Here is a sobering thought. If you are around 50 years old, you might only have about 1500 Saturdays left to enjoy in your lifetime. That is an estimate, but you get the point. We only get so many Saturdays. So, let me make a case for not working on Saturday.
A large study recently published by the “Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health” found that men and women who worked weekends or more than 55 hours per week experienced increased signs of depression. When we don’t get a break from work, we put ourselves at risk for physical and mental health issues.
Being constantly connected to work through email, texts, and phone calls does not allow our minds and bodies to rest and recuperate. Likewise, working late in the evenings or on the weekend prevents us from letting ourselves decompress. Being “on” all the time has negative consequences.
Economic issues force many to work more than one job just to stay afloat. This is a larger social ill that needs addressing. Many people have no choice. Yet, many of us could create a much better work / life balance.
Lean teams and demanding jobs leave many workers feeling like they have no choice but to work long hours including on the weekends. In performance-driven work cultures, employees often feel pressured to perform in order to rank high and be rewarded for their efforts. And, technology keeps so many people plugged into their jobs at all times.
Employers and smart phones aren’t the only problems. Many of us work too hard for internal reasons. We may want to prove our worth, impress the boss, and land that promotion. Sometimes we keep chasing the never-ending to-do list because we imagine how good it will feel to finally get caught up.
Some of us are addicted to being busy. Being “super busy” has become a status symbol that proves we are successful. Does extreme busyness really equate to success? Or, is this way of living and working really the very opposite of success?
Lazy is a powerful four-letter word in our culture. What if being completely and utterly lazy every Saturday was something to be admired? What if limiting our work week to 40 hours and unplugging from technology after hours was the gold standard? What if you simply decided to make this your gold standard?
Workplace hygiene studies suggest you would likely feel an increase in productivity and creativity at work and in your personal life. You might actually fall in love with your job again. Or, your spouse! You might decompress enough to want to pick up your old paintbrushes, golf clubs, or drumsticks.
Or, you might give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing. Summer is the perfect time to slow down and be still. There is actually great power in doing nothing. Some of the most successful and respected people in the world make doing nothing a priority.
Slowing down and doing nothing can be challenging! The ego chides, “You are wasting time and being lazy!” If that happens, listen to a deeper wisdom that says, “It is good to rest and unwind.”
If you need further convincing, read some Mary Oliver. Her poem, “The Summer Day,” is a fervent call to slow down and be present in the moment. I especially love the last line when she asks, “Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” One thing I know for sure is that I have no plans to work on Saturday.