Changing the Clock in My Head

I am now in week two of my new reality. I am still figuring out what this new reality looks like. One thing I have noticed is that my thought process when it comes to productivity is flawed in a few ways. One of those ways is how my brain sees time.

Most of my life I have lived and worked with a time clock, both literally and figuratively. I had an exact time I was supposed to be at work. I had an exact time I was done with work. I had specific times I would wake up every day. My kids had times they were supposed to be at the bus stop, or in later years, leave in their car to get to school on time. Even when I was working completely from home last spring, I had times I was supposed to clock in and out each day and I had specific times when that I considered work time.

Now that I am on sabbatical, semi-retired, unemployed, whatever you want to call it, I have discovered that my brain is still telling me if I have done enough based on the old clock. If I am done with everything I had planned for the day to early, I look at the clock and think “It’s still early. I haven’t done enough today” What my brain forgets is that my da didn’t start at my normal 9am time.

Take last Monday as an example. My dog woke me up at 5:30am. I decided not to try to go back to sleep. I made coffee and read the paper and then got started with my day, I wrote a blog post. I took a shower. I put in a load of laundry. I watched the ALA Youth Media Awards and then wrote another blog post about that. I then wrote 1000 words or so on my attempt at a jail memoir and then folded the laundry. I was done with all of that by noon. And then my brain was telling me I was lazy because it was noon and I was reading my book instead of “doing something productive: There are two problems with that 1. reading is productive and 2. I had already been busy for about 6 hours. 6 hours is a full day. It isn’t less productive because I started and ended early. If I start my day at 6 and end at 12 it is like starting at 9 and ending at 3. If I did that, I wouldn’t tell myself I was lazy because I stopped working at 3.

Today I will write some. I will read some. I will shovel snow. I will clean the oven after a sweet potato mishap last night. That is productive even if I’m done by early afternoon.

I need to change the clock in my head. I am fortunate to no longer be tied down to a 9-5 schedule. I need to stop judging myself on 9-5 terms.


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