1. It's not necessary to keep every little thing. If you're going to take notes, save them on a computer. Paper files are good for some things, but that doesn't include four-year-old handwritten notes.
2. You can do much more than you ever imagined. Take in everything that has already been done, and then say, "What if we did this...." The results could be really special, especially if you work as a team.
3. Learn new things everyday. This can be from people, the internet, a book...It's so important to keep feeding your brain.
4. Be patient. Be tough to offend. Sometimes it's hard to remember this when our work seems to be the only deadline. More than likely, that's never going to be the case. Be patient, and everything will work out. When it doesn't, remember that this is just one day, and you can start again tomorrow. If you put in the effort, it will pay off eventually.
5. Remember that every person has a story and their own battles. Listen with both ears, and don't judge.
6. Give yourself quiet time if you need it. It's okay to shut the door if it's necessary to get something done. Everyone does it from time to time, and as long as you're approachable when the door is open, they'll understand.
7. Take breaks. Go for a walk. Eat lunch. If you work for eight straight hours, your work will suffer. Give your mind a break, even if it's just for a few minutes. Your work (and your boss) will thank you.
8. Figure out a system that works for you and go with it. Everyone has a different system for learning, working, organizing, studying, etc. There isn't a right or wrong way.
9. Get a life outside of the office. Spend time with family. Volunteer. Exercise. Enjoy sporting events. Remember what you are outside of work keeps you sane (when work is insane) and makes you balanced.
10. If you give more, you'll get more. Habitat was so much more than a job. It could be physically and mentally exhausting at times, but as I was sitting at lunch surrounded by my coworkers, I realized that my nontraditional job gave me (and Jonathan) such an incredible extended family. If I had been in a typical work environment, we wouldn't have these friendships or four years of funny, random and completely crazy stories that will keep us laughing for a lifetime.
These people (and our volunteers) are the reason why we will continue to volunteer with Habitat. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?