Tag: reading

Month in Review: July 2020

So July has come and gone—which means there are only five months left in 2020. As I’ve stated before—2020 hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go so far, and the next five months probably still won’t totally go the way I would like to go, but I have to keep reminding myself—the only reactions I can control are my own—so it’s now into month five of self-isolation, I go.

While some parts of the world seem to be getting the virus under control—the US isn’t one of them. Our numbers are still climbing (over 4.7 million confirmed cases and over 157K dead), and we’re still more or less on a “global timeout”. This means that any and all travel that I had planned is delayed for at least another year (which means the earliest—August 2021), if not longer. While I don’t mind delaying travel—I am getting a little tired of self-isolation (though I will continue to do so as long as necessary).

This means that any type of interviews (informational and job-related) will be done via online applications, which also means numerous other things need to be taken into consideration and dealt with—such as making sure that the sound and everything works well (microphone over using the computer), creating a neutral backdrop for the office area of my bedroom, and whatever else I will be needing to add to the list. But for now, it is time for a brief reflection on the goals that I had set for July and how I did with each one of them.

So what were the goals for July? The goals for July included:

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

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

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

In terms of steps—I managed to get to a total of 182,969 steps for the month of July. There were seven days that I finished below the 5,000-step goal—which is why I was about 20K below the final total that I managed for June. But at least I managed to move around enough that I got about 25K extra steps during July (and some of the days that I was short—the days were hot and humid and I didn’t feel like moving around that much).

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

I have been continuing with Morning Meltdown 100, and finished days 24 to 54. While I measured at the end of phase 2 (which was July 17th), I’m not going to measure again until the end of the program (which will be on Sept 15th). The reason—water retention and bloating can cause numbers to be off.

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

During the month of July I managed to read (or finish reading) the following books:

“How to be an imperfectionist: The new way to self-acceptance, fearless living, and freedom from perfectionism” by Stephen Guise

“Hello Fears: Crush your comfort zone and become who you’re meant to be” by Michelle Poler

“Better than Before: What I learned about making and breaking habits-to sleep more, quit sugar, procrastinate less, and generally build a happier life” by Gretchen Rubin

All three of the books would fall under the personal development category (though it is very difficult to try to separate personal and professional development—they are two sides of the same coin). They all dealt with similar topics—our comfort zones, and trying to push past the “fear zone” to get into our learning/growth zones. While I know that I haven’t stated much on the books, that’s because it’s on the August to-do list of writing a short review on each one to post to both the blog and amazon.

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

I’m getting better at having no spend days/weeks—but I’m not quite up to a full no-spend month. During July I still spent money during the month—the money was spent on books, masks, and I had hoped on a sewing machine (I’m actually probably be demanding my money back on this one—as the order was placed almost 3 weeks ago, and all of my messages have been ignored).

I’m hoping that during August, I can manage not to spend money on books, or other things. Depending on how I progress through various e-courses during August, I may purchase other e-courses to continue my learning (but this is only currently a possibility).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

This hasn’t happened yet. I started module four of the program and made it about halfway through. I had decided that I’d been pushing too fast through various programs and that it would probably be more beneficial if I slowed down and actually took the time to review and think on the information I was learning, instead of just powering through to be able to check it off my to-do list.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

Like, the data science syndicate program—this also didn’t happen. In part to wanting to be able to think on the information I was learning, but also due to the fact that most afternoons, I would go and sit outside and read—instead of being inside and working on something else.

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

This is slowly coming together—I managed to find my old bulletin board—so I can also have my to-do lists tack up, instead of needing to look in the journal to see what I had planned for the day/week. Though I will also be using the journal as well. The main thing I’ve realized—I need to figure out the answer to the following question: “Who do I want to become over the next five to twenty years?” Once I can answer this question in great detail—I’ll have a better idea of what goals and the breakdown of said goals I need to focus on.

So I managed to get about half of the goals accomplished for July (the steps, the workout, the reading, and going 80% of the month not spending more money). I’ve also realized that one reason why certain goals (e-courses/certification programs and sometimes the non-fiction reading) aren’t always met—I haven’t quite figured out the end goal. In other words, I think once I can determine the answer to the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”—Some of these goals will become easier to accomplish.

