I waited to write this article, giving myself a few weeks to get immersed in my new-job. I figured, “Oh yeah, after a month I’m sure I’ll know what I’m doing.” Wrong. And naive. I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m pretty much just treading water to stay above it all. So the title kind of lies. This is more of a brainstorming session that I’m bringing you in on.
How do I actually manage and expand my free time, now that I’m a full-timer? What does that look like? What are the practical steps I need to take, to make sure I’m not working even when I’m not working?
That’s been the hardest part so far. Working even when I’m not working. My mind is in work mode 24/7, and I’m not sure how to adjust yet. To be ok with leaving things unfinished, or a long to-do list on the desk. I’m new, so I want to do everything well and exceed expectations. That’s a great goal to have, but it also means that all of my projects take a lot longer than the time allotted. One, because I’m still learning things which makes things slower. And two, like I mentioned I want to exceed expectations so everything I’ve done, I’ve done over the top. To impress, yes. But also to gain the confidence of my bosses, to show that I can handle this. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Right?
So now what? I know the problem, but I don’t know the right solution. But here is a quick list that I’m going to start with, and see where it gets me.
- No e-mails after 5. I’m not sure if this will be totally possible, because of the nature of my work sometimes I’m waiting on a response that only comes in the evening (of course, right?). But I’m going to try.
- People over projects. At the end of the day, the people in my life matter more than work. Obviously I have obligations to fulfill, but I can’t let myself become so consumed with work that my relationships suffer. That’s not worth anything.
- Breathe. My work will be there tomorrow, and nothing is going to fall apart if I’m not there. So I can breathe, remind myself I’m just one person and that it’s only healthy for me to have space. My mind will work best if it’s had time to rest.
So I’ll try these out, and let you know how it goes. Maybe it will inspire you to make sure you’re looking for balance. We have limited free time now that we’re full-timers (can I get an amen?!), so we need to take advantage of it. Starting by letting our free time actually be free time, and not just more hours to work. And on that note, I’m going to get myself a pedicure in time to make it to happy hour with my girls. Cheers!