The chances of earning a living solely from doing something you love does not look good these days. Even more, the risk of doing that is too high. No one wants to worry about how they are going to pay their bills while putting together their “next big thing.” In a world where (in the beginning stages, at least) job-security and a person’s dreams are on opposite ends of the scale, staying employed becomes a challenge.
If writing is my passion, finding more time to write will be the biggest roadblock in fulfilling my dream – if I have a full-time job that demands a 40- hour work week. On the flip side, as a start-up venture, I will have a hard time generating the same amount of income from writing as I would have with a fulltime job.
It is no surprise that people are feeling the squeeze. There is a struggle to find a sense of work-life balance and fit in something more that gives workers more fulfilment. According to a 2015 report, one in three employees said maintaining a healthy work-life balance had become more problematic over the past five years. Phones, emails, video conferencing etc. makes it too easy to work after hours, to the point that you never stop working.
Tessa Berenson, published earlier in 2017 that a healthy work limit was 39 hours a week, after that, our health begins to decline. Yes, many of us are working long hours, but most of us desire a better balance—particularly if we are longing to do a lot more fulfilling duties outside of the workspace. The big question, then, is how can you change this?
I used to have a job that made me a workaholic. I know how tough it can be to have colleagues walk out of the door and still be stuck at my desk. However, studies show that working long hours actually hurt productivity; you are likely to get more done if you get out on time.
After about a year of working long hours on both weekdays and weekends, I realised my writing dreams were being ignored. To fix this, I made a conscious effort to leave the office on time, every day of the week. To my surprise, none of the projects I was working on suffered in any way. I was just as productive (if not more,) by taking a step back.
I recommend taking a good hard look at your job and how many hours you are putting into it. If your job helps you feel fulfilled, keep at it. However, if your current job is a means to an end, remember that it takes a daily commitment to work towards your own dream. You need to invest some time everyday doing what you love, to keep your life from getting stale. You may be using all your time to fulfil your boss’s dream and none to fulfil yours.
I am not advising anyone to quit their jobs or put their work in jeopardy, but we often get trapped in tunnel vision and do not realise we could actually make some changes if we wanted to. If you are a hard worker and your company values you, you may be able to propose a solution that will work for both you and your boss.
No matter your work situation, it is important to try and keep your hours reasonable. If you are working too many hours, you are not only putting your health at risk, but you are also making it difficult to achieve your dreams.
We may not be able to “have it all,” as the saying goes, but we can create a schedule that will allow us to make steady progress toward our goals. We have to focus on it, observe our lives, think carefully about the steps we could take, and be brave enough to take them.
As Dolly Parton said, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”