Or are you just addicted to the feeling of being busy?
In a world where technology makes it simple to work outside of the office, it seems like everyone is constantly working. Parks, coffee shops, restaurants...full of people furiously tapping away on their laptops. It makes me question whether, in this wired generation, are we really busy? Or are we addicted to how being busy makes us feel?
I am guilty of doing it myself, and while there are times where I find myself overwhelmed with work, I am never really that busy. I can spend entire days jumping from project to project, but have trouble listing what I actually accomplished at the end of those days.
We’re booked with constant projects and meetings and other tasks at work and then to top it off, we want to have a life outside of work. Life gets busy. But have you taken a hard look at your actual workload to see if there might be things you don’t need to be stressed about?
Some people, myself included, have the ability to let things go easily and tend not to stress about things that are out of their control. However, my friends and coworkers seem to be constantly fretting about work after work, checking emails obsessively, or even sending pings at 11 p.m.
It’s not that I don’t have the urge to do it too, but if my friends check their emails at brunch on a Sunday afternoon, I will drink their mimosa. If I get a text, email or Slack message at 11 p.m., I am sleeping. (But lucky for me, I work for a company that doesn’t have expectations for availability on evenings or weekends.)
Work-life balance is a phrase that gets tossed around as a company perk. But how many of us really have that balance down? This is not to say you shouldn’t work towards your goals and a job you want. But what really makes a good employee is a happy employee.
That feeling you get when you are busy, it’s an adrenaline rush, so you dive into each project like it is a life or death situation. And when you crush that task or finish seconds before a deadline, you get an immense sense of pride and relief as you cross that big deal off your to-do list.
We’ve all been there. Being busy sometimes feels like it’s daily routine, but it doesn’t have to be. Stop worrying about things you cannot control. Don’t miss out on a perfectly good mimosa because your email notification buzzed. And remember it’s ok to say no. If you are already stretched too thin at work, don’t be afraid to turn down an extra project. Your boss should know what your workload looks like, and if he/she doesn’t, then you’re not doing something right.
The busy feeling that gets your blood flowing and keeps you on your toes, combined with praise and rewards for being fast, perfect, and always available can be addictive. But I assure you, the more you run yourself into the ground with work, the more you are going to miss out on in life. And then it’s just a matter of time before you begin to resent your job.
If you want to have a life outside of work again, put the phone down. Stop worrying about emails, or any projects that can wait till tomorrow (or Monday). When work stress creeps into your weekend, remind yourself that you have a job that pays your bills and the world will not end if you don’t check your work email 20 times on a Sunday.
Remember that you had a life before this job and you will have one after.