The transition from a 9-5 job to being self-employed had many struggles. One of these struggles was, and still is, the blurry lines between what constitutes as work, and what doesn’t.
When I was a product manager at a startup, I had to show up at the office (or on my computer) at a certain time in the morning, and mentally check out of work at a certain time in the evening. Working for myself from home, and working on things I am so much more interested in, I no longer had clear cues to indicate the beginning and end of work.
Every moment I’m staring at the wall thinking about a problem could be a moment of work. Every chat I had with a friend about their need for mindfulness could be a moment of work. Every coffee over which I discuss a business idea could be a moment of work.
My work had become my own personal passions. So it started feeling like my life was now about work. The more places I wanted to go, the more I realized how much work I had to do, the more I worked, and the more I worried that I’ve officially become a workaholic.
I wasn’t feeling fatigued or burnt out - I still remembered what that feels like. But I was confused: Am I getting enough rest? Am I working too much? I didn't know how to tell anymore. It always felt like I could work more; it always felt like I could rest more.
I started exploring how to contain my work. Below are some ways of thinking that have brought me some solace.