I’m about to head out to the Outer Banks tomorrow with my best friend Jen and her family, plus another one of my best friends, Allie. They rent a place every year down at milepost 18 on the Beach Road. I went last year and it was a lot of fun. Anywhere on the Outer Banks is great if you ask me. The area is basically my second home. The best part is I get to go back with my family two weeks after I get back with Jen’s family!
I’ve been working every day for most of the day, and it will be great to get some time to relax (I know, I know, some of you who are reading this are saying, “Yeah, so? I work 9-5 every day!” Well, I’m new at this whole adult work week thing). Anyway, I’m trying to get a break from technology for a bit and will not be blogging (I’ve post-dated entries for the coming week, and they’re really going to be insightful). They’re gonna be all about my life goals.
Leave your comments and encouragement for me to come home to! Everyone have a great week, and I’ll be posting live again next Friday (June 13th).
So just to update everyone, I finally found a job. I’m working at Attronica Computers, Inc. off of Nuckols Road. I’m in the Engineering Department as a Computer Technician. This week I’m mainly at the University of Richmond doing some help desk work (Attronica as a contract with them for their computer systems). I love what I’m doing and the experience I’m gaining, and just overall so thankful I have a job, and one I really like at that! More to come, but just wanted to update everyone on that.
Well, today’s a day of meetings of all sorts. I’ve been to two, got one more this afternoon. Some good things resulted from these meetings, and things are finally getting back on track it seems. First off, I just got a great job offer today that I’m taking with a local computer company, where I’ll be able to repair Macs (I’m even going to become an Apple Certified Repair Technician just like the people that work at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store) and might even get to set my own hours. I tentatively start the second week of March. I’ll say more about what company it is and everything once all the details are hammered out.
In other news, Virginia Credit Union asked me to be in a TV commercial with a few other members to talk about our experiences with them. They’re filming it near VCU next to the new business building the first week of March. It should be fun; I’m looking forward to it.
I’m meeting later this afternoon with members of the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) at Deep Run to film a segment about the work they do to for people who would otherwise not come to Christ. They’re the last of ten organizations to be filmed that are benefiting from funds raised at the 2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance. I’m producing a DVD of the event again this year, and I’m looking forward to the event. It’s a great experience.
Pastor Rick gave what I thought to be one of his most inspiring messages ever today. It was all about time management. He’s done some great messages in the past and is probably the most impacting and inspirational speaker I’ve ever heard, but today his message really hit home.
In the service today, Pastor Rick gave a lot of great advice and wisdom about how to manage your time:
Evaluate your time priorities. This can be done (as I’m going to do) by keeping track of how you spend your time over the course of two weeks.
Busyness does not equal productivity. I am always busy with something or another. The whole week it seems I’m never free. But I’m finding that a lot of the time I’m not doing much of anything of any real worth or significance.
Establish time systems. This could mean many things. One example Pastor Rick gave was his own schedule. Every day, he gets up early in the morning and spends time in solitude praying and having study/research time to plan his messages. He’s also at home every night at 6:00 PM for dinner with his family. These two recurring events are set in stone in his weekly schedule, and are obviously very important to him. I need to figure out which things are the most important for me to do, and plan everything else around them on a recurring basis like he has done. Having set things to do at set times and days also makes it easier to say no to people when they ask you to do something, and that’s a big thing for me. I find it hard to tell people no when they ask me to help with or commit to doing something.
Eliminate time wasters. As you’ll read below, I’ve already gotten rid of a lot of my time wasters, but this is something I really need to work on more. Pastor Rick spoke about how you should delegate what’s important and find new ways to use wasted time, such as reading or catching up on something that needs completing when you’re waiting (for example at a doctor’s office).
I have some of the worst skills when it comes to time management out of anyone I know. I always have really good intentions of getting lots done, being productive, and accomplishing everything I need to do. In fact, despite my lack of priority-based planning, I have one of the most immaculately-organized iCal calendars ever (that picture is a screenshot of how my iCal looks on a weekly basis). It’s broken up into sub-calendars, the main ones being home, school, and church. I have everything from my classes at VCU to my weekly breakfast with Tori and dinner with Jen. From the looks of it, you’d think I was one of the most organized people ever, right? Not so much.
So why doesn’t it all work out in the nice, structured way it seems to by looking at my iCal? There are a couple of reasons. First off, I don’t seem to be able to stick to what should be my top priorities. It’s sometimes out of stress, lack of will power, tiredness, or sheer laziness. Other times it’s because something fun comes up and I end up going out with friends. All I know is I need to increase the amount of time I spend doing some things, reduce others, and maybe even completely eliminate a few. Most things are fine in moderation, I just need to find the right balance.
