Re-Thinking My Work Day

This year, I made the decision to devote myself to playwriting (and composing) full-time. Unbeknownst to me at the time, what accompanied this decision was pressure. I told myself that if I'm going to work full-time, then I need to spend 8 hours a day working on my projects. I thought: "Everyone else is slaving away at least that amount of time working at their jobs, so I must do the same."

But the fact was, I never ended up writing or composing or researching 8 hours a day. Most of the time, my brain would reach creative capacity for the day at around 4 hours of work total. I started to feel guilty, thinking that I was lazy, and turning my vocation into an excuse to goof off. So I pushed harder, and the pressure and guilt only increased to the point where I wasn't sleeping well due to anxiety and stress. Something had to change.

I decided to experiment. I would give myself permission to have 4-hour work days. I blocked out two 2-hour chunks of time (before and after lunch) that would be dedicated to my writing projects. If I felt like working longer, I could. But if I fulfilled the 4 hours, then I would allow myself to be done with work that day.

I started this experiment two weeks ago, and the stress and guilt have gone down considerably. I find that the work I accomplish in those 4 hours is quite productive. And usually, I end up working longer, often working up to 6 hours total. Today, I found this article titled "Why you should work 4 hours a day, according to science" which gives a quick profile on renowned scientists who accomplished much in their field, and yet only worked 4 hours a day. It's a nice confirmation that I may be on the right track here. I'm in the company of people like Charles Darwin! OK, maybe not that exactly, but I'm hopeful that this new 4-hour workday can yield great creative results for me. Let's see how it goes!

UPDATE: A couple days later, I found this article titled "Use the Two-Hour Rule to Make Progress on Your Creative Projects" confirming my plan of splitting my work into two-hour chunks!