I Feel Free.

The most important thing I can say right now is that I appreciate my data entry work SO much.

I wouldn’t say “yes” otherwise. We have a long standing work relationship and I’m always grateful for the chance to make money at home while listening to Pandora, and totally eating Bon Bons, if I can figure out what Bon Bons actually are.

The second most important thing I can say right now is that my four week, 100 hour data entry job ended last night!

It’s like this! I’m doing this in my yard (in the snow) while you’re reading this!

It was a little weird, wasn’t it? I mean I was here, but I was there, and I kinda wasn’t here, and I was totally there, and I really missed being the commentative (is that a word?) and enthused blog reader/blogger that I usually am. You know what else I missed? Photography! Luckily the weather was so lousy that I didn’t start getting spring photo shoot calls and emails until the last week or so. And so I was able to say to all of them, “Yes” again! I am getting back into the swing of things.

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Data entry is a little weird on the brain. I had to set aside time to do it daily, but it really ramped up at the end when I realized I had skipped days here and there for house guests or photo shoots or viruses. I went from doing it for 3-4 hours a day, to 5-6 hours a day. That may not seem long, but I have two very active children and many other things I like to do! I’d be doing data entry, and bombs would be exploding around me. Time would be passing and there would be arguments and clients who needed photos and illnesses and stressors, and still – I’d be inputting data. Sometimes with a pounding heart, no less, but I just couldn’t stop. Tears would be streaming down my face. My fingers would ache. My back would be bent at unnatural angles and my head would throb. Pounding heart, headache, tears = still doing data entry. I couldn’t stop. I was on a tight schedule every day. I would go and take breaks and have fun and work on myself and write emails and comment on some blogs, no matter how slowly, but data entry was always there and looming. I guess that’s how jobs usually go anyway.

I certainly get that way with photo editing, but there’s a HUGE difference in the two processes. I’m sure we can agree!

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Data entry is a funny bird because it’s something relatively easy – inputting data into a spreadsheet – and most people can do just that. Yet emotionally and mentally? 100 hours of it? Only the strong survive! Or maybe the half strong? A quarter strong?

Data entry is always its own strange and wonderful story. It will open doors for me, I hope. I will do it again. For now, though, I rest! And I get back into feeling weightless and enjoying life. Through house guests and parties and incredible encounters. Through play dates and date dates and other such incredible encounters that end with “date.” Ice cream date? Cookie date? I’m ready to put myself into my life 100% again. I’m ready to be back. I’m ready to feel the way my kids so clearly do:

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

So… wanna hang out?

And what about you? Do you think you have what it takes to do 100 hours of data entry?

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts.


I Feel Free. — 113 Comments

  1. I have done 100 hours of data entry, but not in one project. I put on my headphones, listen to a book, podcast or music and often mix it up to get the blood going. So glad to have you back.

    • Today I saw a bit of green grass, believe it or not! And by “green grass,” I mean “really dead yellow and brown grass but it’s still grass.”

  2. Good for you! I missed you, although we talked some I could sense that you were busy elsewhere. I love your photos, each one is so special. I love the one of the dog above, how he is so focused, he looks so soft. Of course I love how you capture your children, they exude happiness and I can feel it. Congrats on finishing you data entry! I do that on a much smaller scale. Only 2-3 days a week, but at the most 3 hours at a time. I am so impressed with you tenacity!

    • Yes my emails were cut short! I’m usually much more rambly. It’s so nice to be back. The dog is great and wasn’t supposed to be in the photo shoot necessarily but found her way in!
      Your data entry sounds manageable!

    • Thank you! It was certainly challenging. My biggest project to date was 50-60 hours and I did THAT while with a newborn, a sick kid, a sinus infection, an allergy to sinus infection meds, a house guest, and this blog.
      Do you think I even missed a post??

  3. That dog is so darn beautiful. And look at how sassy Scarlet is in those pics. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day humans came with a connector so we could simply data-enter-upload all high school information to our brains. Ya know, so we could skip school. If this happens by the time my youngest are teenagers, they’ll be free to get jobs and finally start paying me rent. Ya know, so I can use that money to buy extra desserts ‘n stuff.

