I almost never do New Year’s Resolutions, seeing them mostly as a pointless opportunity to let yourself down. This year, however, is different. This year, I realize I need to make some serious and deep changes.
To that end, these are my resolutions:
I resolve to work less (so I don’t burn out and crash). I resolve to get paid more (so I don’t get tossed out of my home). I resolve to see my friends more (so I can renew relationships that have been neglected because of work.) I resolve to work at getting back in shape (so I can have my health to do this a long time). I resolve not to take on rushed projects (so we can focus on quality over quantity).
I’m serious about this. I want you all to call me out anytime you see me breaking my resolutions. I am really serious about this because, at the rate I am going, I will burn out or get tossed out soon. I want to continue doing good works here for a long time, so I have to learn to manage my time and effort. Therefore, if you see me killing myself, if you see me giving it all away, feel free to call me on it. Not kidding.
Doing good is great. But our current rate is entirely unsustainable. The millions of times I was asked “How do you do it all?” should have been a tip off. We’ve been working around 105 hours per week for almost 4 years. (I actually did the math once.) I’m a workaholic. I love to work and I work to love. But, even for me, that is unsustainable. Oh, I’m sure I’ll still regularly hit 70 or 80 hours, maybe the occasional 90 hour week, but my goal is to focus my efforts so that I maximize the results, creating more quality with less effort.
I realize this may sound selfish, but people who know me, well… the people who know me have been pointing this out to me for years, so I guess they’ll understand. You know, you can’t help other people very well if you are out on the street or laid out in a hospital bed. Everybody thinks they won’t burn out. I thought it. Everybody is wrong. I was wrong. Even the most passionate, most driven person will burn out if they drive themselves too hard. No matter your mental state, the body can only take so much effort, so much stress, before it literally collapses (this is what surprised me most). Don’t do that to yourself. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others for a long time.
So, the lesson here is, do good, do as much good as you can, but don’t do more than you can. It is better to maintain a reasonable pace for the long-term than to push yourself too hard for the short-term. Yes, there is much and immediate need, but there always will be. If you kill yourself helping now, you will not be around to help in the future.