So there are two more duck pages live under the bird photography tab (specifically under the ‘water birds’ and then the ducks, swan, and geese family).
So, as I mentioned in several posts—I’m slowly trying to update/add to the site to account for wanting to move a little more into the three niches that I’d picked out for concentrating on for writing (personal/professional development, health/wellness, and science/medical writing/communications). One of the things I’ve been trying to do is ensure that there is a single line of tabs at the top of the page—and that if there is a drop down menu, all items are still visible on the screen.
The one section that will probably be ‘changing’ slightly as I work on this aspect is the combo birding/photography tab—mainly because of how many bird pages I have currently up.
Both of these birds are migratory and/or winter residents within Oklahoma.
I’ve only managed to spot the blue-winged teal as it makes its way north in the spring (I have yet managed to make it up to Boomer in the late summer to catch them as they are one of the first ducks to migrate south in the late summer/early fall).
The northern shovelers will both migrate through the state, and a few of them will even winter around Boomer Lake—so I’ve managed to spot these guys several times in both the winter and early spring.
While the peak of fall migration has passed, there are still birds migrating south—hopefully I’ll be able to spot a few other species over the next few weeks (especially if I can manage to get up to the lake just as the sun is coming up).
What is your favorite fall migratory bird to spot?
Well, we’re almost halfway through October—that means there are only 79 days left in 2021. I’ve been reflecting over the past two weeks on the goals that I set for the third quarter of the year (or as I was also referring to as—my second attempt at a 12-week year).
I’d mentioned in a post over the summer that I was combining the ideas of two books together and using those as ‘stepping-stones’ for goals in different areas. The ideas that I’m combining are ‘choosing focal points (or specific areas)’ to focus on (‘The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life—A Creative and Practical Guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine), and the goal setting method from ‘The 12-Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain Moran and Michael Lennington.
The four areas that I’ve decided that I’m currently focusing on are: professional development, personal development, health, and hobbies. The plan is to blend them together enough that I’ve created a career that is semi-location independent, and is focused on freelance/remote/contract writing/blogging with the possibility of adding in data analysis and/or consulting in the future.
The one thing that I’m still working on is figuring out how to divide the goals that I pick for the each month into weekly and then daily goals.
I’ve usually been trying to set four to five goals per focal area, with the possibility that one or two may have several ‘sub’ goals associated with them.
Instead of listing out every single goal that I set for the summer, I’m going to summarize the areas instead.
In terms of professional development, I had the lofty goals of completing at least two Cheeky Scientist advanced programs, learning python (coding), working through another three small e-courses on Udemy, and continuing to read/share science news and network on LinkedIn.
In terms of personal development, the lofty goals included refreshing Spanish, reading at least one (or two) non-fiction books a month, working through even more e-courses on different sites, and coming up with my own vision of minimalism and how I was going to diversify my income.
In terms of health, I was planning on continuing with BOD workouts (LIIFT4 and then Morning Meltdown 100), meditation, gratitude entries in the journal, oracle card drawings, working through a couple of courses, and trying to find new recipes to try at dinner.
In terms of my hobbies: at least one nature walk with the camera at Boomer Lake, reading, working on a cross-stitch project (or making some jewelry), and then again working through more e-courses.
So how did I do with my various goals?
In terms of professional development:
I’ve been fairly good at reading and sharing new on LinkedIn and twitter (I try to share at least one post Monday to Friday), and I’m working networking more and adding value to connections on LinkedIn.
In terms of the various programs, courses, and programming—I didn’t really get to any of them. Though I have most of the editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization done—I just need to work on the writing assignments, plus finish up the sixth module.
I would say that I managed two out of the five professional development goals (so forty percent completed).
In terms of personal development:
I think I’ve managed to read possibly two non-fiction books over the past three months, I’m slowly working on my vision of minimalism (I need to go through the clothes and DVDs in the bedroom—and then tackle everything in the storage unit), and I’m slowly working on the ideas for generating varied income sources.
Again, the computer work hasn’t been completed.
Therefore, I probably managed another two out of the five goals (so another forty percent completed)
In terms of health:
I managed about 26 days of the oracle card sharing challenge. While I enjoyed it in the beginning, it was starting to become more of a ‘chore’ and I wasn’t getting that many interactions on the posts. I will probably share a reading here and there on Instagram, but probably won’t be daily.
With having messed up my wrist mid-June/early-July, I’ve been giving it time to heal, so I really haven’t been doing anything that requires lifting weights. I will be trying to start a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 during the fourth quarter of 2021, knowing that it will run into the first quarter of 2022.
I’ve been good with my evening meditations and daily gratitude entries in the journal. I’ve done a little over half of the explicit tarot course, and in terms of cooking—I couldn’t find any recipes that appealed to me this quarter.
I would say that I managed about half of the health goals for the third quarter.
The best area was hobbies:
I managed a walk every month at Boomer Lake with my camera, I read at least two or three fiction books a month, and I finished two cross-stitch projects and started a third. The only goal that I didn’t really touch was the one in regards to the e-courses.
Therefore, I would say that I managed three of the four goals (or seventy-five percent) for hobbies.
Overall, I would say that I managed to reach fifty percent of all the goals (and sub-goals) that I set for the third quarter.
There are several reasons why I only managed to meet half of the goals:
September was spent dealing with an ill dog and not knowing the outcome/prognosis. While we now know the prognosis, it may still be touch and go—especially when she starts to get weaned off the medication.
I also quit doing my weekly to-be accomplished lists in September (see above about the ill dog), and the daily to-be accomplished lists in August. The reason why I quit writing these out—I let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win a fight. I’m slowly working on getting back into the habit of doing both of these (slightly better with the weekly to-be accomplished lists).
Finally, when the weather is fairly nice—I’d rather be sitting outside enjoying the weather and possibly reading or journaling than being inside and working on the computer. I know that this is something that I need to work on improving (time/project management) as we move into the fall/winter months when more time will be spent indoors than outdoors.
So what are my goals for the four different areas moving into the fourth and final quarter of 2021?
Professional Development (This area is focused heavily on computer work):
Finish at least two of the following Cheeky Scientist advanced programs:
Medical Writers Organization
User Experience Squad
Regulatory Affairs Council
Business Development Federation
Finish the following short courses:
15 errors in scientific writing and how to correct them on Udemy
How to become a freelance editor on Udemy
How to become a freelance writer on Skill Success
Read and share science (and other news) on LinkedIn and Twitter
Network and add value on LinkedIn
Finish Write Your Way to Freedom course
Finish Writing Patient Materials course
Personal Development (A third to half of the work will be computer based):
Read one-to-two non-fiction books/month
Draft ideas on how to implement diversification of income streams
Work through the following short courses:
How to work for yourself on Udemy
Complete personal finance course on Udemy
Freelance writing 101: build a successful career on Skill Share
Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth on Skill Share
Health (Possibly a third to half could be computer based):
Start a second round of Morning Meltdown 100
Daily mediation and work through the course: Mindfulness for Anxiety on Udemy
Daily gratitude journal entries
Daily oracle card drawings and finish the course: explicit tarot: learning tarot through storytelling on Udemy
Hobbies (possibly a quarter could be computer based):
At least one walk per month at Boomer Lake with camera
Read two-to-three fiction books per month
Finish the third cross-stitch project, possibly start a fourth or design/create some jewelry
Work through the following courses:
How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners on Skill Share
Modern copywriting on Stack Skills
There are still quite a few e-courses that I’m hoping to finish before the end of the year—I may or may not get through all of them, but I’m hoping to have worked through at least one in each area (bonus points if I can finish all the e-courses under a specific focal point).
