Why it’s important not to overwork

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about why it’s important not to overwork….

When I was a newspaper editor, I was overworked. Most days I didn’t have time to eat. Some days I didn’t have time to go to the bathroom. But I loved it. I found the job both exhilarating and engaging.

Later, when I — briefly — became a book editor, I was also overworked. But I found the job much less satisfying and rewarding. I particularly disliked the way the manuscripts were usually late and the printing deadline was always immovable. As a result, I generally worked evenings and holiday weekends, which did not make me happy.

Still later, when I started my own writing coaching business, I also fell into the habit of overwork. But soon after that I discovered why it’s important not to work. These lessons are neatly summarized in a recent post by Michael Hyatt under the headline, “Free yourself from overwork.”

There are five myths, Hyatt argues, contributing to our tendency to overwork. They include the beliefs that:

  • Work-life balance is a myth.
  • Work provides the primary orientation for life.
  • Constraints stifle productivity. 
  • You should always be busy. 
  • Rest wastes time that could otherwise go to work. 

If you truly want work-life balance, you need to prioritize both work and life at the same time. Consider your goals in all areas of life at once. And understand that constraints improve productivity (not stifle it) and that rest helps to make us healthier and more productive.

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