Work Brighter was founded out of my frustration with the traditional productivity community and how it excluded so many people from its definition of “success.”
There was so much capitalist, ableist gatekeeping around who got to be considered “productive.”
So little consideration given to the productivity of people who’s bodies and brains aren’t considered “normal” (what even is normal?).
Because of that, we operate a little differently than other productivity and personal development brands you might follow.
This page aims to lay out what we believe, why, and how it shows up in this business.
It’s a living document that will evolve as the community does, and was last updated March 25, 2021.
Working brighter means believing:
- Work isn’t just what you’re paid for. So much of hard work in our lives, like caretaking, housekeeping, and health maintenance goes unrecognized because of the systems of capitalism have tricked us into thinking labor is only real if you’re paid for it.
- Productivity means making all work easier. We usually think of productivity as only applicable to our “real jobs,” but see the point above. We do so much more work than that, and the Work Brighter definition of productivity encompasses all of it.
- Productivity is personal. Because our lifestyles, experiences, brains, and bodies are all so different, so is what productivity looks like for each of us. And in addition to productivity being personal, we believe the personal is political.
- Rest is work when it’s needed. I’d even venture to say letting our brains and bodies recover from everything else we do is some of the most important work there is.
- 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 dreams, it’s one worth learning.
- Assume someone’s doing their best. So much productivity and personal development advice is rooted in judgmental shaming and the first principles that everything their audience is doing is Wrong and Bad. In the Work Brighter community, we assume the effort we see from anyone at a given moment is the best they’re capable of in that given moment, until they say otherwise.
And the community stands for:
- Inclusive and accessible self-management advice for every body and brain.
- Recognizing the harm capitalism and Hustle Culture (or internalized capitalism) brings to people, especially those holding marginalized identities most exploited this system, like people of color, people in the Global South, and disabled people.
- Resisting binary thinking encouraged by white supremacy and patriarchy, especially when it comes to gender.
Here’s a little bit more about how I run Work Brighter in value-aligned ways:
- I don’t outsource or hire in my business unless I can budget to pay everyone a living wage consistent with their skills/experience.
- I redistribute 10% of my monthly income (as a sole proprietor) to mutual aid and social justice organizations fighting racism, antisemitism, ableism, homophobia, and other systemic oppression.
- I keep a large percentage of my income (versus redistributing or reinvesting in the business for faster growth) because chronic illness is not cheap and contrary to what capitalism says, my work’s value is not defined by my health or time spent working.
- I am continually learning about the specific ways oppressive systems impact our society and unlearning the ways I’m upholding them, including in my business.
- I prioritize accessibility in my content and business by providing informative alternative text, image descriptions, captions, and transcripts where applicable. I am actively working to update my past archive of content and online footprint to meet web accessibility standards.
- I do not collaborate with people and businesses I know to have values misaligned with mine (even if they’re everyone’s problematic fave!).
Here’s what I expect from those I work with (including you, hopefully):
- I expect the people I work with to be committed to social justice and actively working to make their businesses more inclusive.
- I expect the people I work with to cultivate diverse communities where all identities feel included and respected.
- I expect the people I work with to know what intersectionality is (and the name of the woman who coined it…or at least be looking it up now that I’ve mentioned it because that’s how you learn 😀).
- I expect the people I work with to disrupt the gender binary and use gender-inclusive language in how they address their customers.
- I expect the people I work with to make any content we produce together accessible for other disabled audiences. For example, if we host a webinar, this means a transcript will be offered in addition to a replay video.
- I expect the podcasts, video series, and other “features” I participate in to feature a diverse lineup. Diverse in gender, race, ethnicity, ability, size, sexuality, and more. One “box checked” isn’t enough.
This is who my business values and practices are inspired by:
- Toi Smith’s work on anti-capitalist business practices
- Jenny Odell’s work on how to do nothing in the face of the attention economy
- Audre Lorde’s writing on self-care as survival and resistance
- Tricia Hersey’s work on rest as resistance against Hustle Culture
- Anne Helen Peterson’s work on burnout as the default millennial condition