  4. I’m only on about hour 20 of my project. It’s ongoing with no real deadline, so it doesn’t stress me out too much. The last two weeks, however, I didn’t get to it at all and I felt incredibly guilty and bad about it. Luckily the guy I’m working for is very understanding. I was excited to get back to it this weekend though. Especially for the paychecks!

  5. I don’t know if I could focus long enough for 100 hours. I have a little anxiety just thinking about it. Glad you are done – and hopefully just in time for some great weather. I’m very much looking forward to some better weather.

  6. I used to have to chart hundreds upon hundreds of residents with specific details etc in residential and in patient psych. It’s mind numbing at time… I lost I would lose my mind actually, at times. I couldn’t do it for 100 hours – I’m sure I did more than that over the 20 years I was a therapist. But thankfully, most of the time I had some cases and groups and meetings of course in between.

    A few end of the month cram sessions were miserable!! I would always get behind in the charting. Hate busy work. I’ve never been one to sit still- let alone do the same thing over and over again.

    I’m SO glad you are FREE!!!!!!! YOU did it!!!

    • I’m really bad at sitting still and doing the same thing over!
      I’m also bad at having a boss breathe down my neck. So when at least the boss part of it is out of the equation, I do quite well.. but still.. this was hard!

  7. I am a terrible typist, seriously. I wish I had those skills, but…. I would be dead after 1 hour. I can’t imagine what I would be after 1,000 + hours! I did just pull together an event as a PR person for a school opening up that was run on all the local news channels all weekend. I did the happy dance in the grass, vs the snow πŸ™‚ Glad you are done now, hopefully you can go buy a new sundress or two!

    • ah, this would be hard! The hunt and peck way of typing can’t work. I had my fingers on the home keys and I wouldn’t even look at my hands. It was fast-paced!
      Congrats on your PR event!!!

  8. I used to do data entry full time, it IS a mind ****. Yours would’ve been 20x worse though with having kids and clients and the sickies and just LIFE surrounding you. Data entry needs to be done in silence, maybe with some music or a comedy skit on. Or chatting and laughing with other adults enduring the same torture. I’m glad you are done with your data entry job and get to get back to enjoying life!!

    • I did it full time too! I was temping at ADP. Apparently I had a 87% success rate which was nice. I was promoted to compliance, but eventually I broke free of all of it. As you know.
      I think my co-workers made it bearable, as you say! Once used to fart and burp aloud. She was this really gentle and quiet lady but she totally did that.
      I had to run out of the room from laughter once..

  9. Hurray! Congratulations and well done! Wow, what a huge task. I’m slightly intrigued, though I’d probably go a little crazy like you did (tears, other things calling to you)! I do love to type and kind of enjoy those sorts of easy-but-time-consuming tasks.

  10. I’m So Glad you made it to the other side of Mount Data Entry! Isn’t the view much better now? I would have the time for all that data entry. I can only work part time at my job and right now I’m not working for the time being. One hundred hours is a lot of time to devote to that project! Enjoy every bite of your cookie, and bon bon, and popcorn, and ice cream rewards!

    • It was totally a mountain, Eddie! A vicious one with a purely uphill climb.
      The view is gorgeous from up here.
      I can’t wait to enjoy my celebratory foods! It hasn’t happened..yet.

  11. Congratulations!!!! 100 hours of data entry is only for the strong. I’m glad you made it through. Hopefully, there are lots of cute dresses in you future πŸ™‚

    • I hope so! I haven’t seen any yet that I absolutely have to have. I hope that changes when warmth actually comes. I suppose it’s still transitional for fashion.

  12. I’m a geek and think I would enjoy data entry but not 100 hours – maybe a few!!!
    So glad you finished and can do more of the things you enjoy for awhile!!!

    • A few is manageable, but 100 hours… wow.. that changes things around here!
      Now it’s time to relax.. for a day or two. You know me – I’ll be back on the wagon so fast!

    • That’s a great idea because then you can make money while listening to books! I’m not very good with audio books. I’m so visual that even as a kid, I couldn’t be read to easily. I had to do it myself.

      Lean is a hard photography capture!

  13. Welcome back to the land of the living! I don’t think I could do 100 hours of data entry. Maybe if I had a few audio books as another commenter suggested. I am so happy to hear you saw some “green” grass!

