Is it possible to find time for play without feeling guilty?
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I've found that one of the biggest challenges of working at home has been finding time to do something fun without feeling a bit guilty about it. The feeling is probably understandable. I've spent most of my employment life working in a public place with supervisors peering over my shoulder, making sure I'm actually working and not goofing off on the company dime. My ears are still attuned to the clacking of high heels as a supervisor attempts to sneak up behind me.
So when I'm at home, regardless of the time of day, I feel a little bit guilty if I'm sitting on the couch sharing a snuggle with my daughter, taking the time to mess around on facebook or playing the new video game I just picked up. My computer is right there, calling me. "Wooooooooork," it tells me. "Time's wasting! You could be doing something productive right now!"
Yes, I probably could be, but we all know what all work and no play does to writers, right?
I've dropped some of my computer games. I feel slightly less guilty sitting on the couch with an Xbox controller than I do playing WoW on the PC. That just smacks too much of "goofing off on the job." It also helps that I can justify playing the Xbox as being "work." (I know, my life is so difficult, right?) After each days Skyrim session I'm writing up a journal that is going to be posted at Comics Bulletin as part of our new game coverage.
Reading is another place where I have trouble. Like the games, I can sometimes justify it as part of my job, but what if I'm just rereading a favorite that I have no intention of reviewing? Reading can be time consuming and it takes away from time I could be working.
I suppose, just like scheduling my work to be more productive, I could also schedule my "fun." But then it feels too much like work! Establishing actual "office hours" might be an answer, that way if I'm playing Skyrim and it's three in the afternoon I know perfectly well I'm wasting company time. Except that part of the reason I work at home is to keep my hours variable so I can deal with the numerous crises that might occur throughout the day.
What is your solution for balancing work and play?