I decided to take most of Thursday and Friday for myself instead of working. Part of me felt a little guilty about this. But as I thought about it, I am on track to achieve my goals and I didn’t need to do more. I’ve realized during the pandemic, I’ve slipped into a routine of working seven days a week to some extent. Not all full days, but doing some work each day. These are my pandemic work habits. This realization has led me to rethink the wisdom of doing some work each day.
It has been a healthy realization and it has reminded me of the importance of constraints. It wasn’t until I decided to set a goal for several no work days a week that I’ve made progress. Going back to the previous week, I would have had a couple of light days but also filled them with some work. I would have become engrossed in my work and it would have ended up taking more time than I planned.
Pandemic Work Habits
During the pandemic, it has been easy for me to do more work. There weren’t a whole lot of distractions. Things I enjoyed were no longer available and I had plenty of free time. It is fascinating how easily I slipped into this new working routine. In some respects it helped keep me occupied over the past year, definitely a good thing. Now times are changing, it’s time for me to create some new healthier habits about how I use my time.
How I Am Creating New Habits
Reflecting back on the previous months, there are several things I need to do to create a healthier working mindset.
- Set clear long term goals about what I want to achieve by when. These must be clearly measurable and easy to determine if I have achieved them or not. Poorly defined goals will only lead to me ending up doing more work than necessary.
- Set clear weekly goals that outline the few must do things. These goals must be achievable and realistic. Once these goals are met, I am free to do whatever.
- Have work free days each week. No email, no work, nothing. Just answering a few emails puts me back in work mode.
- Create competition for my time. I’ve started a mountaineering class which is pretty time intensive. I needed this distraction to break my pandemic habits.
- Give myself permission to goof off and do whatever I want to do. This one has been hard because I hate to ‘waste time’. Is goofing off wasting my time?
Have you developed working habits during the pandemic that are no longer serving you well? What are you doing to change them?