“Weekends as an adult really suck.
Friday: You work until 5 and you’re too tired for anything.
Saturday: You want to chill but you have to run errands or be productive.
Sunday: You’re mad all day because it’s already almost Monday”
- Anonymous Facebook meme
Everybody who is with me gimme an ‘ayyoooo!’
That’s life for all of us now right? …Right? ‘Til retirement. I don’t know about you, but as a 29 year old I’m bloody pumped up about this future!
The next 25 years of 40+ hour work weeks hustling hard in a regularly stressful, under the pump (or the opposite, a boring as heck) unfulfilling/so-so job. Shuttle bussing the kids to school and amongst their weekly sports and activities. The time in between spent on escaping the stress with the most nonsensical nothing activities of zero importance or purpose as your only method to recover in prep for Monday (social media, movies, avoiding anything of any importance), or to just numb the entire experience altogether through our good mate alcohol (let’s add cigarettes and all other drugs into this basket too). Throw in the odd holiday here and there, with the primary intention to escape rather than experience.
I was tagged in this meme recently and it sent my mind spinning.
The comment section (like always I guess) was appalling…
“What are these weekends you speak of?”
“Accurate af, except Sundays are for laundry”
“Nah. I also work Sunday. Smh only day off is Saturday. Can’t sleep in. Can’t make plans cause the ol’ lady expects me to spend time with her”.
Poor bloke. Expected to spend time with the love of his life, what a burden!
I have always grown up with the views and intentions to NEVER EVER get caught up in that sort of lifestyle. Before reading books, before much research, before really even knowing that there are alternatives, I was adamant I would never live that lifestyle. No amount of money to me could justify a job I only tolerate purely for the decent income, with the shiny reward of a nice car and hefty payout at the end for when I’m too old and worn out to even enjoy it.
And yet I have gotten myself caught up in it before…
I find it so upsetting to know that this mentality of being ‘stuck’, that this is all there is as an adult and that we don’t have any other choice. It is even more unsettling to know that this mentality is actually the absolute norm for most people.
How do millions of people not realise that they are responsible for their own circumstances? No one decided this for us. We did. No, not society ‘we’. Fucking YOU. You’re in this zombie like pickled state based of your decisions.
Where did we go so extremely wrong?
We are responsible for choosing the industry we are in and the happiness we draw from it, we are responsible for being miserable and overworked, we are responsible for making change. And we CAN make change. It is a choice.
It’s easy to feel completely stuck when you are so deep in your situation. Like there is no way out. You are bouncing back and forth from stress and urgency, to numbing and escape. Where the hell are you going to find time and energy to change?
We need to start by realising that if you make a change, the world won’t end, it will keep spinning, things may be challenging early on, but you won’t be on the street, you will get through, you will set yourself on a path to true happiness. Especially if you want it badly enough.
“Set yourself on a path to happiness. If you don’t find happiness, then change your fucking path.” – Dave Driskell
But when you’re stuck in that cycle of everything feeling urgent and important, to then easing the pain with things that are unimportant and not urgent, which then causes all the important things to continue to be so damn urgent, you’re not allowing yourself the time or thinking space to work on making a change.
This is also the REAL reason why so many of us struggle to get to the gym and maintain a healthy diet. No it is not because we are lazy, it is because we are already so under the pump and worn out that the thought of more added stress, such as physical exercise or learning something new like how calories and NEAT work, may make our head explode!
Here is why ‘hating Mondays’ are making a consistent gym and diet routine a near impossibility and here is how you can get out of the loop…
Stephen Covey, in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, discusses the Time Management Matrix. 4 quadrants in which tasks, important and unimportant, urgent and not urgent, occupy our time:
The first quadrant: Urgent and Important
The second: Not Urgent and Important
The third: Urgent and Not Important
The forth: Not Urgent and Not Important
Quadrant 1 is where we spend a lot of our time. We procrastinate on important things, leave them until the last minute, put ourselves under the pump at work, over commit ourselves, don’t delegate and don’t communicate what we want done clearly. This leads to the high stress and ‘headless chook’ feelings as detailed above.
We’ve put ourselves under the pump, now all those important things that we told ‘future us’ to worry about are all up in our face. Like obesity, diabetes, heart attack, a pending divorce, kids that now hate us because they don’t see us and we’re too worn out at the elderly age of 35 to play with them.
But how the hell are we supposed to add in a few gym sessions and learn calories when all I want to do is lay in a hammock and polish off a 6 pack!!??
Spending much of our time in quadrant 1 leads us bolting for…
Quadrant 4. We use our off time to hide and numb to help us recover just enough so we can do it all again. We ‘switch off’, meaning no other important things get done. We’re buggered, it’s not going to happen. Even the thought of trying to do something requiring some form of brain activity causes a head spin.
Quadrant 3 doesn’t help us much either. It is where we waste more time on unimportant crap that we really shouldn’t be doing or put everyone’s needs ahead of ourselves. The tasks are important, but should we really be doing them?
Quadrant 2 is where we get our shit together. It is the period where tasks are important, but not urgent… yet. It is where the feedback and reward for our work isn’t always immediate, which is very hard in our gold star seeking, instant gratification craving, comfort eating world. If we put in the work now, the payoff down the track is 10000x better than any piece of chocolate after a bad day. Starting a sustainable gym and diet routine, training up your staff so you can focus on what you’re supposed to be working on, scheduling your week ahead rather than just your day, reading books, meditating, having open discussions with your wife about your thoughts, feelings, night out with the boys, plans for the future and kids well ahead of time, doing the 1%’ers of self improvement.
Do these things early on and your life becomes so much more manageable, time becomes freed up, energy reappears… you break the loop!
But where do I start? How can I make time or get the patience to train staff, get to the gym or set some goals?
The thought of even attempting to break the loop is scary right? Right now there is absolutely no time available in your current headspace. I’ve been there, many times over. It didn’t happen overnight and I didn’t nail it first go. I still haven’t nailed it. But I have improved exponentially.
I see it like a great wall. A wall I cannot see over. I have a fair idea of what is on the other side. My mentors, books I have read, the people I look up to have guided me on what to expect if I do the things I need to do. But I won’t truly find out until I just shut my eyes and get climbing.
Will some of the quadrant 1 urgent and important stressful things get missed or trashed as I choose to allocate my time on these longer term, more slow burning tasks?
Will the world still turn if I do it anyway?
So do it anyway.
At every point ask yourself this:
Does this decision I am about to make align with my values?
If yes, do it.
If no, don’t.
The sooner you realise that you are in control of your circumstances and that the sky will not fall if you make a change towards a life that actually resembles your values, you will break the cycle, you will see the world differently, and you will be free.