I’ve been thinking about my Monday – Fridays a little bit. How I feel less productive at home than I used to feel in the office. If I’m honest, I’ve been beating myself up about it a bit.
And then I had an epiphany.
When I used to travel for work and be on a project team, I got to the client site (on a good day with no plane delays) sometime between mid morning and lunch on a Monday and I’d leave sometime around 3-5PM on Thursday (getting me home between 8 and 11PM).
Sure, I worked many hours between Monday and Thursday, but not all of them were “productive”.
I used to turn my chair around and chit-chat with my team members (and honestly, I miss those chats). I used to go for lunch or eat at my desk, but either way I had to go get it and at some point I’d have to go get dinner and sleep.
I think I felt so productive because I was constantly trying to fit 5 days into 3.5. I was productive(ish), but I was also exhausted and by the end, really unhappy about that constant going.
Now, I am home.
I have few chit chats that don’t involve a conference call and a web cam. If I do talk to the dog (my only office mate), I get the occasional ear perk, but little else.
…unless it’s a request for me to rub his bum (which I do because he’s pretty darn cute when he brushes up next to me with the ask).
I procrastinate, but it doesn’t interfere with my work.
I walk the dog in the middle of the day, sometimes I even go for a run or to the gym…
But what I realized? Most days I start before 7AM and go straight through to about 5 or 6 and I don’t have a lot of days that aren’t full of back to back calls.
I guess what I am getting at here… my discomfort with my lack of productivity? That’s all me. That’s ON me.
I take my job really seriously – I always have. I want to do a good job. I want people to see that I am doing a good job. I want to stay on top of things so that I can be seen as dependable. Let’s be honest, I want people to like me.
I am also realizing that it is TOTALLY ok to not work 12 hour days 5 days a week. I’m realizing that it’s ok to not be on calls for 9 of those hours. I’m realizing that it’s ok to do what I need to do to stay on top of things, to do good work and then to close my laptop for the day. It’s ok to say “I’ll get to that tomorrow”.
I took a job working from home for a reason. Several actually, but mainly to spend more time enjoying my life.
It’s all a balancing act and some days are really good and some days I’m a little down in the dumps… I thank my lucky stars that I have been given this opportunity and that far outweighs the days where I miss the chit chats (though I love when my old friends give me a ring or send me a text) and the connection.
I don’t know how to get over my need to be productive 100% of the time, but I think that part of that is just in my genes and it’s gotten me to where I am today.
What I’m getting at is that I’ve made a decision…
Every day doesn’t have to be perfect. Every day doesn’t have to feel like I have conquered everything on my to-do list. Every day does have to end with me feeling that I did my best. Somehow I have to find that balance.
If you work from home, have you found the answer? What works for you?