I had a colleague, *Beth, who would work twelve hour days, nearly every day. She’d often talk about how busy she is, how stressed she was, and how much she had to do.
I was impressed.
I’m a hard worker. My Dad instilled in me a strong work ethic that I’m very proud of. I get in, I get the job done (right, the first time! » in my Dad’s voice, of course), and then I’m pleased with myself and my work.
When I first started at that job, I looked at my colleague Beth and would immediately feel competitive.
So I started coming in earlier. She was already there. I’d leave late, she was later.
And then I realized something.
I was being incredibly unproductive during the day, but still putting in those long hours.
Knowing that I was going to stay late made me feel like I could chill throughout the day, until about 4 p.m., when I would realize how behind I was, and I’d do what was left of my day’s work in about three hours.
Now, I work my full day. I put in my time, I work hard, and I create something I’m proud of.
But I leave on time.
I’m so over the glorification, and frankly, fetishization of “busy.” Here’s the honest truth: nobody gives a fuck if you’re busy. We’re all busy. Stop talking about it and get your shit done.
Once I started working really hard at leaving on time, I found that I was more productive during the day, and the best part—I was home at a decent time, with enough energy and time to spend with my husband—even if it is just being silly or watching “The Americans.” The energy in our little house is much more calm and happy.
It is so important to take time for yourself.
Working twelve hours usually benefits nobody but the boss. They get to monopolize your time and you get very little out of it, especially if you're a salaried employee.
Again, I’m not advising laziness. Stay until the project is done. But I am recommending that you fiercely protect your time.
You are entitled to your “you” time.
You deserve a break at the end of your day.
Our friends and family deserve to have us in the best mood possible, and with topics of conversation more interesting than “how busy you are at work.” We get it, **Deborah, you think you’re important. Get a hobby.
*obvi not her real name.
**Deborah represents a type. I don’t know anyone named Deborah.