Have you ever taken an objective look at your working hours? That’s what I did recently. I’ve done it before… long ago, but only to lament that my time was so disorganized and I wasn’t working efficiently.
But I took an objective look at my working hours again. This time not to see how they were spent, but to see how many of my waking hours were spent working. Do you know how any of my waking hours were spent in some form of work? All of them. I should clarify that – All of my waking hours were spent either working or thinking about the work that I should be doing. Laundry, dishes, menu planning and meal prep, errands, lesson planning, teaching, cleaning or getting the kids to clean their areas… You’d think I would have actually gotten more done!
So when I realized that every hour of my day was penciled in with some form of work, I decided to make a change. Professionals leave the office, right? And, assuming a healthy relationship with one’s occupation, at some point they finish the day’s work and move on to other things.
Except a stay-at-home mom doesn’t leave the “office,” because she is always on the clock. Well, not this momma. I changed my hours! I didn’t instigate hard hours, because life just isn’t that accommodating, but I promised myself that at some point each day, I would take my break. Not a lunch break, because the littles need to eat, but a kids-are-sleeping-sit-on-the-couch break. Some days it’s in the morning before they wake up, other days it’s in the evening after they go to bed. But every day, I take at least a little bit of time to check “nothing” off my to-do list.
Something counterintuitive happens when you intentionally stop working for a period of time. At least in my house, would you believe I actually get more done? How does that work?
For one thing, with a designated time for rest, I wasn’t tempted to rest so frequently during my working hours. Also, knowing that my working hours had a cut-off meant I work more diligently to get my work done in less time. Besides that, getting more done meant I cut myself some slack, not spending the entire day telling myself that I should be getting more done. Being nicer to myself, coupled with actually seeing some progress, was less of an emotional draw and actually gave me more emotional energy to focus on *tada* getting work done! Beautiful psychology, isn’t it?
Is it time for you to take an objective look at how you’re spending your day?
I’ll add here that this may or may not be the most “efficient” way to get things done… goodness knows I’m NO expert at efficient housekeeping! But I do find that a shift in perspective, even if it’s from A to B and back to A, is very refreshing. So whether or not his will work as a long term strategy remains to be seen. But if it works for now, and I get further than I have in the past, why not stick to it for as long as it lasts?