I always have a lot of New Year’s resolutions–for instance, “less masturbating, both literally and figuratively” is usually in there somewhere. “Don’t be such a dick” also is usually present in some form or other. I like the idea of self-improvement; I think it’s maybe the only saving grace for being as self-centered as I am. But let’s just file all the less-masturbation/less dick sort of resolutions under the broad heading of “being alive” and focus on a single resolution for 2013:
2013 RESOLUTION: WORK NO LESS THAN 8 HOURS AND NO MORE THAN 10 HOURS PER DAY, THEN STOP WORKING.
If there’s a thing that I’m bad at, especially over the last few years as I’ve worked at home 95% of the time, it’s having anything like a schedule. And beyond just a vague idea of a schedule, as in “have this done by then,” it’s more importantly the idea of having a work day as such, which is to say, taking place mostly during the day. Usually my day is a horrible shepherd’s pie of waking up late, laying in bed for an embarassing amount of time, getting whatever least-important work is available done first, then getting distracted and suddenly it’s 5 o’clock and I’m panicked and then the next thing you know it’s 1.30am and I’m going to bed saying tomorrow I’ll get up at 6.30 and really attack the day! Lather, rinse, repeat, for the last 2+ years.
It’s less that I’m lazy, and more that I’ve become inefficient. It’s easy, when you work alone at home, to let things pile up and then just do them at night. Without a structured work day, and the attendant idea of “must get this done before 6pm or else,” it’s very easy to “just get it done before 1.30am.” Which means you don’t have any kind of non-work time in your life for anything, be it relaxing, eating dinner, seeing your girlfriend, interacting socially with other human beings, and/or just not feeling like there is a slow heavy weight crushing you from the top down every minute of the day.
It’s not healthy!
So! Let’s have a work day. Manage distraction: meaning, no distraction. No leaving social network windows open–that’s like if Hansel and Gretel left the witch bread crumbs so she could find them. No long breaks, no errands during the day, unless they’re directly work-related. No folding laundry, no washing dishes, no doing things you wouldn’t do at work. Work your 8 hour day, and if you have a lot of work, work for 10 hours. 9 hours is just right. But working over 10 hours either means you’ve been screwing around, or it means you’re going to be unhappy–and probably both–and that is to be avoided. Don’t be unhappy. Once in a while you might have to violate that 10 hour limit, because that’s how work works. The less you do that, the less unhappy you will be hopefully. One way to avoid doing that is to plan your days out and work efficiently enough to make 10+ hour days a rarity.
By the way, “you” in these examples = “me.” Yeah I know. Unhealthy.