I’ve Reverted to Working 7 Days a Week
And paid for it with my health.
I think working is like an addiction. Once it grabs hold of you, it’s almost impossible to let go. Wait, maybe not just working, but actually having a little bit of success. I think that’s the real addiction.
And if that’s the real addiction, then I’m hooked. I’m chasing this high of accomplishment and recognition everyday. I’m creating and recreating, writing and rewriting, making money, investing money, spending money, then making some more. Each time I reach a new milestone, get a taste of what I deem as progress, my addiction gets deeper.
Not too long ago, I spoke about the importance of finally finding some kind of balance. I was excited because I knew it meant I had found a way to prioritize my work, which really meant prioritizing what’s important in my life. But now I find myself back here again, taking on every project that comes my way and literally working every single day of the week.
Then it happened. CRASH. A big crash. First, I thought I was just sick, like regular cold sick, so I kept working. But the symptoms lingered for close to two weeks without much relief. Then one day, I went into work and couldn’t think. I was sitting at my desk staring at my laptop and nothing was happening. My body ached, I felt like sleeping, I wrapped a shawl around my shoulders because I thought it was cold, even though everyone looked at me like I was crazy.
One of my co-workers finally confronted me and said, “Kern, I’m genuinely worried about you. Maybe you should go home.” After another hour spent trying to conjure up some work, I left and went straight to the doctor’s. After a few tests, he told me I’m suffering from exhaustion and I have the flu. Not a good combination. When I told him I’m coming from work, he shook his head.
That picture you see of me is where I spent the next week; laid up on my couch not able to do much of anything except drink tea and soup and watch Netflix. I had worked my body to its limits and it had enough.
I’m actually not proud of this moment. I’ve watched so many Arianna Huffington videos, read her posts and actually tried to implement that lifestyle into my own. And I’ve had success doing it. But this relapse has shown me how easy it is to fall back into old, poor habits. It’s also proven that changing your life takes committing yourself every single day.
Now I’m back to square one; an addict that’s fallen of course. But really, I’m not at square one because I know what it feels like to do it the right way and I know what it takes to get there. Staying there is the difficult part, and for this I’ll need to keep learning.
I would actually love some advice from all of you ex workaholics. How have you been able to maintain the change in your lifestyle to sustainable productivity? I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to end up at this place again. One of my mentors warned me this would happen. He saw it coming close to a year ago (which is probably why he’s my mentor), and I ignored him.
I won’t ignore any of you, though, so please feel free to share and I’ll open my ears and let down my guard. There’s a better way to reach your goals without sacrificing your health. I know because I’ve been doing it. But I’ve regressed, so now it’s time to ask for help again.