The past few years have taught me a lot about what it means to be an adult and what productivity actually looks like. In school we are told that eight hours out of your day, five days a week, need to be strictly devoted to “working”, whether that be for your job or for your education. The rise of the internet and the ability to work from wherever, whenever, has completely changed what productivity looks like and has made our past notions of it seem incredibly antiquated.
No longer are we forced to sit at a desk for eight hours at a time, with a break in between to eat, and then fit the rest of our life around that. Nor is it necessary to always be working in order to prove that you are pulling your weight in society and to validate your purpose. For today’s post I wanted to talk a bit about why I think never not working shouldn’t be the norm and a few lessons I’ve learned in my years of being on either end of the spectrum.
You Need Time For Yourself and Others
When it comes to work in the traditional sense of the word, it often feels like it’s something that we should be putting above all else. If you aren’t spending extra time at the office and answering emails on the weekends, then what are you even doing with your life? I’d like to propose an alternative way of thinking—your work doesn’t have to be the centre of your life. Gasp! Crazy right? Well, actually not really. Many people, myself included, don’t get all their satisfaction from the billable hours they put into a company.
Some of us—and stay with me here—actually have other interests outside of work. And that’s okay to admit and acknowledge. You need time for yourself and your interests as well as the people around you. Taking a few days off to be with our friends or significant other shouldn’t sound crazy, nor should anyone be made to feel guilty for wanting to do it. Life is all about balance, and that includes work.
It’s Okay To Do Nothing
I think that many of us dread the thought of being considered lazy if we aren’t devoting every spare hour in the day to working. I constantly have the nagging voice in the back of my head saying that I could be doing something better with my time than reading or watching a movie. But, the more logical side recognizes that it’s okay to do nothing sometimes.
Devoting an entire day to just lounging around the house in your pyjamas and eating takeout should be encouraged, not looked down upon as laziness. Everyone needs time to recharge, especially if they’ve had a busy week, and for some that means doing absolutely nothing for some time before they are ready to get back into a rhythm with their work life.
Your Schedule Doesn’t Have To Look Like Someone Else’s
Everyone functions at different frequencies, which is why it’s not useful to compare your schedule to someone else’s. I know people who thrive with a full schedule, always doing something without much down time. I am the complete opposite—I need to give myself enough time to recharge my batteries before I can plan any activities that will take energy. No matter your speed, it’s important to recognize what works for you and create a sustainable life around that.
I find that many jobs will make you feel that it’s not possible to create a sustainable career if you aren’t working 40 hours a week, but that’s not always the case. It’s about learning the rules that you want to play by and not compromising them in order to compete with someone else.