Friday Favorites

There are many things on the way to Friday that are worth celebrating – some big, some little – and they deserve their own time. I’m taking some time again this week to highlight some of my favorite things and to be thankful for more than just the fact that it’s Friday.

This week, some of my favorite things were:

  • The way God sometimes hits me upside the head with answers. You asked for guidance and BAM! there it is, so big there is no way you can miss it.
  • The rain, washing away the dirt and salt of winter and making everything lush and green. The fact that rain means it’s too warm to snow is an added bonus. So is the free car wash.
  • Wonderful coworkers who commiserate during hard times and who are excited to share their experience and insight when they hear you’re looking into a new frontier (the transition from a PC to a Mac is a big deal, folks, and it requires a lot of research. At least for this girl).
  • The anticipation of seeing my entire family in one place for the first time in 18 months! Plus the opportunity to spend some quality time with a grandfather I haven’t seen in 2+ years. The next time I post this update, I will be with them in sunny CA!
  • My incredibly giving, unselfish roommate who brought home chocolate and flowers completely out of the blue, just because I had a hard week. Aren’t the beautiful?

Flowers

Do Not Disturb

As an introvert, down time is very important to me. I need quiet and/or alone time to recharge from expending social energy. The amount of time depends on the situations I’ve been in lately – large, boisterous groups of people who all want to talk drain me more than large groups where I can be relatively anonymous. Smaller groups of people I know closely don’t drain me nearly as much.

This isn’t anything new. People have talked about this frequently. But today I realized for the first time that this can extend to electronic communication too.

We had lots of people over to our house this weekend to celebrate Friendsgiving, which is exactly what it sounds like: Thanksgiving with friends. It was a great time with great food and lots of laughs and celebration. Since I knew nearly everyone, I didn’t think it was going to be as exhausting as it was. Even after a good night’s sleep, my attitude this morning was very poor. I chalked it up to other things until the many text messages I was getting had me tempted to send some not-so-nice responses. That’s when I realized that I needed to unplug.

In response to BlogHer’s prompt from November 19, unplugging isn’t something I usually plan consciously. I don’t deliberately schedule down time. I do try to ignore work email in the evenings and on weekends, usually because I’m working a second or third job, or I’m busy doing something else that doesn’t really give me time to work, but even if I’m free, I try not to respond. Responding to work email during what is supposed to be down time just trains people that you are available and will respond. If it’s important, I’ll respond. But otherwise, I’ll wait to regular business hours.

Personal communications are another matter. I try to respond immediately because if something is marked as read, I’ll forget to respond altogether which leads people to believe that I’m ignoring them when in reality I forgot that I owed them a response. If I’ve done that to you, don’t take it personally.

Usually, people don’t text or call me very often. A few text messages a day are about normal for me. It seemed that everyone decided this morning was a great time to text me and I had my fill.

A very deep thank you to whoever at Apple decided the Do Not Disturb function on the iPhone was important. That is a life saver! When I arrived at the library for work today, I gratefully decided to put everything on hold. I ignored my life for four hours; completely unplugged from everything but shelving books and listening to an audio book. What a difference that made! First, my shift seemed to fly by when I wasn’t trying to figure out plans for the evening or work out issues in my head. Second, my attitude improved significantly because I wasn’t brooding over things I couldn’t change or feeling guilty over my reactions or responses. And finally, when I got off of work, I was ready to play nicely.

While I may not do so regularly, I’m thinking a little pre-planned down time is in my future. I’ve learned the importance of unplugging and just letting myself be for a little while.

What about you? Do you unplug from the world occasionally?

Procrastinate? Yes, Please.

I seem to be spending a lot of my time lately reading various articles online, which is good for my education and gets me thinking.  This one in particular caught my eye the other day.  What do you do when you’re procrastinating?  Off the top of my head, I read, tweet, Facebook, and work on mindless data-entry tasks while listening to music or audio books.  Additionally, if it’s something that I need to focus on, I can’t do it during the work day when there are people milling around, talking, and emailing me.  I have to do it at night or on the weekend if I want to be able to focus on it.  But that’s a separate topic.

What would our professional lives be like if high schoolers were required to think about this before deciding what they were going to do with their lives?  We would probably have a higher percentage of engaged employees, which would in turn make us more productive.  Realistically, not everyone could do what they want to do as a job (we’d have an extremely high concentration of video game testers, I think), but the workforce could always use more engaged employees.  If I had considered this before choosing my career, I would probably still end up doing something related, but perhaps more technology focused.

What would you have done?

resurrecting the applesauce name

I would like to thank the gods of Apple who invented the iPod.  And who made my kick-butt iPhone capable of playing music.  It is this genius that gets me through the tedium of grocery shopping: navigating through mothers with screaming children, people who don’t know where they’re going (unfortunately, I’m often one of them), college kids who stand in the aisle figuring out who’s buying what…it’s much more interesting when you put it to music.  Plus, you don’t have to listen to anyone yell at you when you piss them off!

And while we’re on the topic of the awesomeness of the iPhone, I love the calculator feature.  Really.  Grocery shopping on a budget is much easier when you keep track of the exact numbers as you go, instead of just rounding and adding them in your head.

So, thank you, gods of Apple, for your strokes of brilliance.

aka Applesauce

Two years ago when I got my new phone, I was psyched. I got the hot new phone at that time, and I loved texting. But now, it’s just so frustrating to try to text on a RAZR, especially when everyone around you has a Blackberry! Just one single button for each letter, instead of having to rotate through multiple letters to get to the one you want!! Not to mention internet and e-mail access wherever you are! I’ve been drooling for my contract to be up so I could upgrade to a Blackberry Curve. Finally, it was up and I could think about upgrading. Suddenly, everyone around me is talking about the new iPhone 3GS. Somehow, for some reason, it occured to me that I should probably at least research the iPhone, just to rule it out. I was pretty sure I get the Blackberry because I didn’t do so well last time I touched an iPhone. I was positive I would hate it. But like a typical Type A, I did my research. I looked at the features, the rate plans, my eligibility, talked to people who had one, and really liked it on paper. It finally came down to one test: I went to Best Buy and actually played with one. I kind of hoped I would hate it. No such luck. I fell in LOVE.

Impatient person that I am, after I found out my AT&T order was backordered, I went to the Apple store (for the first time! Apple store virgin, right here) and bought one. I walked out of that store texting on my new phone! This thing is seriously awesome. I’ve never had full interest access on my phone, and less than 24 hours later, I was helplessly addicted. The roommate developed a new nickname for me and other iPhone owners: appleheads. Over the course of dinner with friends and family, that name has evolved into applesauce. That’s right, I now answer to applesauce. Because of my addiction to my iPhone. But you know what? I don’t really care! I’m having too much fun with my new phone! So excuse me while I go find some more apps…