So I realized that I haven’t posted much this week and that is due in part to it being the end of the second quarter and I’m deep in the reflection zone–looking back at what I had hoped to get accomplished over the past three months and then what I had actually managed to get accomplished.
With today marking the last day of June, the second quarter, and the first half of 2021–I decided that I would reflect on my first actual attempt of a ’12-week year’. If you’ve never heard of a ’12-week year’, I highly recommend reading the book: ‘The 12 Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain P. Moran and Michael Lennington.
I actually read ‘The 12 Week Year’, last year prior to the world going into lock down due to the pandemic (click on the link and it will take you to my mini-review and reflection post from last year). Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried to plan a ’12-week year’ but have always fallen short of the goal. My problem: putting too many items on the calendar or plate, and not having a good breakdown of weekly or monthly goals.
Therefore, this year I decided to merge that idea with an suggestion from another book. The other book is ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine, and her suggestion was creating focal points to focus on for whatever set period of time you wanted.
I then created a ‘central’ focal point of crafting a ‘new career’ that would be focused on freelance/remote/contract/online/consulting/blogging work allowing me to have flexibility in creating my own schedule and would also be semi-location independent.
From there I created four other focal points that would help me start ‘crafting’ that career and they were/are:
Professional Development (with specific sub-items/topics):
- Continuous Learning
- Brand Development and Management
- Digital Marketing
- Graphic Design
Personal Development (with specific sub-items/topics):
- Continuous Learning
- Physical space (developing my own definition/style of minimalism)
- Financial health (savings, budgeting, investing, retirement, multiple streams of income)
Health (with specific sub-items/topics):
- Mental health (focusing on emotional and spiritual health)
- Physical health (getting into the best shape of my life)
Hobbies (with specific sub-items/topics):
- Jewelry design/creation
So while these focal points all seem a little ‘weird’ and you may be wondering how they work together–they’re the four points I’d decided on earlier when I was figuring out what I needed to focus on to work my way out of my ‘burnout’ hole/pit/slump. I realized that I couldn’t just focus on personal/professional development without also focusing on my health and hobbies. They all need to be listed as a reminder, not to hyper-focus in one direction (when I do that–everything else tends to suffer).
It is suggested within ‘Renaissance Soul’ that you only have four to five focal points, and then no more than four or five goals for each focal point. I’m still working on the ‘makers’ for the central focal point, but for the other four I drafted four to five goals for each that I had hoped to get accomplished during the second quarter.
Those goals included:
Within professional development:
- Finishing the CSA courses: Medical Writers Organization and Clinical Research Coalition
- Starting to learn python programming
- Continuing to read and share science news articles on LinkedIn and Twitter
- Continuing to add value and network on LinkedIn
- Starting (and hopefully finishing) another CSA advance course
Within personal development:
- Continue refreshing my Spanish with the Mondly app
- Read two non-fiction books a month
- Work through various personal finance courses
- Develop my vision of ‘minimalism’
- Start looking into second income stream ideas
- Finish the following programs: CIZE, 21-Day Fix Live, 21-Day Fix Extreme Live and then start third round of LIIFT4
- Daily meditation
- Oracle card drawings (weekly, but hopefully daily)
- Cook Monday & Tuesday dinners–new recipes hopefully monthly
- At least one walk a week at Boomer Lake with my camera (photography)
- Read two fiction books a month
- Design at least one bracelet/necklace set
- Doodle a cross-stitch design
So how did I do with each area?
Professional development goals:
- I completed the Clinical Research Coalition program, along with the Intellectual Property Pack program. These are two of the many advanced professional development programs offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association.
- I’m still working through the writing and editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program. I’m hoping to have those finished sometime during the third quarter of the year.
- There may have been a couple of days scattered throughout the quarter that I didn’t share articles on LinkedIn or Twitter–but I try to share at least one article a week (preferably an article a day). I’ve been doing better at this, since I created a separate tracking sheet for this goal.
- I’ve been slow in networking lately, as I’m trying to semi-narrow my broad ‘career’ area. Therefore I may only send a connection request once a week, and may also only accept an connection request every few days. I have been also trying to be better at commenting on other people’s posts as well.
- I haven’t started learning python, even though I’ve bought several e-courses on the subject. I even have a ‘new’ laptop set aside for this very task–I just need to download python (and possibly one or two other apps), and set aside at least 30 minutes a day to ‘learning’ the program and language.
