"Burnout": Not a word I'm fond of, especially in the last few weeks. Waking up is a little harder each day, media previews and events feel like less of a pleasure, and blogging after a long day of work—or simply mustering up the energy to be social—takes enormous will and energy. While I haven't reached true burnout yet, I could feel myself inching closer to it gradually.
During a particularly low day two weeks ago, I shared my feelings with my boss. He said something that's shifted my perspective on work-life balance ever since. In North America, he explained, software companies have a culture of working long hours based on the rationale that programmers are doing what they love. In Germany, by contrast, if software employees stay at work after 5pm, they're seen as incompetent (because the work couldn't be finished in the alloted 8-hour work day), or their boss is incompetent for assigning them too much work.
"Maybe you need to shift your perspective of success," he told me. "If you're still working when you shouldn't be, you've failed in some way." In other words, maybe success should be defined as knowing when to stop.
Mind-blowing, right? At least it was for this overachiever. Since then, I've been trying to make room for more unstructured free time in my routine instead of dedicating every moment to my to-do lists. So far, it's working out well and feels quite liberating. I'm a newly minted Lisa—and no, I'm not referring to the sweater (although it's very nice too).
UPDATE: From now until March 28, enjoy 20% off your Plenty online purchases with code LISA20. Happy shopping!