One thing I’ve always struggled with is keeping my life structured. I have always been told I work best when following a routine, but getting comfortable with a set schedule has never been easy for me. That being said, I feel as though I can safely say I’m finally on the right track.
About one month ago I decided to quit my grocery store job without a clue about where I’d be working next. After many months of hardly receiving one, maybe two shifts each week, I made an executive decision for myself and thought it’d be best to search for something new. With a schedule that varied week to week and the uncertainty of whether I’d be getting a paycheck at all, I figured it would be in my best interest to focus my entire energy into looking for greater opportunities elsewhere.
While I knew this was most likely the best move for me at the time, it frightened me not knowing if and when I’d be able to secure my next position. Certainly I was unhappy at the grocery store, but leaving at a time when jobs are hard to come by was not ideal by any means. The little structure I had, if you’d go as far as even calling it that, was now gone.
At this point I knew I had to find something different; setting my sights on a role that better utilized my skillset was ambitious during a pandemic, and being too picky in my search during a time when I had to find employment quickly would leave me empty handed.
After updating my resumé once more, I got to it. Applying to the countless available positions that matched my search on various job boards became vastly overwhelming. There’s nothing that crushes your spirits more than sending in an application and revisiting days later to see 1000+ applicants for a role you dearly desired.
With my hope of finding a job depleting at a pace I’d never experienced, I opened up Craigslist. Expecting the usual Work from home, DEFINITELY NOT A SCAM listings, I was unsurprised to find my expectations were still accurate. However, there was a diamond in the rough; a legitimate, local office job in a sea of telemarketing spam and multilevel marketing schemes.
Full time work, great pay, a stones throw from home; it seemed too good to be true, but I was close to getting desperate. Knowing that there would surely be a flood of applicants for the position, I took a chance and responded to the listing. Admittedly, I had never sent a cover letter before, but there I was hyping myself up about how I ticked all the boxes they were looking for.
Send. Off the email went. After another two or three hours of tediously crafting a Trello board to track my applications, I closed my laptop, grabbed my Manduka mat, and began a short yoga session in my garage to take my mind off of the fruitless job search.
No more than ten minutes into my mindful stretching, a number I didn’t recognize appeared on my phone. Nearly breathless from my now poor physical ability, I answered knowing full well that it was most likely a scam call from a fake insurance company I don’t even use; yet part of me had a glimmer of hope that it was a potential job prospect on the other end. Needless to say, I’m glad I answered the phone.
The next day I met the President of the local business to discuss the position I had applied for. Even though I was grasping for air for the first half of our 30+ minute phone conversation, she was pleased with my experience and wanted to meet me in person.
The initial meeting could not have gone any smoother. A short few days later I returned to meet with her again, this time with her business parter as well. Without going into much detail, I’ll just say that our conversation ended with I like the cut of your jib.
Due to the nature of the business, I was required to get my COVID vaccination before starting work, and by the same time the following week I had began my first day on the job.
What I’m trying to get at is that I need structure in my life. I need a rigid schedule to succeed or I will undoubtedly lose my balance. Whether it be school, work, hobbies, or anything else I have on my plate, I need to be busy in order to stay in check.
With my college studies being entirely online, often without a set time for lectures or labs, it becomes difficult to stay focused and plan out my days or weeks. Having a job with a fixed 9-5 schedule not only consumes a good chunk of my time, but it allows me to plan my other activities around it, forcing me to be efficient with my scheduling.
Not only do I now get to plan effectively, I also genuinely enjoy my new job. I no longer dread going into work. I look forward to tackling the challenges I’ll face each day and proving my worth, which in turn keeps me happy once I return home to attack my next tasks for the evening.
Structure is important. At least, for me it is. As I continue progressing at work I’ve noticed many other improvements in my daily life, whether it be consistently waking up at six in the morning or something as simple as choosing to read a book before bed. I’ve found new value with my time and as a result have become more productive.
Productivity isn’t everything, however. The fact that I have less time to do activities I enjoy at home forces me to put in more effort into my hobbies, genuinely pushing me to put my best foot forward and work towards my goals. In the past, it felt as though I wouldn’t progress in the things I love because I just had too much time. There was no sense of urgency, I had all the time in the world and that was counterintuitive to my progression.
Finally getting a rigid, consistent, structured schedule has been widely beneficial for my overall wellbeing. I love doing things I used to enjoy again. I act with the desire for personal and professional growth. I feel well for the first time in ages.
It’s wildly important not to overwork yourself, whether it be at home or on the job, but finding that balance leads to a greater sense of peace and fulfillment within my own life. I dearly missed having a strong routine. I don’t feel scattered anymore. I feel like I’m on the right track again.