I mentioned in my October New Moon Goals—that I was going to be trying to face one ‘big’ fear during the next phase/month. I decided that the fear is starting my freelance/remote/contract writing business. Therefore I’m probably going to focus a little more on the courses that deal with that topic (which all but the two under health). The name of the blog (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) will probably stay the same—I may just change the website address (all depends as I work my way through the various courses).
This also means that I may having more posts written in a specific area (such as science/medical education/communication), but at the same time keeping other posts coming throughout the month (such as book reviews, photography, and crafts).
I realize that getting things up and running will take time (especially when it comes to marketing my business, billing, and creating/sticking with a editorial schedule)—but I currently have the time to do this, so I’m going for it: the overall goal is to reach at least fifty-percent in each area and an overall all progress rate of seventy-five percent for the last quarter of 2021.
Do you use the 12-week method for planning? Best tips? Or is there another method you like?
As I work on navigating the realm of the online world and freelancing/remote/contract writing—I’ve realized one thing: the suggestion of choosing a single niche for writing, makes me feel like I’m back in college, where one is urged to declare a major by the end of your freshman year.
Truthfully, when I first think of the word ‘niche’—I think of the scientific definition of the word—where every plant and animal within a specific ecosystem has a functional and even defined role.
The term has also expanded into the ‘human’ day-to-day realm, and can be defined as a ‘comfortable or suitable position in life or employment’ or as ‘ a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.
Can one have more than one niche, and can they be ‘different from each other’, and melded into a broader category?
Well, I’m going to find out—because I’ve realized over the past few weeks of trying to narrow things down to one or even two niches—it felt like being back in college. I declared a major—but always felt like I had to choose one direction over the other (I like/enjoy both the typical sciences and the social sciences, but never could figure out how to combine them into one major or double-major).
When it comes to picking a niche, people always suggest some variation of the following questions:
What could you talk about all day?
What do people ask you about?
What would you love to learn about?
What is a unique subject you know about?
And finally–is it more important to write about what you enjoy or being in a profitable niche?
In theory, answering these questions is suppose to help you narrow down a list of niches that you could focus on. If I numbered the above questions one-to-five, my answers would be:
I could talk about crafts, books, bird watching, photography, science, nature, various random facts, and numerous other things all day long. I would say that these areas could fall into a couple of categories: personal development/hobbies (crafts, books, bird watching, and photography), education/communications (science/nature) and health/wellness (science). This is also just a very short ‘curated’ list of things I could probably talk about all day.
While it has been awhile since I’ve actually talked face-to-face with someone outside of family (thanks pandemic). I would have to say that I’ve been asked about fitness/health/nutrition, job searching post-graduate school, science, and other things. These subjects could also be divided into professional development (jobs after grad school), education/communication (science) and health/wellness (fitness/nutrition/health).
Learning is my top strength according to both the Clifton Strength Assessment and the VIA Character Assessment tests. While I took an ‘on-and-off’ break from learning after grad school, I’m slowly embracing that inner quality again. Things I’d enjoy learning more about include: intuitive eating, personal finances (especially investments and saving for retirement), stress/anxiety management, time/project management, minimalism, and improving my mental and spiritual health (along with my physical health). These are only a few of the topics I’d enjoy learning more about and can fall under the umbrella of health/wellness (intuitive eating, stress/anxiety management and improving mental/spiritual/physical health), and personal/professional development (personal finances, time/project management, and minimalism).
Unique subjects that I know quite a bit about all fall under education/communications–specifically science education/communication. Those topics include molecular cloning, small RNA biology, recombinant protein expression and purification, cell biology, molecular biology, and many other little nuances within the molecular and cellular world.
I would say that one could probably do both (enjoy what they’re writing on and earn living doing it), and it can be done wither by being within one niche that you really like and can talk about all day, or enjoying two niches, but one is a little more profitable than the other. I’m starting with the second path–more than one niche, for several reasons that I’ll explain below.
Answering the questions, have allowed me to ‘narrow’ it to three niches: personal/professional development, health/wellness, and education/communication (starting with science, but possibly expanding to other ‘subject areas’).
Should I focus on just one? Possibly—but I realized early on when I first started this blog/website, I need to bounce around between topics or I get bored and quit doing things. I’d always wondered why I would start to get bored after awhile in lab (undergrad, grad, and postdoc)—and finally figured it out—if I’m not learning something new, or challenging myself with a new hobby/topic, I get bored and only put in the minimal effort required for the job.
Having three niches that are somewhat intertwined (at least in my mind), will allow me to challenge myself in terms of research needed on the topics, and enough variation that I shouldn’t get bored while working. The niches are also diverse enough, that there are numerous ‘sub-niches’ within each as well.
If I look to just science education/communication—I can name at least eight broad ‘subject areas’ (cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, botany, microbiology, zoology, entomology, and soil science) that I’d be willing to ‘dive’ into researching. Then within cell/molecular biology and biochemistry I could probably name numerous other ‘sub-topics’ such as the cell cycle, the central dogma of biology, metabolism, genomes, proteomes, transcriptomes, metabolomics, pre/post-transcriptional and translational control, apoptosis, and prokaryotic versus eukaryotic cells.
Therefore, I’m going to go with a ‘triple-niche’ approach (at least for the bigger articles/posts) and focus on those areas: personal/professional development, science education/communication, and health/wellness. I will still be doing photography (it has its own tab), plus travel posts (most will be throw-back posts until I feel like its safe enough to travel).
The posts may cycle through the different niches, or I may focus on one for a particular month and then tie it to the next niche as I transition to writing on a different topic—but the tag line for the blog/site sums up my current state of mind and focus: ‘a little bit of this, a little bit of that’.
So question: In terms of those three areas (personal/professional development, health/wellness, and science education/communication)—which would you like me to write on first (and bonus if you have a topic idea)?
So, yesterday was my birthday—and I’m now technically a full year into my fourth decade (even though I’ve kiddingly said that I’m celebrating my 39th birthday for the third time).
Last year I did a post shortly after my birthday on trying to answer the question of which hobbies, passions, and interests fall under the jack-of-all-trades umbrella, and which fall under the specialist umbrella. That posts evolved from a previous post (‘self-reflection, planning, and yet more self-reflection’).