    • It does, thank you!! It makes the whole world seem different. And now I feel like I have a lot more time on my hands! I always thought I didn’t, but it turns out, I really did!

  14. Hurraahhhh!! So sooo happy for you. I know it feels so good to be free from a super tight schedule. I haven’t done data entry like what you’re doing but I’m very used to heavy administrative tasks. Maybe I can do it. I just don’t know. Bottomline is you did it! Enjoy your many dates to come! πŸ™‚

    • I actually did it as a temp when I was 23 or so. It wasn’t bad then because I was in a room full of people doing the same thing. And I was young.. I still thought I’d grow up to be rich and famous!

  15. It’s workplanning time where I am – and I not only get to do the planning, but also do the lion’s share of data entry (if I leave it to the team my stats come out wrong). This year, instead of doing it all together, I’ve started with just the first quarter. Hopefully that will make it feel less stressful…

    I’m in for a cookie date. Will jump in the TARDIS and join you. πŸ˜‰

    • Fingers crossed!! All important things. I get so tripped up about going to doctors. It’s bad. I’m wearing the Alex and Ani bracelet you gave me today in solidarity!

    • I nearly did! I had to take a lot of breaks and listen to a LOT of Bruce Hornsby and eat those mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s. They should come in bigger sizes..

  16. I think I could do it – but I’d probably be crying by hour ten or so. So glad you’re back from the land of data entry! I’ve always wondered exactly what bon bons are too. Have a wonderful week!

  17. Congrats on finishing the job! Since I work at our church and it’s Lent with Palm Sunday and Easter coming fast, I feel kind of like you have felt – I don’t have time for much of anything. I haven’t been reading many blogs or taking time to comment. l’ve only been able to do the “have to’s” and I miss my life!!!!!

    • It will come back to you! And the fact that you still made it here means a lot.
      I think I will be participating in Tuesday Ten (on Wednesday, though) but I am struggling to think of good holidays.
      I’ll mull!

  18. Woo Hoo!!! Pop a cork on that one, for sure! I’m pretty much a “just do what you have to do” person. So I think I could do it. And I’d organize it and be disciplined. But I think it would be very hard, because mundane is hard for me. I get distracted.. I do better with a challenge.

  19. Cookie date, please?
    I’m in awe of you, woman! You’re still here and there… heck you’re everywhere waaaay more than I would be if I was as busy as you. I always feel awful for being behind with comments and visits, I need this Tamara spunk, where do I purchase some?

    • Honestly this kept me sane and grounded! I’ve decided that the blogging world is my constant. I think I’ll write a post on that, in fact!

      I should definitely bottle this energy as a good essential oil to diffuse, right?

  20. Enjoy your freedom! Though I think I would love the 100 hours of data entry if it meant I could be at home and at my own time rather than having to commute πŸ™‚ And now the weather is getting a little nicer, so you get your freedom in time to take some more incredible pictures!

    • It’s so true! That’s why the first thing I had to express was gratitude for the opportunity. I do NOT do well in traffic.
      And this weather? Sigh. Still not good! Getting good, I hope.

    • Hmm… that’s funny because I usually admire YOUR bokeh! I don’t feel like I have lenses great for it! I generally shoot with my 50mm because I love it and I shoot between 2.2 – 2.8. I have been borrowing a 100mm which is fun! I’ve heard the 85mm 1.2 is incredible for bokeh! What do you usually use?

  21. I totally know that feeling!! I get that same feeling whenever I have a really big project – data entry or not – and it consumes me for a while. That coming back to life feeling is one of my absolute favs πŸ™‚

  22. I don’t know how you did it, Tamara! Just reading about it stressed me out. What a relief it must be to have it behind you! I feel like that every time I finish one of my freelance writing projects now. While I appreciate the money, I’m also thankful to have a a bit of a break from that.

    • Honestly it was so stressful and I’m only realizing how much so now. I’m more unclenched, I suppose!
      I totally get that way with money too. I get so weird about writing projects that I feel lucky to have photography because I’m not sure I could just write for a living! Scary!

  23. 100 hours is INSANE!! Glad you survived and are done! Now back to super fun Tamara and the magical cookies you are always blogging about!

