Ok, ok, so you might think that I’m obsessed with health and lifestyle issues…  But why shouldn’t I be?  Being healthier and happier means you’ll be more productive at work, and just a better person to be around.

Again, as I’m struggling to find balance (working enough to pay off my debt but also living a little/a lot), I’m back to pondering work hours.

While people are advocating working fewer hours left and right, I’m not seeing this as being realistic or practical in my life.  While, yes, ideally I’d love to only work 40 or 50 hours a week, in my financial state this is impossible to justify.  With all my law school and credit card debt, I can barely pay my rent and expenses at the rate I earn working 40 hours.  I just get in more debt doing that, and can barely keep my head out of water.  And that was before ObamaCare – since obviously I have no medical coverage from working, even more of my precious money lines big companies’ pockets.

Since the number of hours I need to work to survive are set, in my mind… can I do other things differently?

What is in my control is how I spend my time at work.

Am I sitting all the time, or taking breaks to stretch (or standing… on one foot)?

Am I sitting in silence for 12 hours or am I listening to good music that keeps me happy, or listening to interesting podcasts once in a while?

Am I doing goofy exercises with my eyes, or staring at the screen for hours?

Am I looking at pictures of dogs, or adopting a nice stuffed dog?

Doesn't he make you happy just looking at that adorable little mug? - image via
Doesn’t he make you happy just looking at that adorable little mug? – image via

So what I’m thinking about this week, might not be reducing my hours – even though I acknowledge that this interesting article is right about the following: “working through the night for weeks at a time without a break does not lead to peak performance. Taking time to rest can open the mind to creative solutions.”

When I started writing this post, I was planning on going in the direction of talking myself into being more balanced, and trying to figure out how to cut my hours.  While I wholeheartedly agree that working fewer hours has tremendous health benefits, I just cannot justify cutting down at this phase of my life.  Obviously, when I take a whole weekend off I feel wonderfully refreshed and happier, but then that Monday I take one look at my finances and try not to freak out.

But at the same time, I’m not planning on working crazy hours forever.  I make goals and am figuring out an exit strategy.  I know that working crazy hours for too long will irreparably damage my health.

So moral of the story, I think, is to listen to your heart.  No seriously, don’t feel like you have to follow what everyone else is doing to be right.  You know yourself.  You know your needs.  You know the state of your finances.

A great alternative to working fewer hours... - image via
A great alternative to working fewer hours… – image via

Most of my non-law friends (except the doctors) work 40 hours and are shocked that I’m working more than 60.  But they have health benefits, sick days, vacation days.  And don’t have half a million in debt.  And their employers don’t let them work overtime because they have to get paid time and a half.  My employers don’t pay per hour for working over 40, so they are more than happy to let me work more.  I actually get paid less than the construction workers working on my firm’s offices up one floor… and they don’t have my education (just a union).  Haha why didn’t I do that with my life?  Tee hee

So I guess, all in all, I’m still figuring it all out…  And trying not to feel too guilty about working too much, or feeling lazy when I take a weekend off.  Because worry and guilt get us nowhere, right?  And I’m working on doing all of this.

Where are you on the work-balance spectrum?  Are you happy with it, or do you want less or more hours?  Do you own an adorable stuffed dog?

Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!

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