I have been in a learning frenzy lately, and I don’t know how it started. My friend told me to listen to a podcast by Dr. Andrew Huberman, and from there, my mind has just been constantly on the move. To be completely honest, I love it. There is something extraordinary about learning things when you want to know them versus being forced to learn them like in school.
That being said, I wanted to start a blog where I share my uncommon perspective on specific topics. My goal is for this blog to be a place where I can align my two passions being, mental health and photography. I feel like photography can help drive a message and add to the narrative I am trying to share. So I thought, why not try and connect the two?
Today, one thing that came up in my thought process was our society and its constant “rush” culture. We rush to work, eat our lunch; we rush conversations, our breaks, sleep, and much more. There seems to be this constant need to overachieve in what we do, weather that be school or work, I feel like all this leads to is burnout and unrealistic expectations. I realized that is never something I have ever done. I used to think it was terrible because I did not always overachieve in my job, did the bare minimum in my day of work, or not pull an all-nighter to finish a paper for my graduate program. After some thinking, I have come to terms with the benefits of not being that person who “overachieves” or makes things more complicated than they need to be. I have started to find the joy in taking my time and doing things at a comfortable pace without the need to have my head down in complex, grueling work for 4 hours.
I have always been confused with the people who proudly say they work 60 hours a week like it is some accomplishment. You may have a lot of work to do, but how much are you overachieving, and is it worth it? Do you see the payoff for getting ahead in your job or school? I have always wondered if people genuinely have that much work, or they are mismanaging their time or doing more than they are capable of. We need to start normalizing what an average amount of work looks like in today’s culture.
When you get hired for a job, they expect you to constantly work for 8 hours with only two 15 minute breaks and then one 30 minute lunch break. Sometimes taking that break that is longer than the typical 15 or 30-minute break is all we need to excel and produce our best work. Sometimes I have seen that when I give my brain a more extended vacation or even a whole night’s rest, I can be more effective and produce better work a third of the time; it will take me if I was trying to crank it all out in one day.
The one good thing that came out of COVID19 was this shift in the work culture. Although mental health issues in the workplace were present long before the pandemic, we finally witnessed employers and employees know the importance of mental health. I believe being transparent with your employees and coworkers is essential. If you are not a person who can work quickly and need a lot of breaks for you to fully comprehend something and do it to the best of your ability, we should have the confidence to express this to your team.
I urge people when looking for a job or talking to their supervisors to really start putting their mental health first and making it your priority and then you can start to see the changes in productivity and happiness within your professional life.
To be my happiest self, I have learned that I engage in my best and most creative work, which comes from not rushing, taking breaks, and not overachieving when I do not need to.
So with all that being said, go outside, take a longer break than usual and watch your work and productivity excel!