One thing people often forget when they consider their jobs is how their roles affect their free time. I am not just talking about the amount of your free time, but also the quality of your free time. Your ability to make the most of it.
Noticing the relationship
There is very likely a non-linear relationship between work hours/intensity and the quality of your free time. Something that is very relevant for preserving energy for passion projects or spending quality time with loved ones. For, even a part-time job can very quickly become so draining that ALL your free time is needed simply to recover! The quality of your free time can have a very steep drop to it (see cover image).
Of course, the curve is quite tricky to quantify and is ultimately based on your subjective experience. However, it is still illustrative of what might be going on. The idea is that, for example, doubling working hours from say 4 to 8 hours, more than doubles your exhaustion. So, even a few hours of exhausting and soul-destroying work can leave you completely wiped out. Such that even part-time can actually be full-time. The quality of your free time is hugely lowered, where you are too tired to get off the couch.
The implication is that each additional hour of work is massively costly in its effect on your wellbeing.
The curve behind the quality of YOUR free time?
Another interesting corollary is that work can be low intensity and tolerable for some time, but with a tipping point. Boring work may be fine for a bit, but 7 or 8 hours may push you into an exhaustion zone. A zone where the quality of your free time suddenly drops (see figure 1 above). Once again, it is a non-linear relationship — you are fine for a while and then a wave of tiredness hits.
Of course, there may be countless curves we can conceptualise. The point is to become aware of what is going on for YOU in your life. How is your work affecting the quality of your free time? What kind of curve might be at play?
Only by becoming awake to yourself do you empower yourself to choose better. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.