I work like a madman. However, I often come away thinking I don’t work enough. I’ll tell you why I can put in 10 hour work days, 7 days a week, without breaking a sweat. It’s not because I have super powers or even that I love what I am doing, it’s how I manage my time between work and life. When I attend to work it’s only when I am at the most alert and ready to buckle down and get things done. This means I don’t work when I am sleepy, distracted or hungry. The traditional workplace wasn’t the best for me, and may not be the best place for you either.
Perhaps it’s time to think of other options.
The first thing that I realized is that I needed to eliminate the clock, the time card, the check-in and check-out mentality that held me back. Nothing forcing me to get to work was a big motivator for me to actually get to work, but not at 9am on the dot. Instead, I started work as soon as I was ready and able, waking up naturally, showering, eating breakfast, and only then was I ready for the day.
At my previous employer, I can’t count the amount of times I had to rush out the door waking up late, just trying to get to work on time. Occasionally, I would just throw my hands up in despair because the clock counted me 1 minute late. It didn’t matter if I stayed an hour or two later in the day, it was the 1 minute in the morning that got me in trouble. Sure, getting there even earlier is always an option but, everyone is familiar with the feeling of trying to get stuff done when you are still half-awake.
Things are quite different now. I get into the shared office “SALT*” around 11am, work for a few hours and then go for a swim. Luckily, here in Imajuku there is a S.U.P.*(Stand Up Paddle) and windsurfing shop next door, so for 500 yen you can hop on a surfboard and paddle all around the bay. 40 minutes later I am back at my desk working some more. Hungry, I take a break to go get some food at the italian restaurant downstairs on the second floor. A hearty lunch filled with fresh vegetables and ingredients all locally grown in Itoshima.
*SALT…a shared office by the sea in Imajuku. It is on the third floor of the building overlooking the bay.
*S.U.P…a marine sport where people stand on large surfboard and paddle.
Back up stairs, back to work.
An hour or so after eating my eyes get droopy, the sound of the waves lapping at the beach and the warm sunlight from the windows makes me drowsy. Pulling my hat over my eyes I take a 20 minute power nap, my cellphone alarm rings and I’m awake and refreshed. I spend the rest of my time working till I get hungry and decide to head home. I will either cook dinner or find some new restaurant I have yet to try and get something to eat. After an episode of “The Walking Dead” I’ll do some more work till it’s around that time to go catch up for a drink with friends.
In my head, my day consisted of waking up with no alarm, going to the beach, swimming, taking naps, eating out, watching the walking dead, and then going for drinks with friends. When someone asks me how my day was, I tell them it was great! I used to reply, “Meh, ya know just working.” I don’t see my work as the main focus of my time anymore, work is what happens between me enjoying myself, not the other way around.
Tallying up the actual hours worked it is an 8-10 hour work day. Without breaking a sweat, that kind of day for me feels effortless. The reason why the weekday doesn’t phase me one bit, is that my weekdays are like my weekends. Everyday is focused on what experiences I had, not how much work I accomplished. How was your day?