  24. Yay!!!! Love that song…and I was actually listening to it in my car last Friday (but this is not the time or the place for that story). Many congratulations on that project. I did data entry between college graduation and when I started my real career; so I can understand how happy you must feel. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that you were inputting it all into a spreadsheet. That just sounds painful. Congrats again!

    • Well hopefully I will hear that story!!
      The spreadsheet part was hard. I can’t really handle spreadsheets. Or word docs.. or powerpoint… or anything like that..

  25. Ugh and yes to data entry. Brainless mostly and money and yay for you being done with it. Also, I need to see a photo before editing and after, please. And that you photograph Tucker, PLEASE.

    • I can email you before and after photos! Mainly with my personal photos, there is no editing because who has time for that? For clients, I will do it.

  26. Were you doing data entry through one of those at home gigs online? If you don’t mind me asking/being super nosy…I used to work in quality assurance at the hospital (I destroyed my back while working in the ER and they created a job for me so that I wouldn’t sue them) and I had to do all the chart audits for the entire hospital. I wanted to put my face through a computer screen daily but if this is something I could do at my own pace and at home – might be something I could do…I am feeling a whole lotta useless lately and can’t do a “real job job” – plus I’m getting lots oh procedures done on the spine again in the next few months – and whoa this comment box turned into an all about Kim….my bad!!!!

    • I don’t mind you asking and it’s not super nosy! This data entry is actually from a person I know in real life. I’ve been working for him for six years whenever he has projects like this. I know a lot of those home gigs are scams or don’t pay or whatnot, but this is legit. This is “I know his wife and kids and where he lives” legit. However, I do recommend finding something like this because it’s awesome, and time consuming, but mostly awesome.

      This is YOUR comment box, so as far as I’m concerned, it can be 100% about you!

  27. I could do it. I once had to deliver classified newspapers to gas stations all over Cabarrus county and it was awful. It was just before gas prices surged and even before, I could barely recoup losses from gas to make it worthwhile.

    I wonder if there’d be cookies if we hung out.

  28. 100 hours of data entry is a lot. I think that I could do it, mainly because I get into finishing tasks like that. Yay for being done. I can imagine what a relief that is!

  29. Yay! Congrats on finishing! My hands hurt just thinking about it! I am on the computer all day and most evenings. I could not do it with my current job and blog.

    • Definitely could barely do it with my kids and my blog. Had it been a busy photography season, something would’ve had to give! Luckily it fell upon the most dead time for photography! Frigid mud season!

  30. I don’t know if I could do data entry for 100 hours. Too repetitive. But, hey, it’s always good to make some extra money! I do love spreadsheets, though. I’d probaby be better at analyzing all that data you just inputted (is that a word?). Congrats on completing the job!

  31. I’ve had two data entry jobs in my life. One was inputting the details of inmate’s criminal history into a database. and let me tell you, that was often not pretty. nor fun. The other was pure numbers and pay and finance. boring. but — you know, it didn’t give me nightmares. My life is so weird.

  32. Honestly I would trade working full time in a frustrating job for 100 hours of data entry any day! Though as my husband always says, work is work that’s why they call it work and not fun! I’m glad you are feeling free, I feel like that every day at 5:00pm and it’s a glorious feeling! I was feeling really great with the weather changing, until yesterday when it was snowing as if it was the middle of Winter. I drove three hours from Long Island to CT in black ice, and passed five accidents (mostly spin-outs). Getting home from that felt amazing! Though I’ll admit warm weather and spring flowers would feel a million times better. Soon!

    • What a scary drive, and so late in the season! Or really early in the spring.
      I guess a frustrating job is always harder! This was frustrating for me. Not easy money! Although the working at home was sweet.

  33. LOL Every picture on this post is sooooo “free!” Each photo perfectly depicts how free I feel once I leave work on a Friday. lol. And agreed- data entry is only for the most mentally resilient! It can eat your brain away if you don’t watch out!!! GREAT JOB!!!!!

    • I think my brain is half gone!
      I think you probably know that song about working for the weekend. It makes me sad because even with my weird schedule and the fact that I generally work more on weekends than weekdays, I still live my life waiting for the weekend. Uncool.

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