Tag: AugustinReview

Heading into Fall: Reviewing the ‘dog days of summer’ goals

So, we’re on to the last third of the year—there are now only 122 days left in 2021. While it feels like time is starting to speed back up again, I’m wondering when things are going to totally go to hell. The vaccination rate is still on a steady decline (though there are days when the number of shots given is high), and the delta variant is still running rampant through the country. Luckily, I’ll be able to get the J&J booster shot sometime between October and December (they state that it is most effective six to eight months after the initial shot). So, it looks like I’ll be staying in self-isolation throughout the fall and winter (with the occasional walk to get the paper on the weekend, and possibly a walk once a month at Boomer Lake).

The world is still crumbling at a decent clip, and I’m talking about everything from the issues in Central Asia (Afghanistan) to the fact that while Greenland lost a huge amount of ice—they also got a huge amount of rainfall (for like the third time in recorded history). Therefore, I’m limiting my news intake to morning/night and the occasional lunchtime checks on Facebook. When I published ‘July in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 35.7 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 40.1 million cases (so it was an increase of not quite 4.5 million cases last month—all due to the delta variant and fewer people getting vaccinated).

So the numbers are going back up, and less than 0.5% of the hospitalized cases are vaccinated individuals (break-through cases). That means over 99% of the people in the hospital for SARS-CoV2, haven’t gotten the vaccine (and a good number now are children under the age of 12 that currently aren’t eligible for the vaccine). I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)

Staying in self-isolation will give me the time to really start focusing on trying to get a freelance/remote/contract career started (focusing first on writing, crafts, and possibly project/product management, then stretching to data analysis, and possibly educational consulting).

Before looking ahead to September (the start of the last third of the year, and a semi-modified new set of goals, and continuing to work on my time and project management skills), I should look at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

  1. 135-155,000 steps
  2. Restart LIIFT4 (mainly following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
  3. Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and roll the dice to figure out the next advancedcheeky scientist program to start
  4. Finish reading two to three non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews over at least one of them)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (Continue working on the cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

So how did I do with each of them?

135-155,000 steps: I managed to get in 154,591 steps this past month. Mostly through wandering around the house and yard, though I did manage to get a walk in at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I’m thinking that for September–most of the steps will be from wandering around the house/yard, walking through the neighborhood (early mornings, so I can wear my mask), and possibly a walk at Boomer Lake.

Restarting LIIFT4: I’m still giving my wrist a little more time to heal (I semi-sprained or did something to my right wrist last month), and therefore didn’t do any lifting this past month. As I mentioned in another post (400 day update), I have until basically the end of September to decide if I’m keeping my beachbody-on-demand subscription or not. I’m trying to limit my ‘screen time’ (or as much as one can when they’re thinking of freelance/remote/contract writing as a career option). Therefore I’m thinking of working out away from the screen (lifting weights and doing other things), and doing ‘screen time’ for mainly yoga.

Finishing up the MWO program & deciding on new one: I’ve finished the editing assignments for the program, and am still working on the writing assignments. I have one module left to go through (though I may not get the certificate until I complete the writing assignments), and then would be ‘done’ with the program. I did roll the dice and decided that I’d be working through the following programs over the next several months (regardless of when I finish the MWO): User Experience Squad, Project Management Consortium, Regulatory Affairs Council, Business Development Federation, and Product Management Group.

Finish reading two to three non-fiction books: I managed to read the following non-fiction books:

I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotentialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker

Though I haven’t written mini book reviews over either of them yet.

Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews on at least one of them): The fiction books Imanaged to read during the month of August included:

Vortex: A FBI Thriller (#25) by Catherine Coulter (review posted to blog)

Dawn Unearthed (Ravenwood Coven #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review posted to blog)

Wiretaps & Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday (review posted to blog)

Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday (review coming soon)

My Next Play (On My Own #3; advanced reader copy) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review coming soon)

Three out of the five books have reviews posted to the blog, and the other two books are books that I just finished within the past few days, so those reviews should hopefully be getting posted to the blog (and other sites) by the weekend.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month:

There have been a couple of books bought, one (or two) large amazon orders–but truthfully, nothing more than usual. The breakdown for this will be in the next installment of the limited spending challenge check-in.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries:

I’ve been able to spend time outdoors this month–though there was only one walk at Boomer Lake (due to combination of temperatures and the delta variant). I am very grateful that my parents have a decent size backyard that one can be out in during this period of time. I’ve been doing my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments for at least a few minutes (hoping to add this to the morning routine as well).

In term of the daily gratitude entries–I’ve been pretty good with these, even if they’ve been something along the line of being grateful that I don’t have kids and therefore I don’t have to worry/stress about navigating things with the pandemic still raging.

Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project):

I actually finished my first small abstract cross-stitch project the other day. Instead of trying to find a pattern, I’m sticking with abstract made up on the spot designs. The reason: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and trying to write letters on the fabric was giving me a headache, though I do know that with practice I’d be getting better at both of them).

My first cross-stitch project completed

I should be getting in my glue gun by the end of the week, and will be gluing some of the fabric to the backside of the framefor a more completed look.

I’m starting on a second and larger cross-stitch project, and am finding it therapeutic stabbing the fabric over and over again with teh needle and thread. It seems that the amount of time spent on the project is directly correlated to how irritated I am with the world.

Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course:

I started two different short e-courses this past month, and finished one of them:

Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence on Udemy

With the way the world is going today (especially in terms of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers), this is something that a lot of people seem to be lacking. Out of the five main concepts (self-awareness, self-control, social skills, empathy, and self motivation)—I feel like everyone needs a good dose of empathy.

While I may be getting tired of being in self-isolation (more or less) daily, at least I know that I’m doing my part not to spread the virus. Just like I know that wearing a mask in public, helps slow the spread of the virus (even though I shouldn’t be carrying it—it would still help protect me from catching it).

Everyone that is screaming ‘it’s their right’ on whether or not to wear a mask, or get vaccinated, or whatever—yes it is your right, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. We’re a global society, and we really should be looking out for each other (instead of being of the ‘me-and-mine’ mindset).

After taking the course, I’ve realized that I need to work on the self-motivation (keeping the inner critic/imposter syndrome in check) the most, with maybe self-awareness coming in second. I’m usually aware of my emotions, and while I try not to let them get the better of me, sometimes I don’t always control my facial features as much as I should.

Another thing I did last month (and actually at the very end of the month)—I submitted a ‘application’ for paying freelance writing gig. The opportunity came from the company that I’m doing the volunteer writing for (one of the editors wants the pages on another site rewritten), so I sent a response with links to both the blog and my LinkedIn profile (as my portfolio) to the editor I work with and we’ll see what happens.

Even if I don’t get the job—I managed to quiet my inner critic long enough to ask some questions in one of the medical writing Facebook groups I’m in, and put together a response and emailed it back in the afternoon. This is a really big step for me, since I’m more likely to try to let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win and not try to go for things.

I decided earlier in the month that I was going to be keeping the website url, and running tagline for the blog. I will be updating the site over the next few months (especially with a ‘portfolio’ section to highlight various science/medical writing styles/topics, and other writing examples).

I’m not going to change up my ‘goals’ that much, though I will be trying to put a little more time into the other ‘writing’ projects that I’ve got on my plate.

The other goals for September will include:

  1. 130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month, in addition to maybe one or two walks through the neighborhood in the mornings (when I shouldn’t run into anyone who could be potentially ‘anti-mask’)
  2. Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, yoga/stretching)
  3. Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for the MWO and finish the sixth module of the MWO program
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (continue working on the new cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

I’m keeping the goals similar to the ones for August—though I’m changing up the fitness/intentional movement goal. Instead of streaming workouts (though I might do that for the yoga), I’m going to just put on music and either lift weights (focusing on certain muscles) or shadow box. This way I’ll be getting in my fitness/intentional movement for the day, but at the same time will be having some ‘screen free’ time as well.

