When 90% of your work can be done remotely, it’s really hard to remember that it’s okay to give yourself a day off. This is always true, but is especially relevant when we don’t have our usual distractions. I used to spend weekends with friends and go to baseball games on weeknights, which helped me not think about work all the time. I’ve been hiking a lot lately, which helps, but it’s not as helpful as my old habits. I’ve had to figure out other ways to force myself away from my inbox.
I find myself feeling guilty whenever I do something other than work. I have always felt like this, even when there wasn’t a stay at home order. When I catch up on my favorite TV shows, I could be reading queries. When I bake cupcakes, I could be reading manuscripts. When I go hiking with my brothers, I could be researching editors or comp titles.
Except, I’m usually doing these things after work hours and on weekends. So I shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying my free time. Yet, I do.
The thing is, I don’t mind working outside normal office hours. It comes with the gig, and I’ve found all of my clients by reading their projects on evenings and weekends. What I need to remind myself, though, is that it’s okay to spend a day not working.
So, I force myself to take a break. I chose Sunday as my Day Off mostly because I was reading queries one Sunday morning and realized I didn’t have to. So I finished the one I was working on, downloaded a mindless game on my phone, and spent the rest of the day Not Working. (Okay, so maybe I continued to check my email and ended up reading a few more queries, but it was A Start.)
I’ll never distance myself from my email completely. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though. I’ve been avoiding my email on weekends. I only check it a couple times on Saturday, if at all, and I go all of Sunday without opening the app or checking on my laptop. I try out new cupcakes recipes and cook dinner for the family. I watch movies with my dad and cuddle with my dogs. I challenge myself with harder and harder hikes, including Bear Mountain, which is the highest peak in CT.
I video chat with friends, or send memes to my various group chats. After quarantine is over and it’s safe to do so, I’ll start spending my weekends with friends again. It’s a lot easier to not check your email when there are people holding you accountable.
The point is, you don’t have to work 24/7, even if you can do a lot of your work at home. Let yourself do other things from the safety of your home, or go out for a walk if you’re able. Just remember, give yourself a break!
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