Work expands so as to fill the time available for
More time. More space. More of both. But when we have more of either, what do we do with it? Fill it up.
In April of this year I started a job working from home; From there on in I was able to make my own schedule and it was oh so glorious in comparison to my days commuting hours on end. One of my closest friends just said today How blessed you are to make your own schedule and I am! Oh, I am.
But with complete freedom comes responsibility that in the modern world we’re just not taught to navigate. That big part of you that followed rules and schedules for so long and is finally free. Don’t feel like waking up? No problem. Sleep in! No one is watching and all of your co-workers don’t log on until nine anyway. Bored with work and want to go on an adventure? Do it! You can make it up later. Long lunch? You deserve it….and so on.
So after eight months or so of basking in the freedom of working when I want while finding ways to figure out ways to negate the loneliness, I have finally realized that I need a schedule.
Parkinson’s Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
It makes perfect sense: the longer you have to do something, the longer it will take you to do. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. I’ve always thrived in situations where I had to get crafty with my schedule to allow time for everything, in opposed to unlimited free time that invites procrastination. You can say the same thing about space in your house, or your suitcase, or whatever example you want to use. The more space you have, the more opportunity you have to fill it up.
So in bed the other night, I made a little list; It should be noted that making a list in bed is not conducive to efforts to promote relaxation and thwart anxiety, but it was necessary. Anyway, on the list I jotted down my ideas about WHY a schedule is important to me and what it means for my priorities and HOW I’m going to do it. Here is draft one:
- Develop a routine to: feel productive, have less anxiety over incomplete tasks, pay attention to my personal priorities, stop procrastinating, stop living in “fear” that you’re going to catch yourself forgetting something
- Decide what can be categorized and/or automated, such as bills, due dates, appointments, and so on.
- Set aside times to complete tasks you don’t want to do and get them off your mind, perhaps 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day.
- Determine “timesucks” and figure out a way to reduce the time it takes to do them (mine: supplements, mealtimes, “quick breaks”)
- Establish goals and priorities and set aside time to pursue them (writing, relaxation/meditation, exercise)
- Determine free time outside of work hours and create a sample schedule. If I wake up at 6am and begin work at 6:30, including a half hour for lunch, I can be done with work at 3pm(!!). That gives me 5 hours of time to pursue the things I deem important.
How do you schedule your time? Do you feel over or under scheduled? Any tweaks you can make to make your days more in line with the life you want to live?