I’d stated then that my two biggest struggles were imposter syndrome and being stuck in the ‘academic’ mindset of career progression (though industry does have clear career progressions—my ‘problem’ has been not knowing which direction to go in).
Recently I’ve been coming back to the possibility of freelance/remote/contract work where I could be doing writing, data analysis, project, and/or product management in addition to writing/blogging on personal/professional development topics as well.
The main reason why I’m leaning in that direction—we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and I feel more comfortable with going in a direction that is semi-location independent and to a degree company-independent as well.
While at the same time, I want to create a ‘niche’ that will allow me to flow between topics that I feel fall into either the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ category or the ‘specialist’ category. In addition to allowing me to make use of my strengths: learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative/ideation/arranger.
So how am I going to do this?
Well, I’ve come up with three broad areas that will be added to the two ‘fun’ niches that I already have ‘pages/tabs’ for on the blog/website.
The three broad areas that I’m going to be adding will be:
Health and Wellness
Science Education and Communications (abbreviated Science Ed and Coms)
Personal Development (may also include some aspects of professional development as well)
Since each area is extremely broad, I’ll be focusing on certain subtopics within each area (though the science education and communication may remain some broad—only because I find almost all science to be interesting). What those subtopics are–I’m still working on those lists, but my goal is to have three-to-five subtopics per broad area.
They will also have their own ‘tab’ on the website (serving as individual ‘portfolios’), and I’ve decided that the Health/Wellness tab is going to be the ‘renamed/worked’ Fitness tab; Science Ed and Coms will be the ‘renamed/worked’ All Things Science tab; and Personal Development will be the ‘renamed/worked’ Everything Else Bucket List tab.
The two ‘fun’ niches that I will be keeping on the blog (and that already have their own tabs/pages) will be travel and photography (which I’m going to be combining with the birds tab).
Having these five ‘niches’ or areas will allow me the flexibility I need to stay focused, productive, and happy. Science education and communication may also branch out to include social sciences and humanities at some point (as I also enjoy those topics as well).
Other crafts (such as cross-stitching, jewelry design/creation, knitting, and others) may show up from time to time under the personal development tab or possibly just as individual blog posts.
Looking back over the past year, I’ve realized that I have made progress in numerous areas (even if it has been minuscule), and as I continue forward on this freelance/remote/contract path I know that I will continue to improve in those areas. That being said, I’m still going to be working on the following areas:
Time and project management (I have numerous writing projects in the pipeline, but haven’t really gotten anywhere with any of them)
Brainstorming, researching, writing, editing, and publishing–on a schedule
Publishing my writing (in more places than just the blog and LinkedIn)
Different types of writing (though I’m actually doing this a little with the volunteer medical content writing position):
Reworking the blog/website to serve as one of my ‘portfolios’ (with another being my LinkedIn account) in terms of the different areas/niches I want to branch out into
So, I have the overall plan of trying to go freelance/remote/contract for writing/data analysis/project and/or product management. Now it is time to rework the blog/website (slowly, since I have had it going for a couple of years now), and then figure out the other little nuts and bolts of starting my own business.
So, for my next revolution around the sun–I’m going to focus on stepping out of my comfort zone more, write more, create more, and if the pandemic every gets under control–perhaps even travel more.
I just realized that I missed doing a 1-year check-in for the challenge last month since I’d been so focused on doing 100-day check-ins. I’ve also realized that I don’t check-in as often as I should with the list, possibly because we’re still in the middle of this damn pandemic and at times I feel like there isn’t a point.
TV shows were removed during earlier updates, as I usually don’t watch that much TV currently, and I am also thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand subscription, since I’m also wanting to start ‘working-out’ away from the TV/computer screens. But, if I decide to do that—it will probably be before the fifth check-in on the challenge, and it will have it’s own post on the blog as well.
There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. While three vaccines have been approved for emergency use and the Pfizer was just granted full approval for people over the age of 12 (with several more in the middle of phase 3 clinical trials), I managed to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1 & done) in early April. The numbers of cases had started to go down, but then people got lax on getting their vaccines (or just didn’t want them—not going to rant here), and then the delta variant decided to become the most dominant—and numbers are going back up. Therefore, I’m still going to be sheltering in place through the fall and winter, and hope that maybe by the late-fall of 2022 things may be heading towards a new ‘normal’.
So how are things progressing?
Professional Development and Career–Ongoing:
Transition into an industry position (this is probably going to be remote/online or freelancing; exact direction (subjects) still to be determined; there will be several posts on this goal
Learn a programming language (going to go with python to start); just need to set up the newer laptop and download both teh program and bookmark the e-courses that I bought on the subject
Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
Clinical Research Coalition--Finished May 30th 2021
Medical Writers Organization–need to finish the writing assignments; finished up the editing assignments last month
Data Science Syndicate–Finished September 3rd 2020
Project Management Consortium
Management Consulting Firm
Intellectual Property Pack–Finished June 25th 2021
Regulatory Affairs Council
All other e-courses that are in the journal (including other Cheeky Scientist Courses)
More interaction on LinkedIn-while hard to score (see the below photograph), I’m slowly figuring things out. There are certain posts that do better than others, and certain versions of posts that do better than others.
Sharing articles from various biotech pages and other science pages–I’m managing to do this at least once a day, Monday thur Friday, I don’t really share much on the weekend.
Commenting on posts–as I commented on a post, I’m trying to do more than the just usual congrats, or that’s great. So this is still a work in progress
Giving/Asking for recommendations–this still needs to be done in order to ‘finish’ building my professional/personal brand on LinkedIn. I just have to decide who I’m going to ask (and then who I’m going to give recommendations to)
Start writing my own posts–see the below photograph, but I’m slowly dipping my toes into the world of LinkedIn publishing. I mentioned previously that my first two comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts had been my best posts (1st had over 1900 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments; the second had over 6 thousand views, 36 reactions, and 20 comments). Obviously I didn’t use the correct hashtags with the third diagram (as it hasn’t come close to the number of views, reactions, or comments yet).
Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals–trying to get better at the whole ‘planning’ things out in advanced.
Renew professional memberships–I need to pick two (one is going to be joining the American Medical Writers Association, and then the other may be either ASBMB or ASCB).
Personal and Professional Development: on-going
7. Becoming fluent in Spanish–I need to get back to using the app Mondly, and aim for thirty minutes two to three days a week to begin with and build back up to doing it daily.
8. Become fluent in German again
9. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, Swedish, or Mandarin
10. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books total (since I first started these challenges in 2017). Aiming for twenty to thirty (plus) books a year, this year is going to be low (unless I start really reading all non-fiction and very little fiction).
