Mismanaged Time

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After over ten years of being unemployed, I have a job. It’s a nice little job. I work for a friend who is a web designer. I have a little bit of a background in web design and HTML coding, almost all of it self-taught. I also know WordPress very well, and a lot of what I do, so far, has been working on and updating clients WordPress sites.

I thought it was going to be easy, since the hours are minimal, but it’s been tougher than I thought. I’m still in the learning stages of the job, but that’s not what makes it so difficult. The hard part is time management…or mismanagement is more like it. My psychologist has only approved me to work 15 hours a week max. Granted, I could ignore his restriction and work more, but I’m quickly learning that would be one of the damn dumbest things I can do. Some weeks I may work 15 hours and some I may not be needed at all, but no matter how many hours I get, it’s an adjustment.

Work, laundry, housekeeping, and of course writing…my entire schedule must be adjusted. In the past several years I’ve had one focus – my novel, and a little work around the house here and there. How then, am I going to be able to continue to focus on my novel and work too? Time management. When my therapist and I discussed going back to work, he pointed out that studies show that students who work have greater success than those that don’t. Why? Because they have to budget and manage their time to be efficient. I had read years ago that a University in New England (I don’t remember which) requires all students to work part time for this very reason.

So far, I have been working 5 hours/day three times a week. That leaves me with two weekdays off to work on my manuscript. Then there’s the hours after work and the weekends. I’ll be able to adapt, but it’s going to be brutal. Change for me, like so many other with bipolar, is difficult. I love everything to fall in nice little compartments, making them easy to reach as needed. Cruelly, life doesn’t work that way. The balls fall where they may and it’s up to us to juggle them. Well, I’m a terrible juggler.

Back in the early stages of my diagnosis, I learned I have to budget my time strictly. Every major and minor task had to be scheduled. It was the only way to keep my sanity. Because my manuscript must remain my number one priority, it’s the first thing that must be scheduled once I get the hours I’ll be working each week. Then I have to divide my time for various household chores, and last, but most definitely not the least – I must make sure I allow myself plenty of time to spend with Maurice. That is likely to be the toughest part of it all. Maurice and I are not one of those couples who have grown apart from each other. We love to be together…now that time is likely to have serious cutback and this saddens me.

As for the job, could it possibly turn into full time? Not anytime soon. My therapist said he’d have to see me work at least 15 hours a week for two years before he’d give the okay for full time. This is a major relief, because it relieves me of the guilt of not working more. And his concern are justified. Past attempts at dong more, such as returning to college, failed miserably.

Am I going to succeed? I certainly am going to give it my damndest. I look forward to writing good news several months from now. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck.

I haven’t touched on doing all this while trying to keep up with my church obligations. That will wait for another day.

12 comments on Mismanaged Time

  1. That’s good news, Bradley! I think you’ll figure out how to rearrange your time. It’s uncomfortable for awhile until one adjusts, yes, but being able to work again is so worth it. I’m proud of you for stepping out to try this – change isn’t easy. One step at a time will help you along on this new journey. I’m happy for you.

    1. Thank you, Journey. I think the good thing is that I know it’ll tough. That will make it easier for me to adapt.

  2. You can do it!! Having activities in a structured format throughout the day make for improvement to ones mood. Baby steps towards progress and you’ll get there. Don’t give up.

  3. Good on ya! I have found having a job has helped me with my stability. And good on your therapist for saying you should take this slowly.

    1. I don’t just expect stability, but I’m also looking for less isolation. As much as I love writing, I’m alone a lot, whether it be Starbucks, the library or home.

  4. I mentor high school grads through their transition into starting college. It’s part of a well-established local program that recently expanded statewide. The skill that they want these kids to learn immediately, and most of them really need it, as you do in your transition, is time management! I tell my mentees that it’s based on identifying priorities first, knowing full well that this is really hard to do when many priorities are set by other people. Good luck to them, and to you. For all of us and each of us, successful time management probably looks different at different points in life and in different places and situations. I need to remind them to remember that part, just as I remind you here. Don’t overdo it, or overschedule yourself.

  5. i hope the job is going well for you! i’ve been browsing your blog for an hour or so and i find your writing very honest and your words and experiences inspiring. thank you for sharing, i hope you continue to. all the best.

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