If working is like to doing exercise

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In this article, the author uses the word “doing exercise” to represent for all of exercises and sports generally. You can replace it with any sport or any type of exercise you like.

Working and doing exercise, these two words may seem unrelated firstly, but from my own viewpoint, I find that there are many similarities between them.

Why are working and doing exercise similar?

We spend 8 hours to work every day. We work to earn money, to develop ourselves… In other words, we work for a better life. After one day of working, our body will be tired, we will need rest to recover energy for the next work day.

Similarly, every day we will also spend about 30~60 minutes to do exercise. We do exercise to improve health, reduce stress, and prevent diseases… Just like working, doing exercise also helps us have a better life. And after doing exercise, our body will also be tired and need rest to recover.

What is the difference between working and doing exercise?

When we do something, to evaluate performance, we will use two criterias, the amount of work and the time it takes to complete. In the same time amount, the more work we complete, the better performance we have. Similarly, in a exercise session, whoever burns more energy will have a more effective exercise session.

However, life is increasingly harsh, it forces us to work more. While our exercise time is not increasing, our work time or workload is increasing. In order to deal with the increasing workload, we have 2 options:

  • Work overtime (the easy way).
  • Work more efficiently, or increase productivity (the hard way).

Why is working overtime easy?

When working overtime, the only thing that changes is the time it takes to get the job done. A normal working day usually takes about 8 hours, if the amount of work increases, we will work 9 hours, 10 hours, or even 12-14 hours.

We don’t need to change the current working way. If we’re hungry, there’s fast food. If we’re tired, there’s coffee and energy drinks. And if we feel stressed, then tobacco, alcohol and drugs will “help” us.

To a certain extent, today’s society is worshiping busyness, most of us are taking busyness as a measure of “success”. The majority of society is thinking that working overtime is good, and this has become the norm in some countries and societies. And what is “easier” than when we are doing something that is “praised” by the whole society.

And what is the hard way?

There is a paradox that humans are creatures that “get bored quickly “, but most are afraid of change. Choosing to change is that we have to accept the fact that we are not good enough, and the road to change is always difficult and contains many challenges. The change process includes:

  • Learn.
  • Test.
  • Failure.
  • Learn from failure.
  • Keep learning and experimenting.

Learning is never an easy thing, this learning-failure-correcting process will repeat many times, until we get the desired results. This is a difficult process that most people will give up before they can reap the rewards.

So what if I choose the easy way?

When working overtime, we often have the mentality that “Try a little more and you’re done “. But life is often not like a dream, there is a paradox (yes, one more paradox, this life is full of paradoxes) that the more we do, the busier we are. Work itself is always born to fill our time. Nature gives everyone 24 hours a day, when we spend a lot of time at work, it means that we have to sacrifice our time for other things, such as family, personal interests, etc.


Time passed cannot be regained. When died, few people say that they are happy because they have been busy for all their lives. What we need is a meaningful life, not a busy life.

If we can put a limit on doing exercise, then why we cannot put a limit on the work. For work, we should also set limits for ourselves, and stick to it. At the end of the day, unless it cannot be extended, we should put the current work aside whether it is completed or not. If the work isn’t done, figure out how to do it better the next day. Take time for yourself, and your family.

The above are the thoughts and subjective opinion of the author, maybe they are not suitable for you, but I hope that my opinion will help you somehow.

Thank you for your interest in this article!

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Ho Nhat Thanh

Founder of JustPassion website. Having more than 8 years of experiences in Software development and project management. A book-lover, a blogger and a learning enthusiast.

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