Archives for posts with tag: millennial

Every so often, my company does something for its employees to give us a bit of a break in our hectic schedules. Today was ice cream day; a local ice cream shop brings a cart by and we all get free ice cream and time to hang out and enjoy it. As I was waiting in line to get my delectable cup of salted chocolate ice cream, I stood talking to my coworker and friend. We talked a little bit about work, but we quickly moved on to talking about what’s going on in both of our lives. I felt (and still feel, hours later) calm and capable after that mid-day break.

I’m sure I’ve said this before in some way, but I really appreciate this company. They go out of their way to organize events like ice cream day which may seem small to some people, but it is a nice thing for employees. The company doesn’t have to go and spend money on ice cream or a party (2 a year in fact–a Christmas party and a Spring picnic), but they do. Sometimes, those seemingly small gestures go a long way, in my estimation, to creating a comfortable work environment. I forgot all about ice cream day today until the little reminder popped up in my Outlook. I forced myself to look away from article proofs, stretch my arms and legs, and get up and go downstairs to stand around, eat, and talk.

My friend and I had a lovely afternoon conversation and I got to enjoy some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had (honestly). I’ll take that over an hour of answering email correspondence any day :).

Do any of your employers or schools go out of their way to do things for their employees/students?



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?



On Sunday evening, as I was preparing myself for work on Monday, I thought I’d take it once step further. I opened my phone calendar and checked to see what I had to do this week (outside of work). I switched a few things around (I had two tasks to complete on Monday for my freelance job and I knew they could wait), thereby brightening my outlook for the week considerably.

I did the same thing when I arrived at work Monday morning–I opened my Outlook calendar and my to-do list (I keep a running list for every day that changes often, with longer-term projects included at the bottom) and assessed my work week ahead. I was able to swap a few tasks on different days that would make my life easier, and then my productivity was set to grow steadily for the rest of the day.

It was such a positive choice to set my week up Sunday evening and Monday morning. Usually on Sunday nights, I get myself ready by packing my lunch, making sure my bag has everything I need, and laying out my clothes for the next day, but I don’t think about my week ahead. I’m tired and I don’t want the weekend to end, but it’s not fair for me to indulge those feelings for too long. By mentally and physically preparing myself for my work- and outside of work-week, I lowered my stress level and was able to fall asleep more quickly and wake up more refreshed on Monday morning. Looking back, I also got a lot done yesterday that I may not have if it wasn’t for my impromptu idea to plan ahead.

I’m patting myself on the back a bit in this post, but I’m glad it worked out for me so far. What about you, dear readers? Do you plan for the week ahead on Sunday night?


I can’t stress the power of positive thinking enough. I’ve been going through a rough patch this past week or two with heightened stress levels at work (for no reason in particular) and, due to that, I haven’t been sleeping as well as I could be at night. It’s a vicious cycle. There have been days where I come home from work and just want to sit on the couch with no stimulation whatsoever because my mind just keeps racing. Well, I finally put my foot down and I’m not allowing myself to fall into a black hole again this week.

I woke up yesterday morning and I refused to feel bad just because it was a Monday. I also refused to think about work until I was actually sitting at my desk, going through my e-mails later in the morning. I took a shower, put on an outfit that makes me feel confident, listened to my favorite music, and ate breakfast. When I got into work, I continued to listen to music (classical is my favorite when I have a busy day), took a walk at lunch, and actually kicked Monday’s butt. I got a lot done and I felt like a superhero when I left my building yesterday afternoon.

I had some more work to do that night when I got home (I do freelance work on the side), but I made sure I gave myself some down time before I started it. I made myself a nice dinner, read my book, and watched some TV before I dove into my work for another hour or so. I went to bed at a decent time and yes, I did wake up twice during the night, but both times it was for only a few minutes. I don’t feel overwhelmed this morning and I’m ready to kick another day’s butt :).

By refusing to allow myself to think negatively, I made myself feel better. I played a kind of trick on myself and I’m telling you, it worked! Do you ever play tricks on yourself to get out of a rut?



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