We Are Humans, Not Machines

Work and live like a human, not like a machine to avoid burnout.

Humans being are marvellous creatures. I believe that. Through our mental power, we have been the dominant species on the planet for thousands of years.

It’s the ability to think and then act on the thought that made humans so successful. The power of being mindful, rather than mindless.

But sometimes, we forget our own limits and take on tasks to great for us. Don’t get me wrong, these tasks are possible but improbable.

We forget we are humans and decide to work 80–100 hours a week. Humans are capable of that. But after some time, the burnout is unavoidable. We immerse ourselves in the work so much that we forget about taking rest.

The result? Burnout. After the initial period, the productivity goes downhill. Sharply. We forget that we are not the machines. That we cannot keep on going 24*7. That we need to rest, rejuvenate.

And so we keep on putting in the massive amount of hours, but the desired results don’t follow. And we start wondering why.

Winning sometimes is not about going harder, but rather slowing down.

Towards the end of the second year in college, we had to submit our final project. The deadline was in a week. We had just finished with the classes. So it became a rat race. I had promised a friend to help with her project. So for the next week, I worked 6 hours a day on my friend’s project, went home, worked another 12–14 hours on my own. I was working nearly all day, sleeping about 2 hours each night for a week. Did I pull it off? Hell yeah. But by the time of presentation on Saturday, I was drained. I was exhausted. I went home and slept all day, to still wake up tired. Needless to say, the next day didn’t go great as well.

According to data, companies which worked 35 hours a week had the more productive and happy employees compared to companies where employees clock 40 hours plus. This appears true when you see this is about the average workweek for countries like Denmark, who constantly lead the world in being happy countries.

35 hours of focused work beats 80 hours of average work every single time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Gary Vaynerchuk’s hustle. Hustling can produce great results. But even GaryVee agrees that taking rest is important. Sleep as much as you want, but tell me what you do in the remaining time.
If you have your priorities set straight, you might not actually need to work all those hours. So get your priorities straight, get your life straight.

We forget that it’s our ability to do deep work that makes us special. Something the machines can’t do, as of yet.

Nowadays I personally don’t work more than a couple of hours on a stretch. After 1:30–2 hours of work, I take a break for 5–10 minutes. I go for a short walk around the office to take my mind off things. And I believe this adjustment had increased the overall productivity of my day.

Call To Action

Machines can run 24*7 at the rate. Humans are born to control the machines. Be human, not machines.

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