This week I worked a 13 hour day on Tuesday, then a 14 hour day on Wednesday. I had no lunch breaks on either.
I’m not condoning this, but wanted to explore why I did it, partly because I wanted to understand and partly because I was challenged today about it and told ‘it was you who chose to do it….’.
Tuesday was prepping for a last minute meeting I had been invited to on the Wednesday.
It was a really important meeting, full of people with influence, who I have been trying to influence to do things differently. It was ‘too good an opportunity to miss’.
I did the ‘day job’ stuff then worked on a presentation after 5pm. I like presenting, and I like presenting with pictures to make it more engaging, so it took a little while.
Wednesday was a 5.40 am train to Leeds (a 4 hour train journey). The meeting went well, I caught up with some other people and ended up sleepily walking back into my house at nearly 8pm.
So why did I do it? Why did I chose to do it? Why did I chose to be physically and mentally exhausted?
I think it’s a number of things:
But I think the real reason, or root cause of why I chose to do it is linked to anxiety and depression.
I’ve written before about when you are anxious it can affect the part of your brain responsible for your decision making https://wysethoughts.weebly.com/home/lost-in-a-maze-of-my-own-making
So maybe I wasn’t thinking straight?
Depression can also make you feel:
So I think that I chose to work these ridiculous days because of depression because it would make me feel better than if I didn’t go.
Was that the right decision?
Was I thinking straight when I decided?
So my mind was thinking straighter the next day because I took the afternoon off on leave. Well I didn’t really, I started my leave at 2pm, made 3 work phone calls and sent a number of e mails from my work phone.
So why did I do that. Again it’s linked to mental health.
I am on an assignment doing a job I love and don’t want to go back to my old job, so I’m trying to impress by delivering, by delivering a lot.
I am suffering from presenteeism, that’s coming into work when you’re ill. I bet you’ve done it.
I also suffer from leavism, that’s working when you’re on leave.
Neither are good. But both happen.
‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work survey.
CIPD/Simply Health also say “In order to encourage a healthy workplace, organisations need to look beyond sickness absence rates alone and develop a solid, evidence-based understanding of the underlying causes of work-related stress and unhealthy behaviour like presenteeism. Without this evidence base, efforts to support employees and improve their health and well-being will be short-lived.”
We know being present and mindful is good for us, but being always present at work isn’t.
If you need a break have one.
If you’re on a break then have the break.
And understand that if you feel guilty, anxious, self loathing that’s your depression speaking, not you.
Mr Paul Wyse