Or how everything you’ve ever been told is tied to your work.
A case against the 9 to 5
Live life your own way.
Do what you love.
Take time to spend with your friends.
Control your success.
All of these are crumpets of wisdom we’ve heard at some point, but how well do they apply for most of us?
We’re all ultimately caught up in a rat race for life or death, resorting to the typical 9-to-5 job that will make our rent and put food on the table.
So where can you fit in some freedom?
Truth is we’re all essentially different human beings. And it’s already a common fact that the same work schedule or environment does not work for everyone. I’ve previously tackled the issue of different career paths you can take in life and the same diversity applies when it comes to your schedule and life choices that gradually add up to help us fulfill our dreams.
The original vision around the 8-hours of work/day was proposed to bring in balance (equal time for work, downtime, and sleep) and, believe it or not, it was much welcomed considering people were working 10+ hours. And in physically demanding jobs.
If we take a quick look at the past we can make a simple presumption that if people where working 10-18 hours/day during the Industrial Revolution, it’s really about time for a change to happen in today’s age too.
What kind of change?
Tilting the balance towards people’s wellness. No more trying to put work in perfect equilibrium with the rest of our lives. For many people, there just can’t be such a thing. 8 hours + a few more for commute and errands drains us day by day, leaving you with literally zero time to actually do something worthwhile for the remainder of the day.
Frankly, working 8 hours/day is having a much too large impact on us. People are only productive for an average of 3 hours/day. This means employers are keeping their workers in the office for an extra useless 5 hours. Let’s not even mention the countries where 8+ hours is still normal.
And no. Overtime work doesn’t mean you’re diligent. It means you’re slowly wearing yourself out for someone else’s sake. So what did the world end up with from too much work? Depression, severe burnout, anxiety, sleep deprivation or appetite loss, cardiovascular diseases, eye strain, constant fatigue and low energy… Even the so-called “stress” which is actually a bunch of all-of-the-above problems put together into your biggest enemy [used this friendlier word instead of killer]. All issues which are so hard and often impossible to fix.
If you’re constantly feeling weary after work, lack motivation, or are on a straight path to burnout, here are some signs to watch for and make a switch in your life:
- You feel locked at work.
- You absolutely hate commuting.
- You’d rather create your own flexible schedule than follow a strict one.
- You hate interacting with people at your workplace.
- You have no one to motivate you or offer accurate feedback.
- You easily get bored of the routine or tasks you have to work on.
- You absolutely dread having to wake up at the same set hour every day.
- Meetings are your worst enemy.
- You want to take your lunch break when you actually feel hungry, not on demand.
I especially like this article on Medium detailing what the nomad life is all about and how you can get more freedom out of it.
But, unfortunately, no, I don’t have any real miraculous solutions. You’ll need a job to live so your best guess is to keep at it until you’re able to score the job or career path you’ve always dreamed of. 🙏
Create your own schedule
Closely tied with the previous situation, this tip is just impossible to put into action by most of us. So I’ll just leave it like this.
As long as you’re tied to a regular job that requires you be present for 8 hours each day, you’re pretty much doomed to have no freedom over your time.
That’s the reality and there’s no use going over how you can better spend the free time you have.
Think about it: You spend most of your day at the office. You spend more time with your colleagues than with your family even. Add in a couple of errands or extra activities like going to the gym or volunteering and you’re going to see your kids for exactly ~20 minutes? Read them a book maybe? And that’s the childhood they’ll remember with their parent.
Does that sound humane?
Let go of perfectionism
Yes, even in business.
When I was young, I remember my mother would write these 5000+ word emails to her friends and business partners and ALWAYS read them again after finishing writing them. To me this is honestly just a waste of time.
So after 10 years of being a perfectionist and really getting nothing out of it, I’ve naturally given up on the idea. And I’m now more content than ever.
I’ve been misspelling words, getting people’s names wrong, and it’s all fine.
Obsession Perfectionism is useless. Name one perfectionist who lived forever. It doesn’t really take you a long way and will only steal the much-needed time you have to dedicate to other things that matter.
Ideally, you’d put aside 60% of your income. 💸
Not just a meaningless 10%. This can help you start a business or just get away from a current workplace you hate.
But I’ll be bluntly honest with you and tell you that’s it’s quite hard to change your habits and go from an overspender to someone who’s able to live a minimalist life.
We’re not born to be spenders or savers. It’s something you develop in time. I’d say until your mid-20’s. It’s pretty simple really but the situations are so vast. You were born into a rich family, lost all money, became more wary of how you spend it. Born into a poor family and always dreamed of having so many things so you grow up, earn money, and just spend it all to fulfill your lost desires. Born into whatever family but want to impress your peers and keep up with the trends. So many factors influence our money decisions.
Maybe you can find some solace in this Reddit thread:
Reconsider your dreams
As humans, we have a very limited time span to work on our dreams [and maintain our well-being at the same time]. Few people get to the age of 90 and say they very very successful and famous, have a loving family, earned lots of money, and had years to travel the world and nourish their dilettante spirit.
Among the top regrets dying people have are not pursuing one’s passions and working too hard.
Says so much about society.
What’s awful is that we all know what kind of life we want and that we’ll regret not going for it. Yet, we’re all scared (for various reasons) to take the path we’ve always wanted. Scared it will be too hard. Too expensive. Too complicated. And we let these thoughts cover all the possible benefits.
Find your motivation
Realistically, this tip is bonkers. Trying to stay motivated when everything’s going downhill is sometimes impossible. So, yes, it’s normal for you to feel like you’ve had it with everything.
So instead of finding your own motivation, how about you find the people and external factors to motivate you?
Let’s face it. It’s almost always someone else who’s cutting your wings:
“I don’t think you’re the right person for this job.”
“You don’t need to know all the details about this. Just focus on your duties.”
“This doesn’t look like what I imagined. Change it here and here and here…”
“No, we can’t pay you more. Just do your job.”
“You’re supposed to be doing just these tasks, not someone else’s.”
Or those dreaded moments when you discuss one thing with someone, only to have them come back and make you change it all.
Imagine you had a trip to your friend who lives on a different continent planned out. You bought the tickets. Saved up some money. Two weeks before your friend tells you “I’ll be out of town.”
And the list of tips and tricks to help you be the best at life goes on:
- Keep your enemies far and your friends close
- Don’t take yourself too seriously
- Take every opportunity as a new experience
- Take feedback for what it is
- Find an open door for success in the most difficult of trials
- Be nice and kind to people
- Always speak the truth
- Find and become a mentor yourself
- Don’t let fear stop you from anything
- Be confident and don’t doubt your powers and skills
Every advice you ever got will ultimately depend on the job or lifestyle you opt for. It’s one thing to work on your mentality and pursue a piece of advice and another to tackle the external factors that might keep you idle.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been trampled by someone’s words or work decisions? How did you tackle these hurdles?