Monday, January 8, 2007

Wasting Time #2 -- Blurred Boundaries


Over the Christmas season, I was able to take some much needed vacation from my job. I took ten whole days off. Then, last week, we had a short week plus faculty development, which was more fun than work. I spent those couple of weeks reading and writing a lot, more than I had in a long time. I was cocooning myself in my living room, bundled up in blankets and cuddling with my kitties, and spending time doing what I love.
Today, I had my first "real" day of work of the new year. I thought it might be difficult to plunge right back into the frenetic pace, but instead it felt like I hadn't missed a beat at all. I was back to my 15 minute lunch break, mad dashes around the building lifestyle. There were times when I forgot to go the bathroom.

I have been thinking tonight about how easy it is for me to do that-- sacrifice break times and down times and let work consume me. Even when I got home today, I didn't feel like writing; I felt like working or worrying about work. I realized that the healthy barrier I constructed around myself over the break is being slowly etched away by my daily work activities. Or more realistically, I am stretching my own boundaries while working.

I've called this a time waster because, even though I am efficient and sufficient at my job, I am preventing myself from doing what I really love, my writing. I have to constantly remind myself that I am paid for 40 hours a week, not 400. I wish I could turn my work on and off, like a light switch, but I am still sorting that out for myself.

I think that other people (those magical other people whose houses are clean and lives are orderly) have this part figured out. They can work their jobs, come home, put their jobs away, and focus on their real lives. I wonder how they manage to do that at all. While I try to figure it out, I'll just focus on repairing those boundaries, between my work and my real life, after stretching them much too thin.

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