No One Cares How Hard You Work

Are you suffering from “I’m so ” syndrome? There’s real science behind our workaholic tendencies—and we’re not always as busy as we believe we are. Trust us, your boss cares more about your productivity than how busy you appear to be, and your can be seriously impacted when you’re juggling for the sake of being busy. We found a few smart articles with advice on how to get more done in less time (and reclaim your down time too!).

As you sink into the couch, or slide onto the barstool, at the end of an exhausting workday, it’s hard not to experience the warm glow of self-congratulation. After all, you put in the hours, cranked through the to-do list; you invested the effort, and got things done. Surely you’re entitled to a little smugness?

Has the word “busy” become a badge of honor for you?

If you find yourself constantly saying “I’m busy,” take a step back for a moment and ask “Am I focusing on what really matters?”

busywomanEveryone knows it because we are all really busy. Have you ever noticed those people that constantly say, “Oh, I’m so busy. I’m doing this, and I’m doing that.” Now take a deeper look into their lives. Look for effectiveness. Many times the people that talk about how busy they are are actually the least effective.

What’s going on? A large portion of blame may go to our tech and the sense that, even when you’re kicking back at home, you’re really just one smartphone ping away from mentally returning to work mode. You may be stretched out on the couch, but your brain is still turning the professional hamster wheel. Thus the feeling of never getting a breather.


But that’s only part of the explanation. Another huge chunk of the reason for the disconnect between how many hours we really work and how many hours we say we do is workaholic bravado. Being busy in our culture has become a badge of honor and a sign of your importance and work ethic. “Slammed” has become shorthand for “kind of a big deal.”


According to new science recently published in the Journal of Management, this idea of using your workaholism as a humble brag, however, is a pretty terrible idea. For the research, lead author Melissa Clark of the University of Georgia and her team reviewed the existing data on the causes and effects of workaholism to determine exactly how harmful overdedication to the office can be.


Workaholism, the scientists found, has no correlation with professional performance (nope, your insane hours aren’t helping you perform better), but it does cause the same unhealthy cycle of compulsion, guilt, letdown, and renewed compulsion that you find in more traditional addictions.


The dirty little secret of our always-on culture is that much of it is, apparently, an illusion. Despite “busy” becoming the new go-to answer among some segments of the work force for the standard “How are you?” conversation opener, the truth is that when time-use experts actually force people to record in detail how they spend their days, they discover that many who say they’re run off their feet actually have far more leisure time than they initially claim.


About the author

Kelly Love Johnson

Kelly Love Johnson is Content Strategist for Jobs2Careers. She's also a shower singer, TV watcher, pop culture junkie, and habitual smirker. She's passionate about helping people find their dream jobs and closing the wage gap. Her book, Skirt! Rules for the Workplace: An Irreverent Guide to Advancing Your Career, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008.

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