Winding Down…or Winding Up?

Things have become very busy for me lately. It’s surprising how quickly things become busy as a school year winds down. If you’re reading this, it’s been a couple weeks since I posted, and I meant to get back to this quickly. Guess what? I got distracted.

So here I am, waiting for my car to finish being serviced at the dealership. It seemed like a good time to post after I completed some other online errands. It’s amazing how many online errands we have, isn’t it?

Check your email, submit work assignments via email, make reservations, surf social media, post on social media, and everything else that catches our attention. We’re always busy in our online lives.

Well, I’m finally winding down a bit at least in my work life. Why is that? Because tomorrow is my last day of work for six weeks! I’ll be completing a full year of teaching ESL and hopefully getting lots of time to myself to organize that horrible extra bedroom. Yes, you read that right.

I have yet to completely organize the extra bedroom of doom. I’ve made progress in other areas, though. I managed to go through every area of my wardrobe and thin it down immensely. On Monday, I took a car full of bags and boxes to the local organization that helps homeless people as a donation. And when I say a car full, I mean it. My trunk was packed, and I had to fill up the passenger seat with bags and boxes as well. When the man brought out the rolling bin to help me, I filled it to the top with no problem.

I plan to go through all the things in the extra bedroom and our storage closet, not to mention the additional things in my closet and weed out more donation items here during my summer break. I actually feel so much better about being more minimalist when I do this.

Speaking of weeding things out, Fernando and I bought some new dishes because our original set were becoming a bit frustrating to work with. Besides, we really like Fiestaware. I’m really just becoming my mother since she uses the same kind of dishes. In any event, I suppose it was expected that we would eventually get new dishes. We took the old ones, including some nice wine glasses and put them aside as a donation.

Now we’re making them a friend donation because a couple of our friends are moving back to the area after being in Hawaii in the army for the last couple of years. My friend was so excited about having actual dishes when she moves back I started thinking about what other things I could offer her from my stash of items that I no longer want. I think I like the idea of being able to give my things to someone I know who can use them better than I do just donating to an organization that resells them to random strangers. I know Fernando enjoys it.

The one thing I have been doing in my extra bedroom is organizing my school stuff. I spent a long time trying to put as many of my school supplies into a state of organization based on type of worksheet and what part of the curriculum I would use them. I did this over several days and finally got to the point where I could store everything outside of the rolling bin and lockbox I was assigned from the school system. It was good timing because I returned those to the supervisor yesterday in an attempt to be done with them early.

Phew! Writing all that out is tiring.

And, guess what?

Next week I have to spend my time cleaning and getting ready for a beach and Disney trip! I spent my morning here making dining reservations at Disney for our December trip there. But we actually plan to go to the beach with my parents for a few days and then drive further south to Disney after the beach trip.

I’m going to be very busy!

I won’t really get to relax till after our vacation. Isn’t that the way it always is?

– RaeNezL

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Taking Care of Business

Have you ever had a to-do list piled a mile high?

Raise your hand with me cause I know you have.

I regularly feel like there are about a thousand things that need to get done. I’m sitting here in my living room with Dobby the House Corgi on my feet (he’s a good foot warmer), and all I can think about is how I should eat, get my vacuum out and get the floors vacuumed.

Well, that’s not all I can think about. My bathroom is a mess, and my dishwasher is full of clean dishes that need to be taken out and put away so I can start that whole process again. I have loads of things I could be putting in to the washing machine right now. And my extra bedroom? Let’s just say it’s a complete and total disaster area.

My to-do list seems like it’s typically a never-ending list of cleaning that needs to get done. I sprinkle in a bit of fun here and there, like writing on my novel, doing a Pilates routine, working on something crafty, and cooking delicious food. But it gets a bit disheartening to just list it all out in one long list that seems to have fewer check marks than it has items every time I turn around.

About a month ago, I started a class by a woman who runs the website Little Green Dot. It’s a health and wellness website that has lot of great information, so feel free to go check it out (after you finish reading the post here). Anyway, Militza ran a free course on How To Become A Morning Person that I subscribed to and got so much out of. The course is closed now, but I’m sure she’ll do a third round if you’re interested and go to the above link to sign up for the wait list.

One of the tips that I really got the most out of from her course was about the infamous to-do list.

We all have them, but taking care of them is another matter for some of us (read: me). Her tip was simple and is probably one you’ve seen before, but I’m going to present it here and share how I’ve used it these last few weeks.

The Tip: Write down your top three things on your to-do list every morning. 

Obviously some of us are not morning people, so the morning might become the afternoon or even evening. The principle is the same. If you have a mile-high to-do list, you’re going to get the most out of it if you simply choose your battles, so to speak. Pick the top three things you want to accomplish each day and write them down somewhere.

