I said this to my wife the other night. I was commenting on this as I got into bed at 9:45, knowing that I would need at least thirty minutes to wind down before I went to sleep. I had been commenting about how I was on a quest (mostly unfulfilled) to adjust my bed time by about fifteen minutes earlier each night.
She responded with the most logical response, “So, simply stop.”
And of course, at least for me, it isn’t that simple. I love the work that I do, and I take great enjoyment from the challenges I face on a daily basis. But I’m torn between that love for the work, and the wish for more time to relax, particularly after a busy day.
I also know that it is unlikely I’ll ever have “free time,” as I have a habit of filling up any time in my schedule with more; though it may not be work-related, it is rarely ever “free.”
Happily, I have found a way to marry personal activities with professional ones. Dinner time is still a work-free time (no devices at the table), and between soccer, girl scouts, weekend activities, etc., there is plenty of “work-free” time.
And yet, during an average day, I find that the separation between professional and personal can become close to non-existent. This “prosonal” time feels weird, as I remember my dad being particularly good at separating work and home life. While times are different, I’m definitely not as capable of doing this. In fact, it is clear I’m not the only one feeling this way, the Economist had a great article about this probably a year ago or so (I tried to find it, but couldn’t; never enough time).
So, I’m currently at a bit of a loss. I don’t wish for less work, because I relish it, but I do wish for more time to unwind, or to engage myself in other complex tasks that aren’t work-related. Since I haven’t discovered how to add more time to the twenty-four hour cycle, I often feel a bit stuck, and, to circle back to the beginning of this piece, I often find myself adding more awake time into the evening, simply to give myself an opportunity to unwind a bit.
And, while this added time at night might help me reduce stress, it makes me more tired in the morning, which, while I haven’t seen perceptible signs of changes in my work quality, I have no doubt that my creativity, innovation, and ability to think differently are impacted. How could they not be, right?
Like much else in my life, this is a work in progress, and something that I will continue to work to adjust as time goes on. While I don’t mind always working, I do wish that “always” provided me with a little more flex time to work with.