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Weekends and the cult of overwork

  • Life

This past weekend I dove into The Weekend Effect: The Life Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork (and speaking of cults, I have been listening to Parcast’s excellent podcast on them!).

Quite aptly, I read this on a weekend where I actually had nothing on my schedule. That meant no structured learning for a course, no rush to do work tasks (though I should have; I can feel their looming presence as the weekend draws to a close), no meet-ups with friends — not with a 2-person from different households limit still upheld.

And yet, I still don’t feel ready and recharged for the week ahead. Isn’t that wild?

The author, Katrina Onstad, has a weekend manifesto:

Go green.
Seek beauty.
Do less.
Don’t make plans, make space.
Repeat next week.

Honestly, I’d say the only thing I really do is wonder (and the wondering is me thinking about how the weekend has gone by so fast).

Now, this isn’t a revolutionary idea or concept, but it did give me a good base to start reevaluating how I’ve been using my weekends. They’re mostly chores, prior commitments, and things that don’t aid in the recovery of the week that’d passed.

She talks about the “cult of overwork”, and it’s definitely something I’m guilty of. I used to think I’m the best version of myself when I’m the most productive at work, but as I’ve grown older, I’m trying to take a step back from that mentality. This extends to more than just the weekend, as my “free” time after work in the hours after 6PM to the 9ish AM I start working gets disrupted by calls and meetings sometimes though.

In a funny (but is it really?) story, my mentor messaged me a couple of weeks ago to tell me to protect my day off and decline a meeting that someone had proposed on a Friday. Yet, she had the next Monday off and she was happy to drop in for a pitch call too. I suppose we’re all great at identifying the things someone should do for themselves, but find it harder to actually execute for ourselves.

Anyway, back on weekends. It’s nearly over right now, and I don’t really have my own manifesto or framework around it. But it’s definitely given me enough to think about through the week, so hopefully I’ll have clearer thoughts about that for my next weekend.

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