Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Virtues of a One Day Stay-cation

Yesterday, I took a day off work in order to try and burn through a few things in my Quest-log. When I’m at work, I often feel that if I could convert the amount of work that I put in during the day at the office into time spent working on my own personal projects, that I could write epic novels, symphonies and produce telephone directory sized comic books on a daily basis. As a result of having a few paid leave days that needed to be demolished, I decided to put my idea in to practice.

I’m still not sure whether it was productive or not. I spent most of the evening oscillating between saying to Fien that “I’m disappointed that I didn’t get enough done” and “I enjoyed my day off and feel really happy about it” which, aside from confusing her a little, made me feel like I hadn’t made the most of my time off, even if I wasn’t entirely dissatisfied with it.

As for what I managed to get done, it wasn’t a complete disaster. I wrote two (albeit fairly lackluster) posts for this blog, I caught up with my lectures and even got ahead by doing one of today’s lectures early, I finally committed to Bristol Board the pencil outline of the first page of a comic I’ve been working on/thinking about for the last month, I did a load of washing in my current favorite blog topic and I had some time to chill out with my girlfriend as well. When I look at it like this, it was a hugely successful day, with more than one item being crossed of my list.

On the other hand, I could have done more. I have a project that I’m working on for a friend that, despite the absence of a due-date, is now so far overdue that it’s starting to go moldy and I had hoped that I would be able to at least partially cross it off my list. I didn’t finish that first page of my overly-planned comic. I only did a couple of lectures and no real substantive work on my course. I only did one load of washing. Essentially I started a lot of things but either finished them poorly or didn’t get far enough into them to feel that I’d achieved anything.

I think if I were to analyze my day, and I’m going to, then I’d say that I didn’t have enough direction. What I should have done is set some clear goals to have achieved by the end of the day, and whereas I had specified some vague goals from my to-do list, the fact that they were vague goals presented itself in the vague results that I attained.

I think I would do this again, but be clearer about what I wanted to during my day. I’ve always had a tendency to squander any time off work anyway and I’ve only now realized how one can succeed in making the most of it. Maybe I need to take a lesson from the way in which BPP College teaches its classes, in that they start every session, lecture and chapter of their manual with a “Learning Outcome” section that tells you what you’re going to do and allows you to keep focus. Next time I have a day off, I will sit down a make a “what-I-want-to-get-done Outcome” page to help me keep the same level of focus. If it works, maybe I’ll let you know about it.

Additional Notes:

I actually cannot stand the word “Stay-cation” as it sounds incredibly trashy, but it does unfortunately describe the staying-at-home during your time off idea perfectly and so I find myself unable to use any other word.

I promise I’ll stop talking about the ********ing washing machine now. Anyone reading this can clearly see how shaken up and simultaneously relieved I am about the whole thing. If I was clever, I’d make some sort of joke about spinning the story around, but I’m not too sure if that even makes sense, so I’m not going to try.

The other quirk of my day off was that I’d specifically chosen that date so that I would be at home when my girlfriend was around as well, seeing as she has Mondays off. I think that initially, she was worried that she was distracting me from getting things done, and maybe I thought the same at first, but if I were to do this all again, I’d chose a Monday again because she’s fantastic company and I think that maybe the reason I’m at least partially productive at work is because there’s always someone to vent to in case something doesn’t go quite as planned, or if you want to get a thought out of your head. This little comment will also be a fantastic way of finding out if she actually reads this thing or not.

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