Category: Reflections

Heading into week 3 of self-quarantining during the SARS-CoV2 pandemic

So we’re now entering week three of the self-quarantine period, and this self-quarantining may last until the end of April, the end of May or it could even go longer. That is the problem with a novel pathogen—we don’t know that much about it. Everyone is hoping that when warmer weather comes it will get rid of the virus. Only problem with that scenario—the southern hemisphere (which is in their summer months) has also been hit by the virus (with some countries having over 4K cases).

Therefore, it is extremely important that we all more or less stay in the house for the foreseeable future. I’ve realized that my only problem during this time period is actually getting things done—I have plenty of things to do, and I will probably cycle through things so that I don’t get overly bored with any particular item/project.

So what did I manage to get accomplished last week while staying at home?

~ Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

            This task has been started; I had ordered a small bookcase and shelving unit—only to realize that I needed an additional shelving unit. That will be coming in hopefully mid-month (as it isn’t considered an essential item). While I’m waiting for that to show (to house the last few books/workout DVDs), I’m still going to try to rearrange things to have a dedicated meditation spot.

            So it is safe to say that his particular task is going to be an ongoing task for the next few weeks.

Filing my taxes—yes, there has been an extension, but if you’re going to get money back—why wait longer than you already have?

            I mailed these off on Tuesday last week. Hopefully within six-to-eight weeks I should have both tax returns in my checking account.

~ Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

            This task has been started. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how many pictures I have on my computer (I think the amount of space/memory for them is somewhere in the ballpark of 95Gb—so I think that some of the pictures will be getting deleted).

Continue working on my afghan

            Once I plan/write out the last portion of the afghan so that I can keep track of the rows, I will be finishing it up over the next couple of weeks.

~ Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

            I’m continuing with Morning Meltdown 100—and trying not to take that many days off (so far it’s been three days off—the 20th, 21st, and 27th). Hopefully should be finishing this program early June.

~ Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

~ Reading

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

~ Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

Ask two or three people what they think my top five skills are

            So I’ve asked several people what they thought my top skills are, and while is helping me fill in a few blanks in terms of what I possibly want to do with my life—there are also other questions I should put out there and ask people what they think.

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

            Again, this is something that I’m finding a little difficult to do—mainly because the weather is getting nice, and I would rather be sitting outside than being inside on the computer.

            This is something that I’m going to need to work on still over the next couple of weeks.

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

            This is something that I’m still working on. I’m trying to figure out what type of things I wouldn’t mind doing on a daily basis (more or less), plus looking to see if there are any types of videos of the numerous different industry jobs.

So that was a recap of what I managed to get accomplished last week. This week I’m going to focus on more or less the same areas (cleaning/decluttering, personal/professional development, health/fitness, and craft time). With that being said, I’m going to be doing the following:

Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

Continue working on my afghan

Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

Reading

Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

Post a question on either Facebook or Linkedin asking people what is the one word they would use to describe me and why—to help me figure out what my personal/professional brand is.

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

I will then end with a few reminders: It’s okay not to be super productive during this time; Progress over Perfection; and also in our rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal we really want to rush back to.

No Comments fitnessHealthodds and endsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Review of Pisces new moon goals

So the moon is going to be moving into the Aries constellation over the next day or so, and transitioning through a new moon phase—and it will be the start of a new astrological year. So before I get into trying to set goals for the Aries new moon, I should look back on the goals that I set for the Pisces new moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals for the Pisces new moon?

            Get back into a meditation routine—preferably at night, but may try morning as well.

            Start doodling again, and possibly turn one of the doodles into a cross-stitch pattern (and teach myself how to cross-stitch).

            Daily workout (Beachbody or possibly see if I can find a free online belly dancing workout)

In terms of meditation—I’m still trying to figure out the best routine at night. I’ve bought a meditation pillow (though it is smaller than it looked in the pictures), and am trying to figure out the best time that works for me. Currently I usually try to meditate at night before going to bed. Since I’ve been having problems with the time—I’m going to try to set aside fifteen minutes (probably before brushing my teeth) for meditation at night.

In terms of doodling—this didn’t happen. I’ve been a little too irritated with the world (mainly because of the mishandling of the pandemic response) to try to draw (or even color).

In terms of working out—this I have managed to do. I started doing Morning Meltdown 100 on beachbodyondemand. I have only taken two days off (brother & his dog were in town, and needed to help keep the peace). But I’m liking the program—and currently I’m more focused on toning and losing inches than I am on losing weight—that would be great, but I’m not going to go out of my mind trying to micromanage what I’m eating.

