Why I’m working at home alone on a Friday night

It feels like this sometimes...

Christian has gone out to a samba in the neighborhood, and I chose not to join him.

To be honest, it’s been hard for me to drum up energy to “go out” and socialize. Going to capoeira 3-4 times a week is about all I can manage. After reflection, I think I’ve figured out why:

1) English classes use up all my extroversion energy

Although I’m somewhat on the line between extroversion and introversion, I definitely fall towards the introverted side. Time with people tends to drain my energy, and time alone recharges me. And the problem with teaching English is that I have to be in extrovert mode 100% of the time. Differently from an office job, which alternates periods of interacting with colleagues with periods of working by yourself.

I always have to enter the classroom with an upbeat, enthusiastic attitude, because I’ve noticed that it causes my students to engage and participate more. And I have to be a master conversationalist – particularly in 1-on-1 classes – as most students don’t yet have the English skills to speak at length or to fully hold up their side of the dialogue. (Yes, I just split an infinitive. I’m an English teacher, I’m allowed 😉 )

So that’s 16-20 hours a week of constant extroversion. It’s like going to a 4-hour social event every single weeknight. No wonder I have no energy.

2) Three jobs all seem to make constant demands on my time

I teach at two schools, do translation work as it comes up, and maintain 8-10 hours a week developing web content for a non-profit in the States. Although I like the variation and non-traditional schedule (well… sometimes) – the nature of these jobs makes it really hard to “leave work at the office.”

Why? Because I may finish teaching a class, but there are always next week’s classes to prepare. I may manage to zero my inbox from my U.S. job, but a dozen new e-mails are guaranteed to appear by the next day (and I never can quite get to the bottom of my to-do list). With Christian’s job, he can turn off his “work brain” the instant he leaves, since there’s nothing he can do from home, work-wise.

Basically – it feels like there’s ALWAYS something I “should” do. Always something hanging over my head.

I’ve tried to reduce this feeling with strategies such as scheduling my class prep time and only checking my U.S. e-mails when I actually have time to work on them. But the mental obligation seems to overshadow me 7 days a week.

Anyone have suggestions or strategies for keeping work from constantly running in the background of my thoughts?