts you straight into a sleepy slumber.
Previously, when I was clocking in at least 12 hours a day at work and breathing filtered air in the office, I felt more lethargic than before. I ate more and I exercised less than I should and I could hardly send anyone a text without feeling the weight of elephants on my eyelids.
There are times when Mom called and all I could say was, “I’ll call you back”. On hindsight I haven’t been the ever-so-filial son for 6 months and counting. It definitely felt like my family and social life was at a total standstill.
… and then working too little in a day.
So, one day I felt like I couldn’t take this routine rat race anymore and I quit my job without getting a new one. Yup, I quit.
In the first couple of weeks, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Everyday felt like a holiday! I was myself again, and everything seem to fall back in place.
The first couple of days were great; I felt free and rid of major responsibilities. Then as the weeks got by, I felt like I constantly needed to do something big. I went out shopping, eating, meeting friends, and trying to get my social life back together. All was good, but still, it wasn’t good enough.
Most times, I ended up shopping unnecessarily for more things I didn’t need and eating expensive food I couldn’t even pronounce. I got increasingly superficial and tried to keep up with the trends. Feeling shallower than ever, I started looking for freelance jobs online. I was so desperate that I even contemplated doing assignments for free.
I tried out babysitting a neighbour’s dog because I craved for something to do and the smallest things started to count. Every time I made tea for myself, I felt a little empty inside. Tea was a refreshment for me from work; it served to perk me up. Right now, having tea without using my brain made this tea taste bland and feel meaningless.
Sometimes, I wonder if my brain actually dies a little bit every time I idle away. Not working makes you feel a little like this:
1. The clock is showing 10am
2. The clock is showing 10am
3. The clock is still showing 10am
You get my point.
You will inevitably feel that time passes really slowly; you’re bored most of the time and more often than not, you end up being the person who rounds up a group of friends for a pointless social gathering.
Life got increasingly meaningless. Nothing seemed to amaze me anymore. I could stop and smell the flowers whenever I wanted, but doing that for 3 months without a major plan in sight felt like a repetitive chore; even the prettiest flower on the sidewalk seemed ordinary.
After much consideration, I thought really hard about it and figured that I needed a goal and a good plan to make that goal happen. The flowers always looked more interesting when I was passing it after work on my way to dinner. I had many sleepless nights. I often laid awake in the wee hours of the morning wondering if I did the right thing about quitting my job and now the future without one scares me.
Here’s what pushed me out of the misery:
As humans, we always crave some sort of stimulation, be it a social one, a challenging job, or a fulfilling family. Whether work is too much or too little is extremely subjective; there’s no clear justification that the person sitting next to you working 12-hour shifts is going to get a fatter bonus than you.
Working overtime doesn’t mean you’re more hardworking or productive. The idea of ‘too much’ is just a mental construct. How you use and determine your working hours is what matters on the job.
During that 8 or 12 hour job, you’re in charge of the time given to you. It’s up to you to make the best out of it. Remember that there’s more to life than work. Go out there and start exploring what makes you happy.
It could be joining a book club, taking up a new hobby or learning how to cook.
People don’t remember what you’ve done for them, but they’ll never forget how you make them feel.
Choosing and loving what you do is important but so is spending time with your loved ones. Clear your head every once in a while to rethink about your current goals, whether they align with your future plans.
Being too caught up in the job and causing yourself a delusion of working ‘too much’ can be dangerous for your well-being. So take some time off and make time for yourself, friends, and family. Work-life balance is definitely something we construct ourselves, so make it balanced for yourself and for the people who matter to you.
If you like articles like this one, you’ll love this one: Who Else Wants To Achieve Work-Life Balance? It comes with 5 actionable steps to help you achieve and maintain your work-life balance!
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