During the past several months, I’ve noticed I have a tendency to completely forget about work when I am not there. Do I have a selective memory? Do the other things in my life simply distract me enough to not think about work at all? I don’t know. All I know is from quittin’ time Friday afternoon until my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning, my job rarely enters my mind, if ever.
There are benefits to having a selective memory when it comes to my job. I’m more relaxed on the weekends. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family more. My right eye doesn’t twitch. It’s the little things that count, right? 😉
However, there is also one distinct disadvantage to having a selective memory: forgetting. By Monday morning, I’ve become so enmeshed in my life outside work that I forget what is on my ‘To Do’ list for Monday. I forget what meetings I have and what to prepare. I forget about e-mails to which I need to reply. All of this forgetting usually leads to slight confusion on Monday mornings. Fingers crossed I never have a meeting at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning!
I attribute most of my selective memory to the conscious choice I made not to check my work e-mail while I’m at home. The exception to that rule being if I’m working from home, which doesn’t happen often. This definitely helps me stay focused on my family and home life, but even that can be stressful. (Yes, cleaning/housework/yard work/etc. can wait when it comes to spending time with my family, but how long can those things be put off? I feel like the time I spend at home is most often devoted to cleaning, laundry, and yard work rather than spending time with my family. I digress.)
I believe part of my selective memory is a coping mechanism I have subconsciously implemented to protect me from, well, myself. If I think about work 24/7, I’ll lose my mind! I don’t want to do that. I’d like to keep my sanity intact and in its proper place. If having a selective memory, or turning my work brain ‘off,’ helps me keep my sanity, you bet I’m going to do that.
Maybe having a selective memory, or an ‘on/off’ switch, isn’t a bad thing. It allows me to focus on what’s important at work and at home. For me, the hardest part seems to be turning that switch back to the ‘on’ position on Monday mornings. Too bad it can’t be a dimmer switch. Ha!
P.S. Right in the middle of writing this post I got an update in my RSS feed for Dr. Meg Meeker’s blog that goes right along with my post today. Check it out and see if you can accept her challenge: Balancing Work & Life.