Tag: projectmangement

Time and Project Management: Time to compare time blocking or a timer?

Note to self–PROOFREAD before saving and uploading…luckily I caught my error before hitting ‘publish’…I think I may need more coffee tomorrow.

So we’re going to be entering the third new moon cycle this weekend…just in time to set the clocks ahead an hour and screw up our natural circadian clock for several days. I would really like for Congress to get off their asses and pass a bill that would have things either totally standard time or day-light savings time—pick one….while I’d like standard time to stay…I could adapt to day-lights savings time…but I’m getting tired of the bouncing between the two. Also…the change was ‘good’ back in the day—before headlights were added to farm equipment, allowing farmers to work past sundown. 

I’m not holding out high hopes for 2024 to be a stellar year…hell, I’m not sure if I’m going to hold hopes for the decade ending on a decent note (and we still have a little over five years before we hit 2030).

So, before looking ahead to the Pisces new moon, I need to look back at the few goals I’d set for the Aquarius new moon and see how I did with each of them. I didn’t set many goals for the Aquarius new moon—mainly because I’m still working on figuring out the best time/project management system for myself.

So what were the few goals that I’d set for the Aquarius new moon? They included:

  1. Continue working on my ‘long-term’ vision/plan (and brainstorm what the smaller milestones will be)
  2. Continue trying to organize the files on the computer (see what is actually needed/worth keeping and what can be deleted), and the backup external hard drive.
  3. Finish ‘reorganizing’ the bedroom (again)

So how did I do with each of them?

Working on the ‘long-term’ (aka two-to-five year) plan:

Where do I see myself in two-to-five years? I see myself having two successful blogs/websites that have helped me par down on my debt, embrace my own vision of success & minimalism, and am living life more or less on my own terms. Do I have each ‘goal’ totally broken down into objectives & key results/milestones…not quite—I’ve got objectives (and sub-objectives) for one or two of the goals. I’ve been slowly spending about an hour a day reading through the document, editing, and then brainstorming what key objectives (and sub-objectives) would work best for each goal. Then I will go back and brainstorm the key results/milestones for each.

I wrote out five ‘big’ goals—or goal like statements. I’ve got objective (or mini-goals) for two of them written, along with some sub-objective. I’m hoping to have the rest fleshed out by next weekend and having them posted somewhere I will see them daily.

Organization of files on the laptop…and hopefully the backup hard drive:

I’ve managed to get a good chunk of files organized on the laptop…due in part to the fact that I didn’t transfer over all the files from my backup hard drive. So…there are still files/folders that I need to organize on that hard drive (namely all the pictures from the digital camera), and I should probably think of possibly getting another backup hard drive for this computer as well. The biggest thing I’ve found is that I have the terrible habit of labeling almost all projects ‘rough draft’ and I don’t know which is the actual rough draft & which one was the one that I’d published on LI (several years ago). 

So this is something that I’m going to try to be better at—creating folders and then actually having all the correct files within those folders (say notes in one folder, rough draft & edits in another, and then file drafts in a third; but all of these folders within a folder for that particular blog post). This will be extremely important as I start branching out and writing on different platforms, trying to find clients and so forth. 

I still need to look at the backup hard-drive, which has all the files from the older laptop on it–along with ALL my pictures. Now, that is one task I’ve been trying to accomplish for a couple of years–organization of the pictures and deletion of blurry pictures. I’d say deleting duplicates…but I don’t really have ‘duplicate’ pictures–I just have a whole of pictures of birds…and I think there could be a GB or two on just the ruby-throated hummingbirds that show up in the summer.

Reorganizing the bedroom (again):

I’ve almost got my room put back together (after having to move stuff around early last month due to getting new windows in). Though it will become disorganized again as I work on decluttering my room…so I can start bring boxes from my storage unit home to sort through and decide what can be kept, discarded, sold, or donated. One really big plan for the year is to try to get things decluttered enough—that I may actually be willing to dust the house (more than just maybe once every six months or so).

I’ve got ideas for making use of scrap cloth and other material—I just need to figure out where I can set up my sewing machine, and have a storage area for not only sewing supplies—but other craft supplies as well.

