Finding Your Pace

We all work at different paces. Some like to try and do everything really quickly so they can relax later. Others wait until the last moment and race to get things done (they find energy and excitement in the challenge to finish). Still others prefer to keep a grueling pace throughout the entire project in order to get everything plus more done.

Although I have done all of the above – if nothing else – Oregon Trail taught me one thing: pace is everything. While some of these routes to the end result will work some of the times, the best way to do it is to go at a realistic – not too fast, not too slow pace. While there may be benefits to either extreme – the costs for both of them are often higher than expected for both you and your client.

If nothing else learned this year – I learned that you should set your pace – not the client. No one knows how much x,y,z tasks take better than you if you do them over and over. The client might be working on this project now, but you are being hired for your professional experience – experience that you have gained by doing similar tasks – and thus you should have the best idea how long/how much something will take.

Any client that needs something in an unreasonable time frame or that constantly has emergencies in off hour time periods is perhaps not the client you want/or even constant “immediate” changes (regardless of the pay). I know it sounds hard to stand up to them or even risk losing some clients, but trust me it is well worth it. Your quality of work will improve as will your mental sanity.

Early in the project – make sure to set the pace. Your client will respect you more and your family/friends will appreciate it too. Just remember – your sanity is worth a lot more then spending weekends/holidays on the phone for something that will not be as important as the time you lost with your friends/family.

Make Opportunities

Several years ago, the company I worked for had a secretary full of life lessons which she would tell me about each morning. Out of everything she ever told me – one thing really stuck. She told me “Jen – don’t wait for opportunities, make them”. There are not too many days that go by that I do not think about that.

So many people wait around for “that phone call, that new job, that right guy/girl, etc” (you fill in the blank) and those people will often live most of their life with regrets and/or with dead end jobs. It is easier to stay stuck in a rut than to actually make a change and if that is how you live your life – that is fine, but I wanted more.

With the economy the way it is, I have seen a lot of people get laid off or feel like they have to stay in their mind numbing job because it is “too risky” to move into a new job. At some point in your life you either have to “shut up or do something” and for your benefit – I hope you do something. The best thing I have done in my life was to stop waiting around for things to happen to me and to go out on my own and start something that was mine and I enjoyed. While it was risky – I got to a point where it felt more risky not to do anything. I finally took the secretary’s words into consideration and have not regretted it whatsoever.

I do not mean to preach, but I do ask you to take chance and to think about what you want – not in a month from now, but in 5 years from now. Can your current situation provide that? If not, what can you do to make a difference? Whatever you do, take a chance and make that opportunity instead of waiting for it!

Index Spoiled

I really wish I could index and catalog everything in my house. Today I needed to solder something and I know I just saw that solder somewhere in the last two days, but I cannot find it for the life of me. Times like this I wish everything in my house was as searchable as the information I can easily search for on my favorite search engine.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly where everything is – even if it is out of place by simply searching in one central spot for it? I have often thought about this and how much time I could save by having everything indexed. Perhaps in a few years we will be able to do this, but until then, I will continue to have those frustrating days where I know what I want is nearby – but just not visible enough to find.

The New Beast

I do not know about you – but the last year has absolutely been insane work-wise. I have said it before and I will say it again. I feel like the people that still have jobs – are working at a super frantic rate. I decided to work late tonight to get caught up on a number of tasks so my weekend will be semi-enjoyable. I like working late because I feel like I can get ahead.

Tonight – much like other nights this year – just as I think I am going to get ahead by closing out as many unread messages as possible – more come in. While writing these two paragraphs – I got 3 new messages from clients.

I do not know what will happen. Will those of us who are still working…and working at this crazy pace burn out or will businesses start to see the burn out coming and actually start hiring again?

In this recession – I have found that it is not that there is less work to do – there are just fewer people that are doing it…and those people are doing the jobs of 2-3 people. What will happen…who knows, but for now it looks like I am just better off stopping work so I can get some relaxation in for the day.

Where Am I?

Where am I that a boy floated away in a balloon this week and it was a huge news story? Really – is this the big news we should be focusing on? I am actually more curious about the state of Afghanistan and the Jonhsonifcation of Obama (I believe Obama is failing into the exact footsteps of LBJ).

News never seems to fail my low expectations of it. There is always some gimmick or tricky slogan like “balloon boy” (which unfortunately he will be referred to for the rest of his life) and little or no real content. (in my opinion of course)

Obviously I am not a news professional and will not pretend to think I know what sells (ratings) – but I will say I wish the news took 10 minutes out of each hour broadcast to focus on a story of hope instead of the gimmicky drama. Perhaps we could then all pull together and become more in the know about the important things in life.

