Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

Working From Home

24 Jul 2020

Back in March, my kids were super excited for a few days off for their Spring Break. I took a week off so I could be home with them and not have to worry about work. I still haven’t been back to the office, and they haven’t been back to their school.

I doubt there’s anybody that’s not aware of the current world situation regarding COVID-19. In March, my kids’ school decided that the risk of having all those kids in one place was too great, and they moved to a “School from Home” setup. My work did pretty much the same thing.

I’ve been pretty fortunate in that my work supports a “From Home” option, and I’ve been full time from home before. I was already setup to do anything and everything I needed to do for my job right from my house.

My company offered basic supplies to take home if we needed them. Keyboards, mice, monitors, even chairs. I passed on pretty much all of that because I already have a good setup at home to work with. My laptop is all I need to work from pretty much anywhere in my house.

It’s been four months now. I confess, I’m burning out.

I recently attended a conference called SRE From Home, which was really interesting to me. One of the things said in one of the presentations stuck with me. To paraphrase, the reason we’re all burning out isn’t because we’re working from home, it’s because we’re living at work.

That really struck home for me. I took a step back and really looked at how I’ve been doing this.

Before the pandemic, I got up in the morning at a fixed time. I showered, got myself and my kids fed, the kids off to school, and then I drove in to work. I plopped my laptop down on my desk at work and that is when my work day started. I did my job until the end of the day, and then I packed up my stuff into my laptop bag and I drove home. I picked up my kids, got dinner ready, did homework with them, and got them to bed. I’d sit with my wife on our couch and watch a TV show or two and then go to bed.

Now, during the pandemic, my schedule is entirely different. I still get up at a fixed time, but the kids don’t go to school and I don’t go to work. I walk the required fifteen steps from my bedroom to my office and I plop down at my desk with my computer already running and open. It never closes anymore. It’s always there. I go grab a quick lunch, but rarely actually take a lunch break. I eat in my office at my desk. When my kids come grab me to tell me they’re hungry, I fix them something to eat, and then I’m right back at my desk. Dinner time roles around, and it’s the same routine. Even after they’ve gone to bed, the computer is still there, open and waiting. I’ll check my email in the evening and manage some small tasks right up until the point I go to bed.

Looking at this now, I realize that I never stop working. If I’m awake, I’m at work.

This is something I’m going to have to change.

I did something different today. I have to work tomorrow for server upgrades, so I “left” early. I closed my laptop down at three o’clock, and I went and took a nap. I haven’t looked at my computer since. It’s still sitting there on the desk, but the lid is closed, and I’m not going to open it until tomorrow night for the upgrades. When those are done, the lid will close again, and I’m sleeping in on Monday.

There are four hours of work scheduled for me Saturday night to Sunday morning, and those are not going to be “Free Work Hours”.

I need to start setting boundaries. There needs to be a line between “work” and “not work”. If I can’t draw that line, I’m going to drive myself crazy.

Day 72 of the #100DaysToOffload Series:

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