I don’t know if it’s a temporary side-effect of seven weeks away from the sawmill, but I’ve been consciously less “over zealous” about all things bread-winning since returning. I realize that sentence stretches the limit of structure and comprehension so I’ll re-phrase: It’s hard to see the return on working as hard as I was before I left.
I think this has always been the case, it’s just my natural tendency to “fill-up” on work. I’m no workaholic, in fact I’m inherently quite lazy, but I do tend to take on work as it comes with very little selectivity. Put simply, unless I determine a task has zero value, I’m apt to accept it and find a way to get it done. At the sawmill this trait is received well, and has earned me both dollars and accolades. In the grand scheme of things, however, I feel it’s both unnecessary and potentially unhealthy.
One can achieve workplace success in eight hours daily; it most certainly can be done. Modern cubicle-bound jobs, however, have transcended the physical and geographical boundaries which governed our jobs of yore. I don’t need to be anywhere in particular to do my job, nor do I have to work during any prescribed timeslot. If I have an internet connection and a computer I could work in 23min bursts from midnight to 7am and no one would care if I was on the moon. The unbounded nature of these jobs in the tele-presence age makes for easy “infection” into what, historically, has been non-working hours.
And that’s where you get burned. It’s so easy to do mail on your phone, take one call at 11pm, work on that presentation after church on Sunday. I don’t go to a steel factory, a refinery, a coal mine, or an assembly plant. I don’t punch in at 8am and clock back out again when the dinosaur pulls that bird’s tailfeather. Work happens on my terms, and as great as I believe that is for productivity and flexibility it can be lethal to the concept of real free-time.
Being away for seven weeks reminds you of this. Truly severed time is precious and should be savored. I vowed to myself that I’d be vigilant about this sawmill-sprawl. Better guarding my 5pm and 8pm and Saturday mornings. It may seem like this theme is one that dominates my writing, or that I devote a lot of time to it. So maybe I do. I suppose I started writing four paragraphs ago simply to comment on how I’m less-busy, and happily so, since returning.
Don’t worry, though, I’m sure work will fix that… it has a way of filling in the cracks and I have a way of letting it. I’ll remain on alert for encroachment, though, you can bet on it.