DOWNSHIFTING Should you work less?


Downshifting is supposed to help us develop a better work-life balance. Find out what's behind the trend and what it does here.
The pressure to perform is growing and growing. We are trimmed to want to get ahead in our jobs. The striving for more determines the everyday life of many - and so does the pressure that comes with it. Is this model slowly becoming obsolete? The downshifting movement questions an exaggerated work ethic.

Downshifting: Are you already living or still working?
Faster, further, better: In our society, those who can show off a steep professional career are often idolized. The next promotion - that's almost like a knighthood that many are chasing. But does a better professional position really make you happier? Not necessarily!

We rush after the higher position and lose ourselves in the process. We hardly have time for what is really important to us. And that's exactly why more and more people are joining the so-called downshifting trend. A life model in which career advancement is only a secondary matter.

Downshifting: What is it exactly?
In a nutshell, downshifting is the reduction of working hours. In other words, it's not about quitting or changing jobs. Downshifters simply spend less time working. The goal: a more self-determined, harmonious life in which you have more time for your own interests and hobbies. 

Of course, this also means giving up some of your income. Fewer working hours naturally mean less salary. But in return, a large part of the stress that would result from the additional hours is eliminated. And that's exactly the kind of relief downshifters want.

The consequences of the downshifting trend
Downshifting causes people to consciously consider what they really want from life. In doing so, you also question the importance of your own work. What is important to you and where do you want to go? That may not always correspond to what is expected of us. Nevertheless, we have to find our way - and then follow it!

Some people love their job and are happy to devote themselves to it. Others appreciate their job, but would still much rather spend their time doing other things. And this is where the topic of downshifting comes into play. You're not giving up your job - you're just changing its place in your life.

These are the signs that downshifting is for you
Have you ever wondered if you're working too much and what all that work is actually doing for you? Downshifting may be an option for you. Every one of us questions his or her own work critically from time to time - that's completely normal. But if you have been dissatisfied and unmotivated for a long time, it is worthwhile to question your own priorities.

The following characteristics suggest that you could consider downshifting:

you have hardly felt like going to work for some time now
you feel stressed every day, even on weekends
you are often in a bad mood on Sundays because work is due on Mondays
you are worried that you will have more work and responsibility in the future
there is no urge for promotion 
you are satisfied with your job, but you want to spend less time on it
you are happy to give up part of your income
work is not everything for you - you would rather pursue other interests

Downshifting: What's in store for you
You probably won't decide to downshift overnight. Since this decision involves a lot of changes, you should think about it carefully. But if you are sure, the first thing to do is talk to your boss.

Simply work less, but just as well - that sounds very simple in theory. But it's not always that easy to implement. The boss first has to be convinced - and it's important to find the right tone and avoid communication errors.

Here are a few tips for talking to the boss:

Make it clear that you value the work very much, but would like to plan your time differently at the moment.
emphasize that your performance and work motivation would benefit from working less
offer (if possible) to be flexible with the reduced time - at least in the beginning
propose to do a test month, during which your boss can see that the concept works
give your boss time to think about it
The last point is especially important: Don't be put off if your boss doesn't give you a go for downshifting right away. Remember: A reduced work schedule brings with it a lot of bureaucratic changes for the company, and that needs to be planned well.

It is also possible that your boss will be reluctant to give in because the company needs a full-time employee. If this scenario happens, you can always think about looking for another job.

However, as the topic of downshifting becomes more and more popular, it may well be that your boss will accommodate you. So take a positive approach and don't get discouraged. If you know that a reduced work schedule would be right for you, you'll find a way!

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