A common theme today is about working hard, about pushing yourself and so forth. It has been suggested that one-third of British workers do not take their holiday time off. There are many potential reasons for this, be it a lack of money or perhaps a sense of guilt for taking time off. Though I think it might also be in part with the current obsession with working ‘Hard’.
Of course, the concept of just working hard comes with good intentions. After all, it is essential to be productive and constructive in your life. Being lazy and doing nothing at all is also not a great way of living life either.
However, the obsession with working ‘Hard’ comes with adverse side effects that can be highly counterproductive. If you do not rest, do not take time to breathe and recover, all the ‘Hard’ work will do is burn you out. In pushing through that burnout to continue working ‘Hard’, the quality of your work will suffer, as due to your exhaustion, you will miss small details that may otherwise be easy to spot. The fatigue will also impact productivity. It becomes much more challenging to focus when fatigued, meaning a task that might take one hour might end up taking four or five.
But with no rest, no holiday, no time to breathe. All this hard work just ends up burning people out. Giving them the sensation of hitting their heads against a brick wall. Forcing themselves to push on, while their exhaustion naturally causes the quality of the work to suffer. Where their fatigue causes a task that might take one hour, to take four of five…
This is something that can often be seen in the packed university libraries of the current day, especially anytime a deadline comes rolling around. Instead of working sustainably, ensuring they have time to recover, you will find many hundreds of students spending endless nights in these libraries. Forgoing sleep in their drive to work ‘Hard’ on a task, bragging about the fact even if they are utterly exhausted after having not slept for a few nights where their health and quality of work inevitably suffers.
But there are other ways that you can work. Instead of working ‘Hard’, why not instead work passionately, work lovingly and work with pride? Why not allow yourself to enjoy your work. Give yourself the time to reflect on your work and be proud of the finished product. Why not give yourself time to sharpen the axe, allowing you to remain productive while preventing the risk of burning out.
To work in this manner instead of simply working hard allows you to enjoy your work while still performing to the utmost level. After all, it is much easier to produce high-quality work when you are not spending half of your mental energy fighting with your exhaustion, a battle that will never be won unless you rest.
So for the future, instead of simply working ‘Hard’. Make sure you work with passion and pride. Remember that sometimes the best thing you can do to produce your best work is to rest and sharpen the axe, and allow yourself the time to enjoy both your work and life as a whole.