One on, one off

I have an extended period of time available to get work done this holiday season, since nearly everybody else here is taking time off. That gives me free rein to get lots and lots of stuff done.

The other day I even put up shelves in my office — something I would never be organized or focused enough to accomplish during the semester. I wonder whether there is a word for the concept of “the luxury of having time to get all your work done”. If there isn’t such a word, somebody should come up with one.

I’ve noticed something else too: I get more done when I alternate between work days and non-work days. That seems counterintuitive, since it leaves me only half as much actual work time.

But I suspect it’s more complicated than that. On the non-work days, my mind is still working through the longer term problems, but in a far more relaxed and free-wheeling way.

So when I show up again on one of my work days, everything is a lot clearer, and I know just what to do. When you are doing creative work, a “one on, one off” schedule is a very nice way to remain unstuck, and to balance the needs of short term and long term goals.

There are also two additional benefits to this schedule: (1) after a long and intense day of hard work, I really look forward to taking a day off, and (2) after taking a day off, I really look forward to getting back to work!

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