We need to talk about “the grind”

Our Social Media Manager, Sarah A. Parker, likes to opine on all things social media from time to time, so we’ve given her space to do just that here on our blog. She’ll cover everything from the new and unusual to the outdated and annoying. Got something she missed our something you’d like her to cover? Find her on Twitter @SparkerWorks

You cannot scroll Twitter or roam the wilds of LinkedIn without coming across many a profile that touts the profile’s owner as “always on the grind” or another variation of that phrase, especially in the tech industry. And even more especially when it comes to anything social media related that is quite literally always on.

Hard work is good. Taking pride in your work and in working hard is also good. Working so hard you burn yourself out and miss out on the rest of life is not good. Appearing to work really hard while actually being wildly inefficient is also not good for anyone involved.

Objectively we know these things, but as a society we still sing the praises and repeat the stories of people who worked as close to 24/7 on something as humanly possible. And I’ll inject an important caveat here: If you have a dream and vision that consumes you and you have to work 24/7 for a while to get it off the ground, that’s one thing. That’s a sacrifice that will be worth it in the long run even if your original endeavor fails because you’ll learn a lot in the process, even if it’s just lessons about how well you operate under extreme sleep-deprivation and stress.

It’s another thing entirely to burn yourself out over a job or for an industry that will never return the favor to you. Have a strong work ethic, yes, but find ways to maximize your efficiency at work so you can also get out and do other things that you enjoy and that make life worth living.

Doing that will also make you better at your job, because it’s often in connecting unrelated ideas that we create our best ideas.

If you’re not quite convinced, I recommend this piece from Mars Dorian: 3 Lessons I learned from my creative burnout, and pairing it with this piece from Gini Dietrich: Here’s How to Work Six-Hour Days (or Less) and Accomplish More. If you struggle with perfectionism, I’ve also written about that and this piece I stumbled on this week on paralysis and perfectionism does a great job of addressing it too.

The bottom line? You’re a person, not a robot. But either one needs to take time to recharge.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash