I've been working remotely from home for almost a year now. One benefit I have to working remotely is that I am allowed a flexible work schedule.
But what does that mean? Can I just work whenever I want, as long as I clock X amount of hours in?
A flexible work schedules means you can make adjustments to your schedule around other things. Have a doctor's appointment at 2PM? Getting a headache at 11am? Then block some time out for those things, and make the work up when you can.
This was a lesson that took quite a while for me to learn.
Every weekend, I'm assigned a few hours of studying for professional enrichment. At first I blocked out Friday mornings, but eventually, procrastination kicked in. I ended up putting work off until Sunday night.
At first I thought this would be OK. I would just "go with the flow". But this is not deliberate planning -- this is procrastination in plain sight.
Sundays weren't even convenient for me. That was the day I planned to finish any school work. But now, once I finished my homework, I couldn't stop. I had to study for work, and write a reflective journal entry on the past work week. Sunday turned into a full work day, and was no longer part of the weekend.
I repeated this behavior for just over a month. Every Sunday I was left exhausted, but at the same time my mind was wired from being on the computer all day. It was hard to fall asleep, so Mondays became extra difficult.
Last month I hit "rock bottom" with this behavior. I did my homework and studying Sunday night as I had been for weeks. But come Monday morning, I realized that I forgot to write my journal entry. At first I thought about blowing it off, but these entries weren't just busy work. I write them to reflect on challenges from the week. And as you encounter and move through challenges, you grow.
I took that morning to write up my entry. But from that point forward, I decided to stop this behavior. I made sure to make my study schedule more deliberate. At the start of each week, I will block Friday mornings off for my weekend study. If something comes up, only then will I update my calendar.
I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks, but my stress levels Sunday into Monday have drastically improved. I can dedicate Sundays entirely to homework for school. I can start to have a weekend again.
It's all about wiggle-room. Not about willy-nilly decisions.
For this weekend, I blocked 9am-12pm ahead of time. But by Thursday night, I knew I would be feeling groggy the next morning, so I pushed my studying back only an hour. Unfortunately, by the time I started studying, I still didn't feel right. I couldn't focus. What I was trying to learn wasn't clicking.
So what did I do? I made a deliberate decision to move my studying to Sunday morning. I don't have homework due this week, so it worked out. Now that it's Sunday afternoon and I'm done with work, I can say that I am glad I made this decision. I still have plenty of hours left in the day, and in my weekend.
I made a conscious decision, instead of abusing what it means to have a flexible schedule, and letting procrastination rule my life.