18 Nov Re-branding ‘Work’
I was born in the 80s, surrounded by Thatcher politics, shoulder pads, women with severe hair, blue eyeshadow and big ideas – and a society wide, hard-wired ethos for productivity.
This beginning in life is a hard one to shake. Because actually, including short hair, none of these things suit me. Well, I do have big ideas. But my body is constantly screaming at me to rest big too. However my 1983 entry to this world says ‘lazy, get up, be productive you idle waste of space ’.
So in order to satisfy my 80s wiring AND my aching body, I have decided to re-brand ‘work’. And I’d like to share it with you, because I believe most of us Gen Y folk are having similar internal boxing matches with self. Leaving us feeling eternally disappointed, tired, highly stressed and just a bit shit. And it’s time to stop.
So today I woke up feeling crappy. Sore everything, in denial that I’m ill as have things to do, throwing supplements and nurofen down throat with iron tonic to wash it down – and NOT because I’m straight out of self care blog surrounded by lemons, cucumbers and whiter than whites Daz bleached fabrics. But because I view my body as a tool for productivity and I have to mend it in order to produce the stuff I need for my plans.
I call bullshit on myself.
I am actually unwell. My work today is resting. That is my WORK. I am not a machine that is here to just produce and produce until it breaks, get it fixed then carry on. That’s not how I work. Stop telling me that it is, irritating subconscious, shouty hardwiring that won’t go away.
So I have started viewing ALL parts of my life as work. And having to remind myself daily as that relentless hammer in the dark side of my mind starts hitting me when I’m down. We’ve carved out these boxed up lives for ourselves. Between the hours of X and Y I am this character. Between the hours of A and B I am this character. This is when I sleep, this is when I play, this is the time when I spend quality time feeling bad about the diluted version of family time I could afford/had enough energy for that will never compare to XYZ Pinterest post about how to spend family time…
And yes I’m aware I’ve used X and Y for two different things. No I don’t care. Maths and algebra were never my bag. Which is why I do colouring in for a living and at least I KNOW I’m wrong. I like wrong. So there.
So we plan out our lives in boxes, see windows in our diaries that can be filled regardless of whether energy levels can cope with this, see production as achievement and rest is allowed when hard work is done and is endorsed by favourite blogger, spiritual leader, YouTuber or magazine in order to relieve guilt. Socialising fits in smaller boxes around work and often is sacrificed in favour of sleeping/working/having a meltdown and illness.
So what if everything was rebranded as ‘work’.
Examples below, insert into imaginings of own life as relevant…
Today my work is seeing my friend and having a cup of tea.
Today my work is seeing that film by myself in that window of time I’d probably be filling with workwork.
Today my work is laying down and treating my body and mind well.
Today my work is reading one of the magazines I have collecting dust that never get opened.
Today my work is having a bath and finding some music to tug me out of current music rut.
Today my work is watching the wall and making my mind just STOP for as long as possible at as many intervals as possible.
Does this change things?
If we can view ALL of our life as our work, tired fellow Gen Y folk, then our hardwiring is essentially fooled. We’re fooled into the understanding that all actions and non actions we take are productive. Because, actually, they are. Rest produces energy. Calmness produces clarity. Film watching produces inspiration. Chatting with friends produces feelings of belonging and self esteem.
We weren’t put here to produce, produce, produce. And giving this little bit of hardwiring a change of direction, may also trigger small ripples, then big waves in the amount of STUFF we all feel we need.
Because productivity as we know it and stuff production/accumulation as we see it now are toxic best buddies. And they’re making everyone around them feel just a little bit shit. Stuff makes us tired, endless productivity and thinking about productivity makes us tired. Because despite all of us knowing we need to rest, how many of us are still thinking about our productivity during these allocated rest, non work periods?
So watch your thoughts. Mine zap me with guilt when I’m doing pretty much anything other than work. Pew pew feel guilty and lazy! Ive started to say ‘hold on thoughts, this IS my work’ – try it, and see what happens. I’m doing it today, writing this from my bed office. This is my work. And then I’ll put my phone down and just lay here. And that is my work. Every action where you notice the guilt gun go pew pew – say ‘this is my work’. And see what happens…
Eventually, my theory is, that our minds will stop beating us up, and we’ll be happier, more energised and inspired, and therefore more able to be productive when we are. From a healthier place. And I know I’m right because I am and I’ve tried it and it works. So there.
Take that 80s hard-wiring.