Archives for the month of: March, 2016

Later this week and early next week, many of the society members in charge of the journal I work on will be at their annual meeting. For the past couple of weeks, the managing editor of the journal has been preparing for it and, I’m sure, has work coming out of her ears. Though I wish everyone from the society the best of luck for the upcoming meeting, I am taking full advantage of this time to do some housekeeping. You know, that work that can be put off because it’s not time-sensitive (organizing, decluttering, catching up)? That’s what I’m looking forward to doing.

I love to be organized but sometimes it can be hard to make time for it during a busy work week (and I feel as though all I’ve had since before Christmas are busy work weeks; probably because I’m still “learning”). Of course, I still have papers coming in, copyediting to review, and proofs to work on, but the rest of the time I have that would be taken up by correspondence can now be used in a different way. I plan on turning on some soothing music (probably classical), popping in my headphones, and working all day, uninterrupted. Those are probably famous last words, though, because I’m sure something will come up….

Lately, I’ve been thinking that I could use a few hours to go through documents, procedures, and tools for my journal and spruce everything up. It’s fate that the meeting happens to fall right around this time! Also, on top of that, there is a department-wide initiative that was just put into place for all of us to re-organize and re-write our “Journal Profiles”; this is the big, detailed document that describes everything about the journal from style to issues to procedures. What a perfect time to work on this mammoth document! I just hope I haven’t jinxed myself by writing this post :).

Do you ever have “down-time” or “slow-time” at work that allows you to get organized?




One of the things I enjoy most about my night job is the paid time off. I am a part-time employee, but I am given several weeks of vacation time. (During the slow periods of the year taking a paid vacation actually pays more than going into work.)  Far too few Americans take vacations because they aren’t offered or people fear falling behind in the workplace. I understand the former, but I have a difficult time comprehending the latter. For the most part, I believe if paid time off is offered that it should be used. Even at my night job some people cut their own vacations short. One or two of my co-workers would return mid-week claiming they were bored at home. I can’t imagine having such an uninteresting home life that I would return to work early. Although, there were times I worked for a day or two on my vacation to make extra money for an expensive trip. Still, time off is important and the consequences of not doing so are real. Failing to take time off (or even working long hours) results in increased stressed, disengagement, and lost productivity. I helped write extensively about the subject for Epic Careering in October.

I know it is time for a vacation when stress begins to creep into my personal and working life. My ability to concentrate on work plummets and I generally feel angry. Taking a week off during various times of the year and spending a good chunk of it relaxing diminishes my stress. At the end of my week-long vacations I feel refreshed. I’m not sure how I would feel if I took all three (soon to be four) of my allotted weeks off, but I’ll save those thoughts for an epic vacation.

My current vacation week is not very epic. That said, the vacation does include a road trip to Boston to cover Anime Boston for Damage Control this weekend and to relax with friends.

As I prepare for my trip, I will leave you with a few questions. Do you take vacations often? What do you like to do while on vacation? Are there any noteworthy places to visit while in Boston?

National Lampoons Vacation

A scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation. Some call this movie satire, I call it a dark comedy. A required image when talking about vacations.



Do you ever just feel…uninspired? At work, that is. Even though you have plenty to do, you still feel as though you are floating along on a bit of a gray cloud? Well, that’s me this week–and it’s only Tuesday! I’m not depressed or upset or anything, I just feel a bit…blank. Burned out is maybe the better phrase to use.

I think this feeling started last week when it was so beautiful outside and it took all of my strength to not just walk out of my office into the sunshine every day. Then, this past weekend, I was able to spend some time with family outside and that was relaxing. But I came into work yesterday and I feel as though I did the bare minimum; that trend also seems to be extending into today. I think I wish I was on vacation and the nice weather from last week really worked that into my brain. The weather yesterday and today wasn’t even nice! It rained yesterday and today is looking cloudy so far.

I’m working through it, though. I’ve set aside low-stress tasks to work on today that must get done but that I’ve been putting off recently in favor of more pressing jobs; so, I’m still completing work but it’s work doesn’t suck a lot of mental energy from me. So far, this strategy seems to be a good one: I’m concentrating on one thing at a time, getting it done, and checking it off the list. I am not the type of person to coast through work, so I appreciate that I have many smaller tasks that I can get done while I’m in this “funk.” It’s also supposed to be nicer this afternoon and I’m going to take a walk outside after work. I’ve been exercising a lot more recently and I can feel that it helps me physically, mentally, and emotionally, so hopefully I can drag myself out of this gray cloud!

Have you ever had this feeling of “blah” that takes over your mind for a day or two? What helps you kick it?

Dog Blah Timeline Cover

As an adult, all work and very little play is a real possibility. Life becomes extremely busy and suddenly all of your favorite hobbies fall to the wayside. The importance of hobbies cannot be stated enough. They provide a way to relieve stress, keep burnout in check, and fun is a great psychological boost. If you have been following me for a while on Unveil Your Brilliance, you can probably guess that video games are one of my favorite hobbies. However, I’ve not had much time to play them since I moved in September. As a homeowner and landlord, the responsibilities never seem to end, on top of the duties that come from adult working life. Nothing’s quite a killjoy like when the tenant calls to tell you part of the electric is out, or you discover the heater is malfunctioning. It seemed as if vacations were really the only time I had to game, and I spent my last vacation sick too sick to enjoy much of anything.

Fortunately, I heard some great advice from one of my favorite gaming podcasts, Married to the Games. One of the hosts works full-time from home and has a family. His solution to finding time to game was to play each weekday morning at 5 for about an hour. That idea always stayed with me and recently I decided to put it into practice. While I can’t wake up at 5 each morning to play, I found starting at 6:30 to be an acceptable solution. In the past I’ve tried staying up an hour later, but my night job tends to leave me physically exhausted. Waking up earlier is much easier than fighting to stay up later. An hour of gaming a day has definitely helped me to address some of the frustration I felt with not being able to enjoy my hobby, especially given my massive backlog.  My greatest goal is to also make time during the day for other hobbies, such as reading more books and writing fiction.

What are your favorite hobbies and how do you make time to enjoy them?


Even while on vacation, I tend to bring a few game consoles along.

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