I remember a year or so ago – the actors on Guiding Light actually went around and worked with Habitat for Humanity and then showed clips of them working on the project – it was really cool – not to mention very kind.

Perhaps if we learned/saw more about some of the good things going on around us, we would be more aware of ways to help, organize, and make a difference…even by doing something small.

So where am I – I am in America no doubt, fed up with the media and hopeful our generation will make a difference!

Random Fridays: Thank Goodness Summer is Almost Over

Summers seem most people’s favorite times of the year because of vacations, being outside, etc and while I generally do not hate summers – I also am not a fan. You can keep the heat, summer vacations, and all of that because my favorite time of the year is quickly approaching…fall. Fall to me means more routine (try living with a teacher when you are not on their schedule in the summer), college and professional football, fall golf (I have not been out since April…gasp), and cooler temperatures.

This summer has been hell on wheels for me, but through all of the craziness this summer – I walk away with so much more experience, knowledge, and confidence.

Hopefully the fall will also bring me back to more regular posting as well.

Serenity now!

Random Fridays: Too Much Stuff

I am not sure what happened – but lately I feel like I am surrounded by way too much stuff. I recently went through the garage and cleaned it out, went through my office and threw away tons of phone cords, ethernet cables, triplicate serial cables for old Macs, and this weekend – it is the basement.

Our basement is the landing place for “I do not know where to put it” or “stuff I need to go through later”. You can find my huge Trent Reznor posters from college, notes from middle school – yeah, I still have some, college notebooks, PS2 games, and that dart board I “just had to have”.

I am not sure if I am overwhelmed because I do not regularly go through my stuff – or if it just seems like more now that I have a kid that also seems to have a lot of stuff too…but this weekend I am hoping to go through a bunch of old stuff, bag it up, and ship it over to Good Will.

How do others manage their “stuff”? Do you clean out annually, or more frequently? I also need a sign that says “no more nick-nacks – regardless of how much you thought of me when you saw it. 😉

Random Fridays: May 29, 2009

This past week has been absolutely crazy. Hectic work days, a baby shower at my house, a car accident (with Amy’s $51k loaner) – not her fault, crazy deadlines, etc. I will be happy when I can just sit back and relax this evening (before the weekend chaos).

Through all of this craziness – I have to say I have been enjoying playing some online Scrabble using <a href="http://www.eamobile.com/Web/iphone-game/scrabble" target="_blank" EA's Scrabble for the iPhone with Doug using Facebook to link us together. The game can take an hour or a few days, depending on when we have time, but it is nice to just stop everything now and again and take a turn playing Scrabble. Now all I need is to find a chess game like this and Ken and I will be set!

Hurray for the weekend!

Socializing on the Web

We have all seen or heard of a lot of the web’s big social web sites (Facebook, MySpace, online dating, etc) but the other day when I was in the car listening to the radio – I was a combination of disturbed, somewhat impressed (with the idea that this market was targeted not the actual web site idea), and shocked that someone created a new site for socializing/dating with a whole new hook. A site for setting up “Married Dating & Affairs” (The Ashley Madison Agency) which even guarantees 100% satisfaction. Please note I am personally very against cheating or having an affair. I personally believe if you are unhappy with a relationship – it is best to get out before it gets worse. We have all seen the movies and heard the stories – affairs are nothing but trouble. I know people are always trying to make a buck – but where do you draw the line?

I was disturbed that there is now a place to easily go and seek out someone who is married and wanting an affair – and at the same time, I was also somewhat impressed that someone saw the need/market and built this site around it. Perhaps the people using it will finally be open about it on the “first date” rather than after they lie about their marital status until a few dates in and then open up the can of worms to the person that thinks they are single too.

My initial thought: “Go sanctity of marriage!” Even though I would never use the service and would hope none of the people that I know would – my only hope is that people will at least come clean and promote honesty (even though it is with strangers instead of your “partner”).

Even if you do target an audience successfully for something that is not socially acceptable and illegal, I only would hope you are responsible enough not to throw it in people’s faces with billboard ads for all to see (kids especially) with messages like “Life is short, have an affair”. I was not terribly upset with the company until I saw that advertisement which tends to promote having an affair instead of promoting their web site which is more geared towards people that have already made the choice to have the affair.

What are your thoughts?

US Post Office Sign

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Some things in life just make me laugh…and one of those signs are crazy signs. The other day I had to send something next day at the post office and when I pulled into the parking lot of one of the most ineffective establishments in the US (only second to the DMV) I had to laugh when I saw the sign that only allowed parking for 20 minutes because I cannot tell you the last time I was at a post office and was in and out within 20 minutes…on even a slow day. To the US Postal Service – please consider changing the time for parking to an hour which would be much more reasonable.