The last few weeks at work have been incredibly draining. I’ve been spending 10-11 hours at work trying to get things done. And despite all that, my to-do list never seems to get any shorter. My hubby has been super busy at work too. This last week he has had to work overtime every single day and has even had to take home a project that is due this Monday. We both decided that this weekend would be a veg-out weekend. It would be a 2-day respite spent relaxing, eating well, sleeping and just plain old not doing anything other than the things we enjoy. In the spirit of total relaxation we vowed to ban out-of-town trips that are fun but still tiring, no watching of any movie that requires concentration and actual thinking, no housework (that’s still work), and saying “not this week” to any invitations that come our way.
Saturday was spent sleeping till almost noon and waking up to a delicious brunch of Chinese noodle soup (take out, of course!), I had an appointment with my eye doctor for new contact lenses (which was sort of an “obligation” but I had made the appointment two weeks ago and had to go), but right after we headed home and took another long nap. We woke up, spent the rest of the afternoon watching tv, downloading music, and making hot chocolate (the real kind not the instant kind where you just add hot water!). We met my brother for a late dinner at Palms (a fun Thai place in Hollywood where the food is really good and there is a live Thai Elvis serenading you as you enjoy spicy curries, sweet pad thais and really flavorful tom yang soup). We stopped by Barnes and Noble on our way home and picked up a couple of books. I spent the rest of the night reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (a little dragging in the beginning but really great once you get into it). Perfect night to spend reading in bed since it was raining and the weather was cool. Stayed up past midnight reading and woke up late the next day. We went to mass and had a quick lunch at Pollo Inca (a Peruvian place that serves awesome lomo saltado!). Got home, read some more, took a long leisurely soak in the tub, and am now lounging around in pajamas while reading emails. We are marinating steaks for dinner and have an evening of mindless reality tv ahead of us. Having no obligations, no stress, no work to do for a whole weekend is bliss!
I guess I wouldn’t stress about work so much if I could help it. Unfortunately I am not one of those people. I usually commit myself to things I can be 100% involved in and dedicated to. Obviously that goes both ways – it can be both good and bad. My dad’s advice is to separate my work life with my personal life. Be dedicated at work but at the end of the day, I need to switch off my “work-self” and turn on my “self-self”. It makes sense and must have worked well for my dad who is both a brilliant business man and a great family man too. But for me, the on and off switch is just not that easy to find. I get so emotionally involved at work that there are times I’ve had a hard time falling asleep and stay up worrying about projects and deadlines. My mom says not to worry too much and focus on the good things that are going for me. Again, wise advise coming from someone who has always embodied the epitome of calm. Nothing frazzles my mom – ever! But again, I’m cut from a different piece of cloth altogether. I worry a lot. In fact, there are days when I actually worry about being worried too much. Yup, that’s me.
I actually have thought of a couple of things that would make work less horrible. If I ever become a Chief People Officer and am asked by our CEO to come up with a list of things that would make work less stressful, this is what I would come up with:
1.) 4-day work weeks. Seriously. These days most people spend 5 days at work averaging about 8-9 hours a day at the office. I would gladly spend 10-12 hours at work from Monday to Thursday and get Friday off. Same amount of hours but in less days. It would save on travel time and cost, plus on other company resources too – such as people productivity!
2.) If that’s too radical, then we could keep the 5-day work week but employees get to pick one day to work at home. In this day and age of high technology – I am sure we could manage this. Afterall, there are some people I barely see emerge from their cubicles all week, it wouldn’t matter if they were in or not as long as they turned in their work.
3.) Flexible time. As long as we turn in at least 40 or even 50 hours a week working – it should not matter when we are at work, should it? As long as the work gets done on time and gets done well – who cares if we it was done on Monday at 9 AM or Monday at 9 PM? I mean apart from jobs that relate to customers – I guess those have to have regular hours.
4.) Work life balance. Work hours are for work and time after that is for one’s personal use! No weekend projects, no reports handed at 6 PM on Friday that are due first thing on Monday morning, no teleconferences scheduled on Saturdays.
5.) Meetings should be scheduled ahead of time (no surprises) so everyone comes prepared. Also, meetings should be timed – no meeting should exceed an hour (I don’t care how important they are – if everyone is prepared and focused on the topic at hand – there’s nothing that can not be decided in an hour). If need be, schedule another meeting since spending an extra 3 hours at the table arguing and going over the same things are absolutely pointless.
6.) E-mail should only be used as a last resort. These days we email people for everything. I’ve gotten emails from people who sit right next to me. It’s just so impersonal. And so many things get lost in translation too.
7.) The office can be fun too. I really think there should be more “fun” at work. I mean school used to be fun even if we had to sit in class and study all day, even with homework and grades, and even with tests! Work should be fun too – honestly, everyone should just lighten up!
That’s pretty much all I have so far. I could go on but I should stop now and start psyching myself up for the coming work week.