There’s no shortage of advice on the internet on how to work more. On how to optimise, discipline and sacrifice your way to a better more productive you. And this isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It’s natural and healthy to want to live up to our potential after all.
But it’s very easy for this healthy desire to find meaning our work to turn into a failure to find meaning in the rest of our lives. It can easily become destructive to our relationships, our health, and our state of mind.
It’s up to each of us to find the right balance of course, but for those struggling at the latter end of the spectrum, maybe it’s time to think about working less. This doesn’t have to mean abandoning your goals, but simply restructuring how you go about achieving them and rethinking where they fit in your overall priorities. Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has some thoughts:
Working less would mean reducing the number of things we do — which would mean focusing on higher priority tasks.
If you could only work 1 hour today, what would you spend that hour doing? What would you do with the rest of the things on your list?
When we ask ourselves these questions, it might become clear that there are some key items we could spend more of our attention on, and many other tasks we could let go of somehow.
Then, after we’ve reduced the number of things, we can practice being more fully in those things.
Then call it a day — a victorious day, where we got the important things done.