Workaholics Anonymous

Back in April, sex and gender blogger Rachel Hills wrote about workaholism and its relationship to the internet.

“My name’s Rachel and I’m a workaholic. And I think the internet may have something to do with it.”

Well, hello Rachel. My name is Scarlett, and I, too, feel your pain.

While I wouldn’t say that my workaholism stems from my actual paid job (customer service is not exactly an occupation you “take home with you”; at the end of the day, I couldn’t think of anything worse than continuing to put on a happy face when disgruntled patrons have been telling you where to shove it all day, you’ve got a sore back and feet and all you want to do is go home and lapse into a coma), I definitely need to be busy. If I’m not, I become unmotivated, and that unmotivation facilitates more unmotivation. Which then festers and turns into guilt. Even when I’m “not doing anything”, I’m actually doing something; catching up on reading, TV shows, movies etc (see photo). If I have a block of free time in the foreseeable future, I will plan the crap out of it, ensuring that I maximise my time by fitting as much as I possibly can into it. Kind of like the spaceor lack thereofin my wardrobe.

Hills says the unremitting stimulus of the internet “serves as a constant reminder of all the things I could be doing and thinking about… Every day I come up with more ideas than I could ever have time to pursue.”

And such is the drawback of being a blogger; we do it out of passion and a need to stimulate others and be stimulated. Unfortunately, blogging doesn’t stimulate cash flow much of the time.

My workplace is in demand at the moment, so here I am weighing up the integrity of this here blog and how much time I’ll have to work on it versus paying the bills, not mention a social life and my über-important “me time”. Hills touches on this in her post, and references the similar dilemmas of Girl with a Satchel Erica Bartle and Wordsmith Laner Sarah Ayoub. Personally, I don’t know how Ayoub balances her paid job, blog, thesis, novel writing, freelancing and wedding planning with day to day banalities! I’m having a conniption just thinking about it!

Hills suggests that a way to lighten the load, personally, is to narrow “my focus to the work I think will have the greatest impact” which “helps me manage and prioritise my load.”

Beyond that, we need to “be confident in our own choices.” For me, it’s a balancing act between being confident that what I’m doing is the right path for me (for about a year I went through a post-quarter-life crisis when my dream of having a magazine career fell through and I faced the possibility of being a check-out-chick for life!), and what others’ think (ie. family who wonder whether blogging is financially secure. FYI, it’s not).

Hills really sums it up nicely, saying that:

“I may wish I was doing more work (like I said, workaholic), but I’m also pretty secure that the work I do choose to focus on is the most important and effective for the ends I’m seeking. I’m also secure in my ability to choose which people I want to spend time with, which events look like they’ll be the most fun, what time I want to get there and what time I want to go home.”

Most of my friends will say I’m a stickler for a schedule, but I’m working on becoming more flexible with my time; it’s not heart attack-inducing material if I don’t get everything I wanted to do done. (Although, as a type A personality, I’m not so sure…)

However, like Hills says, confidence is key in having the courage of your convictions and not having to apologise to anyone for doing what you want to do.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] My Name’s Rachel, and I’m a Workaholic. And I Think the Internet May Have Something to Do With It.

[Wordsmith Lane] A Great Piece of Writing… And My Personal Thoughts.

12 thoughts on “Workaholics Anonymous

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Mama Mia – A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines & Motherhood by Mia Freedman. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  2. I totally connect with this comment. Are you a left hander? I bet we would get the same result on a myers briggs test.

    I used to be a journalist for 2 years for a small community newspaper so it was go go go for me because the paper was around 82-100 pages and it wa only me and the editor! Then i got offered a job in international media television show sales 3 months ago – I have never been so bored in my life. I tell my boss to give me more work but ive been told that arrogant and do research/personal learning on africa (my sales region) but there is only so much of that i can do. so i stuff around heaps! because im used to getting things done fast from journalism so the work part is up to standard!

  3. I’m not a leftie, but the Myers-Briggs test is on my to do list, of course!
    I am finding that while it is great to have time off and slow periods at work, the busier you are, the busier you want to be, and the less you’re doing, the less you want to do. So it kind of facilitates itself.
    On a side note, Sarah, I have gotten through some of the titles in my stack (Mama Mia, Hotel New Hampshire, some of the magazines [as more just keep coming every week!]), and I am currently reading American Psycho, which is disturbing to say the least!

  4. Scarlett, that is very true – “the busier you are, the busier you want to be, and the less you’re doing, the less you want to do. ” – spot on! If you have some spare moments in your busyness, find a quick online free myers briggs test and tell me what you get, I’m an ENFP. How good is Mama Mia – I just finished it, loved it! oooo american psycho sounds a little spooky – i’m currently trying to have a read of The 4 Hour Work Week, The Man who Owns the News about Rupert Murdoch and Eat Love Pray – read any of these?

  5. Update on the Myers-Briggs test, Sarah: My result was INFJ – introverted, intuitive, feeling and judgemental. I have to say that’s pretty accurate! What revelations did your result yield?

  6. ooooooo that is so cool you actually did it! i am almost an opposite to you I’m ENFP -extraversion, intuition, feeling, perception – oh well, it was only partly based on that strange phychologist Carl Yung. I see you are from Melbourne, I studied journalism at La Trobe, did you study it anywhere?

  7. It’s funny that you thought we might get the same result, and turned out completely the opposite. The most common misconception people have about me is that they think I’m an extravert and like attention and groups and people etc. – they couldn’t be more wrong! I’m an introvert through and through.
    An interesting comment in the results was that introverts have their energy sapped by others, whereas extraverts gain energy from others. I wholeheartedly agree with that!
    I studied Professional & Creative Writing with a double major in Media & Communications at Deakin. What year did you graduate?

  8. haha that is funny! silly me! that’s strange though that you say people think you are an extravert because most journalists are in a way becayse they have to like people. Yes your comment is interesting about the whole people energy thing, i love being round people for energy, i couldn’t imagine it the opposite way haha
    i studied journalism at la trobe and finished last year but i worked for half my degree at the surf coast and bellarine times newspapers in torquay which was fun! now i have a job i hate in international media sales of television shows – title sounds good, job is shit for me because i am not around people enough, i like being out and about, out of the office meeting people etc.
    when did you graduate and what do u do now?

  9. You’re right; your job does sound fun but I know how you feel hating the job you’re in.
    I graduated in 2008 and spent most of 2009 figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and dealing with my aforementioned magazine dreams going down the toilet.
    I work in customer service at a well-known Melbourne tourist destination (don’t want to name name’s as it wouldn’t be the first time someone’s gotten into trouble for airing their work-related dirty laundry), and I’m actually loving it at the moment, because it gives me a chance to work on my blog in the quiet times, and the people are fabulous. But my ultimate goal, at this stage, is to work on the blog full-time and run my own business.

  10. Pingback: On the (Rest of the) Net. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

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