I Can’t Stop Working at the End of the Day!

by Jenifer Garey, Director of Workforce Development

A question on everyone’s mind….Is it 5:00 yet?

Exactly a year ago this week that question was on everybody’s mind, everyday. Back in the day, back in the “normal” days, most people started their day around 8:00 am and for most the end goal was 5:00 pm. Do you remember those days? Pick a up a coffee, get to the office, settle in for a day full of in-person meetings, check your phone around 11:00 am and be shocked that it was ONLY 11:00 am, grab a sandwich, maybe send 50 or so emails, check your watch again at 3:00, still feel shocked that it wasn’t 5:00, grab a snack to get through the day and then finally, finally it was 5:00 pm. You could almost burst with joy as you ran to your car.

But all that changed, one year ago as the commute across the hall or perhaps down the stairs or up the stairs wasn’t quite so long, the coffee was always free and conveniently ready when you wanted it, you stopped checking the time as often, snacks were plentiful so you kept sending emails, and the virtual meetings…wow, those virtual meetings  went on all day. When you finally got the chance to check your phone you were shocked to see that it was 6:00 pm, maybe even 7:00 pm, or later.

Wait a minute,I just had a moment… all of that is still happening. As I sit here and describe what our “normal” evolved into, I realized that we are still evolving. It is after 8:00 pm and I am just now hitting send on the last email, making one more entry on my to-do list for tomorrow,  trying to shut down my brain for today and recharge for tomorrow. So what happened to 5:00 pm? How did it pass by without me noticing? But then I realized that I could say the same thing about 2020. In the midst of chaos, we have all lost track of time and lots of it!

So how we do take a step back, take a deep breath, and regain perspective on that 5:00 pm hard stop at the end of every day? Do we set an alert on our phone (everything revolves around the phone)? Do we schedule virtual happy hours that will nudge us to be more in the moment, more present with those that we enjoy socializing with? Do we join an exercise class (I did by the way, epic fail, always a reason to skip!)? YES, yes to every single one of those things or anything else that help us pump the brakes at 5:00 pm. As a whole, we are on the road to recovery and a new sense of normal so let’s start a trend, a movement if you will. Let’s take back our time, for ourselves, for our families, for our pets, for our friends and for our jobs. Let’s start each day knowing that 5:00 pm is right around the corner and embrace our hard stop. So who is with me? I have my alert set, my happy hour is planned, my new book is loaded and ready to be read (notice I didn’t mention the exercise class?), and my take out order is complete. Let’s do this!

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