More Exacting Than Ever!

Data Analyst cartoon

It has finally happened. My personal and professional lives have merged and I am now 83.67% more exacting than before!

Just kidding on the percentage.

I was seconded from my regular library job to work on a data-heavy project that took 18 months. Our team had expected to wrap up much earlier, but when we got to the data phase, there was no treasure trove of data for us to analyze. We spent an extra 6 months collecting new data. Despite the delay, the new information has made the results much more reliable.

So, I made a pitch to my organization to create a new “Information Officer” position so these kinds of gaps and delays would not happen again. That person is now me!

In my new role, I work with data all day, every day. Spreadsheets feature in my dreams at night! However, I’m not strictly a data analyst. The main part of the job is to communicate with managers and staff about what their information needs are, then come up with strategies to get what they need. I expect to spend a good part of my time meeting with people. It’s also my job to get the data by whatever means, interpret it, present it and make recommendations. So quite different from running reports on existing data and passing them on for follow-up.

I have all kinds of ideas on how to gather and coordinate our “business information” to minimize effort and make sure managers and staff can make decisions with confidence. This could be my dream job!

Our city is training all its departments and services in Lean Six Sigma methodology, so I’m currently taking the intermediate course. It’s fun to learn the techniques and put them into action.

For the next 2 years I’ll be combining my new job with putting the project results into action – implementing our new staff structure. Every one of our 400 staff are affected so it’s high stakes.

I feel like it’s time to overhaul my personal routines, now that my job situation is settled.

The biggest change in my work life is that I now work Monday to Friday day shifts. I used to work one evening a week and a share of Saturdays, in exchange for some time off during the week. I really miss that time – I used to do all my shopping, errands and appointments on my “mornings off.” It has been a challenge to absorb all that into evenings and weekends.

I moved to another branch to work on the project, and I’ll be staying there. I’m happy about it! The distance is 10 km and it takes 30 minutes door-to-door.

My old job was physically active and now I have a desk job! It is already taking its toll. I have to be really deliberate about moving around during the day and compensating for the inactivity.

Previously I could walk to work and go home for lunch, but I didn’t expect that to last. I didn’t want to limit my career options just so I could stay in my home neighbourhood. Outside my building is a lovely paved trail I can walk every fine day at lunch time (45 minutes round trip) to make up for my old walks to work. If I don’t have time for a proper lunch break, I go for a walk after work.

I need a new fitness routine. I had been going to the gym or swimming 5 mornings a week. I like the facility and renewed my annual membership. I will experiment with going sometimes in the mornings and sometimes after work. The problem is I get up so early, I had to make myself to conform to an early bedtime as well. Without those mornings off, I can’t catch up until Saturday. I’ve been really limiting my evening activities because I’m too tired to function! An extra hour of sleep in the morning and a workout on the way home might help.

I am trying to get into the habit of making my work lunch the night before, and getting my swim/gym gear ready to go.

Rom and I still share the cooking 50/50 but we are making easier weeknight meals and tolerating more nights of leftovers in a row.

I have yet to figure out a way to place blogging back into the mix, but I will do it somehow!

Thanks to everyone who has continued to subscribe, and to new subscribers who signed up while I was not writing. I’m back!

Anyone else had big changes in their jobs or life routines lately?


  1. I’m having the very same challenge – making my preferred number of gym sessions (ideally 6 per week) with work. I find the 5.30am work out has me rushing to be at work at around 7.15 (I like to walk to work, and have a sit in coffee). However, leaving work outs to after work are impacted by my now once a week voluntary babysitting/big sister duties for example. I do also walk home from work, and I love this time to just decompress. I order 10 main meals a week, so this helps. I try to make sure chores are all ‘up to date’ by Sunday, and just make do, during the week. I may iron one evening after work, energy and timing considering. Errands I try to integrate into work lunchtimes, as I work somewhere with a good level of services nearby…

    I wish you all the best in working out the ‘balance’

    • Thanks, Sarah. There are also some services near my workplace so I can do a few minor errands. I definitely just “make do” on housework during the week (a post about that is in progress!) This week I’ve been going for walks after work, before making dinner – winter is creeping up and it’s now dark when I get in. It’s peaceful, though! I miss my more leisurely breakfasts/sitting with a coffee and a book. But I will eventually figure things out!

  2. Congratulations on your new position. 🙂 It sounds like a great fit for your talents!

    I have been getting far too little exercise throughout my working days, and it’s something I need to remedy. I drive a lot – I’m often working in three or four counties in the course of a single day – so one thing I’ve been trying to do is park a ways away from my appointments. Whether it’s only a couple blocks or a matter of several parking lot rows, I figure the walking all adds up. And I need the movement!

