One (or more) of “those” days

The last week has been filled with the kind of days I hate having. You know, the kind you describe as “one of those days” with a stressed out look on your face when your significant other asks you how your day was. The kind where your to-do list is so long, you don’t even know where to start it. The kind where the minute you get one thing done, you add five more. The kind where nothing seems to be going right. The kind where it feels like, no matter how hard you try, you keep dropping the ball.

Yeah…one of those days. Or in my case, several of them.

Thanks to three giant events that are taking place for my clients in February (coupled with the fact that I’m moving to a different state), I know I’m not the only one facing the pressure. Everyone on my team feels like they’re playing an ongoing game of “How long can you keep your head above water?”. But the doggy paddling is getting tiring.

It’s during these times that I start to wonder what it would be like to have a more “normal” 9 to 5 job. The type of job where you go to work, do your tasks and then go home, leaving your work at the office. In this fantasy land, there’s no working in the evenings. There’s no feeling of letting people down. There’s no putting in time at the coffee shop on Sunday morning. Your time out of the office is just that – your time. You don’t feel the pressure to clock the extra time or go the extra mile because it can always be done the next day.

Yeah, I know. There’s a reason I called it a “fantasy” land.

On the flip side, when I start yearning for this type of job, I try to stop myself as soon as possible. Instead of dreaming of less responsibility, my inner voice starts getting real with me:

Why would you want a job that you’re not invested in enough to put in the extra hours?

Why would you want to work someplace where you didn’t hold such high standards that you want to deliver at absolutely peak levels, even if that takes some more time than your regular 40 hours a week?

Why would you want to be somewhere that didn’t require you to push yourself past what’s comfortable?

Remember, lady: You. Don’t. Want. That. You want to be a rockstar and rockstars stop whining and go to the next level.

If evening and weekend work was the normal year-round, my inner voice might be a little more logical and tell me to think about my work-life balance. But it isn’t like this all the time. Once I get through February, I know from experience that things tend to relax a bit. And, starting in February, my role will shift a bit, giving me more flexibility in my work volume. So, I know this isn’t a long-term thing. It’s temporary and, while a pain in the short run, I know it will lead to success in the long run.

I’ve just got to keep swimming.

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I have a motivation problem.

Now, for those that know me, you probably think the title of this post is pretty funny. When it comes to work and my professional life, I’m pretty darn self-motivated. When it comes to my life outside of work, though, I’m about as lazy as they come (in fact, on any given Saturday, this dog and I have lots in common).

I hate working out.

I love Netflix.

I hate doing laundry.

I love my bed.

I hate cleaning my house.

I love cuddling with my dog.

I don’t want to leave the house after 7:00 pm.

I want to binge watch Orange is the New Black.

See the problem here?

The challenge is that I know it’s better for me and everyone around me if I just got a little motivation. I need to work out so that I’m healthier in the long run. I need to do my laundry so I don’t wear the same thing every day. I need to clean my house regularly so I don’t always have to do it in the hour before someone comes over. I need to go out some nights because that’s what social, normal people do. I need to do these things so I can hold on to my sanity and be a better version of me.

So how do I fix the problem?

In an effort to be a more motivated, productive individual starting now, I am establishing the following two goals for the rest of January:

  1. Do one plank a day, increasing in time by at least one second per day (this is similar to the 30-day plank challenge that a lot of people are doing, but alas, I sort of didn’t start on time…)
  2. Complete at least one body weight and one core workout per week at home, in addition to my weekly training session.
  3. Run at least one load of dishes and one load of laundry each week (you’d think this wouldn’t be that hard and you would be wrong).

And to accomplish these goals, I’m putting in place the following rules!

First, I will put anything I need to do on my calendar and to-do list. I don’t know about you, but I have a love affair with my Outlook calendar and my Wunderlist to-do list app. They are my lifeblood and I will do whatever they say (most of the time). So I’m starting there.

Secondly, I’m calling in backup, specifically in the area of fitness. Right now, the only workouts I’m getting in are my once-a-week appointment with my trainer. That’s correct – I’m paying for a gym membership, but only showing up to the training sessions I’m paying extra for. Why (besides the already established fact that I’m lazy)? Because I have someone I’m accountable to (oh, and I really like Jen). So, I’ve decided that I need someone to be accountable to on a regular basis. I’ve asked my trainer Jen to shoot me a text a couple times a week, just asking how my workouts are going. I don’t want to let her down, so I think this might help.

My laziness won’t be cured in a day – of this I’m well aware. Even baby steps, though, when on the right path, should move me in the right direction.

How do you get yourself out of a rut and get motivated when it feels like you have zero interest in doing something? Would love to hear suggestions!

Home really is where the heart is

Whenever a soon-to-graduate college senior asks me if they should take a job away from their home state, I’m always the first person to mimic the Nike ad and say, “Just do it.” Get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, experience new places. Don’t look back on your life and say, “What if?”

I’ve been in Minnesota for 3.5 years now. Before I interviewed for my current job, I’d never been to the state. I’d never lived in a city bigger than East Lansing and I’d never lived away from the state of Michigan for more than the length of a summer internship. I knew absolutely no one. It has been a new experience in every sense of the word.

I would be lying, though, if I said it wasn’t hard.

Until you’re out in the real world, you don’t realize how hard it is to make friends as an adult. High school and college are these weird places where friends are basically there for the taking, already sharing the same interests as you – they’re in classes, clubs, mabye even dorms that you hand selected, so obviously you’ve got to have a little in common. When you move to a new state, though, with no one familiar, you don’t have any of that. People already have their own friends and activities, and you’re the oddball in the mix.

Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by truly wonderful people. Most are those I work with, so not only have they made my job fun, but they’ve also invited me into their homes to share their friends and families. I couldn’t have asked for better people to welcome me with open arms.

Next month, I’m moving back to Michigan.

My fiance recently got the opportunity to take a job closer to home and my company is allowing me to work remotely, so we’re taking the chance while we’ve got it and moving back closer to our families and friends. Yes, we’ll be leaving behind our basically brand new and first-ever house. And I won’t get to see my wonderful coworkers near as often as I do now. But we’ll be gaining so much more than we’re losing.

We’ll be able to see our parents and siblings more than once a year. We’ll be able to have dinner with friends on a random weeknight. We can volunteer with our local FFA chapters. We’ll get to go tailgate at a Michigan State football game or cheer on the Lions when they play the Vikings in a see of blue, instead of purple. All of the things we’ve been missing for 3.5 years will be back in our lives on a regular basis and we couldn’t be more excited.

I still stand by that recommendation to college seniors – go out and try something new outside your comfort zone. I wouldn’t give up the experiences I’ve had for anything. You can always come back home.

And it’ll be that much sweeter when you do.