I know that nutrition plays a large part in losing weight—but with the current atmosphere (global pandemic) I’m more concerned with trying to keep my anxiety and stress under control than I am about having my nutrition totally under control.

And I am remembering: Progress not Perfection

No Comments AstrologyfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsReflections

Daily Dose of inspiration during this time

With the need to self-quarantine to help #flattenthecurve to help deal with the #novelcoronavirus pandemic, I thought that I would start sharing daily quotes from pop-open cards’ shine edition.

Today’s quote:

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within”—Maya Angelou

This quote resonates with me today, as I’m also trying to figure out what the next step is in my career, and what I want to be doing with the rest of my life.

I know that these times are crazy, troublesome, worrisome, and all other thoughts and feelings. But lets stay in (unless it is absolutely necessary to go out—i.e. getting groceries, medications, or possibly a short stroll through the neighborhood with the dog—but remember to keep at least six feet between you and everyone else), that way we (hopefully) won’t be overwhelming the medical community as they deal with daily influxes of people with severe coronavirus symptoms.

Also lets give science some breathing room—yes, we need a vaccine and treatments for the virus, but I would prefer both coming within the normal window for the areas—which means at least a year from now. Anything sooner, and it may help or it may be adding even more problems into the mix.

No Comments motivational tipsPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentReflections

Is there a reboot button or a return button for 2020?

So entering week 2 of the self-quarantine period due to the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus. Though truthfully, I’ve only been out of the house probably a total of a dozen times or so since early December (and only seven of those times were purposefully around other people)—the other six (or more) have been walks at Boomer, and I’ve only nodded, smiled, or said hello to people.

I’ve realized that while I don’t mind staying around the house (and I didn’t realize how close to being totally burnt out at work I was until I started my reboot break), I truthfully don’t like being told I have too—but I’m going to, because I would like the pandemic to be brought under control.

So what are some of the things that I’m going to be doing during this up coming week?

Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

Filing my taxes—yes there has been an extension, but if you’re going to get money back—why wait longer than you already have?

Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

Continue working on my afghan

Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

Reading

Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

Ask two or three people what they think my top five skills are

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

Also remember that while it is a pain to be “stuck” in the house now–if we all do our part, the time required will go quickly. If people continue to ignore the request–the time will continue to drag on.

No Comments fitnessPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Leo Full Moon Goals: A Review

So in a day or two there will be another full moon—this time it will be going through the Virgo constellation. This means that I need to reflect back on the goals that I set for the last full moon and had aimed to work on during the month of February. In addition acknowledging my current mindset and coming up with ideas on how to switch it to being a more productive mindset.

So what were my goals for the Leo Full Moon?

  1. Getting back into a workout routine
  2. Working on my transition plan for moving into industry from academia
  3. Spend time working on crafts (knitting, photography, and doodling)
  4. Meditate, tarot/oracle readings—getting back on track with my spirituality.

So how did I do with each one goal?

In terms of getting back into a workout routine—I’m happy to say that today I finished day fourteen of Morning Meltdown 100—which is a hundred day workout program that launched on Beachbody-on-demand late last year.

I think that this is going to be the program that helps get me out of my depression/funk that I’ve been in for quite a while. I truthfully didn’t think I was that depressed last year, but looking at the stats on the total number of workouts I’ve done over the past not quite two years—yeah, I barely worked out (at least using Beachbody-on-demand).

My goal is to continue with Morning Meltdown 100, and the program will see me through until the beginning of June.

In terms of working on my transition plan for moving into industry from academia—it is slow going. I actually joined an accountability group to help an extra little push, and while it is uncomfortable at times trying to push out of my fear zone and into my learning zone—I’m slowly getting there. While I’m going to be going at my pace, I know have ideas on how to connect to others, adding value, inquiring on informational interviews, and so forth.

In terms of working on crafts—I managed only a couple of walks up at Boomer for doing some nature photography, and I’ve done a little backyard birding as well. I’m actually going to schedule in more time for crafts over the next couple of weeks.

This was something that I really didn’t do that well on—I really haven’t meditated nightly, and I’ve only done one or two oracle/tarot card readings over the past month. Again, this is something that I’m going to schedule more time for over the next few weeks.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few weeks is that I’ve fallen back into the mindset of focusing on just one thing and ignoring everything else. That one thing I’d been focusing on is building my job search spreadsheet—so I’ve been spending literally days looking at companies on linkedin, glassdoor, their own websites to determine which companies I wanted to add to the list. I would take breaks for eating, an occasional walk at Boomer Lake, or just go sit outside in the backyard and watch the birds.