I’ll also be trying to figure out what other types of writing I’d like to be doing, so there may be a variety of blog posts (or pages) popping up throughout the month as I try my hand covering different topics.

While I’ve semi rewritten the ‘work with me’ page, that page and the welcome page may get updated throughout the fall as I slowly make my way into the freelancing world of writing, editing, proofreading, and crafting.

So, while time is starting to ‘speed’ up, I hope that everyone is getting their vaccination shot(s) against the virus, and if you have kids—they’re getting theirs as well. As that (along with masks and social distancing when needed) is really the only way we’re going to be able to get to a ‘new’ normal.

While I’d asked this question last month on what types of posts people would like to see more of (science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths), I decided that I will continue forward with a mixture of all (as that fits my personality and my top two strengths: learner and intellection).

I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What are you most excited for this fall?

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Making progress on professional development, & fitness goals.

So August is over, that means there is now less than three weeks before my birthday, barely three weeks before fall, a little over 2 months until the election, and only four months left in 2020. I’ve been joking that I’m not acknowledging this year—so in theory I won’t be turning 40, but having my 2nd 39th birthday.

I feel like I’ve been slightly more productive during the second half of the year so far—mainly in terms of pushing play and getting in a daily workout. Nutrition hasn’t been on point (and yes I know, that in terms of weight loss—one should focus heavily on nutrition instead of exercise), but I’m doing a little better every week (usually). I’ve realized what one of the major things I need to work on—finding balance between being well informed on what is going on in the world, and constantly scanning social media and the news. One thing I’m going to be looking into this coming month are web apps that block access to certain sites for a specific amount of time (say 8am to noon)—that way I can hopefully focus on other personal and professional development tasks and not just scroll through the internet.

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘July in Review’ I noted that the US had over 4.7 million cases and now the US is a little over 6.2 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.5 million cases in a month). I’m hoping that the election goes the way I want it to go, and therefore travel may be possible by the end of 2021 (I’m currently debating on whether I want to spend a week in the UK or traveling through Northern Europe—Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark).

So as we head into the last few months of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”

So how did I do with each one?

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

I managed to get in almost 186,000 steps (I ended the month at 185,860) and I was not quite 3K above the steps for July. Hopefully with cooler weather coming, I can get out and walk in the early morning, or even during the day with the pup. I haven’t done a long walk around Boomer Lake since early February (so about a month before everyone realized how serious the virus was actually going to be)—but once late fall, early winter hits I may be able to be out at the park walking (maybe with my smaller digital camera or without) and enjoying some time in nature—though I would also like to see some of the migrating birds this fall/winter.

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

I’ve been continuing with morning meltdown 100—only did one double day early in the month. The dogs had played a little too rough, so I kept an eye on Chaos that day—but did both workouts (melt-con and re-vibe) the next day to keep on track. I really like this program; right now my only complaint is that there aren’t worksheets for tracking the weights (so you can see if you need to or have gone heavier than previous workouts). So I’m thinking that I will probably be designing a set of tracking sheets for the next time (or possibly the third time, as there were a couple of workouts that I didn’t write down the exercises on).

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

One of the books that I read this month was a short book (actually the author called it a booklet) on blogging. The title is “How to write great blog posts that engage readers” by Steve Scott.

            Now I’ve had this e-booklet for a little over two years (though I just had to add it to the long personal/professional development reading list), before I actually got around to reading it. The reason—I have a habit of buying and downloading numerous books a month, and not removing books I’ve read from the device. So books that have been bought (but not read) have a habit of being at the very bottom of the list usually (or close to it). I’m now trying to get in the habit of removing read personal/professional development books—that way the only books that I’d be scrolling through are either the numerous fiction books/series that I have and any unread personal/professional development books.

            I liked this book because it gave a suggestion that one should aim at having a minimum of 8 posts a month. Two of the posts are larger articles, and the other six are smaller articles. I’m thinking of adopting this mindset, but also varying month to month what each type (large & small) articles would be over—since I’m also keeping the blog “multi-facet”—in other words I’m sticking with probably two (maybe three) niches: lifestyle, personal/professional development, and hobbies.

