I’m trying a little something different this morning. I actually recorded most of this posting using the Voice Memo feature of my Palm Tungsten T2 while driving to work.
I’ve been working a lot of overtime lately on my full-time job. I say overtime, but its not really overtime in the traditional sense of the word. Let’s just say that I’ve been working a lot of long hours. I have a salaried position so I don’t get paid for “overtime” since I’m essentially “owned” by the organization 24/7.
The reason for all these long hours is that right now I have a lot on my plate. I have a ton of projects and a lot of deadlines. The only way that I can accomplish everything that is required is to work these hours. Even in the introduction to the GTD…FAST CDs David talks about other people leaving work at five “even though they aren’t nearly as smart of good looking as I am.” It is only because of the GTD methodologies that I’m not working yet even more hours.
A standard work work for us is 37.5 hours. I’m doubt that I’ve ever worked just a 37.5 hour week in the nearly five years I’ve been with the organization. However, now I’m putting in considerably more hours and even on weeks like last week and this week where I have vacation days I’ll still work 40 hours or so.
There have been times during my career that I have worked overtime and really hated and dreaded it. I didn’t want to be there. However, I’ve noticed lately that although I’m not excited about working late, it doesn’t seem to bother me that much, at least not while I’m working. I attribute this to a great extent to my implementation of the GTD methodologies. David addresses talks about that phenomenon here:
If truly the only thing you’re doing is the only thing that is on your mind then it’s almost like you have no mind. In other words there’s nothing going past or future you are there, you are present, you are—I don’t know what you’re vocabulary would be, but it’s that place where time disappears, you’re just on. Once you’re there…it’s just what’s next.
The nice thing about working late is that I don’t have a lot of people interrupting me, calling me, sending urgent emails, or anything like that. I’m able to really focus. All I’m doing is checking off next actions. Just like David says, the next action is the only thing for me to do. I’m just going down my list checking off next actions. The next action that I’m working on is the only thing that is on my mind.
There is a great joy and contentment to being able to just work and check things off the list and make progress on what I’m doing. I do really hate the interruptions from calls, urgent emails, and I am expected to answer the phone when it rings and to at least look at my emails as they arrive and see if they are critical issues. Constantly switching focus requires a lot of energy. Sometimes when I am deeply involved in programming I will sometimes shut down Outlook and ignore my phone. I do this rarely though, because I’ve been warned not to let any other employees think that I ignore their calls or emails. To me, this is an exercise in how quickly can I leave my zone and how quickly can I get back into that zone. Now that’s a skill worth developing!