This isn’t a beneficial mindset to be moving forward with—but it is the automatic response of how I handled school from public up through getting my graduate degree and to an extent how I handled all the jobs since graduating (to an extent). But I’ve decided that mindset needs an overhaul—so I’m going to actually try to plan out my days somewhat. They’re going to be fluid in terms of the fact I’m not always certain when I’m going to do a walk at Boomer Lake or when I’m going to take my pup for his walk through the neighborhoods.

So while I seemed to be only about fifty-fifty on hitting the goals—I made a lot more forward movement on mental health side—so for fourteen straight days of exercising, and admitting that the current mindset needs to change and will start implementing those changes over the next few days/weeks.

I’ve also been reminding myself of this quote on a basically daily basis: “Progress over Perfection”

No Comments fitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Minimal Money Spending Challenge

So I noticed that over the past two months, I had been spending quite a bit of money on certain things—namely more e-books—I am an avid reader, and have the tendency to buy books before I finish reading ones that I already own. For example—after my first staff position was terminated I decided I was going to focus on personal and professional development and started buying numerous books. I think by the time I managed to get my second staff position the number of books bought were up to about seventy books. Fast-forward a little over two years and that list has ballooned to almost three hundred and fifty books, I’ve read about forty-five of them and consider another ten to be “reference” on a topic—that means I have probably another 280 books on the list to read. I also have bought numerous other books as well—so yeah, I shouldn’t be getting anymore books for a while (at least in terms of personal/professional development).

I also had been buying extra lives on a silly match-three game during the past couple of months. So the two combined to more money spent than I really meant to spend.

Therefore I’m declaring March to a minimum-spending month. What do I mean by that? Well, other than books that have already been pre-ordered (and there are only about six or seven of them), taking my dog to the vet, a possible physical order from amazon, and possibly meeting up with a friend for lunch—I’m not going to be spending any money.

I’m going to turn my focus to the things that I already own—the large number of books (both fiction and non-fiction), which I should be reading. I’m going to attempt to have a book review or two done monthly (though with some of the non-fiction books, it could wind up being some type of monthly challenge). I’m also going to focus on working through the various electronic e-courses that I’ve bought (hopefully remembering to take good enough notes for possible blog posts).

I also will just take a deep breath and not worry how long it takes me to get through various levels on the match-3 game in the morning or at night.

The goal is to only have spent money possibly a dozen times this month (not counting bills being paid); if it works well it will continue through the rest of the year (with various changes to what I’m possibly spending money on).

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Not quite the “learning zone”, not quite the “comfort zone” and a book review to top it off

So I’ve been doing quite a bit of self-assessment over the past couple of weeks. This has basically been looking back over all the notes that I’ve taken over the past year or so—and I can say that my NSV (non-scale victory) is admitting that I’ve been stuck in the “fear zone” for basically the past five years or so (maybe less depending on the aspect of life).

So where does this “fear zone” come from? I decided to look into “ideas” on how to get from the “comfort zone” into the “learning zone” and saw an image that showed there is actually an addition zone between those two—and that additional zone is the “fear zone”.

So the Comfort Zone is basically where everyone feels safe, content, and in control of their situations. Everyone says that you need to get out of your comfort zone in order to learn and live your best life—which is great, but what no one ever mentions is that between the comfort zone and the learning zone is the fear zone.

I recently realized that I’ve been stuck in this “fear zone” for quite a while. The “fear zone” is where you’re worried about what others will think of what you’re doing, you have a feeling low self confidence (since you’re stepping out of your comfort zone), and you’re more than willing to find excuses to get out of things.  So looking back at things—I have to be totally honest in that I’ve been in the middle of the fear zone in several different areas of my life:

            Health and fitness—I had managed to lose quite a bit of weight in 2013 (and early 2014), only to have life throw numerous different curveballs at me. Instead of hitting (or punting) or catching the balls—I used everything that came at me as an “excuse” or roadblock that I just sat and stared at for years. Now, that I’ve acknowledged that I’ve allowed myself to be stuck in the fear zone—I’m going to move into the learning zone. It will be slow, and I may slide back every so often—but I need to keep moving forward. It has taken me basically five years to pack on the pounds—it will take me months, if not a couple of years to get rid of the weight (and to keep it off) the healthy way.

            Career—I’ve given my time in academia (it has been almost ten years since I graduated with my PhD), but have realized that I am not willing to put something first (the job) over my health (especially my mental health). To make it in academia these days, you basically have to put in twelve to sixteen hour days six to seven days a week. To be considered for an entry-level professor position, you almost have to have the resume of someone who has been in the field for twenty to thirty years longer than you’ve been alive.

