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On work, off work

I could be working right now, but I am not. Instead, I'm writing this.

You could be working right now, but you're not. Instead, you're reading this.

But this isn't about whether you should or should not be working, I already built a whole business about that. No, this is simply a short reflection on one's relationship to work told by someone who used to be a productivity optimiser.

For ages, I lived to work. Shut away in the village, writing, coding, planning, designing, marketing,... When I had time, I'd do some work. Productivity was my main concern, my chief definite aim. Day in, day out. And yet, over the years, it turned out that all my labor bore only meager fruits (in comparison to runaway successes flaunted so much on social media). Realizing that left a taste in my mouth slightly too bitter to enjoy.

I stopped worrying about productivity so much. A shift happened. First gradually, and then all at once. Now I don't live to work anymore.

And the thing is: people seem baffled by it.

"It doesn't bother you that you're not productive?"

"You never seem to work."

"How do you have so much free time?"

I hear these things when I tell people my attitude to work. I tell them I used to care about productivity. A lot. But now I don't. I don't expect myself to grind until 11PM anymore because of #hustlegrindset. I am content with a couple hours of solid work. Literally. 2 hours and I'm good. I still do a bit of work each day (for I do not live the blessed-and-cursed existence of a trust-fund kid), but it's not my primary focus.

What I don't tell them (barring a few good fellows), is that what happens when you emphasize productivity over everything else, is that your life becomes flat. And as much as the success gurus tell you about hard work, if you're pushing a boulder up a hill for ages, you might have just created a little personal Heck (minor version of Hell) for yourself. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to push the boulder on a nice little ledge and do something else for a while. Who knows, you might eventually get a Cat vehicle and roll that f*cker up much faster. That's the justification for my supposed lazyness, anyway. I could W O R K M O R E, but it turns out there is more to life than work after all. My identity has been decoupled from my work by circumstance, and I'm not sure if I want to fully recouple it just yet. "It's complicated" would be the relationship status between work and I, these days.

Having written this, I know this might not be the most strategic and sustainable path in the long term, as my good friends remind me when we discuss the topic. I see this as a chapter that perhaps should be titled "Calm before the storm." It's a chapter in which I explore other types of richness in life, find something worthwhile that is not work.

Maybe you're also someone I'll meet in this chapter, or maybe you've gone through it long ago. We all have our journeys. As far as mine goes, I'm not exactly sure when this ends and how, but for now I'm simply enjoying the process. Or more accurately, lack thereof.

I'm awaiting the day when I go once more into the breach, and that's okay.