I made a big mistake the other night. I was doing maintenance on my mailing lists. I was quite excited about deleting people who were no longer valid subscribers. I deleted too many people and screwed up the Create Adaptable Life mailing list. I fixed it, and that got me thinking about several things:
- I am behind on my mails to this list. Not the weekly posts, the quarterly emails.
- I am behind on getting all the newsletters up on the newsletter page.
- Why was I doing this important work at 9pm???
Bad Johanna. (For all three.)
I know myself. I can read at night. I can sometimes write drafts of articles, as long as I review them another day. I am not good at thinking well that late at night. I wake up at 6am. By 9pm, I should be long done. What was I thinking?
I’m not the only one working long hours, even though we know better. Some of my clients explain that they regularly work 14-16 hours a day. I ask, “When do you stop working for the day?” and they say, “When I go to bed.”
That’s nuts. The longer we work in a given day, the more tired we are. The more tired we are, the more likely we are to make mistakes. Our companies don’t hire us to make mistakes. They hire us to deliver valuable work.
I understand where this comes from. I was trying to get just a little bit more done that day. I succeeded in making more work for myself. (Not too bright, eh?) I did that because I’m behind.
Here’s the problem:
You can’t make up time.
You can’t. It doesn’t matter if you what work you’re doing, you can never make up time. Time marches on, regardless of what you do. You can choose what not to do. You can choose how long to spend on something. But, there is no way to make up time.
I teach this in all my workshops. And, it’s so insidious, that every so often, I fall prey to the same problem. “If I just spend another 10 minutes, I can get caught up.” Nope, that will never happen.
So, I work until 6:30 pm. Sometimes, if I have homework for a writing class I’m taking, I write after dinner. But, that’s a rare event.
Dear adaptable problem solvers, that is the question this week: When do you stop working for the day?
P.S. If you subscribe to this site’s newsletter, I expect to release one this coming weekend.
- When Are You Serious?
- How Do You Feed Your Curiosity?