Stop working so hard! Have I gotten your attention yet? Before anyone comments that I am promoting laziness, please know that I am definitely not doing that. I am just telling you to make sure you are taking a break every now and then. With the movement of so many people to working from home due to the pandemic, a lot of the lines between work and home got blurred, if not erased all together. If you are leaving work every single day and you are feeling like your gas tank is permanently running on fumes, there is something wrong.
We are all guilty of it. We work just a little longer to finish up the day’s tasks. I hate having things on my to do list that don’t get checked off by the end of the day. I have a need for there to be no notifications on my phone or iPad because that signifies that something needs my attention. I will repeat: Quit working so hard!! I have to say it to myself (and I’m a horrible listener when I tell myself something). I am writing tonight, from my office, because I just finished teaching and wanted to finish up a couple of things. Writing a blog post has been on there for several days, so I decided to mark it off the list tonight.
Why are some of us so driven? I know the reasons for motivation and drive. I get intrinsic and extrinsic value. But what makes us push beyond normal limits? Is it a fight against perception? Sometimes I really think it is. Maybe it is that we don’t want to be perceived as lazy or expendable. Maybe it is because we like to feel important and needed. If we just work a few more minutes, or maybe another hour, we prove how helpful we can be. When we prove ourselves, people need us more. Or at least that’s a theory.
I have another theory for the push to keep moving. I think sometimes we are afraid of what will happen if we stop. I do realize that could go with what I just wrote as well, and there is some fear of being not needed if we don’t keep proving our worth. Think about it though, how many times have you heard the saying, “I will rest when I’m dead,” and how do you relate that to your life? Is the motivation to keep going synonymous with a fear of what happens when we stop?
How does that fall in with this pandemic? Does that add another layer of if I keep moving, it means I am healthy? Are we turning our homes into this?
Who suffers the most when we lose the boundaries between our work time and our home time? The argument could be made that it is our children, and it is a very good argument. The argument could be made that it is our relationships with our family members or the ways in which we deal with stress when stress is present in every aspect of our life. I think it is changing us in ways we don’t even think about. For instance, have you emailed someone over the weekend and gotten irritated that they didn’t respond? Does everything seem like an urgent situation to you? I have heard the term surge capacity several times over the past couple of weeks. At first I thought it was a crazy term being used to make excuses. I’ve done a little more research (just a little, don’t have time to do much), and I am a believer. I think most of us have hit or exceeded our surge capacity limits. The world feels upside down and topsy turvy, and it seems to be getting crazier by the day.
I don’t know how to solve the problems, and I’m really not even certain I know what all the problems are at this point. I do know this, we have got to take a break and get off the merry go round every now and then. We have got to start reestablishing the lines between work and home life.
There are some great resources out there to help you re-establish those boundaries. I found the graphic above, along with some really great ideas for both work and home, at https://themostefficient.com/50-ways-to-take-a-break-infographic-brain-breaks-for-adults/. There are a ton of things that I don’t understand, and what is going on in the world is right up there near the top. I do know one thing for certain; if we all keep working this hard, we are all going to end up broken.
So give yourself some grace, set some boundaries, and look up from your work. These things can only help you feel better.