Blog Post No. 543
I’ve been working the New Day Job for just over a week, now and I think I finally get what people are on about when they say they struggle to keep work time and non-work time separate. I’ve read articles or heard anecdotal accounts over the years about separating work from home and how to disconnect from the office. In the time of work-from-home there are even more that describe the methods people use to stop working when their day is technically over but they’re still at the “office” since in some cases it’s the same place where they live.
I never understood what those wackos were on about. I used to find it so easy to leave work at work and cut myself off from the day job when I was at home (except for the times my schedule changed last minute which was the nature of my old position). Even when it came to writing, while I’m kind of always thinking about stories, if anything I had more trouble keeping up the work than finding an excuse to take a break.
Now that I have an actual work space (mostly) of my own any my schedule is supposed to be the same every week (we’ll see if it settles down in the next month as the new staff get more acclimated to the building) I’m struggling to take my breaks and I find myself checking my email when I’m at home.
I think the nature of the new job is what’s really driving this new (and horrible) challenge. I’m now in charge of many things at my facility, from bookings to the staff schedule, and even the maintenance and ordering supplies. Each of those elements are determined by the other and sometimes they’re all last minute and need my attention now! A new booking request means I need to schedule staff and maybe make sure a maintenance project is proceeding properly. And new bookings come in all the time.
Sometimes I’ll have emails waiting for me, someone on the phone, and another person physically here waiting for me. With a new staff that needs extra hand holding (they’re getting it, it’s just early days) it’s hard to walk away for a fifteen minute break or an unpaid lunch hour. The temptation is to just get that next thing done so it’s not hanging over my head or I don’t forget to complete one link in the chain of responsibility hanging around my neck. If I take the break in my “office” so I can try to get some writing in at the computer, I see the emails come in and hear the phone ringing. It’s like a compulsion.
So far I’ve only been successful in taking a break by actually leaving the building and going for a walk. It’s a nice way to clear my head, especially since the weather is finally really nice, but I still struggle with creating a hard stopping point and actually leaving. I have no idea how I’ll spend the hour lunch if I’m not using it to write.
I think (or hope) that this happens to be a hectic time and since the staff and I are so new, it feels more imposing than it will ultimately become. I’ll learn to walk away when I’m supposed to and trust that the staff can take a message and I’ll get back to people promptly enough. This job has always been a lot of hurry up and wait. I just happen to be the one waiting and hurrying now. One thing I do know is that due to the nature of how I work, I will eventually have a system in place that (in theory) will help smooth out the wrinkles. I just have to trust that, like so many other things in my life, I’ll get good enough at the job (and knowing when to walk away) that the problem will ultimately go away. When that happens it will seem like it changed on its own, but I’ll really be the one who changed.
One thought on “I Think I Get it Now”
Pingback: Now, On to the Next Thing – Ben Van Dongen