Work Hard, Play Hard … And Get Some Rest In Between

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

I guess I’ve been on “summer” hours lately. At least that’s the way it feels. What used to be a morning ritual of grabbing a cup of coffee and hitting the keyboard has now become rolling back over in bed, begrudgingly getting up at the last minute, then curling up on the sofa until it’s time to go to work. Then I make my coffee. That’s okay, I quit early to make up for it.

With my luck, this is the one day the boss will read my post. And no, that’s not exactly how it works. Last night I worked three hours over to make up for some perceived non-productive time during the day. You know, taking a couple of five-minute breaks, checking the weather, and things like that. I’d say the day worked out in the company’s favor.

That’s the way it is when you work from home. In fact, my employer sent an email a couple of weeks ago to remind us that there’s a time to work and a time to call it a day. And, during the day, we need to get away for 10-15 minutes and take a real break. But why? There’s nobody hanging around the coffee pot, and the snack machine in my house is empty anyway.

To people who have never worked from home, it’s a novel concept. Get out of bed, brush your teeth, straighten your pajamas, and walk across the hall to “the office.” Okay, in my case it’s in the basement, but you get the idea. No dressing up, no commute, and instead of a soda machine I’m six feet from a refrigerator full of beer. What could possibly go wrong?

But the reality is, working from home can lead to burnout even faster than clocking in at the office. The reason is simple. You tend to skip the things that would normally take you away from your desk at work. Even lunch. It’s just as easy to eat at your desk, especially if the dining room table IS your desk. And since you’re there anyway, you might as well be productive.

And then there are days like yesterday when you get on a roll and don’t want to break the momentum. I’m a business analyst, which means I spend half my day in meetings asking dumb questions, and the rest of the day writing the answers and coming up with more dumb questions. And, as any writer knows, when you’re on a roll, you don’t stop for anything.

We spend most of our days so focused on getting the job done that it’s easy to forget when to step away and let life take a turn. And that’s important – every bit as important as making sure we don’t spend too much time in the break room or hanging over a friend’s desk. Run your computer all day without recharging it, and the result is pretty much the same.

It’s all about balance. Work when it’s time to work, then step away. Take a break. Pet the dog. Spend some time with the kids. Take a walk around the block. None of those things takes more than a few minutes, but they’re critical to your physical and mental wellbeing. Just as critical as getting out of bed and doing something productive. Maybe even more.

And if you just have to stay busy, put some of that time to use for yourself. Set a goal. Put a picture of your dream on the refrigerator and spend a little time working on that. Sure, it’s still work. But that’s true of anything that doesn’t involve TV and a recliner. Still, there’s a difference between working for a paycheck and working toward a dream. You should try it.

And when all that work is done, take a breather. In fact, take a few breathers. If the company gives you a paid break, take it. Even if you’re home. And if sitting on the couch during “working” hours makes you feel guilty, take a walk. When lunchtime comes, get away. Even if it means leaving the house completely. Your body needs it, and so does your brain.

It’s been said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It also makes him a psychotic timebomb that nobody wants to be around. Work when it’s time to work, but know when to call it a day. You’ll be healthier and happier, and so will everyone around you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved