Most of us have become a victim of overworking and don’t know a life that is free from work, even on nights and weekends. And you are not alone, 94% people work through the weekend and have difficulty maintaining work life balance. The busy schedules, the cut throat race to the top, and the innate desire to want more, left us with no time for our own selves. There is always a call that needs to be answered or an urgent email that needs attention.
We live in a world where overworking is glamorized by CEOs like Elon Musk who says “No one ever changed the world in 40 hours a week.” Ryan Selkis, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur tweeted “If you don’t work nights and weekends in your 20s, you’re not going to have a successful career.”
Is there more to success than spreading yourself thin?
Not taking a break can be overwhelming
When we work in an environment that is always “on,” we are constantly able to connect, check in, reply, or just think about work. A recent study showed that people have been known to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety because of working through the weekends. “Taking work home contributes to long hours involved in work-related activities that adds to a prolonged experience of stress, interrupts social plans, results in less time spent with loved ones and creates distance in relationships,” said Mayra Mendez, a licensed psychotherapist.
This ubiquitous quest for productivity has driven many of us away from the kind of lives that we wanted to live. Gillian Weston, a researcher, remarked, “We need to move from a culture of unrealistic demands and low rewards to one in which workers are supported and valued, feel they have control, feel they have purpose, and are allowed sufficient time for recovery and leisure.”
Working hard ≠ Hustling through the weekend
The system we are in is capitalism, the whole point is to exchange our labour for capital. But working for long hours and even during weekends, uncompensated and unappreciated, is devaluing yourself. Young people are often asked to contribute their elbow grease to compensate for their lack of experience. While many rejected this notion outright, those in support of weekend labour said, “Their technical skills aren’t yet developed; their networks are small; their energy and hustle is what they’ve got to offer.”
But does working hard and hustling mean working on the weekends? Not necessarily. Researchers have found that working for long hours has become a status symbol, a twisted “masculinity contest.” As psychology professor Dacher Keltner has found in 20 years of research, “While the less powerful obsess over what the more powerful want, the more powerful barely notice the less powerful. Sitting at your desk pretending to work so that you can impress a boss who probably isn’t even aware of your presence is not a great use of your fleeting life. And maybe not the best way to advance in your career.” Instead you should ask yourself-- Do you put in long hours because of passion or pressure? Do you choose not to work weekends because there’s something else you are excited about, or because the weekdays burn you out?
Take breaks if and when required
If you are someone who thinks that not working on weekends is simply not an option, you are not completely wrong. Dennis Najjar, co-founder of Accountingdepartment.com believes that ”Finding work-life balance isn’t just about separating the week from the weekend; rather it’s about finding a balance that speaks to the way you work.” Many people find the weekends perfect for brainstorming new ideas, do creative work, because they think work isn’t separate from life and weekends are a part of life too.
But does that mean working all the time? No matter how much you like your work, no one can work continuously. Debbie Sterling, founder of Goldiebird says, “Over the weekend, I need to come up with new product ideas for Goldieblox. Usually I’ll pick one day instead of both, so that way there’s at least one day off”
There is, of course, a huge difference between working on weekends to achieve work life balance and working on weekends because your boss expects you to. Advancing in your career shouldn’t come at the expense of your mental and physical health or your life for that matter. Devote your free time to rest, relax or whatever else that helps you unwind. As Bon Jovi says,”It’s my life, its now or never, I ain't gonna live forever, I just want to live while I'm alive (It's my life)”