I was reminded this over the break. I took the last week of December “off,” with some actual vacation time planned, as well as some time to get to the tasks done— budgets for the new year, tax info for the old, that sort of thing. On Monday, I had loosely planned to get some blog posts written, but I didn’t set the alarm, so I rolled out of bed late, had a leisurely breakfast, watched a bit of TV, had a workout, and then realized it was nearly lunchtime. And by then, I was sucked into the Dr. Who marathon on BBCA, so I gave up productivity for the day. (Days off are important too!) I also found that I was still very much in the mode of vacation eating, sort of grazing but not on healthy things, and not in a way that left me feeling particularly energized. I enjoyed my lazy day, but also didn’t accomplish what I hoped to.
On Tuesday was more productive. I set the alarm like a regular workday, and went through my regular old morning routine. By 8, I was at my makeshift home workstation and ready to go! I cranked through my emails and all the icky financial stuff, and I even squeezed in an appointment. That’s not to say that I regret my Monday off, because I clearly needed it, but I could also imagine myself getting into a pattern like that, not getting any of the stuff done that I needed for the week, and feeling kind of lazy and gross, and probably making my way through all the assorted leftover holiday goodies, possibly in a single day.
Now, you may not be a person who needs that level of structure and organization, but if so, I think you’re a rarity. My task-y week reminded me that I need to add structure to my days if I’m going to accomplish anything, I need to do it by sticking to work routines. I can relax a bit more than normal, taking time to cook a lunch from scratch, for instance, but I mostly need to treat the day as a regular one. I suspect that’s true for most people, so if you’re in job-search mode, treat that as your job. Choose the time of day that makes sense to you, and set that time aside for 3 or 4 days of the week and focus on your hunt for employment. I don’t advise working on it every single day, because the work is kind of demoralizing, especially when you aren’t hearing back, or are just getting “thanks but no thanks” responses. So while I think it’s important to treat it as work, I also think it’s important to treat it as a sort of part-time job. Give yourself time away from it, and be sure to plan some time to relax and do something you enjoy.