Like so many of you, I have recently begun teaching remotely from my home. This is a major shift from my first sixteen weeks with kids where I taught mask to mask. My second and third graders have handled the pivot like champions! I, however, am finding myself struggling to distinguish work time from time with my wife. When 4:10 rolls around, I don't clean up my desk and drive home. I simply slide my chair in and walk out of the office just as I had done for my brain breaks throughout the day. Most of my evenings felt jet lagged as my eyes and back adjust from the recent strain. Although the exhaustion from performing all day quickly sets in, there was a lack of professional boundaries. As you know, this never plays out kindly. Every time I walked to the bathroom, I would see my monitor, docking station, and all my other materials set up. They call the workaholic inside me like a fresh poured glass to an alcoholic. I could rarely stop myself from sitting down and opening up the screen. The anxiety of a never ending to-do list seemed to dance inside my head.
So after realizing (or being told) that my wife deserves more of me and I need to be able to call it a day before it is night, I remembered one tip that my brother expressed success with at the beginning of the shut down in San Francisco. I hoped that his words would help me go pee without sitting down in the office.
In the morning, I get dressed. I put on pants. My buffalo check pajama bottoms, my sweats, or a comfy pair of shorts do not count as pants. I am talking about a pair of jeans. When I get ready to start my day of work, I put on jeans and a nice-ish shirt. It signifies the beginning of my work day. Then, once my wife comes home, I switch into what we call comfy clothes. This physical action communicates with my brain to declare that work is over. I am able to shut my computer down and shut my brain off. This minute and a half routine saves hours of my life.
Teaching in pajamas is super luxurious, but put some dang pants on.