Burn Baby, Burn(out)

When did “being busy” become so dang cool

“If You Want To Be Successful, Don’t Confuse Being Busy With Getting The Right Things Done” — John Wooden

We all have those friends who are constantly on the go, running here and there, broadcasting how busy their daily life is. Heck- I used to do it, too. A few short years ago, I had two part-time jobs and a demanding full-time job.

The busier my work life was, and the less time I had to relax, the cooler I felt.

But even though I was logging 70+ hours of work each week, I wasn’t making that much money, and I was definitely not a healthier or happier version of myself.

As it turns out, my story isn’t uncommon; many millennial women are experiencing job burnout before they even turn 30.

It’s all-too easy for us as a society, especially the people in my age group, to equate busyness with success.

No wonder we’re so stressed!

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi

photo courtesy of Unsplash

Millennials and Generation Z have entered the workforce amid a unique set of social and cultural norms, including economic uncertainty and an incredibly competitive job market.

With technology that enables us to be connected 24/7 making us immediately available and “always on”, and social media platforms that encourage us to compare our lives to those of our peers, it’s not at all surprising that reportedly almost 90% of Gen Z is stressed out by work and finances (TIME) or that 70% of millennials are experiencing burnout at work (Gallup).

As someone who is just starting out in their career, especially trying to hack it as a freelancer, the sometimes fluctuating workload and oftentimes inconsistent pay can increase the pressure to hustle as hard as humanly possible- and to say “yes” to whatever gig might come your way.

However, this is the kind of attitude that leads to poor quality of work, and a higher probability for burnout- as well as a myriad of other mental health issues.

This kind of lifestyle is just not sustainable!

Laziness is a lost art.

I don’t mean laziness in the sense of filling each moment with mindless distractions. I mean proper idleness– where we choose to do nothing.

In a world of constant stimulation, we rarely put up our “mental feet” and instead find ourselves bouncing from distraction to distraction. We spend our free time checking emails, reading the news, scrolling endlessly on Instagram (don’t even get me started…) and so on — activities that can leave us not only over-stimulated — but may actually make us more tired.

In any given moment, our attention is either focused or unfocused.

Being focused is what allows us to be productive, lets us get work done, have meaningful conversations, and move our lives forward. But as it turns out, research shows that NOT focusing is just as powerful, in entirely different ways. While focusing makes us more productive, not being focused allows us to “free our minds” and inherently be more creative.

photo courtesy of Unsplash

There is even research to prove that “being lazy” is a sign of intelligence. Maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but I’ll take it…

I’m on a continued mission to be comfortable with doing less; I’ve become a huge proponent of being lazy, even when that goes against everything else I’ve been encouraged to believe about the road to success.

While I do consider myself to be mostly extroverted, I’m never happier than when I’m cuddled up on the couch. doing. absolutely. nothing.

Hard work is admirable; for many, it’s required. But I believe that there is more to life than the #hustle. And I think it’s important to remember that it’s a means to an end, and not the end itself.

This article originally posted on

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so leave me a comment below!

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