Sometimes the time I allot to certain tasks ends up getting wasted because I’m multitasking while I should be focused on a singular goal. I also get distracted (and spend too much time on) my Mac and iPhone. The biggest distraction involving both devices? Facebook. Up until today, I had a ridiculous connection to Facebook. On my computer, there’s a desktop program that flashes a little box in the upper right hand corner of my screen notifying me when someone writes on my wall or does some other action on my profile, I get an email with the same information, and then a text on my phone. Sometimes the Facebook email also goes to my phone. Now before you send out the “whitecoats” to haul me off to the nut farm, please understand that some of these notifications were in place from the time I first registered my Facebook account (almost two years ago), for example the emails. I just added one thing at a time and now I’m at this ludicrous level. I’m happy to say that as of today, I’ve completely eliminated all of my Facebook notifications on both my Mac and iPhone, turned off incoming email to my phone, and turned off the new mail notification sound on my computer so I don’t automatically open my email client and read it as it comes in.
In summary, here’s what I plan on changing with my schedule starting this week:
Allot more time to studying, working productively at church, and exercising
Spend less time on the computer, doing less-than-productive things, eating out, and not necessarily hang out with friends every night
Come up with the best balance of school, work, volunteering, and fun
I’m excited about finally getting a handle on my life and make time for the things I need to do and be able to accomplish so much more.
So my first semester as a college student was officially over last night after I took my history final. I think I did pretty well on my exams, but I know I still could have done better in terms of grades. Not horrible, but I had a lot on my plate between adjusting to college, working at church, and having a part-time job. I’m going to seriously consider the effect working has on school before I decide where I’m going to work next semester. I need to pick a place with flexible hours and good pay (so I can work fewer hours but make the same amount of money as I would in an average-paying job- does that sentence even make sense?).
Anyway, I’ve come to realize several things this semester. Not having much time to do anything besides what I mentioned above, I realized just how much I value free time. I got so burnt out that once I took a week off, such as I did from the church, I not only saw all of the stuff I had neglected to do for months and decided to get it done, but I also decided to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and just chill out. Moreover, what I really realized was that I just want to live a little and be a college student. I have the rest of my life to slave away at work (well hopefully I’ll be doing something I like), so I want to live it up while I can. I’m going to seriously consider changing a lot of things next semester.
First off, not seeing many of my friends nearly as often as I did before has caused that area of my life to suffer, and I’m not willing to let that happen. Friendships are an integral part of life and with schedule conflicts caused by all that I did last semester, I lost touch with some people that I’ve been friends with for years.Secondly, I don’t even do anything with several hobbies I had before. I have run a local history website (that I haven’t updated in a year) since 2001. This is the first time I’ve let that slip in seven years. I also have a history exhibition out at Field Day of the Past that I’ve done since 2002. This was the first year I didn’t set up my display because it’s a huge undertaking (the displays take up the whole tailgate area of my Xterra from floor to ceiling) and I just didn’t have the energy after the week I had.
There are plenty more things I haven’t had the time or extra energy to do, like writing, doing some graphic design and video projects I’ve wanted to, and on top of everything else I’m not going to let my school work suffer anymore either. To quote the lyrics of a song by Bruce Hornsby, next semester “there’s gonna be some changes made.” I’ve got to balance things out more. I’m amazed I’ve even kept my blog updated on an (almost) daily basis.
I know, I haven’t written since Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten at least half a dozen emails asking where I was, if I was still alive, etc. Thanks for the concern. I’ve been extremely busy with not only Christmas decorating (if you’ve ever been to my house at Christmas you know how long the outdoor light display takes me to put together), but I also painted my room and bought all new furniture at IKEA. I’m still putting some of it together, and will post pictures when it’s all finished. It basically looks like Starbucks (walls painted gold at the top, and chocolate brown at the bottom to chair rail level), combined with the European design that’s typical of IKEA furnishings. I think it’s pretty cool. School and work has kept me pretty busy, too. Basically, this is the first chance I’ve had to update.
Speaking of church, I originally intended to take off the week of Thanksgiving just to catch up on some stuff I had neglected for a while and take a breather, but once I started on my room, I realized it was a much bigger task than I originally thought, and I ended up taking this past week off, as well.
Well, I’ll have a lot more free time this week since I no longer have a job. Friday was my last day at the Attorney General’s Office. I had a lot of great experiences and learned a lot of things I otherwise wouldn’t have. There are a lot of great people that work there. Where to now, though? Hopefully the Apple Store at Short Pump Town Center. We’ll see.
I promise I’m going to start updating on a daily basis again, because I have a whole lot to write on. But for now, you should be pretty much up to date.
So 2008 is still nearly a month and a half away, but I have a lot of short and long term goals that I’m going to start taking the initiative to achieve even before next year. Here are my big two right now:
Find a new job: I wasn’t able to get renewed at the Attorney General’s Office because of budget constraints and my last day is November 30th.
