Getting back to work and other influencers

I'm the Zombie in blue. See I even have experience!
I’m the Zombie in blue. See I even have experience!

My throat stopped feeling like I’ve swallowed a sharp rock, my body is no longer alternating between icy chills and oven-like heat, and I am able to pick up and carry the toddler around the house without worrying that my arm is going to give out under his tiny weight. After days of being ill, I am finally back in the land of the living. Huzzah! It’s a good thing too. A few more days of that particular bug and the show-runners for the Walking Dead would have been calling me to act as an extra. In case any of them are reading this – even though I am healthy, I still would be an awesome zombie walker. Call me.

Unfortunately, work and life in general weren’t considerate enough to remain stagnant while I recuperated. Returning to the office, there is now a virtual mountain in my inbox and all my deadlines are now a week closer. To make matters worse, I am now past due on all my month end closing tasks. It’s almost enough to make me wish for another visit by the germ fairy, if only to give me an excuse to hide once again under the covers. Almost.

So now it is time to get back to work, so where do I begin? Well first I guess I will scan through all the hundreds of unread emails and prioritize based on an algorithm factoring in sender, number of other names on the cc list, and whether or not it can be answered with a quick yes or no answer. Excellent. Next I’ll shuffle through one pile of papers and see what I can immediately recycle. I’m making progress now! Now I’ll look at my other messages. Wait? What is this? I’ve been tagged in a Facebook game about books I’ve read? Stop everything. This needs to be addressed immediately.

While the list of my favorite books of all time is somewhat different, the following is the list of the ten books that most influenced me growing up:

  1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein – It taught me to never accept defeat without a fight. Opportunities will always exist for those who are able find new uses for things that others deem worthless.
  2. The Last Battle: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis –  This remains one of my favorite series finales. It taught me that all things have a way of being connected on some level and that everyone makes mistakes, even if they have the best intentions in mind.
  3. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury: This novel not only opened the door to the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but also taught me that as evil doesn’t care about your age, you don’t have to be at least 18 years old to stand up against it.
  4. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – which taught me there is always a reason to laugh, even if it is the end of the world.
  5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin – This one opened my eyes to the feminist movement, which later led me towards my current views on gender equality
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – What can I say, it’s a classic. This shaped my view on what a romance should be, witty insults and all. I loved that there were no characters without some individual flaw and yet together they were perfect
  7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas – A well thought out plan is awe-inspiring, but be warned that a plan that does not allow flexibility can break you
  8. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – It taught me to trust in myself and that even experts can be wrong sometimes.
  9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – even the most unlikely hero can still rise to the occasion.
  10. 1984 by George Orwell – The novel that showed me the power of words

Honorable Mention – The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan,  The Dragonriders of Pern (and spin-off novels) by Anne McCaffrey, and the Belgariad and Malloreon Series by David and Leigh Eddings. No single volume out of these epic series stands out far enough alone for my list, but considering how much of my free time was spent reading these books I would be remiss not including them as a major influence.

So now it is your turn. How hard is it for you to get back into a work routine after an extended absence? How do you prioritize?

Or – you can procrastinate like me and answer what books influenced you the most.


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