11. Finish the books on scientific writing
12. Start building a portfolio (possibly as another ‘page’ on the blog) of different types of work (writing/data analysis)
14. Develop a daily writing habit
15. Write a letter to my future self
Personal Development and hobbies: on-going
16. Paint and frame at least one original painting
17. More photography–have been doing some, but now between the weather and the delta variant I’m not walking at Boomer as much as I would like to
18. 365 photography challenge–this one I’d try to start, but had fallen off track already. May try to restart it in the fall
19. Update photography pages on blog–I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab, and I have about another 100 pages to go, plus have been trying to expand the travel pages as well
20. Make my own jewelry
21. Learn to cross-stitch–I’ve started an abstract project, where I’m just filling in the entire tapestry with colors
22. Get a new sewing machine–on hold, due to the fact that there are issues with the machines being able to wind their bobbins, and the fact that people are probably buying them up again to make masks.
23. Make a new quilt (on hold due to #22)
24. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop when sitting at desk; on hold due to #22)
25. Start a new afghan–not sure if I’m going to be buying any yarn this year or not, since I still need to finish patching the second afghan that Chaos had chewed holes in.
26. Showcase crafts on blog (weekly update or possibly new pages when I have several completed?)
27. Start writing a book
28. Learn Photoshop
29. Write in the journal daily
30. Create my own coffee-table photography book
31. Learn basic sign language
32. Start a virtual book club
Finances: on-going (still a little difficult as there is no steady paycheck yet):
33. Create monthly budgets–currently this is just paying off the monthly bills
34. Credit cards debt down and hopefully paid off monthly–there are two that are high (where they aren’t paid off in full). Plus one is probably going to be high for a couple of months (since I’m thinking of possibly buying a bookcase and nightstand).
35. De-clutter the house–basically trying to sell DVDs back as a way of earning some extra money; on hold only because of the delta variant and me not wanting to be around other people
36. Saving account up another 20+K–this will take quite awhile since I haven’t ‘officially’ started doing any freelancing or remote work yet; nor have I landed any type of contract position
37. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities–on hold, again due to the delta variant
38. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash
39. Finish the various financial e-courses (and decide how to implement what I’ve learned)
Fitness and Health: On-going
40. Get into the best shape of my life
41. Multivitamin and supplements daily–I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often
42. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts–these might be removed by the time I do a 500-day check-in as I’m thinking of cancelling my beachbody-on-demand membership
43. Morning Meltdown 100–I finished my 1st round on 9/15/2020
44. Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt series–Made it through 3/4 of the program by 11/14/2020
45. 10 Rounds–1st round finished 12/26/2020
46.Barre Blend–Started on 2/8/2021; managed to do half the program before deciding to call it quits
47. Insanity Max 30
48. LIIFT4–Did a round of the program back in 2018; second round finished on 11/14/2020, 3rd round (focusing mostly on the lifting) was finished 7/23/2021
49. 22-Minute Hard Corps
52. Insanity: Asylum 1
53. Insanity: Asylum 2
54. 4 weeks of Prep
55. 6 weeks of work
56. T25 (have already done once)
57. Brazil Butt Lift
58. 21 Day Fix (have done once); started the ‘LIVE’ version and made it a week before moving to LIIFT4
59. 21 Day Fix Extreme (have done once)
60. Country Heat (have done once)
61. CIZE–managed to make it through the program, even though I felt like I had two left feet the entire time. Finished this April 9th 2021)
64. Let’s Get Up! (hopefully out fall 2021; but have to decided if I’m keeping BOD or not)
65. 9-week control freak off the wall (technically with dumbbells)
66. Shawn Week
67. 80-Day Obsession
68. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnival
69: Shift Shop: Proving Grounds
71. Core de Force
72. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (I had been practicing, but I haven’t done much lately–need to get back to it)
73. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes
74. Hold a two-minute forearm plank
75. Hold a ninety second plank
76. Meditate nightly–Have been doing, even if its only been for a minute or two
77. 60-80 oz of water daily–some days I fall way short on this; something to work on
78. Stretch daily
79. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)–on my way; some months are better than others.
Blog and Social Media: On-going:
80. Finish the YouTube for bosses course
81. Finish the YouTube course creation for bosses course
82. Launch a YouTube Channel
83. Launch an online course
84. Launch an online freelance/remote/contract business
85. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day–have managed to increase the monthly views (May-July it was a little over 500 views per month), and now just need to work on increasing the weekly and then the daily views
86. Rebrand myself (?)
87. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+
88. Get Pintrest followers to constant 400+
89. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+
90. Publish at least two blog series
91. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)
92. Blog–tried this for August, but life had a way of throwing it out the window; will try it agian for September
94. Facebook Page(s)
97. Get BecomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows
98. Various top 10 author lists
99. Various top 10 book series lists
100. Launch a podcast
101. Full/New Moon Goals–I’ve been managing to keep with these, even if I may not hit each goal that I set for each new/full moon
102. Create my own altar (wiccan/pagan): This was accomplished earlier this year, though I will be moving things around since it is a small shelf and everything feels crowded
103. Oracle Card readings (Weekly or Daily)–I’ve managed to do this more or less daily (though there have been a few days that I’ve missed). I started a 120-day oracle card sharing challenge, but after 26 days I’ve called it ‘quits’ for now, as it was feeling more like a task than an enjoyable hobby.
104. Sitting outside in the morning with my coffee (back to waiting for nicer weather–so hopefully sometime this fall)
Others (that don’t require travel): On-going
105. Keep at least three plants alive–I’ve managed to ‘root’ and replant several cuttings from our dumb cane plants, so I guess that could count as keeping plants alive. Though the Christmas poinsettia didn’t survive it’s repotting.
106. Design a science based board game
107. Update my digital vision board
108. Reorganize my storage unit
109. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard).
110. Help put up a partial privacy fence in backyard
111. Start downsizing clothes and creating different ‘minimum’ wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out). Have found different non-profits that I could donate clothes too, but the overall project is on hold due to the delta variant. Once that is under control, I’ll box up clothes that I don’t want and ship them off.
112. Develop different 30-day challenges–this one may be taken off by the 5th check-in if I haven’t come up with one and seen it through to completion.
113. Start down sizing the rest of my belongings (would like to live comfortably in a small house/apartment and I know that I don’t need majority of my stuff).
Goals that require a little traveling (or having moved into my own place):
114. Re-pierce my ears
115. Go to at least one scientific conference
116. Present at a scientific conference
117. Got to at least two professional networking events
118.Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job
119. Visit at least three new countries
120. Visit at least one new national park and/or state park
121. Visit at least one new national monument and/or state monument
122. Visit at least one new zoo
123. Visit at least one new aquarium
124. Fly out and/or land at three new (to me) airports
125. Visit at least one new city
126. Visit at least one ‘new’ state
127. See the northern lights
128. Attend at least one blogging conference
129. Attend at least one author-reader conference
130. Swim with whale sharks
132. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs
133. New couch and chair for living room
134. New dresser for bedroom
135. New mattress and box spring for bed and/or a new bed set
136. New TV & stand
137. New desk/craft workstation
While the number of goals seem shorter than previous: the total number is still about 147 (ten of the goals in the professional development group were dotted instead of numbered).
