Martha A. Dudzinski is an expert at accomplishing a lot in little time – because she has to for health reasons.” Kathrin Werner and Nils Wischmeyer interviewed the social entrepreneur and head of the SWANS Initiative for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Martha says: “Unfortunately, hard work does not lead to the same level of success for everyone.”

The 34-year-old suffers from Long Covid and can only work in short phases. She has written the book “Consistent 60 Percent: How to Achieve More with Less Work” about her balancing act between work and rest.

Dudzinski questions why we have become accustomed to and find it normal that many people are constantly ill or constantly overwhelmed. “I think we need to stop feeling guilty about ourselves. Because if you think in a capitalist way, you’ll never achieve 100 percent anyway. You always feel like you should have worked longer and achieved more. So, for me, it’s less about pure time and more about using 60 percent of your energy for work. Instead of asking if we can do more and optimize ourselves even more to get the most out of us, my book focuses on how we can achieve what is really important.”

She distinguishes between tasks that only drain energy and others that give more energy. For her, the former includes “busy bee tasks, which are left behind by men and more or less accidentally delegated to their female colleagues. (…) It is important to recognize these dynamics. Because busy bee tasks consume a lot of energy and bring little results.”

Why are some people more successful than others?

“Unfortunately, hard work does not lead to the same level of success for everyone. There are people who work themselves to the bone, take, for example, a single mother with three part-time jobs as a striking example. Nobody can tell me that this person does not work hard or that a manager works harder than her. I find the idealization of hard work as a path to professional success dangerous, and it contributes to everyone believing that they need to optimize themselves even further and work even harder. But this physically breaks us.”

Given the general labor shortage, employers can no longer avoid “offering better working conditions when people in the labor market can choose where they want to work. You can see this with Gen Z already, who wonder why they should toil when it’s already clear that their salary won’t allow for retirement savings or home ownership, and the planet may be uninhabitable by the time they reach retirement age.”

Martha Dudzinski is part of the herCAREER community and has been, among other roles, a Table Captain at the herCAREER Expo.