So, we’re in November…that means there are only two months, 61 days, roughly nine weeks, or 1,464 hours left in 2022. It’s the final sixth of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of November and the end of 2022.
As I mentioned last month—I’m tired, burnt out (more on life overall than career), and really ready for this year, and the decade to basically be over.
October was even a bigger mess than September—which is saying something. So how was it a bigger mess than September?
Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned having started in my August in Review (and touched upon in my September in Review)—it’s still ongoing, and there was a point where it wasn’t looking very good. Currently we’re back to the fifty-fifty chance of it going either way.
I’m also trying to stay off the news (I know that this is showing my privilege—but with my current mental health state—I need to stay off of it). But I will just say—Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council and kicked out of the UN in general.
By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.
Elections are coming up next week for the US—and this is where I’m going to share my two-cents.
Basic human rights are on the ballot this year. Women’s rights (voting and health care), sensible gun laws, the environment, education—all of it are on the line. For whatever reason there is a major dichotomy between the two major political parties within the US—and I don’t mind debating how each view finances, the budget, and those topics—but I won’t debate my stance on women’s rights, education, gun control, the environment, or issues I consider to be general ‘moral’/’common sense’ issues.
Therefore, if we elect more common sense and/or liberal individuals to Congress—we can end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.
And I’ll end my political/social/economical ‘rant’ here, before it takes over the post.
In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘September in Review’ on October 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 98.2 million cases and now as of November 1st —we have reached just a little over 99.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.1 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.
So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.
I thought I’d manage to get my booster shot in October—but with the way the beginning of the month went…this task fell by the wayside. Hopefully I can get around to scheduling it for sometime in November (and possibly the flu shot—if its free as well).
While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.
So before setting goals for November, its time to look back at the goals I set for October and see how I did with each of them. The goals for October included:
- 125-155K steps
- At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
- Finish at least one non-fiction book
- Read at least two-to-four fiction books
- Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
- Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings
- Craft time
- Getting the second blog/website up and running
- Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
- Writing, writing, and writing
So how did I do with each goal?
I managed to get 134,240 steps in during the month of October—basically right in the middle between hitting a little over 4K steps a day and the ‘goal’ of 5K steps a day. I managed two walks at Boomer—a partial and a full, plus took Chaos through the neighborhood once. Hopefully I will be able to get Chaos out on more walks in November, plus have an late morning/early afternoon walk at Boomer Lake at least once or twice in November.
At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:
I managed to get in one partial walk and one full walk at Boomer Lake, plus a walk through the neighborhood with Chaos. I probably managed about five minutes or so each day of ‘intentional’ movement (which for me means helping our elderly, arthritic dog in and out of the house).
Finish at least one non-fiction book:
I’m still reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to evolution; and I’m about thirty percent of the way through the book. I’m almost finished with INNERCISE; and I’m about eighty percent of the way done with that book–so I should possibly finish it sometime in November.
I’ve realized that I have cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction books—I can read several in a month (or over a period of say two months), then I go for a month (or longer) where I only end up reading a little bit of different non-fiction books (as none really grab my full attention).
Read at least two-to-four fiction books:
I’m pretty certain that I read more than four books during October (but didn’t track how many were re-reads). But teh four fiction books that I know I read during October were:
- Give Me Love (Rose Canyon #2) by Corinne Michaels
- Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review was posted last week)
- Fractured Sky (Tattered & Torn #5) by Catherine Cowles
- My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga
In addition, I also finally got around to writing and posting the book review for Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan.
Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
My goal for October was a minimum of 22 days but aiming for 29.
Well, I managed seventeen days (just a little over half the month) without buying any extra e-books, or other stuff. But since how bad the beginning of the month was (in terms of the family medical issue)–managing seventeen days isn’t too shabby.
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:
There was time outdoors—possibly not as much as I would have liked—but we’re heading into the cooler months, and unless the sun is directly overhead, it can get chilly sitting outside (even in a sweatshirt).
I’ve been making use of the soothing pod mediation app at night—and managing to sit and focus on the mediation for at least five minutes (some of the meditations are upwards of ten to fifteen minutes).
I’ve been on track doing my daily gratitude journal entries, and doing daily oracle card drawings. For October I was using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters deck:
In addition to creating graphics and other multimedia items on Canva—I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time working on a new cross-stitch project (that I’ll hopefully have completed sometime during the month of November).
Getting the second blog up and running:
Still working on this….
Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:
I watched three short courses on Skillshare during October, and they were:
3x your productivity with this weekly planning guide
I liked the course–though I didn’t print off the planning guide. Basically you’re given ten tips on how to improve your week (and those tips could also be applied to one’s monthly or even yearly calendars).
