10-Year Reunion

I realized that it’s been 10 years since I graduated from high school, so I guess that’s a milestone. I’m happy with my progress since then, especially considering that when I was on the brink of graduating, I was scared of everything that normal teenagers do. Scared of driving a car, scared of getting a part-time job, scared of graduating, scared of going to college, scared of going out with friends… you name it. Back when I was in high school, we had to complete a “senior project” to graduate, and I was terrified of everything that entailed, too. Senior year is supposed to be everyone’s favorite and best-loved year of high school, but it was by far my least favorite.

But somehow, here I am, alive and reasonably well—still scared of certain things, but I know that I can get through it. If I could go back in time and give my 10-years-ago self a message, that message would be the same one I’d give to myself now: Chill the f*** out. It’s gonna be OK.

Now, about the concept of high school reunions… In this age of Facebook, I don’t think high school reunions are as common as they once were, being that many of us never stopped talking to our high school friends and get constant updates on their lives. Sometimes I am curious about what my fellow humans in the class of ’06 are doing these days, but I haven’t been curious enough to go back on Facebook and find out. Then I’d probably find out way too much information. 🙂

So I’ll let this bearded guy from Duck Dynasty sum up my feelings on high school reunions:

high school

Working from Home

In this modern age, if your job involves working with computers, you can essentially work wherever you like. Out of this was spawned buzzwords like efficiency, flexibility, remote work, and so on.

To me, the best thing about working away from the office is the fact that I get to shut myself up in my own little universe and concentrate on what I’m doing. Where I sit in the office, I’m surrounded by other cubes, so every time someone in the adjacent cube gets a phone call, I automatically start listening. Sometimes people walk around amid the cubes, lost, and I have to stop working to tell them how to get where they’re going.

 Second best thing about working from home: Avoiding the commute. I have never been a fan of driving. I could go into all the gripes I have about the road and cars and other people on the road, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. When working from home, the only traffic jams I run into are when the cats start playing in the hallway and nearly trip me as I’m going from room to room.

 But remote work has its downsides. A couple times, the office shut down because of inclement weather (which in North Carolina means it snowed a quarter inch), forcing everyone to work at home for five days in a row. I started missing the giant laser printer and seeing my coworkers in the halls. I even missed the free coffee in the break room. Too much remote work can lead to feeling isolated, and Skype and phone calls help, but it’s not the same as seeing people face to face.

 Also, when working from home, I tend to work longer hours because I don’t need to leave promptly at a certain time to beat the traffic. In some ways, this is a good thing because overtime pay is nice. On the other hand, the whole point of working from home is to maximize time spent not working or getting to work.

 I have many more rants and raves about remote work, but I’ll stop here and let you sound off in the comments because this post is getting too long. 🙂

Consolidating Your “Gathering Points”

About a year ago, I had to take an online course for work, so I chose one about organizing your life/your home/your workspace because I’m obsessed with that kind of thing. One of the main tips for organizing is to consolidate your “gathering points,” which are those areas (not necessarily physical areas) where you dump all your stuff.

So your desk at home might be a gathering point, in addition to your desk at work, your car, your day planner, your shopping list, the to-do list app on your phone, and so on. (There was way more to the course than that, but the thing about the gathering points was what stuck in my mind.)

I use a lot of notebooks/planners/to-do lists, and I haven’t yet managed to consolidate them in a way that works for me. So I have three main “gathering points”: my planner for work; my planner for home, writing, and personal stuff; and my general notebook/journal in which I write whatever I want whenever I want. Some very smart people I work with have consolidated their work and home planners into one, and some other very smart people I know on the Internet have consolidated everything into one.

I’m not sure I would want to use just one notebook for everything because ironically, even though all my stuff would be in one place, it would still get lost. I have the worst handwriting in the galaxy, so it doesn’t lend itself well to glancing at a page and immediately seeing what’s there. I have to squint at it and wonder whether that squiggle is an “m” or an “n.” The easy solution to this problem would be to do away with notebooks altogether and keep everything in MS Outlook or some other software. But I’m attached to notebooks and pens and paper, so that’s not an option.

For a while, I was putting everything in my journal, and to organize it, I would use little symbols to denote whether each item was a to-do, a story idea, a blog idea, a general thought, and so on (sort of like bullet journaling, but less refined). That got too complicated after awhile, so I gave it up and went back to using my three notebooks/planners. As much as I would like to consolidate all my paper gathering points, I don’t think I could do it all in a single notebook. Combining my work and home planners would be easy, but I think I would always need a separate space for all the other random stuff my brain likes to throw at me.

How do you consolidate your stuff (or do you)?