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

It’s so important to ask questions. I wanted to write about this topic today because I find that the more experienced I become in my field, the more questions I have about various aspects of it. This is a good thing; I think there is a misconception in our society that a person who asks a lot of questions must not “get it.” That just isn’t true! I think that asking questions shows a person is actively thinking about a topic and exploring many facets of a problem. At least, that’s what I experience when I come up with questions about something. I want to know more and the best way to obtain information is to ask specific, direct questions about it.

When I have questions to ask someone, whether it is an author, my editorial office, or my manager, I make sure that I combine all of my questions into one email, phone call, or meeting with that person. There is nothing more irritating than receiving several emails or phone calls about the same topic when one well-organized message would have sufficed. Also, it helps to take a moment and really think through what it is you want to ask; sometimes the answer is right in front of you, figuratively speaking, and all it takes is a minute of contemplation to find it. Or, on the other hand, maybe after that contemplation you’ve considered a new way in which to ask a question or think about a problem. I can sometimes power through things and have learned to ease off the gas and not fire off an email or phone call the second I have questions. This has made me a more careful, controlled person and I feel more confident in my problem-solving abilities.

Don’t ever feel like you are less-than just because you want to ask questions. Sometimes asking a question can start a conversation or debate that could create some amazing answers. I’m a naturally shy person and I am only just now becoming comfortable with asking questions (lots of them, if I need to!) and I wish I had overcome my fears before this point. Gather your courage, confidence, and intelligence, get out there, and ask questions! 🙂

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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

Guys. Ireland was amazing. Seriously, everyone is so nice, funny, and helpful, the scenery is breathtaking, and the food is to die for. What’s not to like? I experienced wonderful things every day while I was there so it was bittersweet to come home. I’m glad I did, though–it would be tough for anyone to live out of a suitcase for that long!

We drove all around the country (literally), starting and ending in Dublin. We went south the coast (beneath Cork), then to various points on the west coast, then up to Donegal, and we ended with a night in Derry/Londonderry (which was incredible; I highly recommend spending some time in that city) before driving back down to Dublin.

Rock of CashelRock of Cashel

I learned a lot about myself, like that I can drive on the wrong side of the road with almost no problems at all! It was very empowering since I was in charge of all of the driving :).

DingleThe adorable street we stayed on in Dingle

I went with my grandmother because she’s been to Ireland several times with my grandfather (who passed away in 2005) and his family is still there. We were able to meet with some on the east coast and some on the west coast! My grandfather’s father was one of 12, so there are plenty of cousins to meet.

Blarney CastleThe view from Blarney Castle

I also was able to come back to work with very little trouble. I can’t rave enough about preparing extensively before a vacation and making sure that everything is in order, especially if someone is covering for you. I made sure to get my coverage partners treats while I was away to show them how much I appreciate their work!

Peace BridgeThe Peace Bridge in Derry

Overall, I’m so happy I went and I can’t wait to get back. This trip gave me many ideas for future trips to Ireland!

How about you, readers; have you ever traveled to Ireland?

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