I would say that I managed to accomplish three and a half out of the five goals–giving me a score of roughly seventy percent.
In terms of personal development:
- I haven’t been keeping up with refreshing my Spanish, even though I had been doing a decent job of it at the beginning of the year.
- I have been reading non-fiction books, and it probably averages out to one and a half to two books a month, and the books read were:
- ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking
- ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I learned to lead by doing (almost) everything wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed
- ’25 ways to work from home’ by Jen Ruiz
- ‘Write to Speak’ by Mike Acker
- ‘The Financial Diet’ by Chelsea Fagan
- I’m still slowly developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism. I know some of the area that I wan to minimize: clothing, DVDs/Cds, and knick-knacks. I also know that since I’m a learner at heart and a bookworm–I’m always going to have a large number of books around me. Since I’m also a crafter–I’m also going to have a good number of craft supplies around me as well. As long as I can balance things out-to where I won’t feel like I’m living in an overly cluttered hole, I’ll be happy. By limiting the items around em, and trying to keep things organized and ‘clean’–I’m also finding it helps alleviate my anxiety and depression as well.
- I haven’t worked through any of the personal finance courses that I’ve bought over the years yet.
- In terms of looking into the second income stream idea–I think I should have ‘rewritten’ it as looking into both first and second income ideas. I know that there are numerous ways of earning extra cash, and I had been doing a few of them: filling out surveys and selling used DVDs–I just haven’t done either of them lately (due in part to the pandemic).
I would say that I managed to hit about a fifty-five percent on personal development goals. Two were close to zero, but other three had at least some ‘footwork’ done on each of them.
For the health goals:
- I did finish my first round of CIZE, but only made it through a week of 21-Day fix live before deciding to concentrate more on intentional movements before starting up my third round of LIIFT4. While I’ve done 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix extreme before, this would have been the first time doing the ‘live’ versions. While I like the program–the reason why I called it ‘quits’ before finishing is that I’m trying to improve my relationship with food, and quit the whole diet/counting calories/macros/restricting food mindset. That type of nutritional advice is given a lot through both programs. So until I’m on a better footing with my relationship to food, I’m going to avoid workout programs that also focus heavily on the diet mindset.
- I have managed to do evening meditations for the most part. I may only be focus on my breathing for a minute or two–but those two minutes are essential for being able to have a good night sleep.
- I’ve been doing evening oracle card drawings, even if I haven’t been sharing them on social media or even writing about them in the journal. That is something I’m aiming at changing–both starting to share more (maybe an 100-day challenge), and journaling about them (possibly weekly blog posts?).
- In terms of cooking dinner twice a week–I’ve been doing this, though there may be a night or two where it was decided we’d have leftovers, or grill (which I don’t do), or whatever. But for the most part, I have found several new recipes that are now in the rotation for Monday and Tuesday night suppers. I’m also going to be looking for more ‘summer’ dinner recipes as well–different salads, and so forth.
I would say that I met seventy-five to eighty percent of my health goals for the second quarter. Each one was met at least partially(since there were a few days that I may have missed my meditation time or oracle card drawings).
In terms of my hobbies:
- I think I only made it maybe once or twice a month up to Boomer Lake with my camera. The weather was partially to blame–it has either been rainy and/or overcast, or the temperatures and heat index have been a little too high for my liking for walks. I also haven’t been getting up as early in the mornings as I use to in order to be able to get to the lake to watch the sun rise.
- I have managed to read quite a few fiction books over the past three months and they include the following:
- My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
- Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
- My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
- Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
- Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
- Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #33) by Becca Van
- My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
- As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
- While I have several ideas for necklace/bracelet sets, I haven’t actually gotten around to creating any of them.
- I have semi-doodle or drawn a cross-stitch pattern. I’m also thinking that my first ‘real practice’ piece is going to be seeing how many geometrical shapes I can fit on it, and if I can use every single color of thread at least once.
I would say that I managed to to meet about half my goals in terms of hobbies, the only one that I totally didn’t get close to was the jewelry design/creation. I managed to get at least a monthly walk in at Boomer, slowly attempting to teach myself cross-stitch, and reading (at least fiction) has never been a problem.
So I ranged from about fifty to seventy-five/eighty percent on my goals for the second quarter, and if I added them all u–over all I probably averaged about sixty percent.
Not great, but not bad for my first ‘official’ trial at a 12-week year. I know the areas that I need to focus more on (mainly the computer intensive goals). These will simply require setting aside actual time in the day dedicated to those specific tasks. I won’t try to do each one daily, but will aim for at least two-to-three times a week for each and slowly work up to daily work on each of them.
