Phone's for you!
The origin of the idiom 'phoning it in' is as follows:
Lately, I've been feeling hella burnout from every one of my five jobs.
I clean floors at a Montessori preschool five days a week, and a few weeks ago decided I was going to allow myself one "oopsie-today-sie" per classroom. The way I think of oopsietodaysie is like this: say I forget to mop under a desk and realize it before I leave. Instead of going back and fixing it, sometimes I'll just call it an oospietodaysie. A mistake I make, sometimes deliberately sometimes not, that I just let slide for the day.
On Monday, I felt this week was going to be an oopsietoWEEKsie.
I needed to chill the funk out for a second, or I knew I was going to go insane.
Sometimes your oopsietodaysies are bigger than others. Sometimes mine are too. I've decided to go through the classrooms tomorrow and make sure to clean up any growing mess that I know I've been neglecting, just so my oopsietoweeksie doesn't turn into an oopsietomonthsie.
Let's talk about burnout, shall we?
HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR LIFE IF IT FEELS LIKE THE AFTERMATH OF A FOREST FIRE:
1. Take a mental health day.
Listen, you work hard, I work hard, all of us work hard. Think about everything that's been required of you lately. Think about how much of yourself you'd ideally like to be putting into your work, and how much of yourself you've been able to put into your work during your oopsie-to-periodoftime-sie. If those two things aren't matching up, it's time for some you time. Maybe you can't exactly take a whole day off of work for whatever reason. That's cool, try talking to your boss about a long lunch, or leaving the office early at the end of the week. If you frame your ask like it's going to be best for your boss if you get a little moi time, they may be more likely to concede. ("I know I'm not able to do my best right now, and I think if I were able to xyz then that would definitely help.")
Right now my main job is nannying. If I'm a total crab and I can't focus, it's not safe for me to be watching children. In that vain, I started planning a trip to New York in February—I'm leaving next weekend!
2. Switch up your routine.
Right now you're doing a lot of crap, right? Or maybe you're not doing a lot of crap, it just feels like you're doing the same crap over and over. It's cool, I feel that. Humans are totally creatures of habit, and once we get into habits they become comfortable. Before I got my most current nannying job, I would stay up until 4am every day, then sleep until 1pm and laze around until I had to get to school for pick up. Now I go to the same coffee shop every day before work to get a little extra creative work done, or scroll through tumblr for an hour so I can get the need for cotton candy brain out of my system before I have to be CHILD APPROPRIATE MAC.
A lot of times my burnout's root cause is boredom. Maybe if you're like me, you get super bored doing the same thing every f%$#ing day. Making a change doesn't have to mean doing something crazy like quitting your job (though, we'll talk about that later) maybe you just need to buy a different kind of shampoo? Maybe you change up your lunch routine? Maybe I should start ordering different coffee? (Let's be real, that's not going to happen.)
Start with little changes, then switch to bigger changes. If nothing seems to work, it's probably time to reevaluate.
3. Take stock of your current life, and figure out what needs to GO.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What if I told you that it's not too late to still be answering that question?
"Slow your roll DeeMac Chopra, you still nanny!"
I know, I know...Hear me out anyway.
When I was a young cherub, I was convinced that my calling was to be an E.R. doctor. I watched so much Trauma: Life in the ER that I became unscathed by any injury. I didn't even bat an eye at the dude who came in with a knife lodged into his skull to the hilt. I was nine, and sure my destiny would be growing up to help people with cutlery in their face.
This didn't exactly come to fruition. Once I realized you had to not only be good, but also care about school, I decided to change my dreams.
Well, they changed, and changed, andchangedandchangedandchanged.
Now I'm a month shy of 26, and wondering how I can put this Mitch Hedberg quote to use:
I hate when people tell me to follow my dreams, because I have no idea what they are anymore.
All I can tell you are things that make me feel awesome, and things that don't.
Herein lies your challenge: make two lists.
LIST ONE: THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL GREAT.
LIST TWO: THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL SHITTY.
If you're coming up with a lot of big vague things, think about how you can go deeper within each list. Or maybe you need to make separate sub-lists for different areas of your life. However you feel like divvying up this task is up to you. Figure out what's going to best suit your needs then do that thing.
My suggestion would be to have a "work" & "free time" set of lists.
Mine would look something like this:
WORK: Things that make me feel great—
- The schedule is conducive to my needs outside of work, and super flexible.
- Getting paid enough to live on, as well as have a savings.
- It's close to my house.
WORK: Things that make me feel shitty—
- I have to be hyper-aware of how I conduct myself.
- Having to keep reminding the children about basic hygiene. I feel like such a germ-a-phobe!
- I can't really 'take a break' while I'm working, so I have to keep my work face on all day.
Read and re-read your shit list. Is there anything on it that you have the power to change? One of the things on my free time shit list would have to be the ungodly amount of time I spend on my laptop. I really need to work on setting screen limits and sticking with them. Sometimes I have to remind myself that there's a lot to learn outside of the internet!
Anyway, that one is all on me. If I want it to change, I need to make an effort.
What's required of you, and what do you require of yourself on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? What can you trim out of your life to shorten your cons list?
Let's say one of your things is that you drink too much coffee. (ME!) Instead of cutting that vice cold turkey, try and ease it out. Maybe instead of seven days a week, you ease it down to four. Then two. Then zero. Or maybe you cut it down to two, and just keep it at two? Whatever works for you, do it. Remember: don't disallow yourself a reward every once and awhile.
In any case, I definitely need a vacation, and I'm SO EXCITED to get out of town this month! My hope is that when I return, I'll be able to hang up the phone and work to the best of my abilities.
I challenge you in the coming weeks to tend to your life's forest.
You deserve to feel that things are awesome, and you're the only person who can put these gears in motion. Go forth and switch up your game!