This weekend has been pretty slow in terms of work. Unfortunately one of the downsides of working from home on an online business, is that very often the distinction between weekdays and weekends becomes a distant memory from the office days. So do work hours. It’s nice when you can afford to work 2-4h a day, however then there are those days when it might not be 24/7 but it definitely feels like it.
But I gave myself some time off – partially because it’s the first week after the holidays, and things are only beginning to pile up from next week. Another reason was my plans for this year. For my own sanity I want to try to avoid work on weekends in 2013. Eliminating it completely might not be possible, but making sure I spend more time with my partner on activities that potentially don’t involve a computer (we’re both pretty glued to our screens…). Maybe start going out for walks more (if only the weather was better…) and planning some trips to museums and exhibitions.
Shutting down my inner workaholic is definitely a priority this year. And it’s not just a weekend issue.So a few things I’ve started doing to help me achieve that goal.
I’ve already made the first step last year when I took one of the work emails off my phone. Now The only two accounts I check on my mobile is my personal one and the main company one. Likely I will try to optimize the later to further limit the amount of emails that gets directly to my inbox. One thing I realized was that knowing about an issue, or even a question asked by someone was enough to get my anxiety to an uncomfortable level, were I’d spend time worrying about these emails rather than enjoy my time out at a restaurant or cinema. Your brain really is a funny machine, and ignorance can be bliss, to call on an old cliche…
Restrict client time
I have never been good at dividing work from the rest of my life. It’s the type of problem people who’s job is their passion often have. Being always available to clients (and later employers) was something instinctive, and considering nearly the first third of my career was spent as a freelancer (while doing a full-time uni course) partially a necessity. What I started doing to combat this habit is to make sure I don’t drop everything because a client comes in. I used to have a schedule packed to the brim, but because a new client showed up or an old one with new work, I’d stay up late, work overtime, and pretty much stand on my head just to squeeze the job into my planner. Getting older means I’m looking for more balance in life, and I actually finally came to accept that people don’t necessarily need me to reply in the next five minutes or take on their project right now.
Allow yourself to have fun
This is were the weekends come in and it was something I learned when I switched from freelancing to full time employment. It was so nice to be able to finish at a certain time and not have to take the work home. Though I did end up having side projects which ended up being work, but that’s a whole different story. It’s important to take some time from your day and allow yourself to rest both physically and emotionally. I’m really bad at this and stress out a lot if I don’t feel like I’m being productive, hence my limited work weekend plan. Once I get that nailed I’ll probably try to get better with my weekdays too.
Over to you, are you guilty of being a workaholic?