I successfully completed my little experiment to resist the temptation to spread out my work and just do it already. I didn't work as quickly as I might have. If I had, I would have finished about a day before I did, but all in all, it was successful.
Now I am in my third week of nothing to do at work. I have had one-off jobs that take a few minutes, but for the vast majority of my time, I have been aimlessly clicking around the Internet, grasping at conversations, looking for something to do. It's painful.
I have done some procrastinated research on money software and finally revamped my whole retirement portfolio since my employer decided to "make retirement simpler and easier" by eliminating all of our previous choices, forcing us to roll our entire portfolio into something else, and requiring us to choose new funds for future contributions. Easier and simpler, indeed. The time has not been completely in vain, but I have fast run out of things to do.
So what have I learned here?
I definitely think it was worthwhile to push through my desire for distraction and just work. There was some disciple to be practiced. It's good to practice.
But I was right in dreading the inevitable outcome. I still have three more days before the new monthly files start trickling in again. I squirm in my chair. Getting out of bed is harder knowing all I have to look forward to is clicking around the Internet all day. That's fun for a day or two, but it gets old. Painfully boring, sometimes. Even writing blog posts is harder because there is nothing pricking my mind into activity.
Will I keep it up? I don't know.
In April, I am taking the entire first full week off of work, thanks to the new vacation policy. The first week of the month is my busiest time. In the past, there was someone available to pick up my slack, but those people have left. When I return towards the middle of the month, I will be very busy since a) I will be behind and b) April is a short work month anyway.
But May? I will have to decide if I will again practice working through distractions. Perhaps I will do it again. We are hoping that I will be able to submit my resignation in May or June. I can slug through those months of two weeks of work and two weeks of nothing without much discouragement.
One thing I have discovered is that I don't feel nearly as bad about all the work procrastination over the years. I have silently berated myself for wasting so much time at work, but I have a clearer understanding of how it is a coping mechanism more than a shirking of duty. I was right to suspect weeks without any work would be very uncomfortable to endure. I think this boom and bust cycle would be difficult to maintain for years. Even now, I feel the lethargy creeping. Even though it is a maladjustment outside of work and I need to break the work habits when outside of work, I think I have probably been a better employee for slacking than not, perverse though it sounds. My tolerance would be much lower by now if I had endured eight years of these weeks of boredom.
But practicing differently for now might bear some good fruit. Hopefully though, the end is near and I will develop a little more self control right here approaching commencement.
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