Since, I thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand membership next month, there will probably be about 25 ‘goals’ that may disappear from the list (at least the ones that would require the use of streaming; older programs that I have the DVDs on may still be done).
Therefore I may in add some additional personal or professional development programs to the list, or some other goals to take their place (in other words I’m not sure I’ll be decreasing the total number of goals or simply switching numerous ones out).
I’d mentioned in a post last week (my most updated comfort diagram share), that I felt like I’d let my time management slip the past month or so—and I have. I actually tried to make an ‘editorial’ calendar last month for August through October. But, life has a way of getting in the way at times, and it threw the calendar out the window (though I’m going to try to update it for the rest of fall).
I’m almost certain that I want to go in a freelance/remote/contract direction for my career (since the delta variant isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon), and am slowly brainstorming the ideas needed for that pivot.
The bingo card that was created at the beginning of the year (both for yearly goals and the fitness programs I wanted to get completed), with the best intentions—I’ve realized that I probably won’t be getting a ‘bingo’ this year, and I will need to fine-tune the ideas for my 2022 yearly bingo card and any future fitness bingo cards.
I’ve decided currently that I’m going to keep the current web addy (becomingjessi) and the running tag-line (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) for the blog, but also start trying to brainstorm some ideas for new ones as I slowly start trying to develop my freelance/remote/contract business (writing, with possibly data analysis, project/product management, consulting).
So, the summer saw me becoming a little lax in time management and online learning—but I’m reactivating the self-control app, and will be setting weekly goals (say three hours of online learning, non-fiction reading, and work on crafts; in addition to some type of word total for writing).
The volunteer writing position that I took is helping me learn some of the ins and outs of researching various types of topics and writing for a general audience (I’m slowly figuring out how much science is actually needed within those topics), and I’m hoping to be able to do more than one post a week (one for the company, and then a different one for the bog) within another month or so.
So I will be brainstorming/mind-mapping different ideas for the career pivot that will appeal to my mixed-style multipontialite personality (different types or number of projects), and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, ideation, and deliberative) moving forward. This will mean trying to determine the best type of daily schedule (when to do research; what to research; how long to research; blocks for writing and so forth).
Therefore, the goals for the next 100 days will include getting through various professional development programs (finishing up the writing tests for the Medical Writers Organization, making it through the Regulatory Affairs Council, and possibly the Business Development Federation program as well), reading at least 3-4 books off the personal/professional development list, and creating my own fitness/intentional movement calendar for the rest of the year (weight lifting, and then some types of cardio and recovery), and then whatever else from the list that will fit into the 100-day schedule.
So I spent a good chunk of last week working on my 3rd comfort diagram. I’d been introduced to the concept about six months ago by one of my coaches during a zoom call (I’d been more or less rambling on what I thought my future plans were).
I’d decided that I was going to do a new version of it every three months, but also introduce a new zone between the comfort and stretch zone–the bounce zone.
I’d chosen the name ‘bounce zone’, because I didn’t feel like there were things that I’d been working on from the stretch or risk zones that could be moved all the way into the comfort zone (i.e. I didn’t feel like they’d become fully ingrained habits yet).
You might notice that I still have blogging within the bounce zone. This is because at times I feel like I have ‘writer’s block’ and my inner critic/imposter syndrome pops in every so often and I end up not posting as frequently as I had originally planned.
As I was working on the diagram, I decided I would add one or two things into the stretch zone:
Intuitive eating, which is something I’ve been working on for the past few months. I have it in the stretch zone only because there are a couple of points that I’m still slightly struggling with:
(1) Eating enough protein during the day (especially at breakfast)
(2) Savoring the meals/snacks (i.e. taking more than ten to fifteen minutes to each the meal), and finally
(3) figuring out what type of intentional movements I enjoy doing, figuring out how to incorporate them into my day and then ignoring the rest. I know it may look funny putting movement (or exercise) in with nutrition, but they’re tied together in society.
The second thing I added to the stretch zone is learning more about UX (user experience), as a possible freelance/remote direction to go in.
I’ve actually completed a couple of courses over the past six month where I learned the basics on clinical research and intellectual property. I’m currently keeping them in the ‘stretch zone’ as I haven’t quite figured out how to tie them into the direction that I’m thinking of going (which is freelance/remote/contract focusing first on writing, and then possibly adding in data analysis, project and product management at a later point). Both topics were interesting, but I also realized that I probably wouldn’t want to go in either direction full time (in terms of clinical research–unless I was at the bench, I possibly would have to travel between clinical research sites frequently, and to become a patent agent would require passing the patent bar exam).
While I would like to possibly travel (depending on when the various variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus are contained), I don’t want to constantly travel for work, and currently I don’t want to go in a direction that would require a large amount of money and a standardized test.
But what has changed over the last three months?
Cross-stitching and science writing have bounced their way into the bounce zone, while time management and refreshing a foreign language have bounced their way back into the stretch zone.
I’ve realized that I enjoy doing more abstract design and creation (in other words not having to follow a set pattern), and my first cross-stitch project is actually a continuous circle with a few bumps in the road made up of different colors. I’m going to see how many different colors it takes to fill up the fabric, and not worry about little mistakes that I may make along the way.
I’m slowly making my way into science writing again. I managed to land a volunteer medical content writing position with a online Canadian magazine (Medical News Bulletin) last month. While it is a volunteer position (and they own the ‘rights’ to my work), I am learning the ins and outs of science communication for the lay audience. Hopefully then, this will flow over to the blog and I will be getting out at least one science related blog post a month (and possibly one to two science related pages a month as well).
I’m also trying to focus a little more on my spiritual health as well over the past few months, and it has bounced (along with oracle cards) to sit along side meditation in the bounce zone. This has been an area that has been bouncing between the stretch and the bounce zones the past couple of months (and will probably still bounce the next couple of months). I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by ancient cultures and practices more so than contemporary practices–and have felt like an outsider growing up due to those interests.
Over the past month, I’ve picked up quite a few non-fiction books related to ancient cultures and practices for two reasons: one because they interest me, and I actually have the time to indulge in those interests; and two–they may serve as ‘reference’ books for a couple of short story ideas that I have bouncing around in my head.
I like Graham Hancock–I have his book ‘Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization’ in my storage unit. I bought this book back in the late 1990s after I finished reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead that I got for Christmas one year. The others were bought because I’m either fascinated with the civilization (Mayan) or feel like they could be good ‘reference’ books for short story ideas.
My time management has been slipping for the past month or more, due in part to the warmer weather (so I want to be sitting outside more often than I do during other times of the year, and preferably without my computer), and my anxiety has been spiking due to the rise in the number of SARS-CoV2 cases due to delta variant running rampant through the country.