The tips that the instructor gave were:
- Visualize your goals
- Schedule self-care
- Celebrate and appreciate small and big wins
- Just say No (to things you don’t want to be doing)
- Major lessons and inspirations (from the previous week/month)
- Failure is feedback
- Who can I help? Who would I benefit from?
- Feed your soul
- Focus (top three priorities for the week)
- Daily goals and review (break the three top priorities down into actionable steps for each day)
Needless to say—I’m still working on incorporating some of these tips into my schedule/life.
Content Calendar Made Easy: Save Time and Develop a Personal Brand
This was a decent course—it talked about taking your top traits (but traits in terms of what works best for content development) and mixing them with different types of content prompts (such as FAQs, behind the scene, future plans, and so forth).
I know my strengths/values—but am still working on how to meld those into my brand, but also realize I should be thinking of traits as well (would be having to brainstorm with others on this one).
Blogging Rituals and Routines: 10 secrets for increasing blogging productivity
This was a good course, and similar to the other productivity course gave ten different tips on how to improve one’s productivity.
The ten tips this instructor gave were:
- Clean up your office/desk space
- Organize drawers and files
- Clean up your computer files
- Remove things that don’t belong in the office (ties in with #1)
- Write at the same time everyday
- Have a daily, weekly, or monthly word count goal
- Have a daily time goal for writing (say fifteen minutes each day)
- Go on a ‘blogging retreat’
- Go on a weekly solo artist date
- Put on your ‘writing’ clothes each day
In addition, there were the suggestions of going for a morning walk, and changing your scenery (going somewhere other than your home ‘office’) to help improve your productivity.
There are several things that I need to do to help improve my productivity—and the big one is to create a couple of functional (but fun) work spaces in the house. One in my bedroom (which will be the biggest challenge), and then another in either the living room or dining room (since I split the time I spend working in different areas of the house).
Writing, writing, and writing:
I managed to get quite a bit of writing done overall during the month of October. I think I managed to do all three of my weekly post series on LinkedIn (Science Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and the Oncology Friday), plus several posts for the creative/reflective blog.
I still need to work on drafting more blog posts (especially for the medical/science/health blog) in addition to starting to build out a portfolio of different communication style projects (mini-reviews; clinical trial summaries, slide decks, posters, and infographics).
What other lessons did I learn in October?
Trust your gut. I almost landed a freelance client for a writing project—but the payment method that they wanted to use was extremely phishy—so I politely declined (after having drafted an contract), and two days later—they’d blocked me on LinkedIn and the conversation thread disappeared as well (I wonder if I try to send another email if it would go through???).
Slowly dip your toe outside your comfort zone—but be completely honest and transparent with the other party.
A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about a potential remote writing position focusing on oncology—great, I’m dipping my toes into the field, but was honest that I didn’t have the post-doc or publication experience that their client wanted. The recruiter thanked me, and basically then terminated the conversation (in all it was less than a five minute phone call).
In addition last week, I reached out to someone who was looking for a freelance science/medical writer—and while they aren’t sure if they’re going to be taking on that particular project—they gave me the idea/suggestion of possibly doing consulting work for training/on-boarding science/medical writers.
So, while I may not have made progress with all the goals (still need to carve out time to focus on the other blog/website)—overall progress was made during the month of October. There should always be room for improvement (if nothing else—extending the ‘goal’ line [in terms of steps for fitness, or words/time for writing).
So looking further into November, what are my goals going to be? Well, they’re going to include:
- 120-150K steps
- Hopefully at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
- Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
- Read at least two-to-four fiction books
- Commit to the no-spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at leat 22 days; goal is 27)
- Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, and daily gratitude journal entries
- Craft time (finish the one cross-stitch project, start a new one, and/or possibly create some jewelry)
- Working through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
- Getting the second blog/website up and running
- Writing, writing, and writing
So the goals for November are basically identical to the goals for October; and technically are identical to the goals for September.
The only goal in October that I really ‘fell’ down on was getting the second blog/website up and running. It is technically ‘live’—I just need to write the copy for the various pages, get the blog up and going, and start developing the portfolio.
In terms of how I’m hoping November will go—I’m going to be pessimistically optimistic, and just try to take things a day/week at a time. This means that I might have to scrap the weekly to-do list if something goes south—or I might get more accomplished, because I’ll be hyper-focused on something other than the family medical issue.
I’m still going to be aiming to become more consistent—especially in terms of posting to the different blogs (I have a editorial/content calendar created [more or less] for LinkedIn, and semi-created for this blog—just need to work on one for the other blog).
Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.
In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).
Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.
Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?