Down-time Abbey

My job is strange. The best way I have found to describe it to people is that it is similar to that of a firefighter. Although I don’t have the same type of hours and schedule as most firefighters, I do have as same sort of waiting around to handle problems. I work in the juvenile detention center in a security based position.


Without going into too much detail, most of my day is spent watching the juveniles to make sure nothing goes wrong. I am engaged mentally but not so much in a sense physically. Sitting there and watching does take mental attention but it is not physically demanding. I compare it to a firefighter waiting in the firehouse until something goes wrong. They had to be there to be on hand, but they are not always putting out fires. Usually they sit around the station.

Which leads me to today’s list of Day 41 of Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine.

Here are 10 ways I can improve my work situation. I like my job but there are always ways to make it better. As you will see most of these have to do with me and making myself better at work.

1. Stop Focusing On Crappy People

When crappy people do things, I usually have to deal with it. But after I deal with it I need to let it go. To go over it again in my mind, to give them more brain space, is unnecessary. Once it is done. It’s done. I have plenty of other things to be concerned with and to think about. Not just positive thinking type things but creative thinking type things. My brain can thing of about only one thing at a time. So I need to choose more wisely.

2. Use My Time Smarter

Once I clear up the brain space, I will be able to use my time smarter. I will be able to dedicate mental effort to things that matter rather than focusing on things that don’t.

3. Find A Better Way To Have Coffee At Work

I start my day with a cup of coffee. Or two or three (if I think my wife is not going to wake up in time to see me off). Sometimes I take a cup with me to work. But once that is gone. I am out for the day. This may be a good thing. However, my work has a Keurig and as a professional coffee drinker I never want just one cup. Plus have you seen the cost of the K-Cups? Even the off brand are expensive! I know there are things that you can get to put regular coffee grounds into, but again just one cup? Not worth the effort. Also I have read on the internet (so it must be true) that there are additives and chemicals in the single serve cups that you don’t get with good old regular drip coffee. I am not concerned enough not to use them. But it is something to look out for.

4. Stand Up More Throughout The Day

Standing up periodically is good for you. The buzz around online is that “Sitting is the New Smoking”. Now that may have some validity to it or not. I have not read the article. However, I do know that it is better to be active and good to stand up. I don’t sit all day but I do sit enough to make my butt hurt from time to time. Easy solution. Stand up more.

5. Eat A Morning Snack / Second Breakfast

It is important to have a steady supply of nutrition throughout the day to keep going. I wake up at 4 AM, eat breakfast at 5 AM and have been eating lunch around 11 AM. I had been eating a morning snack (or maybe even a second breakfast) around 8 AM. It might be good for my energy levels to get back to doing that.

6. Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day (Including Weekends)

This one is one thing I have been working on. To get consistent sleep in life will help my work performance. I get up at 4 AM so it is hard sometimes on the weekend to see the need to do that when I don’t have to be anywhere. I have recently starting doing it though. I like having more time in the day to work on things. Especially on the weekend to have more time to do the things I want to do. I am averaging 2 of 4 though. I woke up one of each weekend days at 4 AM and the other I slept in. Meh.

7. Find 10 Ways To Fix An Issue That Is Frustrating Me

My colleague and I were discussing an issue that was frustrating us. He wanted to do something about it but didn’t know what to do. I suggested we come up with proposal ideas to our boss on how to handle it. We have started with a few ideas but I think we can get to 10. Maybe one of them will work. I hope so.

8. Create 10 Ways To Boost Morale

I work with a group of good-natured people. However, it is always good to keep morale up rather than down. I think I should use some of my brain space to come up with 10 things that will improve the working attitudes of everyone.

9. Leave Work At Work (Mentally)

I don’t ever have any work to bring home with me. So I need to mentally leave work at work also. This generally is not a problem for me. But I always have to remember and be on guard to leave work at work. My brain has so much else to focus on.

10. Decide My Life Work Is More Important

As much as I value my job, I know that the trajectory of my life is more than just one career. There’s this great book called Multi-Careering by Bob Goff that does a way better job of explaining what I am getting at.


Is my job strange, or just me?

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