Conclusions:

Three goals…and I would say that I managed to get about 75-80% done on each one. The bedroom will always be semi-disorganized (at least until I get everything out of the storage unit and into the house), and I’ve gotten rid of things that I either no longer want, use, or have need for (though I’m going to try to repurpose and reuse things).

Organization of the computer files went a little better than I thought it would…but then I realized that most of the files are still on the backup hard-drive (which I haven’t started working with yet). The two-to-five year plan is slowly coming along. I just need to spend a couple of hours brainstorming ideas for the objectives for a few of the goals, and then figure out the sub-objectives and key results for most of them.

But I made progress on all of them…and that is progress in and of itself. The past two years have been hard, and trying to find a new normal isn’t always easy…sometimes it’s easier to fall back into procrastination corner instead of working towards being in productivity central. But I’m making that progress.

What did you manage to get accomplish during the Aquarius new moon?

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Virgo Goals: Focusing on time & project management skills

So the moon hit its full stage last night as it enters the Virgo constellation, and I’m a day late in posting my reflections & goals. But that’s the beauty of the moon—it stays ‘full’ or ‘new’ for a day or so past the ‘peak’. There are only four days left in Feb—as this year is a leap year. As I mentioned in yesterday’s update on the Leo full moon goals—the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and at times I fall short on hitting goals (due to sitting firmly within procrastination corner).

Looking back at things—I never set goals last year for the Virgo full moon…but that was because we were still in the middle of dealing with the family medical crisis, and I let a lot of things slide (like posting consistently to the blog). That is one thing I’m aiming on improving this year—posting to at least this blog at least four times a month (covering the new & full moon goals).

If you’re one who tries to understand how your mood changes or is affected by the moon—the Virgo full moon usually has people feeling finicky and anxious. Personally—I don’t need any extra anxiety in my life; I manifest plenty on my own. Though no matter what sign I go with (star, rising, or moon)—all three are able to handle the Virgo energy. 

Feeling even more finicky and anxious currently probably isn’t helping world matters, but I’m going to try to focus on what I can control (how I perceive and react to various things).

So what are some questions that one can ask during this full moon? If one looks to ‘Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland—these are the questions:

Have I been too picky, pedantic, or critical of myself or anyone else?

Have I been humble to the point of underrating myself?

Have I been of service to others enough this month?

Have I been worrying and complaining too much, and thus attracting negativity?

Have I paid enough attention to the details that I need to this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1 to 5, my answers would look like this:

