Quiet quitting is now trending, but it’s not what you might think. It’s not about laziness, slacking, or coasting. It’s an intentional act to reclaim your time and decide for yourself what gets your time and energy.
The pandemic has forced many to reprioritize what’s important to them. As people have returned to work and to the office, the pre-pandemic default way of working exhaustively and extensively is being challenged by workers wanting more flexibility, balance, and capacity for the other things in their lives. More and more, my clients are making intentional choices about where they put their energy. They are realizing that their mental and emotional capacity is a finite resource. They only have so much time and energy to give, so they are choosing to be intentional about not overextending when it comes to work … hence quiet quitting.
The key sentiments in all of this are awareness and intention. First being aware of what is consuming you and secondly, making a choice about where to direct your limited time and energy. Again, understanding what claims your energy now and planning to prioritize what you want to give your energy to.
How are you feeling at the end of the work day? Are you exhausted or energized? Do you feel fulfilled and satisfied with what you accomplished that day or are you frustrated and overwhelmed because the work never ends? Do you feel conflicted or guilty when family or personal needs go unmet because of work demands?
Part of the process is a forced pause. Quiet quitting gives you the space to gain awareness, make a choice, and act intentionally.
Questions to ask yourself
What do you want to give yourself to? This is about deciding something is worth your time and your energy. Instead of defaulting to a daily to-do list of priorities or the same old routine.
Where and how much energy do you want to give? Intention also means deciding how you want to do something. What requires you to be 100% present? You can be involved without giving everything you have. And not every situation warrants your best effort.
Realistically, what can you actually do? This is where capacity comes into play. There is so much discussion about balance and excelling at home and work. But what do you have the capacity to do? And what do you have the capacity to do well? No one has an unlimited capacity to do and be everything. Intention means choosing what is important to you so you can give your best self to what matters most or matters in the moment.
Consider your capacity
At the end of the day, everyone has a finite amount of time and energy. Within that limit, when we give our energy to one thing, we’re taking energy from another. This makes the concept of balance impossible to achieve. When you choose intention, your choices let you assess what matters most and what matters most right now so you can allocate your energy based on your priorities, values, and overall capacity.
Many choose to believe they can do it all. They optimize and maximize to fit it all in. But eventually a ball drops or something doesn’t get the best version of you. This is an opportunity to think about your mental load from a broader sense, to assess your capacity, and act with intention when it comes to the finite amount of energy you have to offer. Quiet quitting isn’t a rebellion against work. It’s an act of self preservation and a pursuit of fulfillment.