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5 Valuable Lessons Only Learned From Comic Books

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5 Valuable Lessons Only Learned From Comic Books

I love comic books. I’ve loved them since I was five years old. Over the years, I have often wondered what it is about them that I enjoy so much. I have thought about it for days, weeks, and months without ever finding the answer. Recently, I sat down to read one of my favorites, and while I was reading, it hit me. Suddenly, I knew exactly what it is that I enjoy so much. To my surprise, there isn’t any one character or theme that explains it. It is actually because of the subliminal messages that can be found buried in their pages.

Tough topics

Topics like racism, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexism are too often considered taboo. In that case, is a person who suffers from any one of these meant to suffer alone? The comic industry doesn’t think so, and over the years it has done an admirable job of speaking up. They have created entire story arcs designed help raise awareness for each of the above problems.

Because of the unique platform comic books have, you and I are able to see life from different viewpoints.

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Real-world issues

Comic books have become an outlet for writers and artists to get their opinions into the market. Real-world issues are highlighted throughout their pages, and it is the comic books that aren’t afraid of these topics that have become the most sought after and memorable comics in history. Just off the top of my head, I can think of references in comic books to the Suez crisis, PETA, buried landmines, world hunger, safe sex, and feminism.

Comics do what most of the world can’t. While the world struggles to find a politically correct way to bring these issues to the forefront, comic book writers are thinking of the next topic to highlight. Unlike most platforms, the comic industry does not fear the implications of its actions, and so comic books say what the world needs to hear.

Take note and don’t be afraid to speak up.

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Everybody has problems

On your worst day, you aren’t the only one struggling. Peter Parker is a teenager trying to find his place in the world, all while dealing with the everyday crises that are involved in being Spider-Man. Clark Kent is a man with two very different identities. As Superman, he must cope with being the epitome of all that is good, while as Clark, he juggles his normal life.

Just like Peter and Clark, you are forced to juggle two very different worlds: your professional life and your personal life. Yes, it is hard and yes, it can be overwhelming. Remember this: people all over this planet live on next to nothing, barely able to scrape by. They sometimes go days without water and even longer without food.

No matter how hard you perceive your life to be, someone, somewhere is much worse off.

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You can make a difference

We all want to change the world, but so very few of us do. While most think that changing the world is impossible, the ones who actually create change understand that anything is possible. The question is, “How?”

Take some time to figure out what your definition of “world” is. Is it your street? Neighborhood? City? Country? The entire planet? And what change do you want to create? Whatever it is, define it. Write it down, and repeat it to yourself daily. From there, equip yourself with the knowledge, people, and resources to make it happen. It isn’t as hard as you might think.

If Superman can make Metropolis a better place, you can make your world a better place too.

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Never give up

C.S. Lewis famously said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Comic book heroes suffer hardships more than any other characters in history. They lose allies, battles, and their health, all while creating a better world. Heed that lesson. Learn from it. A future… your future is worth fighting for.

When life knocks you down, get right back up and continue moving.

Featured photo credit: Flickr.com via flickr.com

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Joel a Scott

Writer/Blogger

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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