Getting the Job Done

For many reasons, we love to memorialize the inventions and tools that people have used to do their jobs throughout history. With all of today’s computing and machine power, seeing the tools of the past makes you realize how fortunate we truly are these days. We have seen displays of working conditions in a variety of countries and they are all very interesting. We have taken photographs of many of them and looking back at them, it is kind of fascinating that the pictures almost capture a sense of dreariness that must have truly existed at the time. In fact, some of them are almost downright creepy.

IMGP1622
Frozen Air and Spinning Wheels
IMG_8536
Pressing Papyrus
IMGP1370
Ancient English Workers
Chennai 035
Spinning Linen in India
IMG_6921
Pharmacy Desk in Old Town Alexandria
IMGP1665
Old Sewing Machines

 

Traveling Can Make You Appreciate Your Life

There are times, when you travel to certain locations, when you realize how lucky you really are. Sure, on some trips you go to places with palaces and temples of gold that can make you dream of a pampered life. Like most people, we feel that we work hard and can often feel stressed and overwhelmed. Then, we go to a part of the world that doesn’t have all of the modern conveniences and see people truly toiling to make a living for themselves and their families. Seeing those people who work so hard and make so little for their efforts remind us that we are truly lucky. We do work long hours, often getting up before the sun comes up and working late in the day, but we aren’t going to fool ourselves into believing that work is as hard as some of the people we have seen in struggling countries. To do the kind of physical labor that they do with antiquated equipment in weather conditions that would drive most of us indoors is truly impressive. So, the next time that we complain about how tired we are or what a difficult day we’ve had, we will remind ourselves that if it weren’t for the luck of where we were born, we might be enduring difficult conditions just to eek out an existence for ourselves.

DSC_3656
Herding Sheep in Ecuador
IMGP8018
Working the Field
IMG_4019
Train Station Attendant in the Cold of Romania
IMG_0222
Hand Weaving Silk in India
IMGP7958
Manually Clearing a Field in Bolivia
IMGP7481
Drying Coca Leaves in Bolivia
IMGP2795
Loading Truck in Chennai
IMGP7931
Fixing the Roof of Their Home
IMGP8034
Hard Work in the Heat

 

Tips for Balancing Life, Blogging, Travel, and Work

There are days when wake up and don’t know how we’re are going to get everything done that we need to do on that particular day. With so many obligations and expectations, people often ask us how we manage to get it all done without losing our minds in the process. The short answer is that we don’t get everything done all of the time and that sometimes we simply do the best that we can. Somehow we manage to find the right mix to balance all of the demands that we have on us, but it certainly isn’t as easy as people assume that it is. In many ways, it simply comes down to doing the best that you can with the time that you have and not stressing about the things you can’t get done. To be clear, these tips are for people who want their blogging to be more than a form of social media and sharing with friends and family. With that said, here are a few tips that might keep you from going insane on a daily basis.

IMG_3556
Enjoying Prague
  1. Create a Weekly Recurring To-Do List by Day – Obviously, organization is key to staying on track and writing your tasks down will definitely help. There is no way that you can do everything every day, so if you break tasks up into a daily to-do list, it will allow you to focus on items without bouncing all over the place. For example, there are things that we do once a week and we pick a day and make sure we do that task on that day. We create a spreadsheet with the days of the week as columns and the recurring tasks as rows. We then put an “X” in the cell for the day(s) that we intend to complete that task. The rows in the spreadsheet can include things like publishing a post, doing activities on social media, contacting affiliates, etc. If you have other daily tasks that you need to take care of personally, add those to your list as well. When a task is completed, cross it off of the list for that day. There is a certain amount of satisfaction that you receive when you cross items off of you to-do list as being done. Then, at the beginning of the next week, print out a new copy of your to-do list so that you have a fresh copy to work with.

    IMGP2182
    Cathedral Towers in Amsterdam
  2. Use a Calendar to Schedule Your Time – Setting specific time each day to take care of tasks is important. It takes a certain amount of dedication to say that you are going to work on something at a specific time during the day and then not letting other obligations overtake that time. Obviously there will be times when something comes up that is more important and has to happen during the time that you have blocked for a task, but it should definitely be the exception and not the rule. It is easy to let yourself get diverted by other things, especially if a task isn’t your favorite to do, but to be successful, you need to use your time wisely. Clearly, if you are like us, and have full-time jobs on top of blogging, forcing ourselves to schedule our time is extremely important. It allows us to get our posts completed without interfering with our jobs and also making sure that we have time for our personal lives as well.

    DSC_0159_day3
    Lava Eroded into Cliffs in Iceland
  3. Hold Yourself Accountable – We often see posts from people apologizing for not posting for several months because life has gotten too busy. There probably isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think to ourselves that we just don’t have time to blog and there is the temptation to just let it slip. When you are blogging, you are both the boss and the employee, so you need to put your boss hat on and remind yourself that you have made an obligation to yourself to complete your tasks. If you don’t do something that you are supposed to do, no one will know other than yourself. Therefore, nobody is going to hold you accountable to getting those things done except for yourself. The same is true about making time for your family. You need to be sure that also make sure that you don’t let work, blogging, and other things interfere with your ability to spend quality time with the ones that you love.

    IMGP8676
    Colorful La Paz
  4. Learn to Multitask – To be fair, tests have shown that no one truly ever multitasks, they simply change focus quickly from one task to another. It might sound unfair to say that you need to learn how to multitask, but like almost any other skill, it can be learned with practice. There are certain tasks that take your complete and undivided attention for an extended period of time, but it is likely that the majority of them can be handled in conjunction with other tasks. We often find ourselves working on two, three, or even four tasks simultaneously. Multitasking doesn’t mean that you don’t do your best on each of the tasks, it is more about changing focus quickly and when you are focusing, you give it the full attention that it deserves.

    IMGP2938
    Temples at Mahabalipuram
  5. Give Yourself Time to Take a Break – Right now, you are probably saying that we are being hypocritical to say that you need to give yourself time off. Far from it, everyone needs a break every now and then, especially as complicated as all of our lives are. We use travel as our opportunity to get away from all of the normal work stresses, blog stresses, and even family stresses. That doesn’t mean that we just drop everything and run away. Just like any job, taking time off means getting things in a state prior to leaving where your presence isn’t necessary. That might mean getting a few blog posts written prior to leaving and scheduling them ahead of time. It also might mean just letting everyone know that you will be out of touch for a while. Sometimes, we just take a few minutes during our travel to give a quick update on where we are and what we are doing. Traveling doesn’t always mean that we spend weeks flying around the world, it can be as simple as going someplace for the weekend or even a long weekend if we want to go someplace farther away.

    IMGP3855
    Bridge at Ronda, Spain

No one is perfect and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be “super human”. Be realistic with your expectations and goals. If you are working a job that requires ten hours a day, it certainly isn’t reasonable to expect yourself to spend another four hours a day working on your blog. Perhaps it is something that you only do on the weekend or you work a couple of hours one or two nights a week. Work and life balance is exactly that, it is a balancing act. If you find yourself leaning too far one direction or another, you need to adjust and bring it back in line. How do you balance everything going on in your life?