Category Archives: Time Management

New Technology & Automation

I’ve been thinking a lot lately how the technology of our smart phones and automation of several things has made an impact on my life.  With a little organization and planning (which I love) I feel I can get a lot more done in less time.

ShoppingMrChewy-500x375Several examples are – One of my dogs has some food allergies and the pet store by me kept changing the treats they carried.  I found the ones she likes that are on her “approved list” online and I’ve schedule the reorders for when I need more.  Hence – cutting down on a trip the pet store.

Another example I’ve been using for years now is the automatic bill pay.  I love how I can schedule when bills paid on certain dates vs writing the check and putting it in the mail.    I can even do this from my phone or make a deposit without having to drive to the ATM, again a huge time saver.

blog-schedulingMy last example is new one for me.  I’ve found I can schedule these blog posts to post at the same time every week.  So if I actually get one done early…before my assigned posting time,  I don’t have to log in to post it sometime Thursday night.   I can schedule it for my preferred time and work on other things or just relax.  Same thing with the Facebook page I’m managing for the Golden Retriever Rescue group I’m volunteering for.  I can schedule the posts out as far as I want.  I’ll typically sit down on a Sunday and schedule out a week’s worth of stories, pictures and interactive posts through the next weekend.  Then I don’t have to worry about getting on to Facebook during the week to add content.  I can even go on vacation and no one will know any difference!

BUT earlier this week the Today Show reminded me there’s always a dark side to things.  There was a segment this week that made me see a different perspective on the advances of automation and technology.  It’s the controversy of airline pilots relying too much on automation.   It’s believed automation has made flying safer…until there is a problem and the pilots have a hard time reacting in an emergency.   They spend most of their time observing that they lose touch of some of their skills.  Then it made me think about all the people who have lost their jobs because a computer has replaced their manual skills.

I guess like everything else, it all comes down to the balance.   We have to work hard to find it in just about every aspect of our lives. image-donkey-in-air

-B

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Good-Bye Summer

iStock_GoodbyeSummer-300x225

Classes start tomorrow.  I have mixed feelings about it.  This summer was great and a much-needed break from juggling the demands of a full-time job, school deadlines and attempts at  trying to have a somewhat normal social life.  Sadly I had this nagging feeling of school starting up again hanging over me the last few months.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great break but I think I’m ready to rip the Band-Aid off and get started. 

I never thought I would go back to school so it isn’t like this has been some long-time dream that I’m now accomplishing.  I think it is more of a result of a mid-life crises.  I took a look at where I was in life and for the most part I was happy with everything status-quo.  BUT it didn’t seem right when I thought about everything as-is for the rest of my life.  Hence grad school and tons of tuition money later, here I am.

As I’ve said in the past, it has been very demanding but also very rewarding.  I’m always surprised how “right” it feels when I’m sitting in the classroom.  I still don’t have a clue where I’m going to end up when all this is over but I’m going on pure faith it will be where I need to be.

Start-Line-Crowd-2-570

So as I plan for my first day of class tomorrow I feel like I’m about to start a marathon (or half-marathon because that is my race distance of choice.)  I may not be able to see the finish line at the end but I know it is there.  I just need to pace myself to get it done and in May I’ll celebrate by hanging my medal on my wall!

Wish me luck!

-B

Behind the Scenes of Facebook Pages

I’ve now seen another side of Facebook.  I almost feel like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz.

Wizard of Oz

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been volunteering with the rescue group where I got my Golden Retriever by helping to manage their Facebook page.  It has been a lot of fun getting to post what hundreds of people will see on a subject I love – DOGS!  Then to see some of the things I’ve been learning in school in a real world application – added bonus!

Rescue

I’ve learned what type of posts works the best by following the Reach numbers.

Reach – The total number of times a post is displayed.  This can be directly from our page or if a fan shares the post on their page the number of views from their page is included in the reach total.

I’ve also learned how to schedule posts.  I now try to schedule a week of posts at a time.  There are different theories on scheduling posts.  There’s the obvious perspective that it saves time.  It makes your page remain active even if you’re busy with other things.    Then the opposite point-of-view is that it isn’t authentic because it is “planned.”  My feelings on this is our content is OK if it’s planned and it won’t be out of date as if we were a retailer or high-profile celebrity that needs to stay on top of current events and post on them.   We do monitor our fans comments in “real time” so we aren’t 100% on auto pilot.

My next quest with the Facebook page is to try to make a measurable difference with the Rescue group.  The goal when marketing for a non-profit is to raise money, increase awareness and get volunteers.  From the content I post I’ve been able to increase awareness.  The numbers from Insights give me different metrics that show how we’re doing.  The most consistent improvement I’ve been able to maintain is the increase in number of page likes (or followers).  The Post Reach and Engagement fluctuates and I can’t wait to understand how to control those numbers a little better.

Insights

I also can’t wait to try new things and see how I can make a difference for the DFWMGR Rescue group.  I’m in full acceptance of the fact that some things I might try won’t go over well, but that will push me to keep trying to find what does.

-B

It was worse than I thought…

So, the case of burnout that I wrote about a few weeks ago was a much worse case than I thought!

Over the past…sadly close to 2 months since classes have ended I haven’t felt the full feeling of relaxation I thought I would have had this summer.  I’m not sure what has been preventing me from getting there so I’m going to blame it on the burnout!

How do you fix burnout?  My guess, just step away from everything.  I have a vacation planned in a few weeks so in attempt to get away from everything, I took a few days off from work for a staycation.

