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Transition Time: Back to the Day Job

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm lucky. Really I am. I had eight weeks off this summer. This is my second day back at my day job. I'm employed as a counselor for nursing students ten months every year. I love my job. I'm also working full-time as an author fulfilling a three book contract for Realms/Charisma. I love that job too. It's a balancing act all right and it's not always easy or fun, but I wouldn't have it any other way. When you're blessed to have a job you love and then you get another job you love it's a dream come true. But in reality there are always bumps in the road. Some are little and some are big.

We all have the same number of hours in a day. So why is it that some people are so much better at organizing their time than others? This is something I still struggle with but I'm getting better. Believe it or not I actually manage my time better when I work my day job. I like to think in terms of self-management rather than time managment. I agree with the concept of being able to manage myself better than mangage my time. Still it's all related, I just have to find a way that works for me and my creative brain. There's no sleeping in on the days I report for my day job. When I'm off I don't get up early because I write late. It's a different kind of schedule, no right or wrong, just different. The problem of sleeping in when I'm off is that other matters regarding family needs can arise, running errands, household chores. When I'm off I feel more of a responsibility to do all these things and more because I don't feel like I do enough at home when I'm working. I think that's one of the hardest things for younger writers who stay at home and are raising children. This leads to another aspect that can sneak up on us.

          This is important to keep going through the day. I'm not a morning person, but because I have to get up early for the day job leads to being really tired at night, which is when I enjoy writing most. So that means it's time to adjust when I return to the day job. In order for me to have energy in the evening I have to exercise at lunch time or after work. If I don't, I pay the price and that's ususally in the loss of time to write. You can see where this can become a problem. Also, it's important to set boundries. Time and energy issues can lead to the next bump.

          In order to save money this year I'm going to carry my lunch. This will help me save up for a new computer. The cafeteria at work is just getting too expensive. But in order to carry my lunch I have to find time to pack it the night before work, along with getting my clothes ready, making dinner, taking care of the critters, and all those other things that need done. It ususally helps me to get the most complicated thing done first and if I do that then I probably won't procrastinate, which can throw my day off. This leads me to the next factor. Dare I say it?

          Yep. I think this is probably where I should start. Where all of us should start that want to be productive. When my daily goals start to blur that's when I know I'm in trouble. So it's well worth taking the time to open our planners or get out our calendars, or whatever technology you're using these days to stay on target. I like to set weekly and monthly goals and within those I pick one bad habit to try and change monthly, nothing huge. Then I work at chunking these down into bite size pieces, and yes I am one of those people who like to check things off that I've accomplished. :)

          Charles Stanley reminds us that prayer is our most powerful form of saving time. You can print out his 15 recommendations for making our time productive here:  Prayer:Our Time Saver              

So these are some of the issues that I know that are important for me to tackle as I transition back to work. What strategies work well for you whether you work at home or outside the home or both?


  1. As a teacher I used to look forward to my two summer months of vacation time. I think I saved up the "want to do" jobs every year, thinking I'd have time for everything when summer arrived. But of course I didn't. There were just different things vying for my time and attention. I had to learn to budget my time, based on priorities.

    I had three lists: one for the things I absolutely had to do, one for things I ought to do, and one for things I wanted to do. I rotated through the top items on each list to work on. I needed that balance; when I wasn't denying myself everything that nurtured my inner self, my morale was higher and I got more done. I'm retired now and should have lots of extra time. Of course I don't, but I do get to choose what my priorities will be, and that's a blessing.

  2. Hi Carol,
    Isn't it amazing how fast those 2 months in the summer go by? Now I write as much as I can, as fast as I can in that time. The rest is all about staying in shape and spending time with family.

  3. That's right! Save more, spend less all the time. That's the secret to getting free of financial burden. Also, you need to do what you love and go with what your heart tells you to do so. I came across a video that talks about the how-to transition from your day job to your dream business from Marie Forleo.