Archives for the month of: May, 2016

I can’t stress the power of positive thinking enough. I’ve been going through a rough patch this past week or two with heightened stress levels at work (for no reason in particular) and, due to that, I haven’t been sleeping as well as I could be at night. It’s a vicious cycle. There have been days where I come home from work and just want to sit on the couch with no stimulation whatsoever because my mind just keeps racing. Well, I finally put my foot down and I’m not allowing myself to fall into a black hole again this week.

I woke up yesterday morning and I refused to feel bad just because it was a Monday. I also refused to think about work until I was actually sitting at my desk, going through my e-mails later in the morning. I took a shower, put on an outfit that makes me feel confident, listened to my favorite music, and ate breakfast. When I got into work, I continued to listen to music (classical is my favorite when I have a busy day), took a walk at lunch, and actually kicked Monday’s butt. I got a lot done and I felt like a superhero when I left my building yesterday afternoon.

I had some more work to do that night when I got home (I do freelance work on the side), but I made sure I gave myself some down time before I started it. I made myself a nice dinner, read my book, and watched some TV before I dove into my work for another hour or so. I went to bed at a decent time and yes, I did wake up twice during the night, but both times it was for only a few minutes. I don’t feel overwhelmed this morning and I’m ready to kick another day’s butt :).

By refusing to allow myself to think negatively, I made myself feel better. I played a kind of trick on myself and I’m telling you, it worked! Do you ever play tricks on yourself to get out of a rut?

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about the software on my computer. While some of it is always updated and upgraded whenever possible, I still run a number of older programs. My reasoning has always been if they are not a security risk, there’s no real point in updating unless I really need the upgrade. Two big sticking points for me are Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office. This may shock you, but I’m still running Microsoft Office 2003 and Photoshop CS3 (which was released in 2007). My reasoning was that both programs work well and Microsoft supported Office for years after its release. Photoshop is just expensive– I probably wouldn’t have it if not for a hefty college student discount. While I would love to run Photoshop CS6, I don’t have $2000 to spend on a program that isn’t vital to my productivity.

Another reason I never felt the pressure to upgrade is that my productivity software is so well supported. In 2009, I used to have problems with newer versions of Microsoft Word files. After several updates, which included patches, Office 2003 was made compatible with Office 2007 and Office 2010. (Google Docs was also a neat workaround for converting files until Office 2003 was updated.) Sharing documents for work is not a problem. Additionally, all of my software has worked across Windows XP, Windows 7 and now on Windows 10. I probably won’t feel the pain of needing to upgrade unless the software I use is suddenly rendered obsolete.

Nevertheless, there is a huge part of me that yearns for change. I like technology. I like tinkering with new software and trying to figure out what works for me. The reliance on older software makes me feel stagnant. For now, one option to consider is trying Microsoft Office online to get a taste of the newer version of the software without a financial investment. As for Photoshop, I may consider Photoshop Elements since I don’t need all of the hefty features of Photoshop CS6 (or the price). I realize Photoshop Creative Cloud is an option, but I don’t like the idea of paying a monthly subscription fee and needing an internet connection just to run the program. Either way, I have a few good options for overcoming my software stagnation.

Do you upgrade your computer programs often, or do you hold on to older programs until you absolutely have to upgrade?

Power buttons and others by Long Zheng of Flickr

Power buttons and others by Long Zheng of Flickr

I have to admit to a bad habit: I tend to react before thinking a situation through, especially at work. This doesn’t happen all the time, but if I read an email at work that seems urgent, for example, I’m more likely to respond immediately with a solution than look into the problem and take my time formulating an answer. Please notice my use of the words “seems urgent”–a lot of the time, the situations in which I react quickly aren’t even serious. It’s all about my perception of them and I need to change that.

This happened today and nothing bad came of it–I read an e-mail from my Editorial Office and my inner me freaked out a little bit. I responded, cc’ed some other people, and began work on something until I received a response from someone at my company. Basically, the response was, “Actually, we should do it this way….” I realized that extra work could have been avoided if I just chilled out and read the e-mail slowly. I could have spent a few minutes thinking about it and whether or not it is a problem. Instead, I jumped to conclusions, wrote a response, etc. Again, nothing bad happened, I just felt silly and a little dramatic when I realized that if I had just calmed down for five minutes, all of that stress could have been avoided.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to challenge myself to really READ my e-mails, LISTEN to people when they talk, and ASK questions if I don’t understand at first. Sure, I do these things on a daily basis, but I know that my weakness is to jump to conclusions if I feel that a problem needs to be solved NOW. And this, I know, really only makes things worse in the long run. I’m going to do this at work and at home because I think patience and calm are two aspects of my life that need some attention.

Do you have an aspect of your life, be it at home or work, that you think you could improve?

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Lately, I’ve been in somewhat of a slump. Not mentally, but physically. I made an adjustment to my work schedule, which means I pick up more hours on some days, but I’m left feeling tired a day or two after. Interestingly enough, the feeling of exhaustion doesn’t actually hit me until the evening while I’m working those extra hours. That is when I’m trying to move packages quickly, but I can’t seem to muster up the extra strength. When I come home from work, I sit down on the couch after taking off my work boots, close my eyes and before I know it, it is 2AM. I most likely need some time to adjust to my new schedule– I haven’t picked up any extra hours since January.

The worst part about being in a physical slump is how it can bleed into other areas of my life. I’m either waking up later in the day or I’m too tired to really concentrate on tasks. When I’m tired for a good chunk of the day, it is difficult to work and even to enjoy free time. The urge to sleep can be overpowering, even to the point where I don’t enjoy my hobbies. I’ve been trying to think of some unique ways to combat my fatigue, especially since the weather is warming up and it is my favorite time of the year to be active and accomplish goals.

1. Get more sleep. Sleep is something I’ve struggled with in the past. When practicing the best sleeping habits, everything just clicks and waking up before 8AM is usually not a problem. I’m usually tempted to unwind before bed, but unlike most people I have the habit of falling asleep where I sit. At best I’ll wake up on the couch in an upright position, at worst I’ll find I’ve dozed off at my computer desk.

2. A better balanced diet. The biggest problem with leaving home is making sure to eat right, especially on the weekends. I’m definitely sure my diet could use more leafy green vegetables and fish.

3. Just get it done. Sleep and better diet are great things that avoid fatigue, but sometimes I am my own worst enemy. Plans are set into motion, but the motivation to accomplish them isn’t always there. It is during these times I’m reminded of Mel Robbins and her “Activation Energy” speech. These are the times to stop worrying about a task and to, well, just do it. (I’ve had some successes with just doing it, such as making time to exercise nearly every morning.)

 

Have you ever had difficulty adjusting to a new schedule or just getting out a general slump? If so, how did you get back on track?

Sloth by Claphoteau of Flickr

Sloth by Claphoteau of Flickr

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