I think it worked.  I was able to fully relax, I didn’t check work emails once!!  AND I was able to finish some projects in my backyard that gave me the feeling of accomplishment that I had needed.  I had felt like I should have all this time on my hands without classes and homework but I couldn’t see what was getting done.  Now I can every time I step out in my backyard.

table

Table made from an abandoned aquarium stand.

garden

Vegetable garden planted in a cleaned out flower bed where the plants weren’t surviving the heat the past few summers.

So note to self, next year when I finish up my degree, plan a vacation immediately after.  I can catch up on the world after I’ve hit the beach!

Now on to the fun blog stuff.  I have been playing with different social media platforms and will start sharing with you soon.

-B

Total Burn Out

Wow – what a crazy last few weeks.  I thought as soon as I turned in my last project I would feel this huge feeling of relief and freedom come over me that would bring back my energy level and I’d go crazy filling my calendar with all the social activities I’ve been missing out on.

Freedom_by_Kvikken

Reality… I was experiencing total burnout!

burn-outThe picture above could cover any one of the 4 definitions of burn out below.  I’ll let you decide which one you think was mine. (Personally I would say 3 out of the 4 apply!)

Burnout
1.  Running out of fuel or substance
2.  Mental or Physical collapse due to stress or being overworked
3.  Drug abuser
4.  Failure of a machine due to overheating

I will end with this…I think my time with “Burnout”  is over.  I got 2 A’s this semester bringing my cumulative GPA to 3.5!  I’m beginning to get my stride back with my runs, I’m now beginning to fill my calendar with fun social activities vs group project meetings, I went to a yoga class tonight AND I’m posting again!  See ya again soon!

-B

Clouds, Clouds and More Clouds

Clouds are popping up everywhere this Spring.  And I’m not just talking about the ones outside that are preventing my painters from finishing the exterior of my house.  I’m talking about internet clouds.

They allow us to pull data or applications from servers in remote locations.   My favorite is Dropbox.  As a student I LOVE being able to access my school documents from any computer or location.

internet cloud

There is Apple’s version that I use for my iPhone – contacts, reminders, notes, etc.

iCloud-Logo

There is a the category cloud on the right side of my home page that shows the categories I use for my posts.  The larger the word, the more often I use that category.

Then there is the latest one from my homework tonight.  I used a social intelligence program that pulls data from Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc for companies to “see” what consumers are saying about their brand – “the buzz.”  It’s very similar to a category cloud but this one is called a term cloud and displays the overall emotions (positive – green, negative – red) about the brand Odwalla along with the terms used.

Word CloudI love the new ways of reading data!  And I love having my data stored elsewhere in case my phone or computer crashes.  And I DO love the rain the clouds in the sky are bringing my lawn…but could they just hold off a week so my house can get painted????

-B

Recharging into a New Perspective

Last week was spring break.  As a 40+ year old that works full time and goes to school on the side, spring break has a whole different meaning compared to the spring breaks from high school and my undergrad.  How did I spend my week?  Well I felt the need to do something for myself so I took 3 days off from work.  To kick off my 40+ yr old break, I had a total play date!  It included lunch, spa and several glasses of wine at a near-by restaurant with my good friend Julie.   Then the rest of the time was filled with…wait for it and brace yourself for the excitement…sleeping, chores and homework. 

Recharge

I seriously think I slept for half of my time off!  I just needed that time to re-charge.  Even last night I was determined to finish putting up the laundry so I could start off the week with a completely clean and put together house.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting dressed in the kitchen every morning because that is where all my clothes are.  I take them out of the dryer, fold them and place them in piles on the kitchen table.  Assuming I’ll put them up when all the laundry is done.  I’m one person and the laundry is never done??  Point is, last night at the end of the night,  I still had so much I wanted to get done.   I was simply out of time.  I didn’t even get my Sunday evening post out.

Even though this morning I was energized that I now felt back to my old self and had the “I’m going to attack the day” mindset to get everything done, I was still a bit frustrated.  I had five, yes five days off and what did I have to show for it? 

Thanks to the Today show and Natalie Morales I got a good kick in the butt of  “perspective.”  There was a segment on a woman, Julie Weiss.  Yesterday she ran her last marathon of her 52-marathons-in-52-weeks goal.  She set her goal to honor her father who lost his life to pancreatic cancer, as well as raise hope, money and awareness for those that have been affected by the disease.

She works a full time job and has 2 children. Most Fridays she would leave her job and family to get on a plane for some destination in the US or Canada.  She’d run her 26.2 miles on Sunday, then fly home and start the work week again on Monday. 

About the time that segment came on, I was just thinking about my own race coming up this Sunday, a half marathon.  I was disappointed that my training had gotten away from me.  I was on track to get a personal best but the stress from school and work got the better of me over the past 4 weeks. 

I’m no longer frustrated with the loss of what could have been a great race and just happy that I’ll be running and finishing my race number 5 out of my goal for 13 races in 2013.  (My races can be any length – so a 5K counts the same as a half marathon…whew!)  I’m also not as frustrated with what is left on my to-do list and just happy for what I did get done and organizing my week so I can keep on track.

So thank you Julie, for a very clear and timely message this morning and Congratulations on meeting your goal.  From every Finish picture I saw – you were smiling; it was very inspiring!

Inspiration

If interested in finding out more about Julie’s marathon of marathons or how you can support her cause – go to Marathon Goddess.  

Have a great week!

-B