Last week, I decided (realized?) that a key component in my “procrastination” is rebellion against feeling rushed. I really hate feeling that I’m behind as soon as I get up, or that I have to stick to a tight schedule of work on this, take a break at this point, work on that, go to the gym, work on the other, fix dinner, realize that I haven’t done enough. And that’s how things have been going lately. It’s April, the spring Exploding Head Month.
I’d like to live a leisurely life. And by that I do NOT mean that I want to sleep late and spend my time playing golf and shopping. I like my job. I like my students. I like my writing. I just want to get up, read the paper, have a look at the garden to see what’s coming up, maybe go get coffee, then write. Or write first, and then get coffee, and then grade. To take a break every 15 minutes if I’m restless, or not get up for two hours if I’ve hit a “flow” state.
Work gets done this way. It really does. And it gets done with a lot less stress and anguish.
How many of us, in the current craze for “accountability,” are rushing to prove we work hard and are worth keeping around? How many of us would be more effective with a more leisured approach to work? There’s a reason (more than one, actually) that I didn’t go into the business world. I like to work at home, set my own hours, have a lot of autonomy, and yet not be running my own business with all the responsibility and hassles of a small business owner. Academia suits me very, very well. I recognize that I am very lucky to have the job I have, with tenure. I don’t think that that means I have to work in a way that doesn’t suit my personality and that makes me less effective.
I mean, what if the whole point to life is just to be happy? Try that on for a radical thought. What would you do differently if you were maximizing your happiness points? I bet most of my readers (all five or whatever) would not quit their jobs. But I also bet a lot of you don’t like to feel pressured.