I constantly hear people say “I don’t want to talk or think about work when I’m not at the job.” These are usually the same people who are so worn out by work that they define “relaxation” primarily in terms of being off the clock.
Free time is great, but the whole purpose of free time is to actually enjoy, experience, and enhance your freedom. If you’re spending your free time worrying about work, complaining about work, resenting work, or getting anxious about the next time you have to go to work, then your free time isn’t very free. Since your free time isn’t free anyway and since you’re thinking about work anyway, you might as well just use your free time to consciously improve your work life.
If you hate your work life, then the last thing you should do is try to escape from it. Instead, work even harder at creating patterns of efficiency and effectiveness that will allow you to transform your work days into something you truly look forward to.
In Getting Things Done, David Allen wrote “Your best ideas about work are most likely to come when you’re not at work.” When that happens, will you be available to those ideas or will you be too busy trying to tune out every thought related to your job? Hard work is hard, but it only gets harder until you put in the work necessary to make it more feasible and fun.
Instead of using your weekends to escape your weekdays, use your free time to develop habits and skills that will provide you with greater mastery, freedom, and enjoyment throughout the week. Instead of seeing your free time as a fleeting reward you get for putting up with a job you hate, see it as an opportunity to gradually create an everyday lifestyle that you can celebrate or at least tolerate.