First off, I admit that I have never been much of a procrastinator. I never pulled an all-nighter in the library during college to finish a paper due at 9am the next day. I like to think I’m a pretty efficient worker. Even so, when I worked in an office, I developed a routine of work avoidance—things I would do, sites I would go to in order to procrastinate. However, in the months I’ve been working from home, I’ve noticed that I no longer do this. And I think I know why.
When you work in an office, you are required to work certain hours. For those hours you must be at your desk, regardless of whether or not you intend to work or have the work to fill all of those hours. Because those hours, they’re not your time. They’re the company’s time, and you must work on their time. You must be at your desk for eight hours, even if your work for the day might only take you four. I think this fact is what led me to make my rounds of the Internet multiple times throughout the day—I knew I would get my work done eventually, but I had to be at my desk no matter what. I was working on their time.
But now, working from home, I’m not working on anyone else’s time. I’m working on my time. And it is my decision how I want to use my time. Sure, I could still sit in front of my computer all day, working for a while, surfing the Internet for a while here and there. But that hasn’t been the case. I’ve found that thinking of the work day as my own time has increased my productivity and efficiency far beyond what it used to be when I worked in an office—because when my work is done, so is my time in front of the computer. I can exercise, cook, clean, shop, work on a passion project, watch a movie…anything I want to do, because the time is mine.
Not being chained to my desk for a set number of hours has set my free physically and mentally and has helped me realize my productivity potential (is that a phrase? If it’s not, it should be). It has also given me the comfort and confidence to schedule other things during the work day—I just signed on to teach a second midday Zumba class, for example. Having things like this on the calendar, things I have to work around, does help with productivity, since it can get exhausting to constantly be determining my own schedule. And sure, there are days when I do sit at my desk for eight hours, but only because the work I have to do that day requires it. I rarely visit my old go-to sites anymore—they were a way to fill time, and these days I have the opportunity to fill that time with more rewarding and enjoyable endeavors. And yes, there are days when I don’t feel like doing work, when I do get the urge to procrastinate. But when that does happen, I think about the (nearly) endless list of things I could spend my time doing if the work were done, and I head over to my desk and bang it out.