Busy days

When I finished school in May I felt like I had an abundance of free time. No need to sit in class for six hours a week; No need to put in countless hours of reading during my weeknights; No dreaded group projects to suffer through on my weekends. Of course, we tend to fill whatever time we have available, don't we? So part of my newfound free time was given over to teaching a Financial Peace class on Sunday mornings as well as becoming more active in my role as Shiloh board member. (I also tried to rejoin my soccer team, but that had a swift and painful conclusion).

For a while, my work started to fill up that time as well. My trips to Amsterdam created a great deal of work for me to do, and for a few weeks this fall I would leave work, get home, eat dinner, pull out the laptop, and get right back to work. This obviously wasn't any fun for me or for Beth. So I started enforcing a no-work-from-home rule. I assumed this meant one of two things had to happen: stay late to get everything done, or leave without finishing everything. But what I found was something in between. By setting a deadline for myself each day to leave work on time and refrain from doing any work at home, I have been able to do a better job of addressing the more important tasks and finding other ways to deal with the less important things (which could mean delegating to someone else or letting them remain undone for some period of time). I have since learned that this is in line with Parkinson's Law which states that "work will fill the time available for its completion."

I am now able to finish everything that I need to accomplish and still get home at a reasonable hour and have a nice evening with Beth. There are still a number of projects that I would like to do and simply don't have time for, but I'm hopeful that I'll find a solution that doesn't involve working longer hours. I think I know a good place to start: Yesterday afternoon I was looking through my Sent Items on my email program at work, trying to find a message I had sent in the morning. It wasn't a particularly busy day for me, but there seemed to be a lot of sent messages to look through. It turns out that I sent 112 work-related emails yesterday. Over a 10 hour workday, that averages out to one email every 5 1/2 minutes. Considering the hours spent in meetings each day, the rate of emailing is even higher (not to mention all of the IMs and phone calls). There must be a better way...

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