Rituals and routines
Published: Friday 2005-02-04.
Gerður, a colleague of mine, posted about how she spends too much time at work. I commented on how I try not to fall into that trap, and since the comment turned out to be longer than some of the posts here in my blog lately, I felt I should replay it here for the rest of you, with some minor edits:
The “trick” I use not to let work take up all of my available time is to have routines that I follow every work day. I stand up the same time each morning, I go to work the same time, I have lunch the same time every day and I go home the same time every afternoon. When having that kind of fixed routines, my co-workers (and superiors) know what times they can reach me at, and at what times they cannot reach me at (the latter is just as important as the first).
I also try to stay away from work when I am at home. I do log in to our internal IRC server, but during off-hours its mostly non-work talk anyway. I do occasionally check the bug tracking system, definitely filing bugs I find using the program at home, but I usually don’t do any work on the bugs assigned to me. I do not read work e-mail from home, nor do I have access to the source code from home.
I am not really that fond of getting up early in the morning, so having the clock radio start playing at 06:15 every weekday is a pain, but it is a pain I am willing to live with since it helps me stay on track. This morning I tried sleeping in, so I set the alarm forward—but I still woke up at around 06:30, so these routines seems to be quite profoundly programmed into my subconscious by now.
I don’t feel bad for leaving “early” in the afternoon, because I do come in early in the morning, and I always do work (at least) the hours that are stipulated by my employment contract. I do occasionally work overtime if forced to because it is required by a project, but the keyword there is occasionally.
Now if I could only find a life to fill up the off-work hours with...
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