The Joys of Not Being Overworked

• ~400 words • 2 minute read

I've been more or less overextended as a freelancer since early 2014. I don't recommend it.

Things are starting to return to a healthier, normal level right now after a very difficult and not always comfortable process of failing, stumbling and saying "no" to things when I'm so used to saying "yes," but I'm already starting to notice some changes.

For the first Friday in ages I stopped working around 5pm and didn't feel guilty about it. No lingering dread of all the things I didn't get done and would have to tend to Sunday night or Monday.

It sound silly, but it's when I found myself writing "Have a great weekend!" in my client correspondence and realized I meant it for the first time in ages that I noticed something had shifted.

Fittingly, I become aware of this post by BasecampJason (Formerly 37 Signals) founder Jason Fried about their forthcoming book:

The Calm Company (our next book)

I've read their other books — Getting Real, Rework and Remote: Office Not Required — and, truthfully, while I enjoy and often agree with most of the sentiments found in those books, I have a hard time recommending them as great reading, at least for those seeking guides on how to run their companies.

Remote in particular touched on an idea near and dear to my heart but only spoke in glittering generalities about the nature of remote working. I wanted specific examples about implementation, but they were lacking. These books read more like an expression of a feeling than a guidebook for the things they're discussing.

Even with that caveat, I still would recommend them as books to read, so long as your calibrations are adjusted accordingly. And with that min mind I'll almost certainly read The Calm Company when it's out.

There is too much stress in the world. Too much unauthentic urgency. Work culture parading stress, overworking and PTSD-like symptoms like boycott badges. If you work 80 hours a week, you're probably inefficient and something is almost certainly wrong — I don't care what anyone says. Short of literal matters of life and death I have a hard time respecting or understanding it.

I look forward to writing on this more, but for now I'll repeat this: stopping work at 5pm on Friday and not feeling guilt or dread is worth more than money.

Life is too short for that shit.