This past week has been quite the break from the everyday, despite sitting at the desk and working primarily on my own projects. The biggest takeaway is that splitting my working day into three sections rather than two might actually work to my advantage but, more than this, by taking a nice three-hour "break" in the early afternoon, I can enjoy a short walk with Reiko followed by a longer walk on my own followed by picking the boy up from school and tending to his immediate needs. The slower pace has done wonders for my blood pressure, too. While this three-block working style may not always be compatible with the day job, it certainly gives me something to aim for from next Tuesday when I open Outlook and Teams for the first time in ten days1.
Time management aside, this forced time away has allowed a number of decisions to be made:
- Monthly efforts will be capped at 180 hours2
- Lunch will be spent with my wife rather than a computer
- Work stops no later than 1:00am3
The last couple of years has seen an incredible amount of effort poured into projects that are being decommissioned and (almost literally) tossed away before the end of this year. While there are lessons that can be brought from the mothballed systems into the new one, it would be foolish to continue working as ceaselessly as before. The projects I'm supposed to be focused on have more people involved, meaning there's less that requires my hands specifically. This means there will be more opportunity to share responsibilities and cross-train. Everyone will win.
More than this, though, I plan on clawing back my time to focus on the things that I want to accomplish going forward. Over the last couple of months there has been something inside of me that has simply grown tired of what I see online and in the news. Very little of it is interesting anymore, which means that time can be allocated to better things. Family and reading are two areas that will win, but so will sleep; something that has been sorely lacking over the last couple of years.
Working hard has it's advantages, but there are limits to what people can expect from themselves. I've clearly pushed too far in too many directions for too long. It's time to be a little smarter4. It's time to disconnect.
I'm seriously considering a straight [⌘]+[A]⇢[Delete] in both Outlook and Teams to start the day on Tuesday. Anything that is truly important will be sent again. Everything else can probably wait or — knowing how corporate "emergencies" tend to operate — be completely ignored.
Last month I seem to have managed 250 hours of work, which is more than six weeks of effort put into a 22-day period that included national holidays.
Given that I start at some point between 9:30am and 10:00am during the week, this seems reasonable.
I say this a lot, particularly when it comes to better time management. This is something that really needs attention on my part.