A shifting mindset around work

In the world of productivity, I’m starting to see an acknowledgment that perhaps we are overworking. This week, I’ve come across thought leaders and writers discussing how the last few years have led to a shifting mindset around work. I’ve looked for these resources for a while. They haven’t been prevalent. But clearly, it’s changing. Or, I’m finally searching for the right keywords. Either way, it feels good to be finding others talking about the things I’m exploring myself.

My own shifting mindset

Recently, I decided I’m a recovering multitasker. I thought I could do all the things, all at the same time. I mean, look at this tweet I sent in August 2020:

Tweet from Alyson on August 10, 2020: "I've always heard that if you want something done, give it to the busiest person. I don't think I fully appreciated the truth of that until today. Lots of #Todos done - lots more added. Grateful for @CascadinSaaS to help track it all (only a little biased.) #ManyHats #Onward"

This was before my mindset around work shifted.
A tweet from Alyson in August 2020

What was I thinking? No wonder I burned out twice since then.

It’s only been since leaving my job (the one that inspired this tweet) that I realized how unsustainable and unhealthy it was. I don’t need to do it all. I can’t do it all.

My shifting mindset around work is this: I need to do less, better.

The pandemic’s impact on the shifts in mindset around work.

I’m not sure I would be thinking so much about doing less, better, had it not been for the pandemic. I’m not alone, either. According to a recent report by Active Voice, which surveyed 236 people in the tech and design industry, there has been a significant shift in the mindsets toward work in the last year. 

I knew that many were feeling the weight of the pandemic. Relationships have been strained. Parents are more than overwhelmed. We’ve lost more than a million people in the United States alone. The burnout and grief of the last two years are real. 

What’s so affirming about this report is that it seems we’re learning something from this collective experience. As Sara Wachter-Boettcher says, we’re finding clarity. 

It wasn’t just pandemic burnout (though that was part of it). It was a sense of reckoning — a realization that work simply wasn’t working, not in its current form.

Work needs to stay in its place. March 29, 2022.

Shifts in mindset for more than tech workers

Not everyone has the opportunity to find (or take action on) this clarity, and I understand that. But even if we look beyond the tech industry, there are signs of change. Workers aren’t putting up with the same sh*t anymore. One of the most powerful episodes of The Daily from the New York Times is the “Stories from the Great American Worker Shortage.” It aired in August 2021, and I highly recommend listening. 

In the episode, they speak with an owner of a resort. In it, he described the hostility his staff experienced once they opened back up after the lockdown:

And I had a guest actually spit— like, literally spit on a bartender, because she wouldn’t serve him because he’s not supposed to approach the bar, and he wasn’t wearing a mask.

When asked how former employees responded to offers to return to work, he replied:

You know, most of them were sort of embarrassed. They wouldn’t return our calls, essentially, you know?

And then he said this:

So I’m like, you work hard and good things come to you, right? So I don’t know. I just— when did everyone get so lazy? I mean, nothing is going to come to you if you don’t work for it, right, if you don’t contribute.

He didn’t seem to connect the dots between the demoralizing situations his staff experienced (let’s acknowledge they happened pre-pandemic too) and the fact that their mindsets around work had shifted.

I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to work in a job where they’ll be spit on.

Whether you’re in the service industry, the tech world, or any other job, you deserve better.

No matter the type of work you do, you deserve respect. You deserve to disconnect from that work. I’ve had to remind myself of this a lot over the years. It’s ingrained in our work cultures. But it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why I’m grateful to see mindsets shifting and being discussed more and more.

Are you noticing this shift around work?

Or better yet, are you experiencing or exploring this shift too? I’d love to hear from you about what you’re seeing, reading, or experiencing. Let’s connect and chat, or send me an email with recommendations on who to follow or what to read that touches on this shifting mindset around work.

Alyson Roberts

Co-Founder & CEO

Known for organizing the dirty dishes before cleaning them, Alyson is learning how to do less, better and helping others do the same. She loves exploring beautiful lands near and far, trying new recipes, aspiring to be the next Star Baker, growing her garden, and avoiding board games at all cost.

Subscribe to our newsletter

We’ll never share your email