So, I’m going to have to just ensure that I have various time management apps up and running on both my computer and phone (and possibly add in the different news sites to the ‘blocked for the day’ list)–because if I can’t see the news, I can’t stress out over it and have my anxiety spike (yes, I know that doing this is showcasing my privilege–but sometime protecting ones mental health means embracing certain things that I would usually try not to embrace).
Refreshing the foreign language also bounced back into the stretch zone for almost identical reasons as time management, with the addition of my inner critic/imposter syndrome poking their heads out and ridiculing me on my progress.
Therefore, the next three months are going to be focused on:
(1) Time management,
(2) learning (aiming for spending at least three and a half hours a week working through various e-courses; this breaks down to roughly thirty minutes a day),
(3) reading (aiming to read non-fiction for another three and a half hours a week (again, another thirty minutes a day),
(4) craft time (also three and a half hours a week at minimum; thirty minutes a day, while focusing on cross-stitching, jewelry design/creation, photography, and doodling), and
(5) writing (this will be the most varied area with different projects, but aiming for four to six thousand words a week).
Progress is being made–writing is slowly becoming an enjoyable habit again (after years of dreading having to do it), meditation at night is helping with anxiety (for the most part), and I’m going to work on incorporating it more often during the day. The staircase out of the pit of burnout does seem to go on forever, but I only need to take it a step at a time, and I can sit with a book on a stair whenever I need to catch my breath.
Question time–what are your favorite e-course sites and subjects?
So the year is officially over halfway over–there are only 153 days left in 2021. While it seems things are still speeding up (I swear that yesterday was May 31st), I have a bad feeling that we’re possibly heading to another lock down (or at least a emergency declaration) within the next few months. The number of people getting vaccinated is starting to decline, and the main variant of the virus (the delta variant) is said to be as contagious as chickenpox. While the vaccine will prevent you from dying (unless you have numerous other underlying issues), you can still spread the virus–so please, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and still practice social distancing. It would be nice if we could end the pandemic before the start of a new decade.
I’m truthfully trying to stay away from the news right now (I’m tired of all the irritating/disturbing news), and I’m fully aware that by doing that I’m exercising my ‘white privilege’. While a good portion of the US population has gotten (or is getting) their vaccine, our total number of cases currently is now slowly going up. When I published ‘June in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 34.5 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 35.7 million (So there was an increase of a little over 1.2 million cases for the month). So, the numbers are going back up (June only had ~500K new cases), it’s going to be scary to see what the numbers are in a couple of weeks when various schools (both public and colleges) start up again.
Therefore, I’m going to continue to self-isolate, wear a mask when I have to go out, and even cut back on the frequency of walks at Boomer Lake (or perhaps go a little earlier in the mornings).
Before looking ahead to August (midway through the third quarter, and a new set of goals, plus the plans of become slightly more productive), I should look at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them
The goals for July included:
135-150,000 steps, these will hopefully include at least one walk at Boomer Lake and then I will have to figure out how I’m going to get the rest in–due to the fact we’re going to be heading into the ‘dog days of summer’
Finishing up LIIFT4 and starting the second round of Morning Meltdown 100
Read one to two non-fiction books (and write small reviews)
Read two to three fiction books (and write small reviews)
Finish the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and work through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries
Craft time (start the cross-stitch project, and possibly create at least one necklace)
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)
So how did I do with each of them?
135-150,000 steps–I managed to reach the minimum number of steps (and actually slightly surpassed with a a total of 140,686 steps), since I was able to do two walks at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I know that I can put movies on and march in place/circles to get in the steps (I’ve done it in the past)–I just didn’t feel like watching TV this past month.
Finishing LIIFT4 and starting MM100
I was actually almost finished with LIIFT4 (the lifting portion), when I semi-sprained my wrist mid-month. I had been doing some yard work and tried to cut a thick branch with the pruners and placed a little too much pressure on my wrist. I then decided I would focus on ‘intentional’ movement again while waiting for my wrist to heal. Even though there is some slight discomfort (every so often), I will be restarting LIIFT4 (possibly going light for awhile) on Monday, and then starting my second round of MM100 in September (finishing up 2021 with the program).
Read one to two non-fiction books (and hopefully write small review)
I’m currently a little over a third of the way through ‘The More of Less’ by Josh Becker. July was more fiction reading than non-fiction reading (in part due to the frequent mild anxiety attacks I’d been having).
Read two to three fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews)
The fiction books I managed to read this month included:
The Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd
Come Together (Butler, VT #7) by Marie Force
Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
In addition to binge reading the Green Mountain series and the first six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force (to be able to red book seven).
So far, Inked Obsession is the only one that has a review up on the blog currently. I’m working on the other two (A Scent of Magick and Come Together), and they should be getting posted sometime during August.
Finishing up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and working through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
I have my first ‘drafts’ of the editing assignments finished (I may go back and try to re-edit one or two of the assignments [see if I can get the word count down a little more for one of them]), and am slowly working on the writing assignments.
I didn’t watch any of the videos from the Regulatory Affairs Council program.
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
While this will be covered in a little more depth in my limited spending check-in post, I will say that I did spend a little more this month than I had originally planned on.
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries
Well, we’re in the dog days of summer—so if I was outside it was usually sitting in front of the fan (though I did manage to get two walks in at Boomer Lake this past month). I’ve been good at doing my evening meditation/sitting quietly for a few minutes before bed.
In terms of the daily gratitude entries, I’d been pretty good at doing those up until the past week or so. Goal for August—gratitude entry before other work in the evening.
Craft time (start the cross-stitch project and possibly create a necklace)
I have started a cross-stitch project. I haven’t gotten very far with it, but it is going to be an abstract design (actually really—no design, but trying to use each color of thread at least once), that I hope to finish by the end of September.
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
I started working through the one program ’15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them’ last week (I’ve managed to watch at least five videos, and am about a quarter of the way through the course).
Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)
Nope, this still hasn’t happened. I think the main reason is that I’m trying to put too much stuff on the ‘plate’ each day, and if something has to be ‘left’ behind (as in not finished or started), it is usually this—refreshing Spanish.
While there were a few goals that I didn’t meet (refreshing Spanish, working through various e-courses, and having a ‘good’ limited spending month), I did manage to get a few other things accomplished.
I applied for, and was accepted as a volunteer medical content writer. While it isn’t a paid position—I’m gaining experience in medical content writing, and a company I can use as a reference at some point in the future. It is also helping me focus on topics that may not be of total ‘interest’ to me, but of interest to others.
Therefore, going forward I’m going to have to try to get better at time/project management—so that I can get things checked off the to-do list, but also generate content for others (currently just the medical content company).
I’m also working on trying to add more science and health posts and pages to the blog as well, with the goal of having at least one to two new pages a month, in addition to one to three new posts a month.
I’m keeping my goals fairly consistent—as that is how they become habits. Since I still slightly struggle with a few of them (limited spending, working through e-courses, and so forth), that means they’re not habits yet, and even when they become habits—they will still have a spot in the tracker journal.