                        This has been a hard mindset to get out of—I’ve been raised in an academia household (my father is a professor at my alma mater), so I’ve been around the whole academic professor job field my entire life. I remember when I was younger, I wanted to have my own lab and be doing marine biology research—well, obviously that didn’t happen. Being honest with myself, the main reasons for my stagnant job transition is a lack of self-confidence in being able to compete with others for the jobs (I also know that this is really just imposter syndrome talking), and the opinions of others (basically them wondering/inquiring why it took me so long to either a) decide to leave academia and b) to finally manage to leave academia).

I can also then tie in my anxiety and depression somewhat into the fear zone as well. Though to be honest, the depression isn’t totally tied in with the fear zone—2018 was a horrid year (we lost three dogs, two within a span of four days) over all and I spent most of 2019 slowly working my way out of the deep depression dip I found myself in. I’m not totally out of it—but I’m further than I was three or four months ago.

So I want to now move into the “learning zone”—which is the zone where you are acquiring new skills, extending your comfort zone (while hopefully shrinking the fear zone), and being able to deal with challenges and problems that come up day to day. How am I going to do that? Simple—small, baby steps until them become routine and become bigger and bigger steps into the learning zone.

Starting with small things, and at times possibly silly things for me is the best way to show myself that I can deal with various different things. It has been shown that having a disorganized, clutter environment can have a negative effect on your mood and health. So I’m going to be slowly working on organizing and decluttering various parts of the house—I’ve actually started this over the weekend, I’m working on my bathroom. Once I have that room cleaned and organized I’ll move on to another (while slowly working on my bedroom at the same time). I’m actually trying to embrace the idea of less is more—i.e. semi-minimalism.

I just finished reading the book “The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. One of the things that I’m going to be doing is trying to implement the idea of the 12-week year starting in March (I decided that I probably will need about two weeks to work through the exercises and plan things out)—but having a written plan will help more than just my usual winging and hoping that things fall into place.

So the 12-week year is the idea that instead of trying to set annual goals—and having no way of knowing if the processes will work four or five months down the road, you have your larger “why” or vision. You then break the goals down to ones that you focus on for 12 weeks at a time—not every goal, but one or two. At the end of the 12 weeks, you gauge where you are at in terms of how you performed over the past 12 weeks, and how much closer you are to the larger goals. Then during the next 12 weeks, you focus on the next task or two that will continue to move you towards your larger goal.

One of my problems has always been setting future goals, but at the same time not always breaking them down monthly or weekly. The only one that I think I’ve broken down that way is the step goal (and currently I will be having to rework that one, since I’ve been sedentary more than I would like to admit for the past six weeks or so).

This way I will be able to focus on different aspects of life (career/job transition, health/fitness, personal/professional development and crafts) at the same time—knowing that I’m going to be going after the little steps that will merge several of the paths into one. The next few weeks will be trying to figure out the best metrics for measuring the success of moving forward in the job transition (I already have ideas for how to measure the other areas), and then writing out the first 12-week year and my first weekly tracker(s).

Hopefully by implementing the idea of a 12-week year, I will be able to move out of the “fear zone” and into the “learning zone”.  I know that I will probably have a week or two where I slid backwards—but with the tracking, I will know and then be able to readjust and continue moving forward. Because one of the quotes for the year is “progress not perfection”.

No Comments Book ReviewsBooksPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

January 2020 in review: Start of a new year and a new decade

Well January is over, and we survived the month—and I’m like three days late in posting my monthly review. It’s a sad time when the phrase WW3 is trending on social media by the third day of the month. I haven’t been regular in posting to the site—I haven’t started the photography challenge (but I started it late last year as well), and when it comes to creating content—I realized that I have about five or six different drafts of things in regards to my career transition.

It has been not quite two months (which will be next Friday) since I’ve started my “reboot break”—and I think I’m still in the progress of trying to get my health and fitness under control.  We’ve had a couple of “snow” days this month, and I think I’ve managed to make a couple of walks around Boomer Lake.

The goals for January included:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps—I fell behind on this goal this month. I think that there have only been about five or six days that I actually hit (or surpassed) the daily step goal of 14,000 steps. I managed to get a little over 230,000 steps; so I managed a little over 50% of the monthly steps.

I need to try to kick it up a notch or two for the rest of the year, if I’m going to hit my yearly goal of 5 million steps (so to hit that goal, I’ll need to kick it up to a little over 14K a day (~14,230/day).

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

I managed to finish (in total) two books this month. Though in truth, the first book was actually started at the end of 2019, and finished within the first few days of 2020.

