It sounds kind of crazy, but I have stumbled on something big, you guys.
For a long time, I have been a fan of sleeping. Getting enough sleep, and getting up early enough to have some enjoyable, productive time before heading off to work is my favorite path to happiness. For the past several months, work has been a major source of stress and general unhappiness for me. I know that this happens to almost everyone at one time or another. The worst part for me is that moment when you are just drifting off to sleep and those nagging thoughts creep into your head. You know, all those decisions that need to be made, the things you forgot to do, and the most stressful tasks coming up in the next days. Normally, I jot these down and try to go back to sleep, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid them and just go straight to sleep?
Do it at work.
At the end of the day, leave 20 minutes to try to go to sleep. I don’t actually nap at work, but you can. Maybe set an alarm so you don’t sleep too much and mess up you sleep time later.
Just relax and let those thoughts come up. Then, you can put real actions into your calendar to address in the coming days. It’s easier to prioritize and put things into perspective when you can focus on them before you go home. If you don’t have a private place to put your feet up, put on you earphones and just zone out for a while or set aside some time when you get home. You can do it with intention, or just let your thoughts wander.
I know this sounds like a simple mindfulness exercise, and I guess it is sort of. But don’t just notice you thoughts, do something about them.
Then go home without them.
I discovered something this week:
My job is not the classic 9-5/5 days a week. I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, and spend well over 40 hours working most weeks.
Normally when I’m in, I leave my office door open in case someone in my group needs help or has some progress to share. This means, I am often interrupted. Even when I’m eating lunch. Lately, when I need to concentrate on a task, I close my door with instructions outside about when I will be available, or how to contact me in an emergency. I have made a point to be available when I’m not actively working, though.
Fortunately, I can schedule grocery shopping, dentist appointments, vet visits and haircuts before or after work hours. I’m lucky most offices accommodate my work habits.
This week, I had to make an appointment during the regular work day. I made the 10 minute appointment for noon, and did several personal errands on my way back to work. I even stopped for a quick lunch.
The world did not stop, and no one at work even noticed. I could easily have been in a meeting anyway.
But, I worked efficiently all morning to make sure I was on time, and I got back to my desk with more energy than usual after lunch. Maybe it was the bit of physical activity, or maybe the sense of accomplishment of getting to the post office and library without having to wait in long lines.
But, it feels more like relaxation. Could it be that a break in the work day is a good thing? I got just as much work done, and felt better at the end of the day.
I have to try this again.
Anyone still listening?
I guess I learned a lesson about simplifying the last few months, that sometimes you have to give up something you like for another thing more important. In this case, it was a promotion at work.
Well, I’m back! I hope someone is still there. I have many drafts of posts to polish up and send off, and I hope I can get back into the swing of things. I have been reading posts to keep up with you, but now it’s time to start writing again.
What’s new with all of you?