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  • Writer's pictureJack Winston

The Tyranny of Work, Potty Talk, and What Your Kids Will Remember


The Friday Focus is a weekly newsletter where we highlight:

  1. A piece of content we love so you don’t have to doomscroll to find something interesting

  2. A tip to help you reduce your screen time

  3. A quote that has us thinking

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Blog Post We Love 📰

I’ve always had a very complicated relationship with work. If my story below resonates with you, you should give this article a read.

When I was in college - which was the first time I had ever applied myself to anything - I worked really hard to get straight A’s. Part of it is because I really did love to learn.

But I definitely took studying more seriously than the rest of my friends purely because of my drive and ambition. I saw getting good grades as a necessary prerequisite to be “successful ” in life, so I worked hard to achieve it.

However, my ambition never got in the way of having a vibrant social life outside of the classroom. My studying never held me back from making those years some of the best years of my life. If anything, I had too much fun during those years (sorry mom), and I was always able to get my work done by the start of the weekend, which of course is Thursday, as all college kids know.

But something changed after I graduated. During my first job, my work became all-consuming. I worked long hours during the week and was uncomfortable during the weekend when I wasn’t working. It seemed like all I cared about was work and climbing the corporate ladder. Everything else was merely a distraction.

Suddenly, my entire life became defined by work. I lost interest in things I had considered fascinating, I stopped exercising, I lost touch with friends and I wasn’t present in my relationship. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldn’t enjoy any leisure time at all because I felt “lazy” for not working.

While this approach may have made me successful on paper, it was also making me miserable, harming my relationships and mental and physical health.

Luckily, I’ve since drastically improved my relationship with work. I realized that I was working to be “successful”, but no matter how “successful” I got, it would never be enough. There would always be another milestone, another goal to reach. I knew I needed to learn to define myself outside of work and actually enjoy living.

I was able to improve my relationship, but it’s still something I struggle with, and I see so many people struggle with it too.

So many people use work to fill some void they have in their life. We use it to distract ourselves from a sense of anxiety or inadequacy or whatever else might be brewing underneath. We desperately chase success at work because we can’t comprehend what else would add value to our lives.

It’s not too different than abusing drugs. But because we live in a culture where work is a virtue, it’s a socially acceptable drug that can be hard to realize is problematic.

While my relationship with work is better, I’m still constantly reevaluating it. If this is something you think about too, check out this article.


Stop Scrolling. Start Living.

Want to stop doomscrolling? Join 20,000+ people who have downloaded the Present app and reduced their screen time by over 15+ hours per week!

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Tip to Reduce Your Screen Time 📱

Leave your phone out of the bathroom.

Let’s admit it: we all do it.

Every time we go to the porcelain throne we’re probably bringing along our phone because we can’t stand to be alone with our own thoughts even for a few moments.

Leaving aside how this is probably not very sanitary, it is a common trigger to start the vicious dopamine cycle.

Because we can’t really do anything else while we’re in the bathroom, we justify in our mind that it’s okay to just scroll TikTok for a few minutes because what else would we do?

As I’ve written about previously, the problem isn’t the couple minutes of scrolling. When we scroll, we become overstimulated with dopamine. Once we’re overstimulated, our brains naturally want to maintain it’s current baseline of dopamine.

This spells trouble for you because the only way to maintain the baseline is by more scrolling. You’ll find that later you will start to automatically reach for your phone where beforehand you were able to maintain focus. Your brain wants more funny TikTok videos, Instagram memes, interesting tweets, etc - anything other than the “boring” task you probably actually want to do. And even if you resist, you will experience a crash that will drain your motivation and joy out of other activities.

So next time you decide to hit the latrine, consider leaving your phone outside because it’s not just 10 minutes of scrolling. It is more sanitary, will probably speed up the process, and help maintain your focus throughout the day.

Quote That Has Us Thinking 🧠

“20 years from now, the only people who will remember that you worked late are your kids” - unknown.


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