  1. Since I haven’t really been around other people daily since 2019…I don’t think that I’ve been picky, pedantic, or critical of others. Unless, one wants to consider my daily updates on the situation within Gaza—then yes, I have been critical of A LOT OF PEOPLE..all strangers…all politicians…all individuals that are doing LITERALLY NOTHING TO STOP A GENOCIDE. So…I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be harboring critical (and at times disparaging) thoughts on various world leaders—look at the state of the world. In terms of how I see myself? Possibly, I do at times have the bad habit of letting my inner critic/imposter syndrome get the better of me quite frequently lately—and by allowing that, I’ve realized that I’m sitting firmly within procrastination corner, and need to move out into productivity central.
  2. This is a maybe, leaning towards a hard-yes. I’ve realized over the past few years, several ‘problems/issues’ I need to work on addressing. The first—stop being a people pleaser, start having firmer boundaries, learning to say no to things, and not be ‘agreeable’ just to avoid confrontations/conflicts. The second—speaking up for myself—this can be in terms of advocating for projects/work (not wanting to work on the same thing day-in and day-out), or standing up for my right to express my opinions on different platforms. The third—work on ‘speaking’ up on camera/video. I’d realized recently that I’m still letting a particular childhood ‘phobia/trauma’ dictate certain things…that ‘phobia/trauma’—being concerned/scared of others trying to ‘correct’  my speech (and how I say pronounce things). How do these ‘problems/issues’ equate to humbleness—I prefer being in the background and not center stage, and not ‘claiming’ the spotlight when one of my ideas or something I worked on gets spotlighted (letting others take the ‘fame’). Moving forward (either working for myself or into industry)—I need to start tooting my own horn and showing/highlighting my own worth.
  3. I’ve taken over majority of the household chores & half the cooking chores at home. Up until recently—I’d also been sharing a daily update on the situation in Gaza & the West Bank on different social media platforms—giving a voice to those that are being targeted for genocide, and helping to (hopefully) educate more people on what is happening. I say ‘up until recently’—because currently I’ve been restricted from my LinkedIn account, but am still posting those updates to Instagram & my personal Facebook page.  I’m working on my transition plan to either remote writing and/or freelance writing. I’ve discovered that two of my ‘whys’ for this change include wanting to help improve both science communication between the general public and scientists, and to help improve science education (possibly through the creation of online courses that can serve as supplemental study aids for students).
  4. Umm…the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. There is still the Russian invasion of Ukraine (entering like year two?), the genocide going on in Gaza, genocides happening within various African countries (the Congo & Sudan to name two), and other areas of the world. The SARS-CoV2 virus is still floating around as well…so have I been complaining—I’d say I’ve been more sharing news (with my opinions interspersed), and if that accounts for complaining—then yes. Has it attracted negativity? Yes…but there are always going to be people that don’t like things being pointed out to them—and I refuse to moderate what I write/share/post just to appease the emotions of total strangers. Therefore—I’m trying to focus on what is actually within my control (how I react to things), and am working on trying to catch and ‘rewrite’ the negative self-thoughts throughout the day. 
  5. Well, this month is almost over…and I’d say I’ve accomplished possibly a third of what I was aiming for—while making note of where I can strive to improve things. The biggest area that I need to work on: time & project management (aka getting out of procrastination corner and into productivity central). While I managed to watch an e-course this month, I have yet to watch any TedTalks or listen to many podcasts—two things I’m going work on improving moving forward. Creating an fluid weekly schedule, editorial calendar, and having access to all my social media channels—I will hopefully move slowly out of procrastination corner. 

 So one other thing people should look at is what house the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Virgo full moon also correlates to my 11th house or my friend zone. Therefore, the period of the Virgo full moon is a time to try to focus on the other people in your life, plus build up your personal and professional networks as well.

I’d been doing decently at networking on LinkedIn over the past few months—especially since I’d started speaking up on behalf of Gaza & Palestinians. Though, now (since my account has been restricted)—I need to figure out how to build that type of network off of LinkedIn, in other words—really start building out both blogs/websites, setting up an ‘craft’ store, creating newsletters and so forth.  

I’ve realized over the past few months—that while remote work would be nice (steady paycheck), it may not come to be—because of the fact that I’ve been speaking out on behalf of Gaza & Palestinians. Therefore—I do need to start focusing a little more on getting the freelance business(es) up and going by the summer. That also means figuring out how to reach-out/network with other freelancers (and just people in general) off of social media channels (since once your accounts are ‘restricted’—you do lose access to things).

So what can I work on during the next full moon period? Well, I can:

  1. Get back into the practice of doing ‘monthly brain dumps’ and using things from the list as ideas for blog posts, infographics and so forth
  2. Working on that two-to-five year plan. Brainstorming (hopefully) reasonable milestones to aim for
  3. Make a list (from both my 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days) that I want to accomplish during the second quarter of 2024
  4. Develop a rough draft of a fluid weekly schedule…leading to hopefully a workable fluid schedule by May.

Four goals for the Virgo full moon. Two could be considered ‘one-and-done’ goals—doing a monthly brain dump, and making a list of things I want to accomplish during the second quarter of the year. Though technically—the second goal could be a ‘one-and-done’, if I make the time to sit and contemplate what those milestones would be. One thing that I’ve realized over the past year or two—I’m old fashion in terms of keeping track of things—meaning, I like writing things down on paper and referencing back to them..though I also know that once various aspects of either getting a freelance business launched or landing a remote job, I will have to also make use of digital tracking systems.

