Idea of the Day #6
Thoughts on how overworking creeps in
Folks are always shocked when I talk about my company’s policy of sustainable pace. We are expected to work 40 hours a week, but few more. A friend of a friend of mine told me about her company’s policy — a 48 hour minimum. I was shocked. She was shocked when I told her I hadn’t worked more than 45 hours in my first 6 months.
There is a pernicious theory that more work equals better results. I love that the company I work at doesn’t fall for this theory, but I sure do. This week I found myself overworking, but not in the way I imagined I would. Instead of rapid fall from grace, I crept into overworking. While at my day job, I can only work 40 hours a week, I slowly started putting in more hours reading and tinkering with personal projects. Slowly, those couple of hours came to dominate every waking moment. I would read as I walked from my bed to the coffee maker. I would work in my personal projects in 15 minute chunks I would snatch at night while my dog slept.
I am always surprised and disappointed by the slow creep of workaholism. The process appears to be as follows: I work a little harder than normal one day and I’m blown away by what I accomplish. The next day, feeling no ill effects, I double down, working “just” an extra 15 minutes. Then, before I know it, it’s 3 am and my eyes are dull from a screen I stared I’ve been locked in front of for hours.
When the morning roles around, I check my work to realize what I thought was so innovative deep into the night was actually horse shit. It’s then that I realize I’ve been duped yet again.
Do you see the same process at work in your own life? How do you catch it in time?