You Are More Than Your Work: Why I’m no longer working Sundays
This is a topic near & dear to my heart: workaholism. Workaholicism? Okay, the red squiggly line is telling me neither of those are real words but y’all, they should be. In an the era of the hustle economy, where side-gigs reign supreme and student loans burden our shoulders, it’s easier to work your ass off than enjoy simple pleasures. It’s easier to stay up til 2 a.m. every night editing galleries and beating yourself up about that missed opportunity. It’s easier to spend free-time trying to engage on social media in the hopes of being seen by that ideal client. What’s harder to face is the silent moments - the stillness between tweets, the monotony between scrolling. It’s difficult to sit with your feelings and interpret them, untwist them from the societal norms of “success.”
When you find purpose in your work, it’s hard to remember you’re more than it. No matter how artistic or creative or brilliant your work may be, it’s important to rest and learn. On one of my favorite podcasts, Creative Pep Talk, the host Andy J. Miller talks about this through the lens of musicians, saying that often the first album is the best. That’s because every ounce of living has inspired that first album. But the second album? That usually just follows the first, with maybe a concert tour between. Then a cycle begins that leaves little room for new experiences.
“Your work cannot be a profound human experience if you don’t ever have profound human experiences.” - Dr. Andy J. Pizza
Stepping back and revisiting old interests and hobbies, connecting with other people and enjoying life outside your work makes your life more rich & full & interesting. AND it makes your work more rich, full & interesting. So the next time you’re neck-deep in work, here are a few things to ask yourself:
Am I doing busywork for the sake of looking busy? Busy is not a badge of honor. Most creative entrepreneurs start out because they simply can’t imagine working that 9-5 with a boss telling them what to do, yet so many of us create a less-than-ideal work environment for ourselves. If you’re working all hours of the day and neglecting your basic wants + needs, what’s even the point of running your own business?
Am I avoiding something else that needs to be done elsewhere in my life by giving myself this daunting to-do list? One of my worst habits is sinking into a social media rabbit hole when I feel uncomfortable. Don’t feel like making small talk, I’ll just look busy by writing this email. Can’t stand the silence while I wait for the cashier to ring up the other 7-11 big slurp aficionados? Might as well use those precious moments for something more worthwhile… like checking facebook for the 73rd time today.
When is the last time I drank a glass of water? I am TERRIBLE about drinking water! One of my goals for 2019 is to drink it every day. Not even 8 glasses. I’m setting the bar at a steady but still challenging level, which for me is to just say I did drink some water - whether that’s one glass or a gallon, some is better than none. I once heard someone say “you’ve got to worry about the creature,” in the sense of taking care of your physical body. I think of it this way - if I didn’t see my pup move from the same spot for over 8 hours, or drink water all day, or eat… I’d be very concerned! Take care of your creature.
So if you’ve been feeling like your life is defined by your work, take a step back. Even if you love what you do, make time for other interests + down time to reboot. If I’m being honest y’all, I started writing this blog post about a week ago and it was around 90% done. Re-reading it today to wrap it up was a good reminder for myself, and I hope it was a good reminder for you too. I’m rooting for you!