Sunday, October 23, 2005

Compartmentalizing work time on weekends

Sometimes I think that I stress too much about things. Take, for instance, this weekend. I didn't have a lot of work to do, but I estimated that it would take me maybe 3-4 hours to actually do the work I had brought home. Which, I estimated, I could easily do in 2 2-hour shifts on Sunday, before and after this thing I had to attend with Mr. Jane.

Of course, I got preoccupied with other things around the house (and football), and didn't do any work before the thing. Which completely stressed me out, leading to me bitterly complaining to Mr. Jane that I couldn't possibly go to this thing because I'd be up so late making up for the time I lost this afternoon, blah blah blah. And so I shouldn't go because I'd be miserable and I'd make him miserable, etc etc.

So what happened? We went and I had a good time---I actually forgot about work for a while. And then we came home and I finished most of my work in under an hour. (The rest will probably take me a half hour, tops, once I finish this post.)

It's nice to be wrong about things like this, but now I wish I hadn't wasted so much mental energy stressing about the day's tasks!


ScienceWoman said...

I have a hard time working on weekends too. I get pulled in by housework, dog walking, and dumb TV...and then when I do sit down to do work the lure of the internet pulls me in and because time feels less tight on weekends I end up completely wasting it. just thought I'd let you know that you are not alone.

Jane said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one! I do have to say that the weekends where I'm the happiest are the ones where I acknowledge that I am not going to start any work until Sunday leaves me free to "waste" the rest of the weekend relatively stress-free! :)

Ms.PhD said...

It's funny, I never used to resent working weekends. I liked that the lab was social and air-conditioned in the summer, social and heated in the winter. I didn't even mind commuting in because I was able to rationalize that it would save me weeks of work to come in for a few hours on a weekend day. Maybe it did save me some weeks of work, I don't know, but now I really do resent having to go in. And I envy you guys who can work from home- it's rare that I have writing or data processing that I can or want to do at home anymore.

Lately my attitude has been mostly to the effect of : eh, what's the rush.

But lately I've also been having to go in every single day to deal with cells, usually at a specific timepoint, so I spend most of the weekend stressing out whether to procrastinate by a day or a few hours or not, whether it's really worth all of this stress, and so on. Maybe I'm just resenting it because experiments aren't working. And the only time I finish early is when stuff just totally doesn't work. You know it's bad when you're secretly hoping the experiment doesn't work just so you can justify going home early on a weekend.