Overwork isn't heroic: Tips from established creatives on how to be a success without overdoing it

I’ve been talking to lots of friends in the creative community lately about the subject of overwork. How there seems to be a conversation, not just in Manchester, but all over the world, that you can’t be a success without burning the midnight oil.

People boast about it. Share pictures on Instagram of their laptops on their beds at weekends. It's like "overwork" has become a badge of honour. That success only comes from half killing yourself. And many of you are angry about it, for good reason.

However, this is where it gets confusing (and frustrating) for me. Because one common trait that I’ve seen in successful people during my 20-year career is that they have, in fact, worked very hard to get where they are. Many don't admit it. Or show off about it. But they’ve “served their time”. And made many sacrifices along the way. They're driven, determined, ambitious. They're always thinking about the next big thing.

Did they ever suffer burnout? Push themselves too far? It's likely. But for many, they’ve since found balance. One can assume that those occasional “burnouts”, a symptom of overwork, probably made them reassess things. Perhaps they were able to find that balance because hard work gave them an easier life, i.e. they were finally able to charge more for less time, hire outside help or their side project eventually paid off. Maybe some initial pains gave them lots of gains....more