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I hope all of you living in the United States had a great Independence Day holiday. For those of you outside of the U.S., I hope your Wednesday was excellent. (This post is a day later than intended because of the holiday and a very busy Thursday.)

One major goal I had before my vacation was to update my professional social media profiles, namely, LinkedIn and my work history on Facebook. To be honest, I haven’t updated either profile since I left Epic Careering almost a year ago. (I admit, not updating your professional profile is a bad habit to fall into.) I wanted to get this task started last week, but coming off of vacation and a non-invasive surgery at the end of the same week proved to be more than I could handle. I spent the final days of my vacation sick and tired. While I was able to return to work on Monday, the week was spent feeling sluggish. (Pro-tip: Having a surgery during a vacation may be efficient time-wise, even so, it is probably best to get a procedure at the start of the week opposed to the end.)

Thankfully, my second week back from my vacation has been more productive. I’m feeling better all around, and I’m ready to tackle those social profiles. I’m even looking forward to integrating daily or semi-weekly updates to my social media profiles beyond Twitter.  While I don’t think updating my LinkedIn/Facebook profiles will take long, updating my résumé and accomplishments might be more time-consuming. (I did take Karen’s advice years ago and wrote down my work achievements.) Updating your résumé when you are in job search mode is stressful. However, updating when you’re not searching removes much of that stress. I’m looking forward to the challenge and scratching another few items off of the to-do list. It is important to stay well-rounded and to keep your skills current. You never know when you will need them again.

 

Do you update your professional social media profiles often, even when you’re not looking for work?

LinkedInPen by Sheila Scarborough of Flickr

LinkedInPen by Sheila Scarborough of Flickr

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Today I’m reflecting on a one year anniversary. On June 12, 2017 I became a full-time employee at my night job (although I had to pass a 30-day trial period). It’s amazing how quickly the year has flown by and how different my outlook has become. Prior to becoming full-time at work, I had never spent a long period of time working 40 hours or more per week. Those hours were often seasonal and tied to the holidays or summer. Periods right after the holidays and in the spring were often quite lean. To make up the gap in pay I often worked two jobs, sometimes with freelance work on the side. (That’s how I originally met Karen.) Until last year I began to doubt that I would ever work for a single company and bring home a sustainable wage.

Making the transition from part-time to full-time was actually more difficult than I imagined. First, I had to get used to not being able to leave early on some evenings. That meant balancing out my free time each day. Naturally, some days were more productive than others. Ultimately, the routine work schedule was a stabilizing force, as I knew when I had to be at the job and when I could expect to leave. The second hardest part was waiting for my vacation time to return. It is not easy to go from four weeks of vacation time to none for about a year. To fill in the gaps I took paid days off, which helped a lot.

More importantly than time off, was the fact that I had to play catch up on all the years I went without having a full-time wage. That meant saving extra money for retirement, filling up the savings accounts for emergencies, and paying off unnecessary debt. While I’m on the right track with savings, it will be a while before my unnecessary debts are paid off. Although doing so now is better than never getting started. Ultimately, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work full-time.

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you had given up hope on becoming a full-time employee?

Kalender 2018 mit Kugelstift und Laptop by Marco Verch of Flickr

Kalender 2018 mit Kugelstift und Laptop by Marco Verch of Flickr

Nearly a month ago I wrote about wanting to finish some personal projects before taking my vacation in June. A huge goal of mine was to update my gaming blog by doing a lot of work on the back end. The work included updating the about pages, creating a small newsletter, auto-posting to the Twitter account, creating an inbox everyone could access, and opening up the Discord server to the public. Each step of the project came with surprise setbacks, but I was determined to stop procrastinating.

The first project was updating the about pages. It had been a process I put on the backburner for years—seven to be exact. Needless to say, the original bios that had been emailed to me were lost to time. Fortunately because we made the switch from staff e-mail chains to Discord, communicating my need for new or updated bios was incredibly easy. I also took suggestions on how to improve the pages (such as official titles) as I updated.

My biggest goal was to update the blog’s Twitter account. As it stood, the account was little more than an RSS feed that updated once a day. I sought out a way to push out older, but still relevant posts so they could be seen more than once. While many paid services could provide me with a content queue, it made no sense to implement on a venture that doesn’t generate income. Ultimately, I found a plugin called Revive Old Posts. The plugin originally didn’t work despite following the instructions and suggested solutions. Occasionally I could trigger a manual update. After fighting with it, I made some tweaks to the WordPress code the auto-updates started to flow. My persistence had finally paid off.

The rest of the updates (the newsletter and opening the Discord server to the public) fell into place pretty easily. All and all, it feels good to scratch a big to-do item off the list. If I keep this pace up my list will be mostly done before my vacation.

 

When was the last time you scratched a big item off your to-do list?

WordPress by Cristian Labarca of Flickr

WordPress by Cristian Labarca of Flickr

I recently wrote about feeling burned out, the need to keep going, and looking forward to taking a vacation. Fortunately, my vacation is about a month away. I came to the realization that unlike many previous vacations, I would actually like to have some free time rather than spending my days catching up on projects. The thought of just relaxing during my vacation and giving myself much needed recovery time has actually pushed me toward a new series of goals. I want to complete said goals during the days leading up to my time off.

Present projects I want to take care of include completing the personal branding, website building, and blogging projects that I have been putting off. I want to contribute to social media beyond my Twitter account, update my LinkedIn profile (because it is overdue), and maintain a larger presence on Facebook and Twitter via my blog. While the website project will take longer to complete because I don’t want to work on it during my time off, I can at least begin building a work timeline. As for the blog, I’ve listed all the changes I want to make for 2018 via Discord and Trello—I just need to implement those changes.

When I finish these projects before my vacation starts I will be in a good place productivity-wise. I’m the type of person who needs a goal deadline to stay motivated with projects. Sometimes it is necessary to create the deadlines yourself and a reasonable reward when there are no external forces pushing you.

 

How do you set up goals and rewards surrounding the free time from your job?

Night Work by Thomas Heylen of Flickr

Night Work by Thomas Heylen of Flickr

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