Work Brighter is a digital media company that helps productive unicorns go beyond working smarter to a version of productivity that makes room for “unproductive” things like rest, self-care, and fun.
Because productivity on its own is! not! enough!
When you improve and optimize your productivity without working on the other parts of your life too, you “work smarter” yourself all the way to burnout.
Most productivity advice is all about doing as much as possible and working as much as possible, without any consideration of your life outside of your to-do list.
And most productivity advice never talks about when to STOP being productive. When you’ve done ENOUGH.
That doesn’t seem smarter to us.
Why we need to kill our obsession with working smarter:
The world of creators, entrepreneurs, and startuppers is one obsessed with productivity. With working smarter and optimizing our lives and automating our businesses.
We *say* we’re doing it so we can work less and live more, but how many of us work smarter just so we can work more?
How many of us work smarter ourselves all the way to burnout, mental illness, or physical damage?
We’ll get to my story later, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one who learned the hard way that productivity isn’t enough.
Let's look at the stats:
Millennial women are one of the workforce groups at the highest risk of anxiety (source)
49% of entrepreneurs say they’ve struggled with some kind of mental illness (source)
About 7 in 10 millennials experience burnout at work (source)
This is why I believe it’s time for a new productivity movement: one to work brighter instead of smarter.
Working brighter means balancing productivity with unproductivity: things like rest, self-care, and fun. All the parts of a truly bright life.
Working brighter means believing:
- Productivity is personal: there is no one best system, tool, tactic, or time management method. It’s not about finding the best one, it’s about creating the right mix for you.
- Rest is work when it’s needed: resting and recharging your body, mind, and creativity are essential tasks for anyone who wants to go after their goals.
- It’s okay to be "lazy:" see above. Part of productivity is letting your brain rest and making your face smile, and that might very well mean watching The Good Place for the 30th time (speaking from experience).
- Self-care is a soft-skill: knowing when you need self-care, and knowing what kind you need, isn’t easy. It’s a soft-skill, just like effective communication and portraying confidence. And for anyone with big career goals, it’s one worth learning.
- Mental health is just health: to get to a balanced and brighter place in your career, you need to treat your mental health as a priority.
- Sense of humor is a mindset tool: filling your life and work with more humor and less seriousness can seriously impact your productivity when you consider the impact it has on your mood & mindset.
How Work Brighter was born
Over the past 4 years, Work Brighter has been a personal mantra, a productivity newsletter, and a mindset/movement...and it still is all of those things wrapped in an online media bow.
Ya see, I used to be one of those get-shit-done-obsessed hustlers who hid her workaholism and mental illness in productivity hacks and “working smarter.”
When I first realized I needed to chill the fuck out, I realized that “working smarter” was too bland and boring to fit my life.
Like it was black and white, and I wanted a career in technicolor.
So I started telling myself to work brighter. Constantly. It was my needed reminder that productivity wasn’t everything.
Eventually, I started monogramming it on my planners and notebooks (of course I did). Once I started showing up on Instagram and sharing my epic office supplies with the biz world, I wasn’t the only one interested in working brighter.
And so in 2016 I started a newsletter, the Work Brighter Weekly, to share my new takes on productivity and how it gelled with other priorities like self-care and health. In 2017, that expanded to a community for productive unicorns to hang out together.
In August 2018, the Clubhouse community welcomed its first beta members, and finally the Work Brighter movement had a business behind it.
About Our Founding Unicorn
Work Brighter was founded by Brittany Berger, a content marketing consultant, mental health advocate, and highly ridiculous human who always has a pop culture reference at the ready.
(Hi! Brittany here, gonna switch to first person now!)
I started my writing career in 2010 interning at tech startups on top of my college work, 2 part-time jobs, and several extracurriculars on campus.
Learning about productivity and efficiency was the only way I could figure out how to balance what I needed to do, with the fun stuff that made it all worthwhile...
How to work part-time and get good grades...and STILL have time for my friends and dance team, and all the Will & Grace reruns I could squeeze in.
My productivity also made me a star employee in the growth-obsessed tech industry once I graduated. But after 4 years of hustling non-stop between work, hobbies, and side hustles, my body had enough.
You see, I’d never been the strongest or healthiest person. I’ve dealt with multiple mental illnesses since my preteens, and a bad stomach and weak immune system since before that.
But once I was so focused on work and productivity that I didn’t care about anything else? They completely went to shit.
After 2 years of constant flare-ups, multiple new diagnoses, and too many hospital trips, I realized: I could use what I learned about systems, productivity, and organization at work to makeover my self-care.
To-do lists and planners could help me with more than work, they could help me take care of myself, cultivate hobbies, and live a brighter life.
“Holy forking shirt!”
My view on productivity was changed forever.
Ready to change yours too?