What do I call today?

No, not Friday. Although, it is Friday, I will call today Friday. But it is also a day where I am not working for an employer. In the coming months I will have some more of those, as a contract comes to an end.

A short discussion with friends last night has led me to ponder. “Day off” doesn’t quite cut it. One of the friends in the discussion has a side hustle, she is paid for activity on some days off and sees that activity as work. We are keen (as a group, its one of our discussion topics) to keep work – either formal or side hustles – in a work space and carve proper space between work and rest.

Obviously all days include both – or they jolly well should do anyway. Cliches often have a root in truth and all work and no play making a person dull seems like truth to me. I am focussing very strongly on putting aside the work when my time there is done. It is not easy, I am criticised for not doing enough work, not answering enough emails or calls. As a part-time worker, I think I am an easy target for those who think I should be working in my non-paid hours. To my colleagues, there seem to be a lot of non-paid hours which others cannot imagine are filled with anything as useful as my job.

Being able to describe them to other people seems to be behind my need to title the days. I feel a sense of fear that people think I am wasting my time on my days off. I know that some are surprised I do not spend time cleaning or cooking.

There is also a ritual that seems to be needed, I will not have that Friday feeling soon – my week in my paid job will end on a Thursday. So what do I call a Thursday evening? The start of a new phase of the week for sure, but I oddly feel the need for a title. It may just be me though, the discussion last night included those who felt that days are days and do not need a specific work/non-work delineation, although we were all clear that “day off” becomes a misnomer when the paid work creeps into it, which does indeed happen.

An insignificant thing to be pondering this morning, but lovely to have a day in which I know I have time to ponder the insignificant alongside the significant.

A chore tour

One of the upsides of my new working hours is that the inevitable chores that build up in 21st century life all have to be done in shorter time.  And this morning I am thinking this is a good thing.  Like lots of these things, chores just expand to fill time.  Housework and email triage are two other tasks that seem to have that magic property.  Whereas reading seems to stay well within its allotted time.  Unless it is reading rubbish on Facebook, that has very magical time properties.

Back to the chores though.  I have suspected for a while that they tend to grow in size and importance in my head because they make me feel properly busy.  However, the reality of new working hours is that my hours are now controlled by someone else, so fewer are available for the luxury of the chores.  Is there a verb there?  Choring?  Or is that something less salubrious?

This morning I am discovering a new delight in having an hour or so this afternoon when I can indulge in what I call a ‘chore tour’.  Top of the delight list on that tour is a visit to the library.  When I genuinely cannot get there as often, it feels so much more fun to go.  I don’t think I have looked forward to going to the library like this since I was about 10.  And I am very pleased to be getting rid of the bags of clothes that have been waiting for the charity shop for a couple of weeks.  And that parcel that needs to be posted.

Here’s to an hour or so of dashing around ticking things off a list, can’t wait.

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Allowing time to settle in

I know this is not a topic that will win me many friends, but the truth of it is that I don’t work full time.  I don’t think I have ever had a full time paid job.

That has been partly by chance and partly by design.  I made a conscious decision to work part time when the children were very young and I have never changed the decision, or rather, I have never needed to change the decision.

Until a few weeks ago when for various reasons I ended up working some extra hours.  So, I now work five days a week.  Possibly for the first time ever.  Technically it is still not full time – I work two half days.  But still, every week day is a work day.

The most surprising thing is how long it is taking me to settle into a routine.  As I have not worked on two days a week for a long time now, I maybe ought not to be surprised.   I suspect I haven’t quite accepted it either – part of me thinks it should not affect the amount of other things I do in my week, but the reality is that I am not quite as available as I was.

It’s turning into another project in a year of ‘slower’ – allow myself time to just settle.  I am reminded in this process of why I found working a term time only contract so very stressful.  It takes a while to feel comfortable in a routine.