Lessons of a Working Stiff

This last month was living hell if it ever was one.  Let’s see, I’ve already racked up close to 60 hours of overtime and I still have a whole next week for more.  There were a couple days where I showed up at the office at 8AM and left 11:30PM.  Not to mention I caught two different colds for the last two weeks.  Luckily, I’ve gotten through the rough patch.  I think.  Took a look at my bank balance yesterday and was shocked but not totally surprised.  I knew it was coming as I had somehow managed to charge close to $3000 dollars to my card what with the various doodads I’ve been buying.

My goal from today is to stop drinking alcohol after getting home (after I finish that bottle of wine) and binge eating chocolate at night.  It was certainly a growing experience and I do plan to take it easy for a bit starting with a truly refreshing weekend after finally being freed from a deadline.  You don’t know how much of a relief this is.  Next week I’m going to start partying more and taking some victims with me.

Not to bore you with my boring life, here are some nice tidbits I walked away with.

Wake Up at the Same Time

I do this seven days a week.  Only on weekends I might read the paper, watch TV, or exercise then sleep a little more but never sleep past noon, it’ll screw up the rest of your week after Sunday.  Keeping a regular sleep schedule is probably one of the best things you can do for your mental health.  If you can’t wake up then it means you need to sleep earlier not wake up later.  I can measure the stress I feel based on how dreadful I feel on waking.

The more turbulent your working life, the more your other routines should remain.  For me, it was exercise in the morning.  That’s where I draw the line.  Remember, a day has 24 hours and all you’re doing is subtraction.  If you subtract too much sleep and add too much work, you die or bore others to death with your zombie state.  The good news is that even if you subtract a bit of work, nobody dies.  Trust me.  You just need to work on multiplying the time that you do indeed subtract for work.

Intensity is Good, but Not All the Time

We all need a little intensity to spice up our life.   Without a little pressure you will not grow beyond your limits and for people, limits are always fluid and flexible.  Of course, there is too much of a good thing.  There’s a fine difference between a passionate affair and a stalker.  Don’t let work be a stalker.  Even if it costs you a tiny promotion, definitely decompress after you put in a full effort.  Otherwise, your brain will probably not reap the benefits anyway.

Learn How to Turn Off Your Brain

The best way for me to relax is to either exercise or watch a movie.  I can literally feel my head spinning after some intense programming sessions.  Even after my hands stop my head keeps twirling and twirling like a broken record.  The only way to get out of that maddening loop is to shut off all the rational facilities (obviously not happening) or divert their attention.  Exercise, movie watching, and sleep are probably the only real moments for me to really get away from it all.  Wouldn’t mind reading a book but that takes effort and something I don’t want to do when I’m tired.

Things that don’t stop my brain from spinning are: video games and web surfing.  I try not to do these things as they get my brain off of work but end up keeping my brain in a semi-excited state.  Beer helps too, but for that you pay a stiff price.

It really depends on what you are into.  There are some people who do needle point or play instruments (wish I could do that).  Whatever it is, indulge in it as soon as you hit the office door.  You’ll get better sleep too.

That’s all for now.  I’m going to start looking at my options for a better way to spend the weekends other than watching movies with a glassy look in my eyes or shopping groceries.  All the productivity tips in the world can’t save you from becoming a zombie unless you get creative on the weekends.  Wish me luck.