We need to remember that sometimes it's okay to put things down for a little while. The emails will still be there when we come back. The messages on the various platforms will still be there when we come back. The myriad of expectations and deadlines will still be there, too. While there's no denying that work must be done, it would be better to approach the efforts without the stress and tension that causes errors. This is something that I need to remember when battling the compulsion to complete just one more thing.
A couple of months ago the plan was to quit Outlook and Teams, the two most common communications tools at the day job, one hour before I planned on ending the day's work. The reason behind this wasn't to avoid communicating with colleagues in other time zones, though this was certainly an added benefit, but to ensure I wasn't chasing down information requested in a last-minute email. If something hits the inbox and I see it, then it's something I'll want to tend to. This generally escalates into a "one more thing" cycle that can see me not head to bed until 3:00am. It's simply not healthy. So by closing the applications an hour ahead of time, I'm able to finish off the things currently on the screen and perhaps strike a few more items from the To Do list.
Sometimes I wonder if moving out of the classroom and into a development role was really the best career choice. The burden of responsibility is much greater. The cost of errors much higher. Working in the classroom would mean having more personal time every week and being able to leave work at work. However, not moving into the current role would mean not having a house or a nicer car. A lot of the skills that have been developed over the last few years have been the direct result of solving problems at the day job. Staying put would have prevented me from working with some really smart people who share my passion for data completeness.
There's no denying that I'm happier where I am than where I was despite the challenges that must be overcome on a daily basis. No task worth doing is easy, after all.
But we do need to remember to step back. To press ⌘Q -- or Alt+F4, or people using Windows -- and step away from the keyboard. Doing something well is generally better than doing something quickly.