By Robert P. Poindexter
Scheduling my time has been a bit of an issue for me lately. In November, I cut my hours at my full-time job in order to be more available for Careertrend.
The problem is, I have had a regular work schedule dictated by my employers for so long that I was unsure of how to set my own schedule. It’s been almost three months now, and I am just beginning to see how important scheduling can be.
For the first few weeks after going part time at my regular job, I was still looking at any day that I wasn’t at the office as a day off and treated it accordingly. That’s not to say I didn’t do anything at all constructive. I helped with the occasional blog post and reviewed a few client resumes.
Jac and I would brainstorm together over a few projects, and I would offer opinions to help out. But I would do these things sporadically. There was no structure, and things that got done, were done in spite of myself. Being new to working from home, I simply was not up to the task of the self discipline necessary to be productive.
I’ve been an early riser for years, so that wasn’t a problem. I still got up and washed my face. I still headed into the kitchen and got the coffee started. I still checked my email while the coffee was brewing in case someone had discovered me while I was sleeping or the weather forecast had changed since the 10 p.m. broadcast.
Once the coffee was ready, I still plopped down in front of the television to catch up on all the latest news and views. The problem was that several hours later, I would still be there. I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted, and since I didn’t have to shower and head to the office, my motivation for getting started waned.
I mean, who knew so many wonderful programs came on back to back to back. When the news went off at nine, Regis Philbin would step in to entertain me. Right after that, Rachael Ray would hold my attention with her recipes and tips for better living. The Price is Right would further keep me glued in place. I mean, what with that whole “the one closest to the actual retail price without going over” thing going on. How could I turn away?
The next thing you know, a housewife from Hoboken, New Jersey was walking away with over $40,000 in cash and prizes, just because she listened to my advice being yelled at her through my TV set for the last hour. This brings us to noon and finds me still in my robe and slippers with the stocking cap I put on every morning to keep the wild mop that is my hair pinned down.
Now, before you start thinking I’m just a lazy couch potato, I’ll remind you that it is winter and almost all of my preferred activities involve the ability to be outside wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. Not being able to do that is extremely trying for me.
Last night, I began reflecting on my slovenly ways, and it occurred to me I needed a schedule. After all, having a scheduled work day at the office made me a more productive member of that team. Why would this new role be any less affected? I have already begun working on a new schedule for myself, and tomorrow morning it will go into full effect.
I’m going to miss you, Regis and Rachael. Drew, I’m afraid your contestants will just have to figure out on their own how to properly release a Plinko chip or whether dishwashing liquid is more expensive than toothpaste.
Kudos to all of you who figured this out long ago and have built successful businesses by adhering to the self discipline that is required to do so.
And if you’re a job seeker who has fallen into this same trap because you no longer have to report to an office, I urge you to put yourself on a work schedule that includes building your resume, taking advantage of interview coaching offers or just brushing up on your own professional skills. Because no matter how many people you may have helped win the showcase showdown, none of them will share their winnings with you.