Are You Too Busy Working? You Might Suffer From Work Tunnel Vision

While perusing everyone’s favorite bookmarking site, I came across this incredible photo of the Grand Tetons at night. While the picture alone is pretty impressive, the amazing part is how many planets you can actually see: The Milky Way, Jupiter, a kickin’ star named Arcturus, and the Big Dipper. That’s a pretty stellar cast. And it turns out that normally it takes five separate camera shots to get all of these high-profile stars/planets in a single frame.

Here’s the part that kills me: I spend 8 hours a day looking at 14 inches of computer screen.

I’m going to call this Work Tunnel Vision (WTV), for lack of a better phrase. This is when we only focus on what’s directly in front of us (job/career), as we pass by the finer points of life like friends, family, children, and even incredible starry nights. It keeps us from having proper perspective. It ensures that we work too long on stuff that probably isn’t that important. Ultimately, WTV skews our priorities.

It’s quite easy to lose focus on what’s truly important sometimes. This was just a gentle check to force us all to ask the question:

Am I focusing on what’s really important? Or am I too busy working?

Leave a Comment

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • ukjobs December 8, 2009, 8:14 pm

    In my career as a consultant, I've been both the rogue consultant and worked with other rogues. We've all encountered them: the brilliant consultant who wears ratty clothing, keeps unpredictable hours, and pontificates on all subjects. Sometimes we can do something about this individual. Other times, we have to somehow mitigate this person's disruptive behavior while still harnessing whatever tools they bring to the table. My experiences on both sides of this particular issue forced me to think about it not just in terms of its annoyance factor, but as a result of a system of behaviors and expectations that can be managed and controlled.

    Find more jobs: http://www.staffingpower.com/

  • ukjobs December 8, 2009, 3:14 pm

    In my career as a consultant, I've been both the rogue consultant and worked with other rogues. We've all encountered them: the brilliant consultant who wears ratty clothing, keeps unpredictable hours, and pontificates on all subjects. Sometimes we can do something about this individual. Other times, we have to somehow mitigate this person's disruptive behavior while still harnessing whatever tools they bring to the table. My experiences on both sides of this particular issue forced me to think about it not just in terms of its annoyance factor, but as a result of a system of behaviors and expectations that can be managed and controlled.

    Find more jobs: http://www.staffingpower.com/

  • ukjobs December 8, 2009, 2:14 pm

    In my career as a consultant, I've been both the rogue consultant and worked with other rogues. We've all encountered them: the brilliant consultant who wears ratty clothing, keeps unpredictable hours, and pontificates on all subjects. Sometimes we can do something about this individual. Other times, we have to somehow mitigate this person's disruptive behavior while still harnessing whatever tools they bring to the table. My experiences on both sides of this particular issue forced me to think about it not just in terms of its annoyance factor, but as a result of a system of behaviors and expectations that can be managed and controlled.

    Find more jobs: http://www.staffingpower.com/

  • djsosumi November 20, 2007, 11:08 am

    like the photo ;)

    i think this one is better – http://www.flickr.com/photos/djsosumi/1164083929/

  • Serge August 24, 2007, 8:04 pm

    Believe it, I know exactly what you mean by ‘WTV’…
    I’ve been working between 48 to 84 (!) hours a week for the last year and it cost me a divorce, a new set of furniture, most part of my social life and a car to realize that work doesn’t have to be EVERYTHING…
    I now work between 36 and 54 hours a week, at the same place, but since my girl’s gone, I renewed contact with most of my friends and relatives (haven’t spoke to mom in 6 months) and now have found a better balance… But still, I don’t have much time to spend alone or looking for a girl… Nothing is perfect!
    Keep smiling and believing in a goal outside of my job, I think that’s the key!

  • Tim August 17, 2007, 9:52 pm

    I’m certainly guilty of this one at times. I really try hard not to neglect my friends and family but I admit that I still have a tendency to work to hard.

  • Not a Square August 17, 2007, 5:14 pm

    I know that feeling. Sometimes I have to step back from myself to realize it.

  • Rene August 16, 2007, 3:49 pm

    At least you got a 14-inches computer screen. I got a much smaller one. :P

  • Kim Isaac August 16, 2007, 3:24 pm

    I loved this post. I has come at a great time in my life. I’m a full time student, wife, mother, and part time teacher. It is easy to get tunnel vision in one area. My family is the most important thing in my life and I need to make sure I have time for them and myself.

  • AgentSully August 15, 2007, 5:25 pm

    Like Jacqueline, I work from home and I was just thinking of this last nite. It is a constant struggle to find the right balance, almost like a negotiation that never ends.

    But I’ve come to the conclusion that I might need to cut back a bit on work because I save very little time for leisure…we all know that saying about Jane and all work and no play. :)

    Best. Sully

  • jacqueline August 15, 2007, 2:53 pm

    Oh… you are so right. I work from home and I work constantly. I am struggling to find the perfect balance. Thank you for giving this a name!

  • Carl of PseudoPower August 15, 2007, 12:56 pm

    I just went through that recently, and I’m only 22 years old. It wasn’t like I had a bad job. I had a great job, but it was still a job.

    I realized you only live once, and I had something I wanted to try out.

    I love the Work Tunnel Vision term. I had the same. I was in business school focusing on getting the post corporate job I could get. I didn’t really think of alternative ways of living until I started reading more about other successful people like Tim Ferris (4 hour work week).

    Anyway, nice post. Just found your site and I look forward to reading your posts.