Scheduling Downtime

Creative Commons License photo credit: Kyle Hovey

Rushed post today. Please forgive the headlong rush to 350 words...

If you work from home, do you have trouble working too much?

My office commute is to skirt the dining table, jog up the stairs, navigate through scattered toys, and try not to turn on the TV before sitting down at my desk.

Working from home means no traffic, lots of snacks, and “water-cooler” breaks that can involve tickling or pouring milk into sippy cups.

But the downside of working from home is that the office is always there. It’s just too easy to head upstairs and get a bit of work done, regardless of the hour.

I MUST be Productive

Part of the problem is that we feel that we haven’t been productive unless we’ve accomplished a certain amount of… stuff by the end of the day.

  1. Get X, Y, and Z tasks done for work.
  2. Get A, B, and C tasks done for home.

And then, I feel productive if I can accomplish MOST of that stuff. Otherwise, I feel that I’ve wasted too much time.

I think this is a real mistake, because some very important stuff is missing there. The important stuff is: Messing Around.

In short, I really need to schedule my downtime.

Messing Around IS productive, Isn’t It?

Most people need some time to relax in order to be happy. I’m not a psychologist, but I bet you’ve all read the studies (or read about them), so I won’t bore you with the details.

So my nifty new schedule looks like this:

  1. Get X, Y, and Z tasks done for work.
  2. Get A, B, and C tasks done for home.

Looks the same, right? (Thank you, Copy and Paste.)

The difference is that task C isn’t “taking out the trash.” It’s “an hour of reading for pleasure.” Or “watching a video.”

And those pleasure tasks are as valuable as the work and other home tasks. So if I was able to relax for a few minutes, that’s not wasted time.

I don’t lie in bed thinking that I got nothing done. I think, “well, at least I accomplished the goal of relaxing a bit. That built up reserve will come in handy tomorrow.”

Am I making sense here? Does anyone else wrestle with spending guilt-free relaxing time?


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