The rough draft weekly schedule has more to do with setting a ‘timer’ for say sixty to ninety minutes for working on a project (or doing research), then taking a ten to fifteen minute break before starting the next block of time. If I get a ‘task’ done quicker, I’ll stop the initial timer (make note in the planner how long task ‘x’ actually took), and set the break timer. In addition I need to find a productivity app that allows me to block access to social media for set periods of time as well (not sure if the self control app works on this laptop).

I’d mentioned two years ago that I’d been trying to work on an mind-map for a post/article where I was going to try to combine different methods of goal setting (SMART goals, the 12-week method, & setting goals by the phase of the moon)…and then something else caught my attention and I never got that particular project off the ground…this year will be the year that I get that article written and published (after coming up with a good tracking method and testing it out).

So..yeah–I’ll be spending most of the Virgo full moon trying to figure out the best ways of being more productive so that I can move out of procrastination corner and further into productivity central. Hopefully by focusing on what I can control, will also help in controlling the anxiety, stress, and to a point the mild depression that I fall into every so often.

I want to end by asking: what is one of your favorite ways of setting goals? Is it using the SMART method, the 12-week method, or by the phase of the moon? Also—how are you handling the extra anxiety of the Virgo moon this week?

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Review of Pisces Goals: Procrastination Habits Acknowledged & Progress on Projects

So the moon will be entering its full moon for September tomorrow night, which means I should look back at the goals that I set for the August Super Blue Moon (since it had two). This also means that we’re basically down to the last quarter of 2023.

So what goals did I make for the Pisces Super Blue Moon? They included:

  1. Troubleshooting my weekly ‘schedule’—making notes of what blocks of periods work, what doesn’t work; am I trying to cram too much stuff in on any particular day; are there days that may be better served as ‘brainstorming’/‘learning’ days?
  2. Spend at least fifteen to thirty minutes a day on some type of craft project
  3. Working on both blogs—getting the second blog up and ‘running’ (having the home page & about me pages written, and having the ‘blog’ portion live with at least one post by the end of September); working on editorial calendars, and so forth.
  4. Work through at least part of one personal/professional e-course.

So how did I do with each of them?

Troubleshooting my weekly schedule:

I had hopes that I would be done ‘troubleshooting’ my weekly schedule this week and could commit to a schedule come October. Well—what I’ve found is that my evening block is best spent doing crafts and relaxing, and I’d rather flip and move around times for doing chores and cooking instead of blocking those off in the late afternoon.

I also think that on Wednesdays, I will be dedicating more time to brainstorming and/or e-courses in addition to the chores for the day. I also need to get better at actually doing things on the weekends. Usually I’ve managed to get about sixty percent of things I want done during the week done…goal for the last quarter is to get that percentage up to eighty percent.

Spending at least fifteen minutes to a half hour on crafts:

I’m starting to spend more time in the evenings working on my large needlepoint project (and hopefully will have it done by Thanksgiving weekend if not by Halloween). One thing I’d realized over the past week, is that unless I’m doing crafts (and taking progress photos) there isn’t a lot of new photographs to share (since I was going to try to do a 365-day photography challenge). But that is something again to work on during the fourth quarter of the year.

Working on both blogs:

Well, I have the second blog/website (the science/health/medical) up and ‘running’. Basically other than the blog and portfolio pages, the rest are all visible. I had planned on getting a blog post up last week, but stuff happened (we unexpectedly lost one of our cats) and that blog post never happened. But it is on the schedule for October. 

I have also posted at least four times to this blog, while I had a bigger goal in mind (say weekly)—I’ll take being at least consistent in being sporadic in posting. Again, becoming more consistent is on the schedule for October.

Working through another e-course:

I worked through/watched ‘The Ten Steps for Getting Your Point Across in Writing’ on Udemy. The main thing I got from this course—I don’t spend enough time on the planning and editing stages of writing. That will change (especially for the science/health/medical site) moving forward.

Progress is being made in terms of both time and project management. The fourth goal (which was the only ‘yes/no’ in terms of total completion) was completed, and progress on the other three were made. Scheduling (or time blocking) is the aspect of time/project management that I need to get better at during the next few months. 

