Archives for the month of: February, 2017

I commute to work every day and the time from my front door to my desk chair is about one hour. A majority of that one hour is spent on the train itself, where I usually read or listen to music (I highly enjoy doing both of these things and they help calm and prepare me for the day ahead). On the train ride home yesterday, though, I had a thought: how can I use my commute more productively? I don’t think for one minute that reading or listening to music or talking to a friend is unproductive, but I wondered how I could use my commute to make my life at home just a little bit easier. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Use the time to create lists: grocery lists, general household to-do lists, even work lists. I am a notorious procrastinator and having a concrete plan helps me to avoid falling into that trap. I hate going to the grocery store, but having a list of what I need makes it easier for me to go. Sometimes everything I want to (or need to) do around my apartment can seem overwhelming, but when I make a list of my priorities and what I’ll need to accomplish them, these tasks seem easier to tackle. Also, since I occasionally do freelance work on the side, making to-do lists and listing the specific steps I will take to accomplish those tasks make working after work seem a lot less daunting.
  2. Catch up with friends and familySometimes when I get home from work, the temptation to dive right in to Netflix and not speak to anyone can be overwhelming (especially for an introvert like me). But it is important, especially because I live alone, to remain in regular contact with my friends and family. There have been instances before where the following thought suddenly struck me: “Hey, when was the last time I talked to my mom or dad?” And that’s not right. I can use my commute time to make a phone call (when I’m not on the quiet ride car) or to text my family and friends and stay in touch.
  3. Think and write about more long-term goals. I guess this could technically be classified under my first point, but I would rather have it separate. I believe this is a very important point because I do have long-term goals that may seem hazy to me, but with a little forethought and planning they could be realized with a lot less stress. For example, I don’t want to rent forever so what are the specific steps I must take if I want to own a home someday? I also want to eventually buy a new car (hopefully not for a long time!), so how can I do that? Am I happy in my current career path or is it time for a change? These are the kinds of questions everyone should ask themselves, but I find it especially helpful for me at this stage in my life. And sometimes when I’m home after dinner and I’m relaxing, thinking about these things and jotting down ideas seems too overwhelming.

These are just a few ideas I came up with to make my commute more productive for me. And I don’t want to pressure myself to do these things every day, but two or three times a week makes sense and will probably make my life a lot easier!

How about you? Do you have any tips for a more productive commute?

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Social media is an interesting part of modern life. I’ve been on social media for well over a decade, getting my start on LiveJournal in 2003. These days I can mostly be found on Twitter. Out of all the services I’ve used there is something special about Facebook. It’s the one social media service that I love to hate. In recent months, I’ve all but abandoned my account and turned off almost all notifications, but I haven’t gone as far as the full deletion route. I know through my work with Karen and through following social media tech news, how integral the service is to modern life. Networking, personal branding, and building communities are just a few of the benefits of a service with over 1.86 billion active monthly users.

That said, I’m not sure what to make of Facebook because of connections to friends and family. (On other social media outlets I’ll check a person’s account to see if I like what they share or have to say. On Facebook I automatically accept friend requests from friends and family.) In recent years, I’ve come to realize how little I enjoy Facebook thanks to interactions with said friends and family. The constant drama (especially political drama), lives that feel really inauthentic, self-aggrandizing, sharing TOO many details about personal lives, and being spammed in messenger with chain letters really killed the experience for me. A few friends suggested that I try not to see what everyone is up to since I loathe the experience. Instead they suggested that I clear out my news feed, unfollow (or unfriend) people who upset me, block people who constantly message me with junk, and just follow groups, people, and pages that I enjoy. In a sense, these actions would make my Facebook feed look more like my Twitter timeline, with the added benefits of groups, pages, and comments.

The more I think about taking those suggestions, the more excited I become about reclaiming my presence on Facebook. The hardest part of the process might be cutting people out of my digital life (if it comes to that), but I like that idea more than the alternative of completely deleting my account.

Have you ever given up on Facebook for any reason? Why or why not?

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Facebook by Sarah Marshall of Flickr

I’m going to piggy-back off of Angela’s last post on here because yesterday I happened to be sick. I’m feeling much better now! I woke up yesterday morning and thought long and hard about whether I should go in to work or not. I had a low fever, chills, and a bad cough and I still felt mildy guilty about wanting to stay home. I compromised instead and worked from home (which I also probably shouldn’t have done because I didn’t get a lot accomplished). Why did I even entertain the thought of going in to work? I was sick and the last thing I want to do is to pass on whatever this is to my coworkers. I think it has to do with what I mentioned above: guilt.

I believe that if I spent yesterday off my laptop and more time sleeping and recovering, I would be close to 100% today. And I would be able to give all of my attention to my emails and work-related tasks, which is something I couldn’t do very well yesterday. Sure, I did some work, but I wasn’t fully up to par. I’m still a bit groggy and the cough is hanging around, but I’ve improved since yesterday and I’m taking advantage of that.

I’m a hard worker and I’m good at my job–I know these things for sure. I also know that my manager is amazing and would never insist that I come in when I’m sick. So really, I just have to get over my own self-imposed guilt trip. The moral of the story is: Don’t feel guilty! Don’t make yourself come in to work or work from home if you’re sick and you don’t think you’ll be able to concentrate! It’s not worth it and I’m sure your manager and colleagues will thank you :).

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Today is one of those strange winter days. The weather is nice, a balmy 65 degrees in Philadelphia, IN February. Ironically, the weather forecasts are calling at least four inches of snow tomorrow. Another irony is that I’ve come down with a nasty cold (or a mild flu) and I can’t even enjoy the nice weather before the storm hits. Instead, I’ve been stuck in the house, too sick to leave for my night job, but just able to muster enough strength to work on the computer for my day job for very short bursts.

Catching an illness powerful enough to knock you on your back for a day or two, is definitely a reminder that the body sometimes needs serious rest. In my experience, whenever I called out my boss would often try to guilt-trip me into coming to work. Eventually I had to learn to say “no” because my performance is subpar at best when sick, and worse, I’m just spreading my illness to my co-workers. I just can’t wrap my head around a culture that values working when very sick—even if an employer offers paid sick time off. (Amazingly, only about 16% of employees in America used all of their sick days in 2016.) A day or two off from work to recover can work wonders, as opposed to working while very sick and prolonging that sickness. In short, there is no shame in resting and taking the day off when you’re sick.

Now that I’ve written my slight rant, I’m heading back to bed to rest. Have you ever gone into work when you were really sick? Why or why not?

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