As we move into the last five months of 2021—we may be facing another ‘shelter in place’ order (depending on how bad the delta variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus continues to spread), which means focusing on my mental health may take priority again this fall. The past couple of days, I’ve felt my anxiety spike just over the thought of picking a new template for the blog, rearranging the order of pages (possibly combining some and removing others), adding new pages and ‘rewriting’ my home and work with me pages.
While, I don’t like the semi out of control feelings that the anxiety attacks produce—I’m acknowledging the sensations and working through the feelings. The redesign of the blog may take a few weeks (or possibly even a few months), but I’ll get it done. When the anxious feelings really spike—that will be when the computer is shut down, and I pick up the cross-stitch project and stab the cloth over and over again (it actually helps).
So, the first seven months of 2021 are over, who knows how the last five months are going to go (especially in terms of the pandemic)—but I know that I will keep showing up daily, working on laying the foundation to an online career and presence. That career and presence will be multi-facet, mainly so that I don’t lose interest as I move forward.
Therefore the goals for August will include:
135-155,000 steps; I will probably need to put a movie (or three) on to get the steps in this month. We’re in the middle of the ‘dog days of summer’, and the delta variant is surging both in town and the state–this means I’m going to have tostart limiting both the number of walks and the time spent up at Boomer Lake.
Restart LIIFT4 (following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO program, and roll the dice to figure out the next advanced cheeky scientist program to start
Finish reading two to three of the four non-fiction books I’ve started over the past two months
Read two to four fiction books (write small reviews for at least one of them)
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude entries in the journal
Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project)
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
The goals are similar to last month; I just decided I’d leave off refreshing Spanish currently (since I have enough on the plate, when I also add in the weekly content I need to write for my volunteer position).
If another ‘shelter in place’ order is given this fall, I will probably have to go through various social media accounts and limit the number of political things I see (I’m totally pro-vaccine, pro-mask, and pro-social distancing; I just get tired of seeing all the stuff in regards to those who aren’t following the guidelines).
The blog/website will be getting a ‘new look’ over the coming weeks/months as I try to streamline how things look, and what type of ‘work’ I’ll be offering (writing/photo stock/project management and so forth). The domain name won’t be changing for a while (possibly late fall or early next year), depending on how things work out.
I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.
What type of post would you like to see more of: science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths?
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):
Brand Development and Management
PersonalDevelopment (with specific sub-items/topics):
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):
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
Oracle card drawings (weekly, but hopefully daily)
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?
So it is that time again–for a check-in on my year long limited spending challenge.
In case you’re new to the blog, here is a brief recap–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and splurging), I would ‘limit’ the spending and items would fall into one of two categories: needed and splurges.
I did really well in January on the challenge, and then slowly started slipping since, and hopefully May will be the last ‘major’ sliding month for the year.
So yes–I splurged. On what? Well–mainly books, I think I mentioned it last year (or maybe in 2019) on a book review–I’m an impulsive book buyer. So the books I bought were:
2021: Webmaster Series by Dr. Andy Williams
A couple of books on SEO
Hope River series by Margaret McHeyzer
The Guardians series by Victoria Paige
25 ways to work from home by Jen Ruiz
Wildfire Hearts series by Savannah Kade
Bad Karma Special Ops series by Tracy Brody
Linear Tactical series by Janie Crouch
Authentic: How to be yourself and why it matters by Stephen Joseph
The Lt. Kate Gazarra series (books 1-3) by Blair Howard
Guardian Hostage Rescue Specialist series by Ellie Masters
So, I think that I have enough books to get me through the rest of the year, in addition to the books I splurged on last month, all the free ones I downloaded in March & December, plus the pre-orders I still have set throughout the year.
I also bought a couple more e-courses as well. While I stated at the beginning of the year that I was aiming at not purchasing any other e-courses, I did buy one or two earlier in the year (there is an copy writing course I’m going to be starting soon). Also once I created my ‘personal/professional development board game’, I decided that I wanted to get a couple of art history courses if possible (as it is a subject that I’ve always been fascinated with and any books I have on the various subjects are currently in a storage unit). In addition to those courses, I found several others that could be beneficial moving forward as well.
So the e-courses I recently purchased included (and they’re all from Udemy):
How to Awaken & Connect to Your Spiritual Higher Self
Learn Bioinformatics from Scratch (Theory & Practical)
How to become a freelance editor
Kick start a freelance editor & proofreader career on upwork
Art history: prehistory to the renaissance
From Caves to Cities: Prehistoric art history
Gods & Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia
Ancient Art of South Arabia: The Himyarite Kingdom
Computer Vision Masterclass
Luckily I purchased all these courses during various ‘sale’ periods (so they were only $9.99-11.99 a courses in stead of $99+). The goal is to now try to bounce between some ‘professional development’ courses and some ‘personal development’ courses throughout the summer.
I realized that I spent way more money that I meant to during May, and therefore am aiming at a totally limited spending month (only pre-orders and my automatically monthly order from Amazon). I’ve figured if I make use of the time management app Self Control, I can stay off Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon during the day, and that is usually when I ‘splurge’–mindless scrolling though social media.
This is the ‘experiment’ for June anyway–stay off social media for majority of the day, and then have a ‘plan’ in place for teh rest of the time and start reading the books I’ve bought and working through the e-courses I’ve bought.
I realized when I started this challenge, I wasn’t going to be perfect, and I have ‘slid’ a lot in terms of book buying–but recognizing the signs is the first step, activating the self control app is the second step, and then the third step is going to be ‘creating’ check-sheets for being on Facebook (responding to comments, commenting on posts, posting in certain groups), to help limit the ‘social media’ time that way.
Here is to June being a much better (and money controlled) month in terms of the limited spending challenge.
If you’re an impulsive book buyer–who are a few of your favorite authors? If you buy e-courses, what sites do you use for continous learning?
So we’re entering the final month of the first half of the year–I guess with the vaccines rolling out to deal with the pandemic, time seems to be speeding up again (at least for me). I’m slowly figuring out my productivity ‘cycle’ as I’ve realized that I’m more productive/aare during certain months compared to others. This shouldn’t have surprised me–everything is basically cyclic, from our days to our habits–we have good days and bad days. Therefore I’m working on not ‘beating’ myself up if I don’t hit all the milestones that I set for teh month (and I have been in the habit of setting a lot of goals lately).
I’m still planning on self-isolating for at least the summer and early fall (I want to see what type of numbers we’re going to ahve wtih summer and everyone heading out on vacations and traveling).
The news is still irritating/disturbing (but what else is new?)–The republican senators blocked the passage of the bipartisan commission to look into January 6th, and everyone who voted to block it should be voted out of office next year (fingers crossed, but not holding out too much hope). It has been 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre, and I think the event is just making its way into Oklahoma history books. I grew up in Oklahoma, and part of the curriculum to graduate is taking a semester class on Oklahoma history, and this event wasn’t covered (and it wasn’t covered in high school American history either), I think I first heard about it in college.
