Tag Archives: job

Obstacles

Without even planning on it, the last few mornings I’ve managed to wake up an hour before my alarm goes off. This is good news because it gives me an extra hour of typing time on my novel, which mostly translates to my ONLY typing time on my novel each day. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself over this, despite a few recent posts that bemoan this fact, because I’m planning a wedding. I’m not sure what I was smoking when I decided that it was no big deal to write a novel and plan a wedding at the same time. All I know is that I can’t just stop writing it because if I do, it will disappear into oblivion.

This morning was one of those mornings when I was up before everyone else. I cracked open my laptop and decided to check on some work stuff before starting. This proved to be fatal to any writing I’d had planned today. I had taken the day off yesterday due to back-to-school obligations, which meant I was already prone to a ton of stress today. I have an article printing Sunday that still needed tweaking, a couple of online articles that were still sitting in their rough draft form, and a contest that I’m running that starts the voting process today. It was the last one that caused me grief, as the voting function was apparently missing, and we had T-4 hours till go time.

Omg.

Instead of writing, I had to spend the next hour on the phone with the tech guys in Texas, figuring out what was up with the site and somehow fix it. I was inches away from emailing my boss and telling him I had screwed up royally, but to not worry about it because I was quitting anyways. Fight or flight. It’s my favorite defense. Luckily I didn’t have to quit my job because the brilliant tech guy figured out the problem and walked me through fixing it. I get to keep my job, pet owners get to vote on who has the cutest dog, and all is right with the world.

Well, almost. My heroine is stuck in a dress shop with her son, unable to escape because I haven’t moved her past 5700 words and towards the part of the story that changes everything.

A coworker asked how Mr. W was doing in his new job, and I was happy to tell her he is like a different person. He still has the stress of holding a sales position, but if you work in sales you have to kind of thrive on that kind of stress. However, he’s happier at the end of the day. Before, he was struggling within himself, wanting to move forward and not knowing how, and hating that he was stuck where he was. My coworker described this same feeling, and was grateful to know she wasn’t alone. She constantly fears that the end of her job is near, afraid to lose her job while also wishing she could be anywhere else. I know of 7 people who have left the company in just the past few months, most of them in sales.  And when it comes down to it, it’s because the pressure was too great.

This scares me. If the portion of our company who makes the money for it are all working in conditions that make them want to quit, then what happens to the rest of us? If the sales department tanks, we all tank. Upstairs where I work, we’re protected in our little bubble. But downstairs, it’s like they have the whips and chains out, ready to flank anyone who sells below goal.

If the whole sales team ups and quits, what of the countless hours and the part of my soul I’ve sacrificed for this job already?  What then?

Beyond taking on the stress of our sales team, I’m feeling the stress in my own job. There are so very many hats I have to wear in my career, hats I’m admittedly lucky to be able to wear. But when I have to put all hats on at the same time, I implode. This is where I’m at this week. It makes me question everything I’m doing, whether it’s worth it, whether this position has served its purpose or not, and wonder if it’s time to move on. At times, the only thing stopping me is the question about where I would go after this. Write what I want to write full time? Sure! But I have to also pay the bills. At this time, the two don’t go hand in hand.

So for now I sit at my desk, toiling away at writing the mundane for the general public, taking my free time to create a novel and plan a wedding, keep tabs on my squirrely kids, attempt to be present for my fiancé, and remember to breathe in between. And little by little, I move a tiny bit closer to that dream that stands just beyond my fingertips, and the start of a happy, welcomed, new kind of stress.

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5 steps to smooth mornings

Mornings are rough – especially in a household where everyone is going in separate directions.  That’s why it’s vital to create a routine for the morning.  Here are some tips on how to make the most of the mornings and still get out of the house on time.

#1. Start planning on the weekend.
Create a Sunday routine of prepping for the week to come.  Plan out a lunch menu for the week, chop up veggies for lunches and dinners, and pre-bag any snacks your kids or you will be brown-bagging to make for an easy grab-and-go.  Pick out your outfits for the week and make sure that everything is neatly pressed. 

#2. Include the night before in your morning prep.
Bag up any parts of the lunches that can be made the night before without getting soggy or gross.  Make sure all papers and folders are signed.  Have your child pick out their clothes and lay them out. 

#3. Wake up earlier.
Always feel like you’re rushing in the morning?  Consider waking up 30 minutes earlier.  Those extra 30 minutes create time to brew your coffee, put the dishes away, start making breakfast, and have a few moments of peace and quiet as you mentally prepare for the day.

#4. Same ol’ routine…
When every morning is the same, things are less likely to be forgotten. Here’s my personal routine:

6am – wake up, make coffee, feed cat, and start cooking breakfast (oatmeal for kids, eggs for me). Daughter is already up and taking shower.
6:30am – wake son up (he takes his shower the night before, as do I). Both kids dress and eat breakfast.  I go upstairs and finish getting ready (hair, make-up, clothes I picked out the night before).
6:45am – kids put their dishes away and make their lunches. 
7am – I’m done getting ready, put my lunch together (generally leftovers already boxed up and ready to pack).  Make sure kids have everything they need for the day – papers signed, gym clothes in bag, lunches packed, teeth brushed, shoes and socks on. 
7:20-7:30am – make sure lights and coffee pot are off and leave for school and work.

Your routine will look different, depending on how much your kids are able to do by themselves, and how much you have to do for them.  As it is, our routine actually has extra time factored in.  This gives the kids time to lag in the morning, as kids are prone to do.  I totally recommend giving yourself more time than you need, just in case milk spills, breakfast burns, someone has a bad hair day, or a kid oversleeps or prefers to lay on his floor for 30 minutes rather than getting ready. 

And don’t underestimate the power of bribery.  My son was a classic example of never being ready on time because he would lag way too much.  But being the video game junkie he is, I bribed him by allowing him to play video games in the morning only if he has everything ready for the day.  No joke, he now gets ready in 15 minutes flat so he can have 30 full minutes of mind-numbing play time.  If you have a kid who lags, consider rewarding promptness as part of their requirements for earning allowance, for extra TV time, or anything else that is going to encourage them to get off their butts and get ready.

However, even the most anal routine is still prone to hiccups and forgetfulness…. 

Last night I made egg salad for the kids’ lunches, and packed up a couple containers of leftovers for my own lunches.  I got ready in record time and even had time to run a fresh iron over my shirt for extra crispness.  My daughter’s freshly laundered gym clothes were in her bag, and both their lunches rocked.  I dropped each kid off at school early, and was early to work.  And it wasn’t till I was sitting down at my desk did I remember that my son’s homework folder, the one that I needed to go through every weekend and then sign before he returned it on Monday, still lay untouched in his backpack without my signature.

Oops.

And this leads me to step #5 (one that we still need to implement):

#5. Create a checklist of must-dos.
…and teach your child (and yourself) to check off each item as they’re done.  Best place to keep it?  By the door so you’re sure not to miss it.

What do you do to make mornings go smoother?