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I’m still working on a suitable schedule, but I have one that roughly works. Just as I found my footing with my schedule, I’m finding myself busy with fall appointments. (In hindsight, it may have been a bad idea to schedule all of my healthcare checkups in September, October, and November.) However, there is an upside to all of the visits to various doctors. Thanks to one appointment to take care of a minor health problem via non-invasive surgery, I found myself off from work for two days last week. The break was actually what I needed to jumpstart my motivation.

Now that I’m recovered from my minor surgery, I’m ready to take on the list of chores that I had been putting off for months. Although there wasn’t any urgency to do the chores, or consequences for not doing them immediately, the fact that they needed to be done was always at the back of my mind. Now that I have a set day to do them (this Saturday), I’m excited to finally to finally scratch them off my list. The chores mostly consist of cleaning, caulking, and resealing drafts in the house for the winter. They also include landlord work, as I have to do pest control and spray the entire duplex. (Professional DIY pest control kits are awesome and effective, but a tad expensive compared to consumer items sold at big box stores.)

Thinking about it, I never did my annual spring cleaning so a fall cleaning is badly needed. Sometime it’s nice just to sit down and literally get the house in order.

 

Have you ever been glad to get to an item on your list that you had been procrastinating on for a long time?

Tools

Tools by Dean Shareski of Flickr

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I’ve been working full-time for almost five months now and the biggest change is getting used to working full-time. When you’ve been working part-time for most of your adult life, not having weekdays where you can have most of the day off is a big change. Not that I mind the steady work as I am more financially secure. The second issue is finding a schedule that leaves me feeling satisfied and fulfilled. I’ve learned that if I can wake up each morning around 11, I have about six hours to do (mostly) everything I want. Unlike a 9-5, tasks are done before work instead of after. (Which isn’t too different from before, except I have fewer hours in the day now.) This routine includes exercise, chores, running errands, and getting appointments out of the way.

However, I’ve noticed in recent weeks I’ve been feeling burned out and little personal projects go by the wayside. Personal writing, personal branding, and home improvement projects are taking the biggest hit. The desire to do these projects haven’t diminished, but the will do to them has been lacking. Now that I’ve figured out what my ideal day and week should be, I’ve been slowly adding these activities back into my schedule. I’ve also included a schedule for days dedicated to free time activities (gaming) and others related to productivity. Now I just need to set my schedule to account for distractions, appointments, and events that quickly tend to eat up time.

For the most part, I’m seeing a steady decline in frustration and an uptick in productivity.

 

How do you manage your weekday free time?

Appointment Book by Suzanne Carey of Flickr

Appointment Book by Suzanne Carey of Flickr

I recently listened to a segment from WYNC’s On The Media about the importance of boredom and not relying on your smartphone too much. While I probably won’t be replicating the experiment of forgoing my smartphone for a week and allowing in full boredom, the idea had some appeal to me. At times I find myself frustrated with how much I rely on my phone when I’m bored, or I just use it as an excuse to procrastinate. I’m not even sure when it stopped becoming a tool and became a siren call that I find myself heeding every single day. The notifications designed to make people interact with their phone can become overwhelming. I often find myself turning many of those notifications off.

I’ve also slowly started doing away with using my phone in bed immediately after waking up. I find that so much time is easily wasted browsing social media and not contributing to my own growth, or any plans that I had for the day. Although I’ve just started this practice, it already feels good to do something else in the morning, such as getting immediately out of bed and walking the dog, or exercising. If I don’t keep careful track of my time, it can become easy to waste an entire day.

The hardest habit to break will be reaching for my smartphone when I’m bored or just feeling frustrated. I’m positive that like most people, I pick up my phone from 60 to 100 times per day. I’d like to make each reach of my phone more productive so that time isn’t wasted. In short, I’d like to turn my smartphone back into the tool it was meant to be, instead of a time sink.

 

Have you ever felt like you spend way too much unproductive time on your smartphone? How did you remedy the problem?

Smartphone by Karlis Dambrans of Flickr

Smartphone by Karlis Dambrans of Flickr

I’ve been a package auditor at UPS for nearly three months now. When I go into work I still find myself amazed at how different this new job is compared to the job I had for 16 years. It really isn’t like any other hourly job in the building. There are times when the work flows and the night goes by very quickly. There are other times when the work ebbs and there’s nothing to do for long stretches of time, sometimes up to an hour. Since the package auditing area for internationals isn’t considered part of the center, the rules are different. Normally, if there’s no work in an area, you’re sent out do other tasks, such as unloading package trucks. Here, I simply wait for work to arrive and that could mean just standing around waiting, preparing my auditing materials for the packages (filling out stickers), reading training manuals, visiting the company page portal, or talking to co-workers. Being full-time and guaranteed 40 hours per week also adds a new layer of complication. I have to stay and the option to go home early if work is slow is off the table. I can’t help but marvel at how different my working situation is compared to just a few months ago.

(To be honest, I only spend four hours auditing packages, the remaining four hours are spent doing the job I previously had– just on a different shift with different people.)

As for the auditing itself, it is spent mostly memorizing the rules for sending a package internationally depending on the country. (Tip: always stick an invoice with a price for the goods on your package when sending it out of the country through a shipping company. Otherwise, it WILL be opened.) Most audits are simple, however some are complicated. I find myself frustrated with getting to the point where most of the rules just “click” and I simply know how to proceed. Although a new job is exciting, I sometimes miss being in a place where knowing how to complete a task came with ease. I know this is part of getting out of my comfort zone and growing, but I’d be lying to myself I didn’t admit to missing some of that comfort.

 

Do you often miss the comforts of an old job or do you jump right into your new one without thinking of the old?

Trudat Stamper by Steve Chab of Flickr

A stamper. Some co-workers actually have these. I don’t– I wish I did!

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