Monday, October 24, 2011

Life Takes Too Much Time Away From Work!

I want to write. I am striving to earn a modest second income in our family. This does not sound too difficult. Get up, have breakfast, fire up my computer and get to work.

I wish it were that easy. I try to establish priorities, set and maintain a schedule, create lists and check items off as they are completed.

I usually start my morning routine viewing email. I have learned if the mail is not handled quickly, messages sit in cyberspace, overlooked and may eventually come back to haunt me (note the seasonal reference). Often one or two emails require research or a quick discussion with hub before responding. The email review, research and response takes anywhere from 10 to about 45 minutes.

I devote time while eating breakfast reading the morning paper (a real paper delivered to our front door), the Wall Street Journal (on line) and a couple of email news updates. Although this might seem an indulgent time waster, the Journal and news updates are business and investment related, providing information and ideas for my investment blog. Another half hour to 45 minutes passes.

Then it is time to get to work for what will hopefully be an extended period of time.

But too often it does not work out quite that way.

Life seems to get in the way.

Just one example...A couple of days ago I checked my Comcast email account and was shocked to find that most of my email had disappeared. It was evening and I knew calling Comcast customer service would be useless. I spent a few minutes locating the Comcast online chat customer service and figured, what do I have to lose?

Half an hour later I had changed a couple of settings in my computer but my email was still missing. The tech support person gave me a phone number to call the next day; possibly another Comcast technical assistant (more advanced personnel up the tech training chain, I guess) could help. The next morning I dialed the 888 number and went through the motions of listening to a slow monotone male voice walk me through a series of press 1, press 5, listen to the menu, etc. A few minutes later I was at a dead end - no real person to talk to and none of the options fit my problem. I called back a couple of times trying different options and finally got a real person on the line. I did not care who I spoke with - I just wanted someone who could direct me to the right place. And it worked.

I am happy to report that my emails are retrieved. I have a new computer, a Mac, and the Comcast mail was hijacked by Mac mail.

The entire procedure took almost an hour.

Technical problems and glitches eat up valuable time. I am a non-techie at heart, the learning curve is often long and steep, and although the result may be worthwhile, time lost from other endeavors (like writing) is frustrating.

Other recent time-thwarters...There are follow-up phone calls resulting from my fender-bender a couple of weeks ago. The insurance companies - mine and the other driver's - call, send letters and emails, and generally have wasted a lot of my time recently.

The fall of the year is when I get my annual health stuff done. Scheduling phone calls and follow-ups, usually concerning insurance matters, take valuable time away from the day's work.

There are days spent traveling and visiting the grandkids.
The above sentence was a good excuse to add a picture
of my new granddaughter.
Is she cute or what?!!
I think that, OK, one problem or situation taken care of and now I can get some work done. I can maintain a regular schedule. But there always seems to be something coming up...

The weather is so beautiful, I think I will take a walk down to the beach…I can't miss my exercise class…I have to go to the cleaners and stop by the butcher or we won't have anything for dinner…The bank. It closes by 5:00 p.m. I have to walk over NOW...I have to go over and see my mother-in-law. She is usually in bed before 7:00 p.m. The best time to visit is before her 5:00 p.m. dinner…

The wonderful thing about Ieaving a regular-hours, off-premises job is that I can be flexible, but I still need TIME. I can work at night, but was never a night person and am often too tired to do more than check emails and complete some mindless administrative stuff. I try to get an early start, and that helps.

The problem is not just the calls or short interruptions. It means having to stop what I am doing and then, following the interruption, get back to work. It takes a few minutes to re-concentrate and focus.

But I love what I am doing and just need to be more disciplined. Which means now I must work on a freelance article. Time to move on…


  1. I hear you!
    And, yes, very cute.

  2. I'm so behind on everything that it's a sin so I empathize!!!

  3. I once had time for a job and got lots done, but now that I'm retired, I cannot imagine how I fit in an extra 40 hours a week! I hear you about life.

    And yes, she's cute all right. :-)

  4. Yeah, handling those emails can certainly eat up a lot of time. But, I find I often get a lot done on one project, while I'm procrastinating over another project. Then a new project comes along. I start procrastinating -- and find myself getting the original job done that I was procrastinating about in the first place.

    I know it sounds confusing, but somehow it all works out.