I have officially lost my mind. When we first arrived, I felt like I was off to a great start. Despite an infected leg wound, I might even go as far to say I landed on my feet and was willing to go the distance. The time adjustment from Utah to Australia was meh. I slept perfectly on the plane. I timed all my narcoleptic goodies just right so I was able to survive the day without a completely exhausted temper tantrum.
In our first month here, I was waking up early and going to bed at what I thought were reasonably normal times for me as of late. I was killing it at work despite the time difference. I was there; I was available, and I was always one step ahead. I even managed to put my 8 hours by about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, leaving just enough time each day for me to roam the city, peeking inside windows and showing up for home inspections that saved us a lot of hassle when it came down to decision-time.
Somehow, the process of moving under the bridge (now that song is in your head isn’t it? “I don’t ever wanna feeeeeel…”) threw me completely off. Maybe it was just because it took longer? The process of settling lasted longer? Maybe there was some deep, hidden emotional element? Shoot, I dunno. What I do know is that my easy 6:30AM wake up calls tanked. I was sleeping better, and yet, I haven’t been able to get enough sleep.
Once we were settled enough that I had the makeshifts of an office and could start to establish some real routines, I couldn’t focus. I spent the first week so scatterbrained it was a wonder I could even answer to my own name. Even now, when I think, “We’ve been in our new place for almost 3 weeks!” I can’t tell you where the 3 weeks have gone.
This week is the first week it has started to feel a bit normal again. That’s probably because we managed to go more than two days without putting in 5 miles of walking and many more miles of training to and from a Costco, Ikea, or random furniture store.
Getting settled was a blast. The ability to start completely fresh allowed for better decisions and a lot more “us” than our previous life allowed. Back in the States, I moved my two bedroom home in on top of Stark’s two bedroom condo. We were both very independent, established adults that were willing to let go of most things in order to combine our lives, but we had our issues with it over the years – who was able to hang their art and my constant re-organizing of the kitchen drawers to name just two, comicalinhindsight.
This time around, we have a mattress we both genuinely loved. We chose where to pinch pennies and where to invest. We sat on what seemed to be LIKE A MILLION uncomfortable couches. We decided together that while we could get an amazing view with great amenities in a variety of locations, we were going to do things differently from the home we shared previously. We went from high rise condo living to the easy decision of working our way into a multi-level unit that was similar in size, but laid out in such a way that it seemed huge!
We don’t need the space… most of it is for visitors and the decisions surrounding the layout came from years of experience from us both working at home. That whole open office environment stuff that works so well in revamped businesses across the U.S., does not work so well when there are just two of you in one house. Whereas Stark spends his days on the phone, I spend my days trying to concentrate on in-depth marketing how-to’s or writing. Writing while someone is talking? Well, that just never works for me. So, I get to rock the start of my dream office.
That’s just one of the great, fun things about starting over. While other little girls dressed up baby dolls and day dreamed about their weddings, I was dragging my Mom’s Typewriter across the floor and repurposing my pretend kitchen into my first office – complete with Playskool Cash Register to save all of my Monopoly money I made from a hard day of work. I wrote my own stories and sold them door to door. I sold EVERYTHING door to door. I’m not sure if I was more obsessed with bringing home some money or if I was just in love with the idea that I could create something worthwhile. Combine that with being the perpetual room sharing of being the youngest, and I have spent my entire life dreaming of my own space. Specifically, my own office.
So far, I have a beautiful desk and a comfy chair that I copied from Stark. He chose his set for his office and after much thought, I just went with a matching set. I brought a paper weight, some knick knacks, bouncy balls my best friend Alissa gave me, my headphones, my work laptop, and that big, beautiful monitor of mine. I have a futon in the corner, and a Shiatsu massage chair strapped into my desk chair. Now, if I can ever decide on a light fixture I’ll be on my way to my very own, perfect space.
I think having a lot of those decisions made and the familiarity of being able to cook a home meal are exactly why my mind is more at-ease. It is just enough foundation to begin adding some structure to my days. I need to be at my desk by 8AM each morning. With more work than any week seems to allow, I need more than prioritization. I need a get away. That’s the part where I keep getting tripped up.
I tend to front load my work, putting in 30-36 hours by Wednesday knowing that I’m going to be brain dead the rest of the week. But, frontloading doesn’t allow you to take a break. Breaking momentum to go for a long walk is enough to put the whole day to rest. I know it is a chickenbeforetheegg situation where I probably wouldn’t burn out if I split it up more evenly. In order to do that, in the past I’ve usually coordinated the ability to sleep in on Wednesday’s. The whole narcolepsy factor? Yea. It is a wonder I ever was able to maintain a schedule at any job. Frontloading was just one of the ways I learned to cope. It allowed me to be a rockstar at work without dropping any balls. But, I can’t do that here. Wednesdays are my earliest days.
While many people wish they could do it, working from home is far from a dream come true. My attitude changes drastically when I feel 24/7 pressure of a to-do list. So, these are all the things I am trying to figure out right now. How do I get out every day and get some exercise? How to I break up the work day without losing momentum? How do I get out of the office, yet at the same time I never leave my office so as to keep a literal wall between work life and home life?
Ideally, I would like to walk into my office at 7:30AM as if I were going to any office. I mean to the full extent of packing myself a lunch if I have to! I want to push through a hardcore day of work without having a mental break before the end of the week.
I know what mistakes I have been making. For one, I discovered I’m still awake at night when everyone arrives at the office. So, I started trying to do those time-sensitive tasks at 8AM and at midnight – setting aside the 20 minutes at the start and end of each day for those mutual waking hours. The problem with that is that people start to write back to your emails at midnight; people start to respond to social media. Then, I have to quickly climb into bed so as to get enough sleep before the new day starts again, but going to bed with unread emails is probably one of the most annoying feelings in the world to me. So I stopped sleeping well. I stopped waking up easily. And now we come full circle as to how I lost my mind….
So I have found myself at another Monday-crossing where, this time, I am putting the big projects/tasks at the front of the week and leaving the little ones for later in the week. If I feel like walking away from my desk because “I need a break,” well then, you’re likely to get a new blog update from me because completing a personal task gives me the break I need without actually mentally leaving my workspace and checking out for the day. I’m trying to exist only in the back half of the house during the day. I’m not going to try and multitask the laundry or spend my lunch break preparing dinner. Nope. Just like being in the office again, I come to work; I open my email; I start some programs running; I go to the “break room” and make myself coffee, and I get started with my day. If I get starving, I grab a snack. If I have something I have to do before the end of the day, I exit left and go straight out the front door to whatever task it is I need to do. I work it into a lunch break. And when I return, I drop everything at the door and get back to the office. I swear to myself I won’t leave until I get this-this-or-this task done first.
Maybe finally coming to terms with a lamp choice and improving how dark it is in here will move everything right into place.