February 3, 2012

Here’s the headline: I found a way to survive my first month as a full-time, 21st century journalist. Despite overwhelming exhaustion and personal chaos, punting is helping me to make progress.

Actually, I have no interest in Sunday’s Super Bowl game or the half-time ritual of watching the (hopefully) funny commercials that cost millions of dollars to make.

But this year, I’m using the hype as a personal reminder. Every time I hear anything about this upcoming event, I think to myself, “punt.”

Even a sports idiot like me can understand the American football concept of punting: it’s all about kicking the ball before it hits the ground.

My life, my work — can I keep them airborne? Or will I thud to earth in a big, sad splat?

On Jan. 1, I started a full-time job as an online reporter for Newsday. Very soon, we’ll be launching a news website to rock the Hudson Valley, which covers a very interesting lower stretch of New York State. To get ready, January became a mad month of reorganization. From week-to-week, this is what happened at work:

  • Week 1 — Two-hour daily commutes to Newsday’s Long Island newsroom.
  • Week 2 — Started calling/meeting Hudson Valley folks. More commuting.
  • Week 3 — Chasing sources; back to the old game of prying open shut doors.
  • Week 4 — Driving everywhere, interviewing everyone.

In focusing on work, my household routine fell apart. Cooking dinner — what’s that? I barely had time to walk the dog. Haven’t picked up a paint brush since December. And forget about hanging out with friends.

Thankfully, things are starting to settle down a bit. I’m making progress because I’ve realized:

  • I can’t do everything. So I shouldn’t be hard on myself.
  • I MUST be flexible. My daily to-do list now changes at a moment’s notice.
  • Sleep is the greatest drug on earth.
  • A good laugh can instantly help me refocus.
  • I can’t control the players in my life. (This covers editors, work sources, my daughter, our three cats and the dog.)
  • When things get insane, it helps to take the dog for a stroll or go for a quick swim at the gym or do 10 minutes of yoga.

That’s how I’m managing things. How about you? If you’ve got tips, we need to hear them.And if you’d like to read some related posts:

P.S. — For a fun place to watch the game, I highly recommend the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in White Plains, N.Y. It’s located in an old bank. (Click here to read my review of this restaurant.) The other night, I was there for a meetup sponsored by Westchester Web Presence. Let the games begin!

What a pretty restaurant. I really enjoyed taking this shot on my new iPhone. So easy to use.