Why do you write them down? I’ll tell you why I do it. I’m more likely to do my to-do list if it’s written down and I feel the need to check it off. There’s that sense of accomplishment every time I put a check mark by an item.

Why three things? I think three things are more doable in our busy, packed lives. We’re all running from place to place, working for hours on end, and running on empty that trying to fit too much on our plates would lead to getting none of it done. Three things can simplify the process, get us started on daily tasks to accomplish, and help boost our confidence.

My method for this is fairly simple. I have a planner I use for this purpose. When I’m being good, I’ll write down my list daily of three top things to accomplish. By the end of the day, I’ll review my list and check off the things I’ve accomplished. Writing it down reinforces the list so I remember it more, and I tend to feel more like it’s my personal list instead of something that’s an expectation from an outside source.

One thing I’ve also learned is that choosing three things doesn’t mean I have to choose three tasks I hate. I like to choose a mix of things that need accomplishing (i.e. cleaning the kitchen, washing laundry, writing lesson plans for the next week) and things I enjoy doing (i.e. writing on my novel, doing a Pilates workout, walking the dog around the complex three times). With a mix of fun and “chore” type things, I’m more likely to take ownership of getting things done around the house and enjoy doing it at the same time.

What about you? Do you enjoy your to-do list? Do you break it into smaller chunks?

– RaeNezL

The Part-Time Job

When I first found out I was hired for the job with the local school system, I was a little hesitant. They offered me a position as a part-time administrative role. It was clear I wasn’t being hired for something I was educated for, and I felt a little as if I’d fallen into a pattern.

It’s clear that my track record with jobs hasn’t always been perfect. You just need to see my resume to see that I have rarely kept a job for longer than a year. In fact, the one job I can recall keeping for longer than a year (besides Starbucks) is the job that started this blog.

Yep. The awful cubicle job from down-below.

I worked in a call center for a year and a month, and that’s the only redeeming factor I can really give that position.

Moving right along…

I was concerned that my earning power was decreasing the more I was laid off from positions. As a young woman with a degree in a rather vague area of business, I had no expertise to offer most companies and very little real experience to leverage when looking for new positions.

Then I got this part-time job offer that was part-lifeline, part-anchor. Yes, it would keep my head above water with bills, and boy, do I have bills! But there was still that nagging feeling that I was being hired for a position that I was over-qualified for and not even in a full-time capacity where I could at least earn enough to make the job count for something.

Still I hired on with those hesitations and began what has become an adventure.

I realize a part-time job isn’t for everyone, and for me, It’s really only a temporary position until Fernando and I can get some things set in stone. However, this job has been not only the lifeline I mentioned before but a Godsend in terms of helping me find direction for my career goals.

Not everyone gets so lucky.

Have I mentioned it’s also given me time to battle the never-ending monster that is cleaning the apartment?

Let me tell you all about that one. No, wait. You probably don’t have time for that. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

However, I might have to share more about battling the monster that is cleaning in the future as part of sharing about working part-time and how it’s really changed my perspective.

What I’d like to tell you about today is how working part-time has changed my perspective on the value of jobs.

We put so much value on what kind of job we’re working and whether it’s part-time or full-time. But there are a lot of people working positions like mine: part-time positions that require a lot of time and effort outside the normal working hours just to get the job done.

We tend to think that it’s not a real job unless we’re getting paid a certain amount. Different people have different ideas about this, but in some families, there are expectations about how much a person should be making in their career at a certain age or level of employment. It can be incredibly daunting to consider trying to meet expectations like that when you’re not even employed full-time in the first place.

We think that non-traditional jobs are risky and won’t yield a good result. If you’ve ever gotten involved in a job that isn’t what you were educated for or isn’t a traditional, safe, normal job, you probably know exactly what I’m trying to say here. This applies to full-time and part-time jobs, and it can lead to all kinds of pain and frustration, especially when we find our sweet spots.

We are consumed by putting a dollar value on a job instead of a quality of life value. I think this is especially true for people who like to compare what we’re making to what we could be making if we just went to a different position or company. It’s easy to put a dollar value on a job. It’s hard to put a quality of life value on it. We’re so quick to want to make the most money and believe that will bring the most happiness, but there are times when our quality of life deteriorates as we strive for that money.

You may not agree with me about these things. But I’ve learned a few things after starting a part-time job working in a position I love. I may never make enough money in this job to support my lifestyle, and that’s okay. My lifestyle has had many changes since marriage anyway.

What I will do, however, is find a way to get more education so that I can take advantage of opportunities to make this a more full-time position.

What about you? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on a part-time job?