So the two books that I’ve finished:

            Like She Owns the Place by Cara Alwill Leyba

            Choose Your Best Life by Gary Williams

The book that I’m currently reading and will finish in February:

            The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

It has taken me a little longer to try to get into some type of workout routine. One thing is that I’m going to be doing the workout probably in the evenings—the puppy (Chaos) would rather get me to play than just lie there and sleep while I’m doing my workout.

I restarted the program at the end of the month. I’ve decided that I’m going to be doing my own calendar and that is going to be going between a couple of different programs—Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possible Morning Meltdown 100. I’m thinking that going between two or three different programs is going to be the best way for me to get back into a routine.

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

So I have been listening to podcasts most nights (there have been a few nights that I haven’t listened to them). The two main podcasts have been the Team Beachbody Coach Call-replay and Onward Creatives.

The first podcast is just listening in to the different Monday morning wakeup calls with Beachbody and various coaches each week. I’m still working on getting back on track with my fitness and health, so listening to the podcast is a way of keeping a toe in the whole “coaching” business—since Beachbody does have the disclaimer that they don’t guarantee any monetary gain for anyone as a coach. Currently I’m bouncing around with the idea of possibly quitting coaching (that while I do have a handful of “clients”, they aren’t really ordering, and therefore I don’t have that much to “lose”).

The second podcast is one that focuses on being in business for your self—as they say bridging the gap between being creative and the business side. I enjoy listening to the podcast, even if I’m not going into business for myself quite yet. I’ve been getting some ideas and just enjoy listening to someone else’s perspective on things.

I’ve also slowly been trying to work through various e-courses, but haven’t quite figured out the best method/order for working through the courses—do I alternate between personal and professional courses or do I try to alternate between topics within one of the areas? So this is something that I’m going to be working on during the early part of February so that I can plan things out for the next few months.

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

I managed for about half the month to keep a log of money spent, and managed about half the month in weekly check-ins as well. In terms of no spend days I think I had probably about fifteen to twenty days. A goal going forward is that other than a few choice spending days, pre-ordered books, and bills I don’t spend any money for the month. I’m thinking that this may be more in March than in February due to the fact that I’m going to be taking Chaos in for a check-up at the vet’s and I’m not sure how much it is going to be running. Though I may try to make February a low spend month as well.

So I managed to get started this year with various areas, I made strides in certain areas (managing to read two and a half books, working out the last week of the month, and starting to keep track of what I’m spending my money on), but there were also areas that I fell short on—namely getting my steps in. So there is areas for improvement, and areas that I can add to or build off of.

And for January the phrase: “Progress over Perfection”—so I did mange to embody this phrase for the month of January.

The goals for February will include:

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)


Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond

And for February the phrases: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

No Comments careerfitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Admitting that I’m a procrastinator and how I’m going to deal with it in 2020

So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline for the year.

One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep saying tomorrow).  I’ve realized that the procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college, and has gotten slightly out of hand since.

When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.

I had decided to go the science route (as at that time everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route. I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.

I still took classes that I found interesting, and this resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.

I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.

I remember that I was probably a year or so away from graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE (got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues, especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point), and applied for different graduate programs.

I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for grad school.

This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.

After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.

Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater (first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the past seven years as well.

So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m procrastinator?

Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).  For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management problem (https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem). Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have attached negative emotions to.

So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks. So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached negative emotions to?

            Getting back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college) about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the weight to make anyone else happy either.

            Transitioning into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard (though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt), and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied in with my anxiety.

            At times I have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent. The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my mind.

            Choices—there are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I actually decide to go down.

            Needing to have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.

            This is also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.

So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each area?

As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:

            “Viewing the whole task (e.g. project or paper) all at once will only frustrate you if you have unrealistic expectations. Realize you must break the task into smaller pieces and you cannot do them all at once. The next key is just start whether you feel like it or not.” (https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxiety).

Then I found the following ideas that had to deal with procrastination along with social anxiety:

            Make a list of tasks and prioritize what needs to be done

            Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks

            Use relaxation strategies to deal with anxiety about completing tasks

                        Some of the techniques include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-social-anxiety-disorder-3973931).

So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.

Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.

No Comments careerfitnessHealthjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Update on Reboot Break

So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or “what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background than draw attention to the situation.

While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the other possible job titles.

I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something like this:

            Health Economist

            Market Research Analyst

            Scientific/Medical Writer

            Market Communications Specialist

            Clinical Data Analyst/Manager

            Quantitative Analyst

            Patent Analyst

            R&D scientist (up to R&D manager)

Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).

So this week is going to be spent getting back into a workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the above roles.

Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.

No Comments 101 Goalscareerjob searchingLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections