“Always-on is weird. It’s not how humans thrive. It’s not how productive people breakthrough. We have to dismantle it before it dismantles us,” said Matthew Kitchen. Our fast-paced world has made it clear that he’s absolutely right.
Today, we’ve internalized the belief that we have to work all the time.
Being busy has become a measuring stick of accomplishment, where the number of hours we work directly correlates to our success.
Our work culture has made us less human and has essentially turned us into hyper-productivity machines. We’ve given into the idea of being always-on and always available, which can harm our physical and mental well-being and ultimately cause burnout.
Leisure is now an urban legend.
We question the motives behind our relaxation time and even guilt ourselves when we rest. After all, how are we supposed to get ahead if we aren’t always working?
We’ve romanticized productivity.
We celebrate being busy and showcase our “busyness” for the world to see until the physical and mental repercussions of our work prevent us from exerting ourselves anymore.
I often feel guilty when I take time for myself.
I feel ashamed when I’m not in a constant grind or stressed from hustling too hard. I tell myself that I don’t work hard enough, which isn’t true at all.
We’ve created a “hustle facade.”
We’ve guilt-tripped ourselves into constantly keeping ourselves busy, knowing damn well that we don’t want to be. The truth is, we’re all pretty damn tired. But the world tells us to keep going, to plug in, and to be available… so we do, regardless of the cost.
Truthfully, always being on the grind is exhausting.
Technology heightens our workaholic tendencies rather than suppressing them. Our days are full of anxiety. We subconsciously spend our energy thinking, worrying, stressing, or anticipating the need to work. We work extra hours, pick up additional responsibilities, and even bring our work home. The work never ends, and it brings us perpetual anxiety.
Productivity will never adequately motivating us, which may explain why many of us aren’t satisfied with our careers. Only one in three Americans feel that their workplace engages them. The other two-thirds feel uninspired and unproductive.
We are just working to work, and there isn’t any meaning in that. But if more work isn’t the solution, then what is?
We need to find meaning in our work itself instead of placing significance on the act of working. We can work ourselves to death if we choose, but our lives aren’t worth our dispensable jobs.
Work should be about finding balance and flow, so practice self-care, both inside and outside of the office. Know when to plug in and when to unplug. Know when to rest and when to work. Know how your body feels in both times of stress and moments of joy.
Spend time meditating and creating.
Share your time with the people who mean the most to you, including yourself.It’s OK to give yourself time to rest. After all, innovative ideas only come when you pause to let your work develop.
We will no longer experience burnout if we shift the “hustle paradigm.” As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.” A healthy work-life balance can truly go a long way.