I know that what I'm trying to do - work one boring full time job and one creative part time job at the same- is not unusual. I know millions of people do it every day. But the combination of tiredness, poor time management, and procrastination is making it seem impossible. Help!
posted by DestinationUnknown to Work & Money (13 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a freelance writer and I guess you could say permanent temp. This way of paying the bills while not being tied down for too long to any job or location works out great in theory. In the past it's even worked well in practice too. But at the moment I'm having a lot of difficulty.
My current temp gig is a full time, mostly data-entry job in an office. This is exactly as mind-numbingly boring as it sounds. Sometimes I have nothing to do all day, but unlike other assignments I've had I can't do my own work when I'm not busy, I have to sort of pretend to be working. Other days I have a ton of work to do; the work is very detailed and you really have to use your brain (if not exactly your intellect) to do it right. The job sucks in a thousand little ways, but I've had worse, and I can't really complain. It will be over in about three months, after which I plan to write and travel for a while before going on to another temp thing. In order to do that, I need to line things up now. I need to be writing, researching, and querying after work and/or on weekends. But in the three months I've had this job, I haven't been able to get nearly enough done.
I know why this is, I think. I just don't know how to fix it. Here are my problems:
1) Sheer tiredness. The boredom of the work and the low-level stress of the pretending-to-work are draining. I get home around 5:30 and by the time I eat something, catch up on what I've missed in the outside world that day if I've been busy at work, wash dishes, get my stuff ready for the next day, etc., I want to go to bed. I usually fall asleep at 9 or 9:30. I think a normal person would stay up writing until at least 10 or 11 and still be able to get up at six the next morning, but I feel like I just can't do it. I know I'm wasting at least part of those four evening hours, but I feel too tired to really do anything with them. I'm very motivated to do stuff but physically and mentally I'm just too friggin' exhausted.
2) Time management. I'm bad at it. At first I figured that if nights are out, that at least leaves weekends. And some weekends I do get a lot done. But after three months in this job I've realized that most weekends are spent wasting time. This is because: a) I'm running around doing the chores I have to do but can't do during the week. (I have a 1/2 hour lunch and nothing is close enough to my office to do chores then, nothing is open before work, and I'm too tired after. Also, I live in a semi-rural area so if I need to buy something like a sweater or a magazine that isn't Cosmo or Deer Hunting Monthly or whatever, I have to drive an hour to a mall and back.) And b) On some weekends I want to do something fun. Like see a friend, or visit my family, or go for a walk. I don't want to give this up, I mean I do want to live occasionally! But then I get nothing done all weekend and I go back to work and I'm stressed and feel like I'll be doing data entry all my life and never publish anything again.
3) Your standard procrastination. I've always done it, but I've never really had a problem getting things done that need to be done. I know the tricks. I make lists, I do little tasks first and get them out of the way, I eventually force myself to do the big things, etc. I think I'm within the realm of "normal" procrastination and though there's
a lot of room for improvement, I don't feel like this would be that much of a problem if it wasn't combined with tiredness and the scheduling.
In short, the combination of these factors is like the perfect storm of unproductivity. (If that's even a word.) I could manage one or two of them, but all together...argh. Most of the time I'm too tired to work, when I'm awake I have little time left over after doing all the things I need to do, and what little time is left after that, I fritter away. And even if I let it go this time, there's a good chance I'll have this problem again with the next temp assignment. If anyone has been in this situation, or similar, and has any tips for dealing with it, I would be very grateful!
Preemptive answers to questions you might ask: I'm 33, female, basically healthy. Because of the tiredness and other physical problems (including foggy-headedness, which doesn't help with any of this) I've been tested numerous times for thyroid problems. The tests and Dr's always say I'm normal. For the most part I eat very healthy, a lot of vegetables and fruit and whole grains, very little processed anything, etc. I'm considering giving up (or cutting down on) sugar, to see if that helps. I had to give up coffee last year (tragedy!!) so my tiredness is not a caffeine-crash thing, and I can't just drink coffee for extra energy. I don't drink much alcohol, don't smoke or do drugs at all, not on any medication. I drink a lot of water. I definitely sleep enough. I don't get as much exercise as I'd like (really long story) but I'm not a complete sloth. I'm probably leaving something out...
(Oh, and I hope this question hasn't been asked before; I read a bunch of related questions, and found some helpful things, but couldn't see this exact problem.)