I’m still liking the fact that we have an administration that is actually listening to science, as we’re still slowly getting the virus under control. When I published ‘April in Review’, I noted that the US was just a little over 33.1 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 34.1 million cases (so an increase of basically a million cases, and I think this has been one of the lowest increases since last summer). This is probably due to more people getting the vaccine and listening to the experts. Now we’re just going to have to wait and see if there are any spikes this summer/fall due to summer breaks, vacations, and the experts saying that if you’re fully vaccinated (and without underlying health conditions) you don’t have to wear a mask or really social distance (I’m fully vaccinated & I plan on still doing both of those things for quite a while).
Though before jumping into June with both feet (and becoming more productive), I need to look back at the goals I set for May and see how I did with each of them.
The goals for May included:
At least 135-155,000 steps
Finish up 21-Day Fix Live & start 21-Day Fix Extreme Live
Finish reading the three books I started in April
Read 3 fiction books
Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, the writing/editing assignments for MWO, and the first two modules of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly
Craft time (make/design 1 necklace/bracelet set)
Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses
Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day of Spanish
Activate the time management app: Self Control
So how did I do with each of them?
At least 135-155,000 steps; I managed to surpass the minimal number of steps, and actually got 187,855 steps for the month. This included several walks up at Boomer Lake, and at least two to four walks through the neighborhood with Chaos.
Finish 21-Day Fix Live and start 21-Day fix extreme live; Well, I finished the first week of 21-Day Fix Live, then concentraetd more on intentional movements for a couple of weeks, and then started my 3rd round of LIIFT4 at the end of the month.
Finish reading the three books I started in April; I did manage to read (and finish) two non-fiction books this month, but they weren’t ones that I started in April. Instead they were books that were randomly chosen as I started to play my personal/professional baord game. The two books were ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking and ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (almost) Everything Wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed. Book reviews for both of the books have been posted as well last week. One of the two (‘Little Book of Hygge’) was actually on my abridged 2021 reading list.
Read 3 fiction books; While I managed to read quite a few fiction books throughout the month–there were really only three that were ‘brand’ new reads (the rest were basically re-reads). The three books that I read were (and book reviews will hopefully be posted wtihnn the next week or so):
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
Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, the writing/editing assignments for the MWO group, and the first two modules of the Regulatory Affairs Council program; I did finish the Clinical Research Coalition program, and am in the process of writing up a review on it, plus the things I may need to brush up on (learn), if I decide that this is a direction I may want to go in. In terms of the other parts to this goal–I’m still working on the writing/editing assignments, and I didn’t get around to watching any of the videos for the first two modules of the regulatory affairs council program.
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month; Still fell short of a totally limited spending month, I would say that it was on par for March in terms of spending. There will be more on this when I do my monthly check-in on the spending challenge (post will probably be posted either tomorrow or Thursday).
Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly; I’ve been getting better at my evening meditations, I think I only talked myself out of it once or twice this month. It was a soggy month (especially mid-month), that limited the amount of time spent outdoors. But when I could spend time outdoors I did.
Craft time (design/make 1 necklace/bracelet set); Well, I didn’t ‘sit’ down for craft time this month. I was outside more with the camera (on the days that permitted it).
Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses: So, this didn’t happen. I didn’t start or finish any e-course (other than the Clinical Research Coalition program) during May.
Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day of Spanish: So this is something else that I didn’t get accomplished during May. While I’m trying to get better at time (and project) management, I never seemed to figure out the best time of day for refreshing Spanish. I also realized that I should probably have started with a lower ‘aim’ of 30-45 minutes, 2-to-3 days a week (instead of aiming for everyday).
Activate the time management app: Self Control; I did manage to activate the time management app, Self Control this month. This is an app, where you add in the websites you want to stay off of, the amount of time to stay off of them, and then you hit start.
The pros: you can adjust the time and list from day-to-day. The only ‘con’ is you have to turn on the app every day (there isn’t a setting for setting which days you want it to be active). Plus (this can be a pro or con depending on your viewpoint), it stays active even if you have to reset your computer (which I’ve had to do a couple of times).
But I do think that I managed to get a little more accomplished this month once I got over my ‘fear’ of using the app, instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or shopping on Amazon.
So I think I managed to meet about half the goals (in some form), and I realized having 3 goals that require a good amount of time on the computer daily was being a little ambitious, and at times has been probably a reason for one or two (possibly all three) not getting fully accomplished. Going between different genera for reading is ‘easier’ than mentally ‘switching gears’ in terms of concentration and note-taking (at least for me at times).
I had posted earlier that I created a board game to help me stretch the comfort zone and also limit the indecision on what to do next–it would simply be a roll of the dice, and if I wanted to ‘skip’ the square, answering a few questions. So far, the game has allowed me to get two non-fiction books read (yep, prior to the game I was once again bouncing between non-fiction and fiction books), and finishing up the clinical research coalition program.
I also decided yesterday that I would create a few more ‘trackers’ for tracking professional development ‘social media’ interactions, as I have a bad habit of lurking or not getting on social media for extended periods of time (due to anxiety), and I’m hoping that this helps me deal with said anxiety issues.
So in addition to what I will be trying to track for professional development, the other goals for June will include:
At least 130-150,000 steps; we’re basically in summer, so hopefully will be able to get up to Boomer Lake at least once a week
Continue with LIIFT4 (mainly the lifting portion, HIIT/core if I feel like it)
Read at least one non-fiction book and post the review (more if I land on another ‘read’ square)
Read at least 2 fiction books (and post reviews)
Start (and probably finish) the Intellectual Property Pack course, and work on the writing/editing assignments for the MWO group
No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited spending month; honor the limited spending challenge
Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly
Start (and possibly finish) at least one other e-course (take good notes)
Craft time (doodle a cross-stitch design, design a necklace/bracelet set, more photography)
The goals are more or less the same as last month (just changing the name of the workout program and at least one of the e-courses), but that is how they become habit–you keep doing them until you’re no longer really thinking about doing them–you just do them. Then you can go to ‘new goals’, and keep repeating those, and on and on.
Besides trying to make sure that I ‘succeed’ at reaching the goals for June–my ‘biggest’ goal will actually be feeling like I was productive and not just sitting around ‘wishing’ for things to go a certain way, but actually brainstorming and working towards those ‘wishes/goals’. With thinking of joining the ‘online’ space as a freelance writer/proofreader/editor/data analyst/project manager/photographer–I’m going to have to figure out ways of ‘sticking out’–which means determining the category/subjects/niches for at least writer/proofreader/editor/data analyst/project manager portion, since I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with nature (and pet) photography for awhile.
I’m going to remind myself daily of one of the quotes that I picked for 2021: “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, plus the words: growth, creativity, and curiosity.
What science (or possibly history) topics do you either find interesting or confusing (or both)???