Challenging the glamorisation of overworking

Saffron found that phrases such as "you can have fun when you're successful" and "no pain, no gain" “made her believe that if she wasn't putting in 100 hours, then she would never be successful. She discusses the tips she used to help create more balance and to not feel guilty when relaxing, so that she can value and celebrate the journey towards the goal as much as the goal itself.

Saffron discusses how “hussle culture” made her feel like she constantly had to be working and what she did to create more balance.

Video transcript

Hello, my name is Saffron and I've written a blog about the glamorisation of overworking.

So, I'm sure we've all heard "you can have fun when you're successful", "hard work pays off" and the one I vividly remember, "no pain, no gain". I never thought much about how hearing these phrases would affect me. But looking back, I realise that the more I heard them, the more I started to believe that if I wasn't putting in 100 hours, then I would never be successful. I learned with time that this frankly isn't the case.

In my experience, the society that surrounds us contains driven and ambitious people. There are more and more people working ambitiously towards a goal and this is incredible as it drives different sectors, workforces, aids new advances in technology. However, the line between overworking and success is fading. I'm here to tell you it is okay to not work 20 hours a day. It is healthy to put boundaries in place and you are succeeding in life no matter where you are in your journey.

Today, the term overworking has been modernised into this hustle culture, which is this new buzzword you see all over social media and it has affected me. I feel that if I'm not working all the time, I'll never reach my goal and this is an unhealthy mindset. Over social media platforms, I was constantly reading posts that were saying, if you aren't busy, then what are you doing with your time? You're wasting your time. However, I soon realised that I need to be harnessing the quality mindset over a quantity mindset and not focusing on the hours I put in, but rather focusing on the quality I put in.

Now I can't lie to you, I am not this perfect individual who's got their life together, has each day organised to the minute, but I am working towards a healthier work-life balance. And no, I'm not always this positive guru. I have those days where I just want to stay in bed and do absolutely nothing. And I should be okay by doing that. But it does make me feel guilty. But then I remember that it's not as easy as switching a light off. There is no simple fix and what we must realise is that the balance we want is something we have to discover for ourselves. And for me it's making sure that I am well rested, I'm in a positive mindset and making sure I focus on the most important aspects in my life, which is in my wellbeing.

So I'm going to let you in on three tips I'm using to help me create more balance and to not feel guilty when I relax.

  1. Number one, create a list of areas that are important to me and this cannot include work. These are things that we love and we enjoy and it makes us feel happy. Now what we are going to do with them is we're going to put them in a to-do list. Now if you're anything like me if it's not on our to do list, we are not doing it. So I tend to use this rule that for every three work related bullet points I'm going to put one 'me time' point in. Now this could include going to the gym, painting your nails or meditating, colouring-in. Anything that makes you feel good. We need to make sure that we're doing that on a daily basis.

  2. Number two, start feeling comfortable saying no and don't feel bad in doing so. I've always felt guilty when saying no. I thought people would think that I was rude, I was unable to multitask, I was slacking at a job. So I never declined anything. And in reality, I really needed that time to slow down and prioritise myself, rather than pleasing others. Now to help regulate this, I now think about, if I'm in the right frame of mind, would I complete the work to a standard I was proud of? And would I enjoy myself? If the answer is no, then stick to your words and tell them no. Remember, you decide your calendar and we only have a limited supply of our time. Is saying yes going to help you?

  3. Step three, do not compare myself to others. Now it is easier said than done. And I have more of a master of comparison-itis than I'd like to admit. So to help dispel of my diagnosis, I've realised that comparing can be healthy if it is done in a beneficial way. Comparing in a healthy way has helped me determine what goals I want to set and how other people who have similar goals to mine have achieved theirs. Find inspiring role models and read how they have achieved their goals and use this as motivation. The most important lesson to take away though, is that everyone is on a different path and to focus on our own journey.

So, let's conclude those three points. The key idea is to value and celebrate the journey towards the goal as much as the goal itself. Be proud of where you are now. And remember, there are always going to be hurdles in life. So take each step as it comes. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, and stay true to your values. And always, always, always put your well being first.

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