Me and Work

Last weekend, I did an experiment about working first, then playing later. It worked in the sense that I got lots done (and needed to). It also confirmed for me that my internal rhythm does not suit that particular saying. I worked the entire weekend and did not actually get any "play" because of several factors:
- If I am "on a roll" and getting somewhere on my neverending to-do list, I won't stop because of some arbitrary stopping point. This is why I work late during the week and why I rarely go into work early. My most productive time is in the afternoon, so it's hard for me to stop working during that time.
- I have a strong habit of needing to "finish" a task before I stop. This often manifests as needing to finish the chapter or a scene before putting a good book down, finishing a knitting row or sequence before putting knitting down, finishing a task at work before stopping for the day, etc.
This, paired with my morning attention patterns:
- I'm often late for work because I get distracted and start emptying the dishwasher (which, of course has to be finished before I leave), reading an article in a magazine, taking out the trash, etc.
- The above distraction at work as well makes it difficult to get a lot accomplished in the morning. I'm checking my email, catching up on what I missed online at the end of the day before, etc. (I rarely get online in the evenings anymore. It really screws with my bedtime.)

The conclusion is, I'm not going to feel guilty anymore that I play first and work later. Life is too short to fight your inner nature, and as long as I get stuff accomplished sometime and it doesn't negatively affect others, who cares when I get it done?


Jennifer said...


Good on you for realizing, and celebrating, your best working hours. I have a cousin who said she really enjoyed the night shift -- it fit her rhythms and gave her time to hike with the dog before work. You have to be true to yourself, and what makes you happy, even if it isn't what everyone expects from you or wants you to do. The people who love you will understand, and will be willing to work a little harder or be a little more understanding when trying to make plans with you. :)

I, myself, have decided that I'm not going to apologize for being permanently "busy" on week nights because I'm working out for myself. I refuse to feel bad about not being able to get together until a free weekend pops up.

I'm like you, Anne -- I like being productive from about 2-8 p.m., and that's pretty much how I run my weekends. But now that I'm trying to "up" my workouts (which have to happen in the evenings because I'm crap for energy in the a.m.), I've decided that my workday has to get up and start happening earlier, so that I can pay attention to ME after work. So, I've been experimenting with all of the components of my morning ritual and have been getting to work at 7 or 7:30 instead of 8:30 or 9. Now I have to train myself to leave earlier when I'm so accustomed to hanging out at the office til 5:30 or 6.

The good news is that this effort (2 weeks so far) is ricocheting through my world in a good way. I'm getting sleepy earlier, waking up and in a good mood, getting my exercise in, getting home in time to make myself dinner, and still having a little bit of time to tap on the computer. And, my weekend mornings still get to be blissfully slow and easy.

Here's hoping that it stays a "good routine" and that I don't fall off the wagon! *HUG*

Anne C. said...

Jen, Good for you on getting things shifted earlier! At my last job, I was able to get up and go to the gym in the mornings before work. It was ideal for me because that's the time of day when routine works best for me and is most needed. I lost it, of course, when I was unemployed and quit my gym membership (and even before I did, I could go to the gym whenever I wanted). I've been trying to figure out why I can't get it back and I think it's because at my previous job, I left work at a normal hour (different kind of projects) and so didn't have to stay up as late to feel like I had a life.
The moral of the story is, keep up the good routine. It's worth it! :D