Work less, do more?

In my last post I discussed whether or not I was going to buy a TV because I don’t currently have one here in Spain. My ‘logic’ was that because I was using my laptop at night time to watch Netflix etc, that stopped me working at night.

I did buy the TV in the end (once I get an idea in my head…) and it’s very nice indeed.

But the original reason for buying it – logical as it was to me at the time – made me realise something.

I work too much. Or, rather, I work too long but don’t get enough done in that time.

I work from home. I open my laptop in the morning, and I close it at bedtime.

With the laptop open most of the time, the line between work and relaxation becomes increasingly blurred.

Of course, I do go out sometimes… but on days when I don’t, it’s easy to end up glued to it all day. And even if I do go out, the first thing I tend to do when I get in is open the laptop and check a mixture of work and personal web sites. Nothing that couldn’t wait until the next day but … it’s become a bad habit over the years.

So I’ve started a new regime.

For the last few nights I’ve largely left my laptop off at night time.

I’ve also started leaving my phones (I have a UK and a Spanish one) downstairs at night time, rather than by my bedside.

I got my first mobile phone around 1992 (and I still have the same number – apart from the addition of the 7 during the ‘Big Number Change’) and always have one close to hand.

So leaving my phones downstairs was odd for the first night or two – what if I get an urgent call at 3am?.. – but I’ve quickly become used to it. And there’s a lot of research – as well as common sense – that suggests sleeping with a phone nearby disrupts sleep.

And I’m leaving my laptop downstairs too, so I can’t use it in bed – either before I go to sleep, or when I wake up – both bad habits I’ve developed over the years.

So with my laptop off, and my phones out of easy reach, I’ve been enjoying relaxing in the evenings. Watching some films (Boyhood and Birdman were both superb), a bit of comedy (I’ve just discovered US comedian Marc Maron), and I enjoyed a good three-part series on BBC iPlayer called Sound of Song by Neil Brand.

I’ve also started using my Kindle again. For some reason I started using the Kindle app on my laptop more than my Kindle, but it’s too easy to jump between reading and checking emails etc.

My Kindle is ‘a book’ and that’s it. Put some background music on, and read. No distractions. My current book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey, which I’m sure has had an effect on my thinking. I’m also enjoying it in small chunks, rather than my usual binge-reading.

How long this new regime will last is anyone’s guess but hopefully I can make it a long-term habit. I’m working fewer hours, getting more done during those hours, and sleeping better.

And the irony I’m writing this on my laptop, on a Sunday afternoon, hasn’t been lost on me.

I’m now going to post this, turn my laptop off and, in the words of one of the worst TV programmes of my childhood – ‘Why Don’t You?‘ – I’m going to ‘go out and do something less boring instead’.

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