Geen categorie, INSPIRATION, MINIMAL INTERIOR | 9 January 2016

Working less & switching things up to stay inspired

Here’s a strange thing: this year will be my first year as a full blown ‘real’ entrepreneur. It’s scary (bye, bye security), but I haven’t felt this good about a choice since a long (long!) time! Ever since I came back from my 5 week road trip through the US I couldn’t shake the feeling there’s more than work, work, work. I vowed to myself to stop with my job as a behavioral specialist at the Dutch Tax Administration. I’ve been balancing this job with my two companies (a behavioral change company and this blog) at the same time for the last three years and, seriously, what was I thinking?! Take a break woman!

So, I did just that. I quit.

It was not easy to say goodbye. Although it is a frustratingly bureaucratic organization, we were able to do some cool things such as found the first behavioral change team within the Dutch government. So I took some months to make sure I wasn’t going to regret a big decision like this, but boy does it feel good to begin 2016 with a clean new slate! No more 70-80 hour workweeks, finally time to develop new exiting ideas and spend more time with family and friends. Why didn’t I do this before?!

I’m not saying I’m a recovered workaholic (far from), but isn’t it a bit strange we’re spending the majority of our lives in front of a computer screen, drinking bad pre-fab office coffee and being frustrated with our colleagues? In Sweden they’re testing the concept of a 6 hour workday. Now that’s an idea! Especially since it’s well researched productivity drops significantly when you work longer than 8 hours; we just simply can’t stay focused for that long.

But since most of us aren’t so lucky to work a maximum of 6 hours a day, there are some other things we can do to stay focused. I was able to switch between my jobs at any given time. So I could work on the blog for an hour, then continue to give advise to a client and write a report about our research for the Tax Administration. My days were chaotic as I sometimes had meetings in Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam on the same day (while living in Nijmegen), but it helped immensely to stay focused. Especially switching scenery turned out to be effective. I know that Leon works outside as often as he can and during the Winter he incorporates offsite days where he goes to a coffee place with a colleague. So switching things up seems a pretty solid way to avoid boredom. They even say that taken a different route to your work helps.

Anyone tried things like this before? And for you workaholics: is a 10 hour workday normal? Do tell!

Source picture: Alventosa Morell Architects