I know that I switch things up at the last minute because I feel I will either get bored or not get the task completed to my ‘liking’ (aka fear of failure and my inner critic is rearing it’s ugly head again). How will I work with my inner critic? Well, I could offer it an unlimited supply of cookies and brownies…which means focusing more on baking than content creation. So—maybe (at least every so often). Basically, I need to dedicate a good chunk of time to the planning stage of projects (outlines, determining what style(s) of communication I can get out of said outline; and then making (and sticking) with a reasonable deadline schedule). This means that to begin with I may only have a blog post monthly on the new site, and once I get enough outlines/mind maps made it could move to biweekly, and then weekly.

It is better to start at a slow jog, than to try to sprint my way to a ‘finish’ line that may or may not be the one for me.

The two phrases I need to keep in mind as I move forward with various endeavors: ‘progress over perfection’ and ‘done is better than perfect, because perfect never gets done’.

As the moon moves into Aries, it is time to take a look at things and figure out where I’ve been stalling in goals…and that is the subject of the next Full Moon Goals post.

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Health, time and project management: Goals for the Virgo New Moon

So, we’re going to entering the Virgo New Moon this weekend, and I’m a couple days late in posting my new moon goals. That means the month is literally halfway over, and there are only a few days until my birthday. It also means that we’re almost through Virgo season as well.

While I’m not counting down the days until my birthday (I have too many things that I’d like to get done before hand…that if I start counting down the days—I may have either a nervous breakdown, or just turn off the computer and read), I will try to focus on what goals I can set and achieve during this time.

So what are some of the things that one can do during the Virgo new moon?

Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.

Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.

Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.

Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play

Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward.

While most would think that the new moon would be moving through my first house (since my star sign is Virgo), it actually moving through my 11th house (or friends’ zone), since I’ve been going with my rising sign (which is Scorpio). 

Last year I wrote that my ‘new normal’ was social distancing (with a few exceptions—meeting a friend for lunch), wearing a mask, and just trying to be considerate of others. That is still part of my ‘new normal’, but now it also includes trying to figure out life post-trauma (death in the family back in May, and loss of a couple of pets in June).

Some of the things one can do in regards to their 11th house include:

Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do.

Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met.

Wish on a star every night for a month.

Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now.

Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to.

Thank your best friend for being there for you.

Even though the pandemic has been ‘dialed’ back to epidemic status—I still don’t get out that much, therefore about two-thirds of the above list won’t be getting done.

The only things I could do in regards to my 11th house is: wish on a star every night for a month (would help improve my astronomy—as I’d probably be wishing on a satellite or a plane), and thank my best friend for being there for me (especially this past year).

So, since I’m still in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, and mental health/spirituality) and develop a working schedule that will help me increase my productivity throughout the week.
  2. Create a fitness schedule that includes weights, shadow boxing, and getting on the exercise bike.
  3. Continue with the evening meditations, oracle card readings and journaling.

.

Goals are similar to last years—but I removed two of them. One didn’t add anything to the list, and in theory should have just been combined with the first goal (which I did here). The second one I removed was the list of outlines/drafts that I had planned for last year. I still need to make outlines/drafts/lists for both blogs, but I don’t need to do them all at once.

September is now over halfway over, and that means that there are only 105 days left in 2023. I’m more than ready for those 105 days to fly by…while at the same time wanting them to drag (mainly to ensure that I get things accomplished before 2024 gets here).

Progress is being made—I hit ‘publish’ on the science, health, medical blog website, and am working on getting it linked to my LinkedIn profile and the ‘business’ page I made for it on LinkedIn as well.

While I want to say that things are mellowing out—I also don’t want to jinx things, so I’ll just raise a toast (my cup of sleepy time tea) to the last 105 days of the year. Now, off to get some more planning done for the last quarter of the year.

What is one big goal you have for the last few months of 2023?

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Pisces New Moon in Review: Reflections and a Writing Goal

So the moon has transitioned into its fourth new moon phase last night—so I’m going to be a day or so late in posting the April New Moon goals. I talked about how the first quarter of the year was my ‘testing’ quarter—hopefully will get back into some type of consistent posting this month.

But before I look ahead to the April new moon, I should look back at the goals I had set for the Pisces new moon, and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Pisces new moon goals?