I started a couple of other books, but hadn’t finished any of them by the end of the month. At times I couldn’t get in the mind frame for reading personal/professional development.

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

I’ve managed to have several no spend days that almost stretched into a full no spend week—but I have yet to work up to an actual no-spend month (that is a HUGE goal for September, and hopefully October as well).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

I managed to get through all of module 4 and about 80% of module 5. I think that there are two videos left before taking the quiz for module 5, and then I would have the sixth and final module for the Data Science Syndicate. I think that I might enjoy doing data science, though I need to download python (the data analysis program, and not a snake) and start working with it before I could say one way or the other on this particular job path.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

This was something that I fell behind on doing this month—I managed to get through another quarter of the data science syndicate program, but didn’t really work on any other e-courses (or not enough to have finished a course). I did write out all the courses that I have bought over the past few years so that I can keep better track of what I’ve completed and what I still need to work on. One of my issues has been trying to mentally switch gears and sit in front of the computer and listen to someone talk for awhile and then do what ever little work is assigned for that video or section. I’ve also realized that I can work on whatever course I want—it doesn’t always have to be a professional development course—if I want to spend the afternoon learning how to read tarot cards better, I can.

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”

The answer to this question will actually be posted as a separate blog post—currently my answer is going on two pages and I still feel like I haven’t answered the question in full detail.

Goals for September will include:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day; depending on how the number of virus cases goes, I will probably slowly start increasing the daily goal.)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4 (once I draft the calendar I’ll share it)

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python and start learning how to use it

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

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August: Month in Review

Well August is officially over, and there are only 122 days left in the year. I’m also a day late in posting this as well. As I’m writing this I realize that my birthday is now in less than three weeks, and then I will be looking down my last year of my thirties. I also realized that I fell short on some of the goals for August.

There is only a month left in the third quarter of the year, and while that is scary, depressing, and slightly invigorating—I’ve realized that is just how time goes now—in an instant. Though there is still the fourth quarter of the year, and I’m thinking that is where some of the change is going to take place, and the seeds for change in 2020 will be planted.

August goals were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, including the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan.

The goals for August included:

At least 434,000 steps

Continuing with the photography challenge

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

Working on my “reboot break”

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps

            I was down less than 9,000 steps for the month of August—my final total was 425,266 steps. This was mainly due to the hot temperatures on the weekends, and me not getting my steps in on those days (plus one or two days during the week, when I fell short as well). Though for the year I’m at 3,579,549 steps, which means that to get to 5 million—I only need to aim for a little over 11,500 steps a day. So, I think it is safe to say that I’m going to make the goal of 5 million steps. It is nice to see that by the time I take my reboot break, I don’t necessarily have to aim for 14,000 steps a day (though I probably will—just so I’m not constantly sitting on my butt).

Continuing with the photography challenge

            I took a week off from the photography challenge this month. This was partially due to the heat and not having done a walk for a week or two (therefore I felt like I was running low on photographs to share), and partially due to my mood—I just wasn’t in a good mind space that week.

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

            I managed to finish one book this month and it was “The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful solutions to manage stress, reduce anxiety, and increase well-being” by Robyn Gobin.

            One thing that I have realized is that while having a kindle is nice—all your books are at your fingertips, at the same time it can be detrimental if you bounce between books a lot (like I do at times). There are numerous books that I’ve started to read in terms of personal/professional development and then I decided I wanted to read something else. So now I’m actually going to go back to some of those books and start from the beginning, as it’s been at least six weeks (if not longer) since I read anything from that particular book.

Working on my “reboot break”

            I have an idea of how the first few weeks will go—as those are the weeks that I’m going to dedicate to getting my storage unit in order and starting to try to get rid of things (either selling or donating).

