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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Re-entry after the sabbatical

I've now been back to work for 2 months now after my 3 month sabbatical. As you can probably see, one of the things that's happened is I've been able to post less. I still have tons of ideas for blog posts, but making the connection between idea and execution has been a lot harder with 10 hours a day, 5 days a week spoken for.

I enjoy the camaraderie with my co-workers back at work. I also like having all of the resources available to me that a large company has. As I'm working my project, 10-20 other people are working other aspects of it that I don't need to worry about. And the fat paycheck does wonders to replenish the hole in the savings account (before you think I'm really high in this company, I want to tell you that "fat" means fat for a single guy in a city with a very low cost of living).

But the frustration of being in the corporate world still gnaws at me. We still have functional silos that I hate dealing with. The organization chart for the function that represents the consumer and the function that represents production doesn't cross until the general manager (4 levels above me). Which means any decision that requires a trade-off between the functions must be made by someone who thinks about my project for maybe 1 hour a week. Which means we need to have endless meetings and create endless documents and presentations to frame the issue for the general manager, who then makes a call based off a high level view of the project and the company's strategies.

Enough of the complaining. One of the things I'm grappling with is how to find time to work on the outside of work stuff. Another development that has affected my free time is I'm in a relationship that has really progressed in the past few months. (She doesn't quite get the allure of blogging. When I come across people like that, I blog about them. That either causes them to read the blog, or if they don't, I can talk about them without fear of repercussion). The only goal that ranks above being financially independent is being in a great relationship and family. However, she completely buys into the vision of being financially independent, so the prospects are good for finding a win-win at some point! Meanwhile, I'm still working the balance.

Being back at work has given me the challenge of trying to find time for my own projects. The techniques I've learned about have really helped me keep things rolling, but I'd love for things to progress faster. Being on sabbatical had different challenges... it was more getting myself motivated and developing self-discipline.



bobby s said...

hey man, have you tried any time tracking software? it can be somewhat eye opening.

i don't watch much tv, but i realized quickly that i was actually watching a few more hours a week than i thought. so now i've been able to recapture that, and use that time more effectively.

also, planning out my meals and batch preparing food once or twice a week saves me tons of time not just in preparation, but in mental energy and time thinking about 'what should i eat'?

hope that helps!

Dale said...

Thanks Bobby... Agree with you about the TV. Especially because I'm a big sports fan. It's nice to have a show to watch, but I try to limit myself to one a night during dinner.

What do you use for time tracking software?

bobby s said...

hi dale, i use an iphone app called eternity, really simple.

there is a desktop app: http://klok.mcgraphix.com/klok/features.html

and a popular webapp: www.rescuetime.com

i must admit though i haven't used either, but the webapp is endorsed by tim ferris

Dale said...

@bobby s: Thanks, I'll take a look! If Tim Ferris endorses it, it's gotta be good!

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