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First, I made it through my 30 days of probation. This means any danger I may have had of not performing at my night job to expectations and being sent back to part-time is over. My conversion to full-time employee now truly begins.

 

A few months ago, I removed the productivity software that I installed on my PC. I realized that the problem wasn’t things reaching out to distract me, but it was my own inability to concentrate and fully focus on a task. When I find myself easily distracted it means I’m getting close to feeling burnout. When I take a break or a day off for myself, the need to be distracted goes away. Interestingly enough, while I was listening to our most recent Epic Career Tale (another friend of mine), our guest said he never uses productivity software– getting through work quicker means having more time to do what you enjoy. Hearing his words wasn’t anything new, but it was the reaffirmation I needed to hear at the right time.

As my time winds down with Epic Careering and my full-time work continues at night, the struggle not to become burned out is stronger than ever. However, I realized that if I focus on work and push through the siren-call of distraction, that having a little free time, and a sense of accomplishment is its own reward. Sure the distractions will always hover in the background, especially as stress piles on, but having systems and/or expectations in place are a great combatant.

 

What are some of the methods you use to combat distraction?

Monday by Helen Cook of Flickr

Monday by Helen Cook of Flickr

It has been about a calendar month since I started working full-time at UPS. I have to admit, it has been quite a shock going from part-time to full-time. I don’t regret feeling fulfilled and not having to worry about a lack of working hours, but keeping two jobs and working nearly 50 hours per week has been challenging. (I haven’t been this busy since the holiday season.) However, there are techniques I’m using to keep everything from becoming too overwhelming.

The first thing that’s helped immensely is time-blocking. Knowing I have a couple hours per day to get through my work for Epic Careering before going to UPS helps me stay focused. Putting aside time also lets me take a care of a few small tasks before work, such as cooking dinner, or running a small errand. While some of these things can be done during the weekend, making small amounts of time for them before work returns a sense of control to my life. I did this when I was just part-time, but now that my time is extremely limited, time-blocking is more important than ever.

The second thing is learning to say “no” more. When you have a block of time dedicated to one task and nothing else, it is important to learn to turn down other requests. This could mean that if extra work comes in and it’s not an emergency, it may have to wait until the following day. Or if a chore doesn’t get done in its allotted time, again it must wait. If someone requests your time and it’s also not an emergency, it will have to be scheduled or wait until the weekend. If you say “yes” to everyone and try to satisfy all of their needs, you’ll quickly become burned out.

The third and final thing that has helped is enjoying my time off. With the exception of essential chores or errands, none of the weekend is dedicated to work. I try to enjoy all of the down time I don’t have during the weekdays, such as getting extra sleep, playing video games, or just relaxing.

Do you work a really busy schedule? How do you keep from being overwhelmed?

Lawn Chair by Tom Simpson of Flickr

The ideal weekend/time off – Lawn Chair by Tom Simpson of Flickr

First of all, I must apologize for how late this blog is going up. My intention was to have it up on Wednesday, but that slipped into Thursday, then I had to push it aside to make room for some high priority projects.

That leads me to the reason why I’m so short on time as of late. I landed a full-time job at UPS. It is the same seniority-based job I previously wrote about. The only major requirement was being able to type 40 words per minute. The people with more seniority than me either didn’t want the job since it was computer based (or they didn’t like the hours), or they failed the typing test. I was nervous going into the test because of the expectations and pressure (all eyes were figuratively on who would pass the test and get the job), but I passed at 55 words per minute with shaky hands.

I started the job on June 12, and since then it has been a whirlwind of getting used to the new rules at work, learning how going from part-time to full-time affects my pension, vacation, seniority, and just getting used to working from 6PM to 3AM Monday through Friday. Additionally, I’ve been training on how to be a package auditor for international packages. Learning the rules, what forms customs needs, and keying in information as needed (thus the need to type at a minimum of 40 words per minute). It is pretty much an office job in the middle of a very large factory/package hub while working next to huge trucks. This is only half of my night, the other half is being a package handler for domestic parcels which don’t need as much scrutiny– basically same the job I’ve had for years.

Since I’m working a full 40 hours per week, the time crunch is a bit much. So I will be leaving Epic Careering at the beginning of August. I’ll have a separate final post, once everything is said and done. For now, it seems like a good time to start preparing to turn the reins over to my eventual successor.

072 - Keys by Hillary of Flickr

072 – Keys by Hillary of Flickr

Just as MaryKate continues her epic vacation abroad, I’m back from my staycation. As I mentioned in a previous post, I made good on my promise to take time off from both jobs. To be honest, the vacation was nothing special, as I didn’t even leave Philadelphia. The only time I left home was to go into Center City to wait in line for the RickMobile (as in Rick and Morty). However, I did accomplish what I set out to do. My first goal was to rest my mind and body. My second goal was to make a serious dent the game I’m currently playing, Persona 5. Considering I didn’t get out of bed on some mornings until after 11, and I put an additional 20 hours into my game (for a current total of 68 hours), I’m fairly satisfied. I even took a day to organize some parts of my house, like installing shelving in the back bedroom to clean up clutter.

Far too many people don’t consider taking vacations for a variety of reasons. Vacations don’t need to be expensive. The point is to take time off from work to allow your mind and body to recharge. Upon returning from my vacation I certainly feel recharged and more focused. The break is exactly what I needed and I’m glad I took the time off.

 

Do you regularly take vacations?

Persona 5

Big chunks of my vacation were spent playing Persona 5. Nice to Mee-ow-t you too, video games.

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