            As I had posted earlier, I’m thinking that the first week (and it will probably be the week of Thanksgiving) will look a little like this:

                        Get up, have a cup of coffee (or tea), and feed the dogs

                        Go for a morning walk at Boomer Lake (morning zen time and photography time)

                        Breakfast, shower (probably), then to the storage unit to rearrange and/or repack boxes

                        Home for lunch

                        Computer time: **Make use of apps that allow blocking of certain sites for a certain time frame (remove social media temptation—mainly facebook & instagram).

                                    At least one e-course (I have numerous ones bought covering a wide range of topics)

                                    Read/share at least two articles from a biotech/biopharma news site on Linkedin and twitter

                                    Spend at least forty minutes responding to messages and/or sending out connection requests on linkedin

                                    Spend at least thirty minutes reading through other people’s posts on linkedin, and hopefully commenting on at least two or three of them.

                                    Read for an hour (personal/professional development) and journal for an hour (answering questions from personal/professional development book)

                                    Workout

                                    Feed the animals

                                    Dinner and evening routine

            Then after getting my storage unit in order, and other things taken care of I can use that time for other things (such as craft time, or more reading/journaling time). This is one thing I’m hoping to improve upon during my reboot break—time management and spending time doing things that I enjoy and things I need to do.

            I’ve realized that I’m not aiming for “balance” per say—just having the ability to say today is a day that I need more “me” time or today is a day that will be heavy workwise, therefore after work this is going to be my recharge plan. It has taken me almost thirty-nine years to realize that I really never have had that type of “balance”—I go all out one way or the other, and therefore it isn’t surprising that I’m basically burnt out on life.

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

            I think I managed about one day a week of not spending money on campus. I’ve gotten into the bad habit again of going to the student union at lunch and grabbing candy (my excuse is that it’s a walk to help me get in my steps). Hopefully other than a few scheduled purchases (such as pre-ordered books, one lunch out with friends, and one order from Amazon), I can avoid spending money this month.

            I don’t see spending money as bad—but considering what I’m currently buying (namely candy)—I think that I should try to cut back on that spending. Now if I end up buying some fruit or veggies to snack on while on campus—I will make note, but still try to avoid “careless” spending (i.e. spending money on things that I could very well bring from home).

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

            This is one thing that I’m struggling with currently. There have been new “hours” required at work (they’re not really new, but they’re very concrete—can’t leave until basically 5 pm on the dot), which has messed up my evening routine and I have yet to get into the groove of a new one. Hopefully this is something that I can get straightened out over the next few months.

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

            Well, other than the photography challenge (and I took a week off from that), and a few other posts—I didn’t get that much content created for the blog, and none that would be shared via linkedin.

            I realize that sharing things via linkedin, they’ll be more of the scientific posts (and I don’t have that many of those done), plus I haven’t decided on the niche/area I would like to focus on. Though to be truthful, for the blog I can be a little more of a jack-of-all-trades, but they would need a central theme.

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

            I have read several articles on biotech/biopharma business pages, and even shared them on linkedin and twitter. It isn’t totally consistent—but it is a start. I’m still trying to figure out my niche, as everything/one has said that it is better to be an expert than a jack-of-all-trades (which is what I currently consider myself).

            This is currently one of the problems I’m having with my transition plan—trying to narrow down what it is I want to do with my life. One thing I’ve realized over the years—once I master a skill, I start to get bored. Therefore I’m going to need to choose an area, where I will be challenged consistently, and that could even mean working my way up the ladder—more responsibility, more challenges. Or, I may need to look towards smaller companies, where I may wear more than one “hat” in terms of responsibilities.

Therefore the goals for September will include:

At least 420,000 steps

Continue with the photography challenge

Determine some type of workout routine (hopefully more than just walking)

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep money log)

Read 3 non-fiction books

Continue working on the reboot/pause plan

Try to set up a monthly calendar (getting organize) for various things

Continue reading on various industry websites and sharing interesting articles via linkedin/twitter. Plus notes for weekly recap on the blog

Keep reminding myself: Progress over perfection, and that I shouldn’t fear failure, but fear being in the same place next year as I am today.

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