Monday, April 26, 2010

You Can Sleep When You're Dead

I always imagined workaholics as slaves chained to the desks of their life-sucking jobs or ladder climbing suck-ups always gunning for that next salary increase or promotion. Since I actually really enjoy my job most of the time, I didn't think the term could possibly apply to me. Lately though, I've developed the peculiar (even for me!) habit of turning every single extracurricular activity into a to-do list item, effectively making even fun activities into tasks to be ticked off systematically. I always seem to have more ideas and projects than time to execute them, so these days I find myself living by a rigid agenda every day of the week.

On Saturday, I might wake up at 8, reach for my iPhone and laptop that I sleep with (there's got to be something psychologically relevant about that), consult my detailed schedule, check email, then get the day underway. I (usually) start out reading the Bible and praying, make my bed, then move on to rollerblading and/or swimming laps. When I get home, I'll shower and then call my laundry guy to come pick up about 3 metric tons of dirty clothes. At 11, my schedule tells me to work on my teen social media consulting presentation, which tellingly is not something I'm doing for work, just another project I've created for myself. (Per Lauren: "Who just makes PowerPoints for fun?") Around 1 I'll check my work email and respond to queries that have come in since the last time I checked a few hours ago. I'll consult my schedule again... time to read one of my two New Year's Resolution-mandated monthly books. Then it's usually time for Beth Moore homework for my small group. Six is dinner time, and naturally, I have already written down what I'm going to eat. Afterward, I might notice I've carved an hour for myself to watch The Pacific on HBO OnDemand. Then I harass Jorel for a little while about one thing or another (technically, that's not on the list - it's just part of life), journal, blog a little, clean my room again and order groceries for Sunday delivery from Food Emporium. Finally, I'll consult the 19 lists I have saved on my iPhone and notice there are a few songs I've noted to download on iTunes. When I next consult the list, I see I've scheduled myself to play Wii for half an hour at 9:30. Right. Who has two thumbs and schedules time to play Nintendo? That's right, this gal.

I realize how absurd this over-scheduling is, but I'm not quite sure if there's a balance I should be trying to maintain or what. Even that would be something I'd have to add to the list right after playing Wii and creating more work for myself: Maintain life balance.

I did some research on this workaholic concept, because even though I schedule just about everything, I still maintain that workaholics are way over there, and I'm way over here, far from them, in my own safe little place wallpapered with scratched off old to-do lists. I found a quiz to alleviate my concerns and confirm that I'm not a workaholic.
  • Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else? Sure, I get excited about my work, but who wouldn't?! Scuba diving, kite surfing, viral social media campaigns, maintaining a client Facebook page? It's pretty exciting stuff for me! And I still maintain that family is my No. 1 priority, and my colleagues have always been supportive of my dedication to my peeps.
  • Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can't? Yes, of course.
  • Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation? Yipes. The thought of going anywhere without my computer, phone, books, magazines, journal, etc. gives me the heebie jeebies. I have yet to go on a vacation in my adult life where I have not spent some of it working. Remember when I said I was going to unplug for a while in Europe? That definitely did not happen. Even now as I'm looking at condos to rent in Hawaii, my main amenity requirement is free WiFi.
  • Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most? Hmm. I have found that when people say, "What have you been up to?" I usually just talk about work. Is that unusual?
  • Do you work more than 40 hours a week? I usually work about 45 hours a week except when I'm traveling and then it increases by a lot. Of course, that doesn't count my personal projects - Web development, blogging, social media consulting, babysitting.
  • Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures? Hello, teen social media consulting project. Yes, 100 times yes.
  • Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts? Yes.
  • Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time? No, I'm punctual to an annoying degree.
  • Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won't otherwise get done? YES - it's something I'm working on.
  • Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it? No.
  • Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing? Yes. Isn't it?
  • Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work? I don't think so. LJ, B, JMart - true or false?
  • Are you afraid that if you don't work hard you will lose your job or be a failure? No.
  • Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well? No, but that's only because I know God has my back.
  • Do you do things energetically and competitively including play? Yes.
  • Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else? No one asks me to stop working!
  • Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships? Zing. Probably. Definitely.
  • Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking? YES, but isn't that the nature of PR? Always thinking of ideas? I get my best ideas when brushing my teeth, taking a shower or sleeping.
  • Do you work or read during meals? Yes. 
According to Workaholics Anonymous, I've got it real bad. (And truthfully, so does everyone else in NYC!)

Whatever, you silly quiz! In true workaholic fashion, I am ok with your Internet "diagnosis." I only know how to be content when I've got 10 boiling pans on the stove. Boredom, idleness and even certain forms of relaxation make me uncomfortable and every time I sit down, I just end up coming up with more projects and adding more items to my lists anyhow.

List addition: Embrace work. You can sleep when you're dead.



2 comments:

Jamie said...

You may be a workaholic, but if my job involved all the fun stuff that yours does, I probably would be too!!!!!!! Also, I do not judge the Teen Social Media PowerPoint, considering I have my own "decorating ideas I like" PowerPoint, a sorted Excel document on all of my favorite restaurants, and a running Word doc of ideas for the music at my wedding.

Jamie said...

You may be a workaholic, but if my job involved all the fun stuff that yours does, I probably would be too!!!!!!! Also, I do not judge the Teen Social Media PowerPoint, considering I have my own "decorating ideas I like" PowerPoint, a sorted Excel document on all of my favorite restaurants, and a running Word doc of ideas for the music at my wedding.