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Not all that wander are lost

Sometimes the path does not lead us where we think we should go. Maybe this article will help:

Checklist – Before tomorrow is your last day

Tomorrow is my last day!

Wow!  That two weeks went fast.  I have a sort of semblance of a plan… I think.  I started feeling nervous a little while back.  The day I wrote I Quit!, I intended to post twice weekly to discuss how I was preparing for leaving work.  However, on Wednesday, I got caught up with a personal issue and it completely overwhelmed me!

It took me off track… and two weeks later, I’m still not back on track.  However, I did clean up some other personal life things and “Crap!  To-Dos”.  I wrote a post 4 things that knock you off track more than a week ago and never published it.  For me, my biggest obstacle is my personal life.  It’s huge and loosely connected.  So, hanging out with friends is two or three or four days / week because they don’t all get along.

I’m going to waste my first week cleaning up instead of relaxing and decompressing.  Bummer, but not a huge deal.  I recognize it and I caught it.  This is what you should do!

Clean the house

Literally, you’re going to be spending most of time you there working.  You don’t want to get distracted by having to do the dishes, vacuum the floor, paint that room.  Go through the pile of mail on the counter.  Iron the clothes hanging.  Fix the drip on the sink.  You don’t want your decompression time to turn into a fix-it time (unless of course that’s relaxing and idea generating for you)

Empty your Email

I have 100 Emails in my Inbox waiting for when I have the time to write an article or implement the information provided.  Take some time to draft articles based on Emails or take care of “Get to it” Emails.  You don’t want your first few days to be sitting at a computer.

I use a little scheme for naming articles.  Every time I suggest you write a draft article, I always remind you to keep drafts and complete articles separate.  Many people just use WordPress to do this, but I’m old skool and keep everything on a thumb drive.  Why?  So, when I’m sitting at a park, by the river, I can still work on content.  I personally use my “Notes” cell phone app for quick ideas or on-the-fly drafts… but you should really use something like Evernote.

Clean your closet

This one was big for me!  Clearly, this is your metaphoric closet.  I actually did much of this, but it took way too much time and energy.  Remove toxic people.  Touch base with positive people that can give you a mental boost.  Close any relationships that are still hanging around causing undo stress.  Let your brain process the change instead of processing your past.

What I mean here is to honestly address the people, events, and obligations in your life and focus on the positive ones.  Some negative ones are necessity; I get that.  But, know the difference between real necessity and implied necessity.  Some of my examples:

I have a running group that meets every morning.  Great people!  Four of them own their own businesses and one is an ex-graphic designer.  These are people I should be spending time with.  I wasn’t hitting the group as often as I should have been.  So, I make it a point to get there every morning.

Alternately, I was dating a girl that seemed to take everything I said the wrong way, which meant going back and explaining myself… then figuring out how to “make things up”.  It took too much energy.  I let the relationship go.

Part of my first month’s goals is to learn to Salsa dance.  It’s a personal goal aimed at designing my life and creating myself.  So, I committed to Wednesday Salsa lessons instead of getting there when I could.  Focusing on a good event.

Sitting on my counter were two laptops that people asked me to fix for them.  Normally, I turn this stuff around in a few days, but both of these were recovery scenarios… and since I don’t enjoy that anymore, they sat for a few weeks each.  I touched them here and there.  Two days of my first week off were spent recovering data and rebuilding a new machine.  These obligations do not benefit me… and I personally know other people that would have enjoyed the opportunity to flex their skills.  So, I need to say “No” to this type of stuff.

Pay the bills

Take care of any outstanding financial issues.  I also lump in buying any big-ticket items you think you’re going to need in the near future.  For instance, I had to get new tires and a timing belt for my car.  I got that done.  When you leave, know exactly how much money you have.

Money is a big concern in the beginning stages and in society in general.  Hopefully, you’ve realized that you no longer need to live as extravagant of a lifestyle as you had.  But, one of the big worries you can avoid is big bills coming “due”.  It’s also less stressful if you pay these things while you have an income, rather than when you’ve already received your last check.  I know, technically, you’re left with the same balance, but get it out of the way, so you’re not thinking about it!

Make the call

Go ahead and make those calls now before you’ve got all day to chat on the phone.  I had to touch base with people who sent me birthday cards and some friends that I said I’d do work for.  Don’t waste your days saying “Don’t forget to call xxx”.

While you’re in the office, you can get off the phone with a simple “OK, I’ve got something to finish.”  In the evenings, your time is valuable, so you’re likely to make calls short and sweet.  These are ultimately “to-do’s”, but they should be quick and can be done on little breaks during the day or while dinner is cooking in the evening.  Also, if they’re calls you’re dreading, that’s stress you should get out of your way.  For example, if you have to call to ask your ex to cover your child’s health insurance… hypothetically.

Clear the To-Do list

Any other items that you’ve been meaning to do… just do them.  I had an insurance issue with a doctor that I kept putting off resolving.  My daughter also need a physical for school and immunizations for a trip.  We needed to setup a fundraising site.  Most of these things took less than 30 minutes, but they were all outstanding.  Make your To-Do list be “Enjoy this time”

Make use of those nervous evenings taking care of To-Do’s.  Otherwise, you’ll be spending your first weeks off taking care of them!

Research your needs

I needed health insurance, but didn’t really ever research it.  So, I’ll have to spend my “decompressing” time figuring out insurance.  You’ve made a plan for all the things you need.  Tighten up that plan, so you just need to pull the trigger.

Look to the future a little and see if you need to get something in order.  I know this is hard, but imagine what your days will likely be like and see if there’s anything you need to figure out.  If you’re going to be writing, are you going to need a spare battery?  Do you need to move a design software to your laptop?  If you’re going to stop driving, is your bike… or sneakers… in good shape?  Will people need to know to contact you differently?

Minimize

Finally, try reducing some of your load.  Trim down things that are going to take up your time.

Errands seem to be one of the biggest time killers.  So, get rid of ones you don’t need to do.  Make coffee instead of running to Starbucks.  Learn how to deposit checks online instead of running to the bank.  Plan a week’s dinners instead of going to the grocery store every day.

How about utilities?  Get rid of cable TV.  I know that one gets a lot of frustrating glances.  No more DVR means no more “I’ve got to catch up on Dexter.”  You also can’t kill an hour or two getting sucked into Phineas & Ferb… because who doesn’t?  Do you really need that home phone line? … or is checking the messages from a bunch of solicitors really just a waste of time?

Who really needs you?  Could you do without the car and let your spouse just take it for the day instead of the back and forth?  Can your kids really just walk from school… or can you setup an every-other-day/week carpool?

Blessings

Get in the habit of counting your blessings every night.  I know this is all “hippie,” but when you’re not working, you’ll love some of the blessings you come up with.  Give it a try!

Where’d this come from?

The thing is, I was in a rush taking care of things on Thursday and Friday, so I missed a lot of socializing with co-workers that I could have done.  I also walked out of work with a huge list of things I needed to do… sucking up my 4wks off.  Boo!

On a side note, this is being published almost a week after it was started.  Why?  Focused on cleaning up my life… that I could have done the past two weeks.

-Stu