Well, they included:

  1. Work on indulging in more creative work during the day
  2. Spend at least part of the day mind-mapping different ideas (creative writing projects plus expanding the writing portfolio)
  3. Create an intentional movement board game (include weight lifting, yoga, Pilates, cardio, dancing, walking, and so forth)
  4. Continue with an evening meditation routine and also try to meditate in the morning as well.

So, how did I do with each of them?

I would like to state, that only two (creating mind maps and the board game) are ‘one-and-done’ goals, while the other two are ‘continuous’ goals.

Therefore, I would say that the only two that I was semi-consistent were the evening ‘meditation’ (which is currently just sitting quietly for a few minutes at night), and managing some photography throughout the month (though it wasn’t on a day-to-day basis).

While I like my personal/professional development board game, I decided that trying to d a fitness one wasn’t really going to work. I couldn’t decide on how many squares—did I do one for each type of lifting workout, how spaced should they be (one square, three, or more?), and how many of the other workouts (yoga, Pilates, cardio, walking, and say dancing) should be added?

Therefore, I decided I’d copy down (and modify) the tracking sheets from a fitness program I’ve done a couple of times (leaving off the pushups and lunges). I could dedicate several pages within the journal to the tracking sheets, and then I’ll make a list of different cardio, yoga, Pilates workouts that I can choose from for the non-lifting days.

Then I will simply charge the iPod, put it on shuffle and do a workout each day (also taking into account rest days and ‘active’ recovery days [yoga and Pilates]).

I have at least one mind-map completed for a rather large ‘omic’ writing project that I’m going to start on this coming month—in addition to the other large writing project that I’m toying with (melding the ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ with the topics of GMOs, biofuels, and vaccines).

I’m still debating on the oncology topic(s) that I’m going to write on (currently I’m thinking focusing on pathways that are ‘disregulated’ by different cancers), and work on the mind map for those topics.

So, I can possibly say I ‘managed’ possibly half the goals? There was time sitting quietly, and there was some craft time, and some mind mapping—just not always constantly or consistently.

As I mentioned last night in my ‘March in Review’ post—I’d let my inner critic/imposter syndrome drive the ‘fear’ train during the first quarter of the year. Changing directions is difficult, and when you live in the ‘analytical’ side of your head for years—its slightly difficult to move into the ‘creative’ side and get things up and going (such as writing, photography, crafts, and learning).

One thing I’m going to do is write everyday. Whether or not I ‘publish’ what I write daily—well, that is a whole other question (and will depend on what I’m writing). But currently I’m thinking of at least a biweekly (possibly weekly) photography page with its accompany blog post (currently would be focused on birds), and then possibly a biweekly travel page with its accompany blog post (currently would be focused on ‘throwback’ vacations, though may add in ‘wish list’ travel blog posts [places I’d like to travel to and things I’d like to see]).

When it comes to my ‘why’—I think I’ve figured them out: I want to help improve science communications between the general public and the science community, I want to help improve science education (show that it isn’t boring or dull), and share my story as I’m rediscovering my enjoyment of learning, writing, and sharing it with others.

So, I will be also be starting a weekly science series within the next few weeks—I just need to make sure that I have enough written ‘before’ hitting ‘publish’. The current two ‘large’ series I’ve already mentioned above (the ‘omic’ project and the molecular cloning/GMO/biofuel/vaccine project).

So, I digressed a little on the topic—but that is the ‘joy’ of free flow writing—you just write, and possibly go back and edit out what doesn’t make sense. Since this is a post on goals and reflections—I think I’ll leave the few meandering paragraphs on how I’m going to work on improving things.

Therefore, I can say that I’ve been embracing the phrase ‘progress over perfection’.

The Pisces ‘new moon season’ has come to an end, and it is now time to embrace the Aries season–which is also the ‘start’ of the astrological year. This means, that I can ‘reset’ my long-term, yearly, monthly, and weekly goals to match the ‘new future’.

What is that future: A future where I’m a both a content creator and a copywriter all rolled into one.

What are some of your tricks for dealing with your inner critic when it gets totally out of hand?

Namaste….

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