    • Good idea! Even though everyone knows they should be getting in lots of movement, I still see my coworkers jockeying for the nearest parking spots to the building. There are loads of stairs in my building so I purposely go for walks indoors just so I can go stair climbing. I would say not even one person in a hundred takes any stairs – just line up at the elevators, even for one floor. Of course I don’t know each person’s health story, but the resistance to stairs seems extreme!

  3. Congratulations on the new position. Sounds right up your alley. I’ve never heard of Lean 6sigma. Will do some reading.

    Exercising is hard for to fit into my day as work is such a long day. I lack incidental exercise as well being desk bound. Something has to give. For me, as for you, it was blogging while I was at work.

    Hope you can fit in blogging (and exercise) as I’ve missed reading your blog.

    • Thanks, Lucinda! I bet you have found your gym/exercise classes really beneficial. I just can’t do without fitness activities on weekdays; I really need them for de-stressing and to sleep better. I am so looking forward to blogging more!

  4. I agree – this new position sounds great for you and congrats on convincing them to create it! Getting everything done while working without sacrificing exercise and healthy eating is quite a challenge. Your new routine ideas sound like a great start.

  5. Congratulations on the new dream job – I am excited for you it would suit me to the ground too.
    Be very careful with this desk job though – I did twenty years almost and am now paying the price even though I moved about and rather than email people I floor walked each day to see them all.
    It is so difficult fitting everything in – I know from experience – the tiredness comes with the territory. Just keep trying different ways and adjusting. I follow lean principles and love it – I introduced it into my team at work and soon it was very noticeable to those above the improvements we made.
    Let us know how you get along – everyone will be interested as we are all looking for good ideas to deal with our time and lack of it and squeezing fitness and healthy meals in there somewhere.

    • I am glad your workplace benefited from Lean! It is quite a pervasive mindset once you embrace it (kind of like minimalism!) I make a point of popping by people’s offices too – one of my pet peeves is someone who will email me from an office 10 metres away. I will be trying new routines. One day this week I cut my workout short by 10 minutes so I could have a few more minutes with my coffee at home. I have given up reading stuff on my smartphone before work – too distracting! And I’ve been arriving a little early at work so I can have a toasted bagel at my desk 🙂

  6. Welcome back, Dar. I have missed reading you. Congratulations on the new role. Like you, I find it challenging to get physical activity into the work routine. But, I am sure you will in time work something out — without forgetting to put blogging into the mix.

    • Thank you! I have loads of blog posts planned. Vera, I don’t even know what kind of (paid) work you do – I think of you as a writer!

      • Wow, Dar, I take that as a compliment. I wish I were. My job involves working with lots of data, as well as a tremendous amount of budgeting and reporting.
        You know something, from what I have understood from your writing, if I were half as good as you in my analytical and communication skills, I would excel in my role. 🙂

      • I am sure you do excel, Vera! Maybe we both counteract our data-heavy lives with writing – a different thought process!

      • Ha, I think you might be right.

  7. Margie from Toronto

    Congratulations on the new job – sounds as though it will be very interesting and doing something that will affect the whole system should be very meaningful.
    I was working 20 hours per week (after 2 years of retirement) and then they asked me to go to 30 hours. We have compromised on 25. Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be longer days so often it’s just 3 hours on one of the others – which suits me. Like you – having a morning off means that I can get the groceries and some housework done then. And getting home early at least one afternoon means that I can get the laundry done (our laundry room gets pretty busy after 5pm). So far its working and I am enjoying learning new software and working on the website.

    • Hi Margie, It is good to hear from you. I didn’t know you were working again! It sounds like you have established new routines and figured out what works. I am allowed to take vacation by the hour at any time, or adjust my work days, so I can go in an hour early and leave an hour early from time to time (good for medical appts, car appts, etc) or take a morning off as vacation if I must. Would like to hear more about the technology and the work you’re doing!

  8. Fiona

    Welcome back, Dar! I’ve really missed you – was just about to email to see if all was ok, but realised something in ‘life’ must have kept you very busy!

    Congratulations on the dream job – I’m really excited for you! What a great & impacting way to use your natural talents! Very exciting. I hope you can get the balance right but as we say at my work, “if anyone can, we can!” (or in this case…if anyone can, you can.) I’m sure you’ll find patterns that work and will have the discipline to stick to it.

    Happy to be reading an update! 😀

    • Thanks! I am adjusting day by day. It is not a strict workplace, but definitely not a telecommuting job either! My biggest obstacle to blogging is just being tired in the evenings (or, OK, distracted with books/phone/media) and busy with piled-up errands on the weekends, but I trust it will work out in time.

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