I wonder if there has been a word coined to describe the guilt unique to not having blogged for over a month on a website that bears one’s own name. Right now I’m feeling that. It’s been a bit over 3 months since I’ve returned to full-time work and the theme of that period is that my life as pertaining to time (especially “free” time) has been completely flipped on it’s head. In short, I’ve been busy!

In the past, I’ve engaged in some multi-week and multi-month on-site assignments, each one taking me 2-3 weeks to get used to physically. The wake-up time, the commute, the lunch situation, the lack of an afternoon nap, and the amplified exhaustion that comes from a crappy night sleep were all in my rear-view mirror as a work-from-home independent designer. But having dived back into all those things as part of being an employee, I’m finding it tough to cope, even after 3 months.

The Daily Schlep

The main contributing factor to my general tiredness is the commute. It takes me about 40-45 minutes to get to and from work. By New York standards it could definitely be worse. But the aspect that makes it so tiring is the transfers and somewhat herky-jerky nature of the trip. For me, it’s essentially 5 legs, each taking 8-10 minutes, all bookended by a series of stairs. In fact, it’s about 150 stairs each way. This get-up-sit-down-get-up-again has me completely flattened and when I arrive at work, and return home, I feel pretty drained.

Could a relocation help with this commute? I’d like to think so, but moving to Manhattan or Northwest Brooklyn is not without its own set of hassles, and appropriate vanishing of time and money. Ideally I’ll stay the summer and see if I can somehow “hack” my time to spend more time doing things like blogging.

Keith Malley has talked about his philosophy of “mini vacation”, wherein he defines any time that he is not physically at work as being “on vacation”. Weekends, of course, fall into this category, but so do the times after waking up but before leaving, and after returning home. Not only does one seek to relax and get the most out of these mini vacations, but you also want to maximise the time, cutting down on being at, and preparing for, work. It’s a challenge.

What’s a Weekend?

As this very Saturday ticks by, I wonder how I can have more energy and use the time better. I’ve heard that switching to a standing desk will give one more energy and help cut down on those dull periods of mindless sitting, where you might, for example, check Facebook three times in ten minutes, just out of habit. I’m all for that, and trying to find some cinder blocks to jack up my existing desk. I still don’t have much of a social life, but I find that most of my weekends are gobbled up doing the very ordinary chores of middle-class life — going to the supermarket, doing laundry (at the laundromat), making up gym time, sleeping in, and maybe seeing a movie. Sounds leisurely, but lemme tell you, after you pay off the sleep debt and do your laundry, it’s 6pm on Sunday and you’re already behind on the upcoming week.

What are your own methods for staying energized? I’ve tried the obvious — coffee. For over a year I’ve been drinking one a day, which isn’t bad, but for the first time I find myself unable to function without coffee on weekends. If I try to be strong and power through, I sometimes find myself taking not one but two naps on a single weekend day. This, I feel, isn’t a very good use of time. I would love a way to get off the brown stuff and find real energy.

The Social

I haven’t blogged much since starting work. This is mostly without excuse, but it’s partly because the projects of the day are taking away my time and energy from writing anything. I used to write mainly during daylight hours, but now those hours are filled with, y’know, work!

I’ve also taken to spending a lot of time on Pinterest. This is both for work in the sense of doing immediate research and finding inspiration and also for general purpose growth and industry saturation. My pinning has largely replaced the show-and-tell style posts which I have featured over the years. (It should be noted that I dramatically cut back on show-and-tell posts with the rise in popularity of showcase blogs such as Brand New and The Dieline. I try not to re-blog their stories unless I can add a unique opinion.) I still tweet quite frequently, but again, not so much during the work day.

The odd thing is that at work we’re encouraged to be engaged in the various social media sources. Our marketing department is very well connected across most social media sites, and our Social Media Marketing Coordinator (at least I think that’s her title) does an amazing job of keeping tabs on things. I often retweet news and articles from our company, but there’s just not enough time to engage on the micro level and still get my stuff done.

I’m going to try and return this blog to a respectable level of new content — maybe one decent post and one cheeky little post per week. I’m not trying to recreate the frequency of 2007-08 when I was convinced that I needed to post 25-30 posts per month in order to get popular. The tricky thing is that I need to walk the fine line between not wasting time by writing blog posts (both at work and while I’m on mini vacation), and bolstering my company and myself through said posts. Generally, this site is not the venue for showing off what I’m working on during the day, and certainly not for representing myself as an official public-facing voice of the company. Opinions are my own, in other words.

More as it develops.