No, this blog post isn’t about some patient who acted like a jerk or about a co-worker I can’t stand. It’s not about a creep; it’s about the creep. I’ve determined that the creep is what slowly erodes any work-life balance I happen to achieve, however temporary it might be. It’s the invisible creep of just one more thing on my personal or professional to-do list.
I’m seeing the effects of the creep most clearly on my day off. One of the perks of my new job is that I have a four-day work week, which is pretty darn awesome, I must say. I had visions of leisurely lunches with my husband, intricate but developmentally-appropriate arts and crafts projects with my toddler, and time to nap, exercise, take a bath, and paint my toenails all in the same afternoon.
Surprisingly, my “day off” has become my busiest day. It’s the day in which I cram everything in and feel free to say “yes” to any invitation. All of my doctor’s appointments, lunches with friends, volunteering, catching up, laundry, shopping, etc. is booked on this day. Last week, I left the house at 7:30 a.m., was able to return home briefly for dinner and then was back out until 8:30 p.m. Granted, everything on my schedule was something I chose to do, and for the most part, it was a great, fun day. However, I’m seriously worried that my day off has now become my most packed day.
It might just be me, but I suspect not. When room opens up in my schedule, it’s similar to when a space opens up on my shoe shelf — it must be filled. Not being used to unscheduled time, I find it hard to leave it that way — unscheduled. But, my goal is to start doing just that — freeing up time during my day off to allow for the unexpected. I'm putting up walls to stop the creep from coming in. Reminding myself, daily if need be, that I not only can have unscheduled time but that I actually need unscheduled time.