I knew that my first trial wasn’t going to be perfect–but that wasn’t my goal: my goal was progress, seeing if I could stretch my comfort zone a little more each month and branch out in different areas.
I managed to do that in terms of professional development, learning some of the basics of both clinical research and intellectual property. I think it would be interesting doing data analysis for clinical research (but I wouldn’t want to be the person overseeing numerous clinical sites), and I will be looking in to different aspects of intellectual property (mainly copyrights and trademarks), as I don’t see myself trying to climb the ladder on the patent side of things.
While reading has never been a problem–it is more of ensuring that I’m in the ‘proper’ mindset for reading non-fiction, as it tends not be quite the ‘story’ that fiction books are, and I at times lose interest fast.
I’m developing my own sense of health/fitness and will be deciding soon if keeping my Beachbody on demand subscription is worth it or not. I’ve decided that it is time to honor my body and what it is actually capable of doing–that means substituting in exercises for the different lunges, working on trying to do a normal pushup (and forgetting about tricep pushups), and just shaking my head and sitting out the tricep dips.
Moving into the third quarter of the year, the goals for the four focal points will be semi-similar to the goals set for the second quarter.
Third quarter goals will include:
- Finish up the following CSA programs: Medical Writers Organization and then either Government Careers Union or Regulatory Affairs Council
- Finish the following short courses on Udemy:
- 15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them
- How to become a freelance editor
- Kickstart a freelance editor and proofreader career on Upwork
- How to be a journalist
- Start learning python coding by working through the following courses:
- Data Science for beignners: Hand on Python (on Udemy)
- Complete Python course (on StackSkills)
- Continue reading and sharing science news on LinkedIn and Twitter
- Continue adding value and networking on Linkedin
Bonus Professional Development activities:
- Write and publish: ‘Trouble-shooting tips for Molecular Cloning’
- Write and publish: ‘Polymerases: why the native ‘reverse transcriptase’ isn’t a problem for the SARS-CoV2 mRNA vaccine’ (Title may change)
- Work through the copywriting e-course: Write Your Way to Freedom
Personal Development Goals:
- Set aside 30-45 minutes (two to three days a week) for refreshing Spanish
- Read one to two non-fiction books a month
- Work through the following e-courses:
- The complete personal finance course (on Udemy)
- Reinvent your career (on Udemy)
- How to work for yourself (on Udemy)
- Freelance writing 101: build a successful writing career (on SkillShare)
- Content marketing: blogging for growth (on SkillShare)
- Writing and blogging with passion: create a flexible editorial plan and calendar (on SkillShare)
- Continue developing my vision of ‘minimalism’
- Start trying to ‘draft’ first/second and possibly third stream of income ideas (more tied to professional)
- Finish LIIFT4 (basically around the 23rd) and then start Morning Meltdown 100 (will go from 7/26/21 to 11/2/21)
- Daily meditation and oracle card reading/drawings
- Work through the following courses:
- Mindfulness for Anxiety (on Udemy)
- Learn Tarot in a Day (on Udemy)
- Explicit Tarot: Learn Tarot Card Reading through Story Telling (on Udemy)
- Start a daily gratitude entry in the journal
- New recipes at least once a week/month
- At least one walk a month at Boomer Lake, and maybe start trying food photography as well
- Work through the following courses:
- Food Photography (on StackSkills)
- How to create an engaging food post (on SkillShare)
- How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners (on SkillShare)
- Read at least two to three fiction books a month
- Continue to doodle/draw/sketch cross-stitch patterns and create the geometric/multi-colored ‘trial’ piece
- Design/create necklace and/or bracelets–individually or as sets.
You might have noticed that I have quite a few e-courses down for the third quarter compared to second. We’re entering the ‘dog days of summer’–where it will either be too hot, too humid, or both in terms of being outdoors for extended periods of time. Therefore, I’m planning those days now–instead of wondering what to do when I reach them.
I still need to break these goals down into monthly and then weekly goals (in addition to other goals I’ll have for each week). My main goal for the third quarter is to meet at least seventy-five to eighty percent of each set of goals, with an overall percentage foal of eighty percent (meaning by the end of September I’ve accomplished at least four out of the five goals).
Have you done a 12-week year before? If you have–how long have you been doing them? And what is your running average of goal completion?
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