On Thursday last week I realised that I’ve already worked about 40 hours this week and ahead of me a day with two very important meetings and a lot of things to do. I had a request to go on a backcountry ski tour on Friday with a friend which I thought I couldn’t do due to more work for this week.

On the same day I talked about this situation with a good friend and he guided me to a solution I knew already but haven’t incorporated since years. There is a reason why we shouldn’t work more than eight hours a day or more than fourty hours per week. It’s exhaustive and we can’t reset over-hours in two days on a weekend where many of these include shopping, housekeeping, cleaning, or also exhausting festivities.

I concluded with the realisation that most of the things I see as required to be done this week are items that I have under control. I make up the goals to publish my newsletter each Friday—no one forces me to do it on that day. I make up goals to finish all the client work this week while most things could wait until next week as well.

So I can’t blame anyone else but realise that I am in charge of taking care about my work hours. I have a lot of interests besides work and crave to follow these activities as well, yet don’t manage to do them as often as I want and probably should do them. So I didn’t work on Friday because nothing of what I thought needs to be done needed to be done by Friday. I didn’t go on the ski tour as I didn’t feel well enough (due to the prior work stress) and instead had a relaxing day in the sun. I had a three day weekend which gave me relaxation, which I spent doing some of my favourite things—gardening and preparing my fields for this year’s planting—and I even helped my neighbour who’s a farmer to harrow their fields. I enjoyed the view from my garden with my partner and we’ve spend time with friends.

I’m not sure how to stay with that practice but I hope to get better at maintaining this great work-life balance. This is not about working less than other people, this is to stay sane. This is about working not more than fourty hours a week.

Wild tulip flower in my garden