I’ve come to a conclusion, you all. It’s a really shocking one:
I can’t do everything.
Even in this day and age where “everyone” can do what they set out to do, there are still only so many hours in a day.
This realisation emerged as I read Tanja’s post about staying engaged at work to get through the saving years, and then further solidified when I read a rant about people not being willing to put in the hard work and the long hours to get the results they said they wanted.
Can we, just for a moment, take a step back and stop romanticising burning the candle from both ends and working yourself to the point of a mental and physical breakdown?
Good, moving on.
As some of you already know, I work in a field where you sort of have to be 150% committed to get anywhere. You are expected to work more than 40 hours a week, that’s just part of the deal, and you’re supposed to do it because you are motivated, driven, passionate and committed to your project.
In the beginning, I felt like I should be able to perform all my tasks within a 40 hour per week frame. That was a full-time job, right? That was all I was supposed to have to put in, in this modern day and age.
But it was making me frustrated. I felt like I didn’t get enough done, and there were all these other tasks and planning and running and sometimes having so much to do that you just procrastinate the entire day away and… I’m sure many of you have experience with this.
On top of that the mood was starting to go bad between me any my supervisor because I was simply overwhelmed and not doing what he expected me to do.
All the while reading all these personal finance blogs, trying to launch my sidehustle, spend some time with Mr. E. and our friends and maybe even grab some sleep from time to time too!
And all the while I even felt lazy for collapsing on the couch more nights than not and not having the energy left over for content creation for my blog or Etsy printable shop!
So, I have come to the conclusion that it has simply been too much. I have been feeling behind, tired, and not even particularly productive!
Contrast that to my time currently spent in the Arctic, where distractions are few and far between. It’s been me, my course, my laptop and my room. The only sad thing is that Mr. E. is not with me, but that does mean I’ve gotten so much more done because there’s nothing to do but work! (and hike, but you need a rifle to leave the settlement)
I have been working more than usual (hooray for living a stone’s throw away from the university centre/lab), but it has been in a much more casual and relaxed day. Dare I even say, enjoyable.
Yes, while here in Svalbard, it has been enjoyable to work. I have had many good conversations with the professor here, and his idealism has rekindled some of my own that had been choked on my self-imposed “do-it-all” schedule.
I realised that if I was more engaged at work, I would enjoy myself much, much more.
But that also meant I would have to start putting in that 150% passion and drive. It won’t earn me a penny more, because my position does not pay overtime. But I would have a much better time for the next three years and a much higher quality of life.
I’ve already seen it happen, to be honest. My fledgling soap business has already fallen by the wayside in terms of production and advertisement. I’ll still make for private use, I think. But I think it’s good to let that one slide, and just play with the blog and the printables for fun – when I want to, not when I feel I “should”.
But oh no, our goal was to create employer independent lifestyles in order to reach financial independence! How can we do that if I wait until the end of my contract to sidehustle away?!
That is actually where the title of this post comes in.
Mr. E. fully supports and agrees with me taking a breather from intensive sidehustling and focusing most of my energy on my job.
He is still translating online, writing and publishing short stories as much as ever though! He published his first bundle just last month (pseudonym, no link, sorry), and sales are already better than he expected!
So we figure he can keep working his energy into becoming employer independent while I can support him with 3 years of stable income. Enough to support us both if we had to. Enough for him to be able to take risks he otherwise would not be able or willing to do.
If things go beyond our wildest dreams, maybe he’ll be able to support me when I finish, and then I can work on building employer independence after he did! It’s a you-lean-on-me-I-lean-on-you scenario, and we both think that is pretty grand. There is enough trust and stable foundation in our relationship that I am comfortable making him responsible for this part of my happiness and security.
Of course, there might also be the chance that my current job will offer me the next contract up the ladder. But I have been in employment limbo for too long to be willing to take unnecessary risk. I want safety.
How do you deal with the balance between more happiness now or more happiness later? Are you consciously selecting? Or do you have more of a “beans now, cake later” mindset? Does it feel like a sacrifice, or are you enjoying the process?
Have you ever had to realise that slowing down the process would be the right choice for you, without berating yourself?
I would love to hear your stories. Let’s try to break down the wall of overtime and burn-out fetishism, one chip at a time.