I am on call (days only this time!) and was thinking about this.
The AMOUNTS of things in life matter a lot. Medications. Food. Sleep. But also more intangible things . . .
WORK: A ‘right amount’ of work is a wonderful thing. It’s also extremely unlikely that a given job will contain exactly the right amount for a given person. Most people probably have more work than truly feels good and right. This leads to burnout and feeling like work is an inherently unpalatable experience.
Example: Each call shift I took in residency was 30 hours and I can tell you with confidence that was too much work.
When I am on call and it is days only, I have approximately the right amount of work. And it’s great!
In a utopian health system, night call could be covered by a physician each week from someone who is ONLY on at night. They could work from home and yes, they would work far less than 40 hours, but they could recover fully after all interrupted nights of sleep. Unfortunately economic forces mean this is highly unlikely to ever happen, especially on a larger scale.
An endless to-do list that you are always behind on feels terrible no matter what is on it.
TRAINING: A ‘right amount’ of training volume would promote athletic progress without inducing injury. The participant would look forward to most workouts. There would be some less intense periods between more serious training cycles to promote both mental and physical recovery. There would be a good balance between types of training (cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, balance, etc).
FREE TIME: A ‘right amount’ of free time would mean enough down time to feel relaxed, time to reflect, and a volume of time for hobbies and socializing (or quiet time!) that feels adequate. And yet limitless free time (no structure, no activities with a purpose — think some retirees with an empty nest, few hobbies and a limited social circle) would probably feel unsettling or even depressing.
STUFF: Think extreme minimalism vs someone with hoarding tendencies. I feel like right now, our house contains more stuff than I would like it to. This is definitely a matter of preference but also of practicality – if there is just truly too much stuff it is hard to find/use the things you do have and the environment will start to look cluttered and chaotic.
And with that, I will keep the dose of this post low.
I just think it is interesting we do so much thinking about what comprises a good life without a lot of attention to amount and scale. And often the scales/amounts are quite arbitrary and set by others or historical norms that may not apply anymore.
DC Stationery Purchase:
The notebooks above are even prettier than they look in the pic above and the paper is lovely. Using them on call to write my to do/to see list each day!