Finish cleaning out my room and start painting it so I can get new furniture: I have junk in boxes still from as far back as middle school. It’s ridiculous. I’ve pretty much cleaned everything out, now I need to paint. After that, I’m getting all new furniture from IKEA. I’m still sleeping in the same hard-as-a-rock twin size bed I’ve had since I was six or seven. And if I move out sometime soon, I’ll have new stuff to take with me.
I’ve got a lot of other changes and improvements I want to make in my life, but doing these two will really get the ball rolling on the rest of the stuff.
It’s long been known that Windows has been the operating system of choice for businesses, and the clear winner when it came to home computers, as well. Macs have been known to be associated with niche markets such as in education and for creative fields such as graphic design. But is the sturdy foundation that Windows built more than a decade and a half ago being chipped away by Apple? All recent indications point to yes. Here’s a small snippet from an article featured on the Apple Insider website:
The media frenzy surrounding the iPhone may have helped Apple claim a record share of customers for its portable line at the expense of its rivals Dell and HP, says a new survey from ChangeWave. An early August study that canvassed 3,665 of the financial research group’s existing members’ buying habits has revealed that nearly one sixth, or 17 percent, of respondents who had bought a notebook in the past three months had chosen one of Apple’s MacBook or MacBook Pro models. The gain was an “unprecedented” jump from 12 percent in June and eclipsed the Mac maker’s previous record of 15 percent set in January.
I bought a MacBook Pro in late June for college and I absolutely love it. I’ll never go back to Windows. Everything just works on a Mac. Adobe CS3 is running like a charm, iLife ’08, which I just upgraded to, is awesome, and Windows XP, installed via the Boot Camp Public Beta, runs faster and more smoothly than my previous eMachines (running XP with 1.5 GB RAM and an AMD Athlon 64 processor) desktop computer.
There are obvious disadvantages to running a Mac as well, such as software incompatibility (although the gap is quickly closing, especially with the move to Intel processors), peripheral incompatibility (such as camera memory cards that are factory preformatted for Windows), and a few other finicky things, but overall there are huge advantages to running Mac OS X. The software incompatability issue can be solved by installing Boot Camp as I mentioned above, which allows you to partition your hard drive and presents you with a boot screen allowing you to choose the OS you’d like to start up with.
Everything, in my opinion, runs more smoothly on a Mac simply becuase the same company that manufactures the computer also puts out the operating systems for their units. It just makes sense. I was a little concerned that I would be limited in what I was able to do with my computer if I purchased a Mac, but truth be told I’m able to do more than I ever thought possible on a PC, and in less time. The data proves this point, with Apple coming out on top when it comes to customer satisfaction:
No pun intended, but it looks like the “window” is closing on the success of the Microsoft empire. Bill Gates is set to step down from the company in the next year and a half, the company is looking into all sorts of new directions to diversify their business, and PC sales are slipping, most notably with traditional brand leaders such as HP and Dell. Here’s a comparison between Apple and Dell:
iPod and iPhone sales have generated a lot more interest in Macintosh computers, with users discovering just how user-friendly Macs really are. I’m excited to see what lies in the future for Apple, and what they will come up with next.
Leave your thoughts about your operating system of choice.
So we had three cats. My parents said they didn’t want any more because these were enough to keep up with. So much for that. I came home last night to find the newest edition to our family, a white (with some tabby markings mixed in) kitten who’s foster mom named Joey. We liked the name so we kept it. He’s four months old and has the most affectionate demeanor. He’s tiny, about five pounds, and wild and rambunctious! So far we haven’t introduced him to the other cats… we’re going to wait about a week and let them get used to his scent (they’ve been coming up to the room we have him shut in). The woman at the adoption place recommended this in order for them to all get along better. Here’s some pictures of him from last night:
I started my first class at VCU yesterday, Focused Inquiry (basically English except they don’t call it English anymore, and I think it’s a little different). The professor’s really nice, kind of funny, and he had us do a group introduction activity to break the ice. I met a few really nice people. I think I’m gonna like it down there a lot. Monday will be the real test, when I’m down there from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM, with pretty much all of my classes.
So I’m hopefully going to be able to keep my job, which I originally had as just a summer position. I made my case by setting up a more permanent workspace than I had before. I was originally on this big red leather couch, but then it got moved and I was left with only a rolly chair. So, I scrounged around everyone’s cubicals and was able to find a desk, docking station for my laptop, new flat panel LCD monitor, and a new mouse and keyboard. Not bad! Here’s my very first real office workstation (it’s not that cool I know, but hey I feel special I actually have a real setup there now!):
So I’m currently installing Adobe CS3 on my Mac… I had a problem with Photoshop installing correctly before, but it’s working now. It’s taking about two hours altogether because there are eight DVDs it comes with. I’m excited. Can’t wait to try it out. Here’s a screenshot from the installation: