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 space—or lack thereof—in 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.