Sunday, January 13, 2008

A new year, a new attitude?

It is Sunday night, and I am working. Yet, I am not panicked or moody or in a bad mood about the fact that I am working. I am actually having fun, and getting excited about the coming week and the work I will get done this week.


I think a large part of this has to do with the fact that I did not spend all day working. Or, I should say, thinking that I should be working and then beating myself up for watching football instead of working, and in general not enjoying the time I spent watching football or lazing around the house or doing whatever instead of working.

I used to operate this way.

Now that I am a parent, however, it is not possible for me to spend all day Sunday working. And so I've stopped expecting that I will spend all day Sunday working. I know that I have a finite amount of time to work on Sunday---an hour or two in the morning (a habit I started when I was home full-time with Baby Jane), plus a few hours in the evening after Baby Jane goes to bed. Rather than being panicked about the "lack" of time to work, I find this very freeing. It frees me up to actually feel fine about *not* working all day, to not feel guilty about playing with Baby Jane or just staring at the TV for a bit, and to enjoy my Sunday afternoon, for once.

The crazy thing is, I think I'm actually getting more work done this way, too.

Having a kid is apparently better for my work ethic than reading self-help books ever was. Who knew?


ScienceGirl said...

A female mentor of mine said the same thing - and I am glad she's not the only one :)

Unbalanced Reaction said...

I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! I am not a parent, but recently I've been taking a similar approach to Sundays. Now I get several hours of quality work done rather than several hours of regretting not getting work done.

What Now? said...

I'm becoming a huge believer that we get more done when we have less time to do it (within reason, of course) -- more efficient work, less time feeling guilty! I had friends who said the same thing about having a baby while working on their dissertations, that they got more done when they had only four hours per day of childcare to get their work done. They didn't have the luxury of getting all angst-y about their work; they just had to get down to business and actually work.

Jane said...

WN, I totally get the "not having time to get angsty" thing---I'm working on a journal article that I was stuck on, and this whole I-only-have-a-finite-amount -of-time-to-work thing has largely gotten me unstuck, because I simply don't have time anymore to worry about how "sucky" it is. I just get to work and don't think too much about it.

Andrea said...

And we need that "down" time to rest and rejuvinate. It's kind of like saying I don't know why I get so much more work done now that I have to go to sleep every day! We are more productive when we are healthy and balanced.