Therefore, the goals for August will include:

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?” The answer to this question will help me to continue working on my long term goal list, figuring out how to break it down to short-term goals, and finally translating those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas that I’m trying to focus on: personal/professional development, career transition, fitness & health/mental health/crafts, and the blog.

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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National Book Lovers Day

Well today is National Book Lovers Day and I wish I could have spent it reading—but I had to work. Though I’ve found time today to read (this is something I’m very good at making time for).

 

I love to read, and I love to buy books. Growing up I’d spend probably too much money on books, most of which made it to my to-be-read pile, which grew to several bookcases and shelves. Once the electronic book reader came out, my parents bought me one so that I could slowly start converting over to digital. The main reason was that I was going to be moving and book boxes are heavy.

 

There are still some books that I don’t have on kindle (and I gave away the paperbacks or hardbacks), but every so often depending on my mood I’ll get on amazon and buy a couple of books.

 

Some of the books that I’m currently reading (one thing I love about the kindle—you can be reading as many books as you want) include:

 

Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal

Rich Bitch: A simple 12-step plan for getting your financial life together finally by Nicole Lapin

What color is your parachute? 2018 Edition: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career Changers by Richard Bolles

Plus there are numerous other books within my 101+goal list that I’m going to be getting through. This is also in addition to all of my fiction books that I read (and re-read, and re-read some more).

I’m going to work on getting other book reviews up on the site over the next couple of weeks (since I’ve read more books than what’s in the collage at the top). In addition I’m going to start writing reviews for several of the fiction books that I’ve also finished over the past couple of months as well.

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Update on Level 10 Life: Photography challenge day 11

So I realized that this past weekend, I should have also posted an update on how I think I’m doing in life via of the Level 10 life.  I had decided that I would do a new Level 10 life graph every three months and then after I drew it out, compare it to the previous one. So below is my most current level 10 life.

Current Level 10 life

So within the ten different areas, there were several that I felt really hadn’t changed that much: (1) Family & friends–I managed to get together with a friend for lunch in March, but not in January or February; and I haven’t started trying to send postcards or letters to my niece yet either; though I have been trying to keep in touch more via facebook or if we’re connected on linkedin, on linkedin. (2) Personal development–while I’ve managed to finish reading quite a few books so far this year, I haven’t found a program that I like yet for learning a foreign language; and I’ve fallen short on the planning and writing in the journal. (6) I still have zero social life, and truthfully until I figure out the next job move I think I’m going to keep it that way (though I may meet up with people for a walk around Boomer on the weekends). (10) Health & fitness–I haven’t been able to fully commit to a workout program yet this year, and have fallen into a bad routine of not doing a workout in the evenings once I get home.

Everything else has either gone up or down in terms of how I saw them at the beginning of the year. (3) Spirituality has gone down a little, mainly because I haven’t been keeping up with meditation, and I haven’t been doing my yoga either. I have managed to start doing new & full moon goals, and the different spirituality books that I bought are still on the list to be read (it will just take a little time to get to them, when there is like 90 books in total still to be read. (4) Finances have gone up a little, due to getting the credit card debt down, and getting a little more into the savings account. I still haven’t put any into a CD yet, but there could still be time for that. (5) Career happiness has gone down a little, mainly because I’ve realized that I could potentially be unemployed again less than eight months, and I really need to get on the ball with trying to transition into an industry position. (7) Fun & Recreation has gone up a little–I’m trying my hand at making jewelry & I’m starting to work on a new afghan. I know I need to do more of things that aren’t science/work related and that is also where my photography challenge is coming into play as well. (8) Giving & contribution has gone up a little–I donated a big bag of clothes (and it did only a small dent in my current wardrobe), and still have monthly donations to the Sierra Club and one or two other nature organizations. (9) Physical environment has gone up a little, with having straightened up my desk area, donating clothes, and just getting rid of things that I don’t need anymore has made my bedroom not seem as small.

So what are my goals??? Well, there is the picture below for the quarter, or what I would like to have accomplished by June.

Level 10 goals for the second quarter

But more specifically a goal for each area will be:

(1) Touch base with at least two friends or family members I haven’t talked to in awhile each month.

(2) Find a decently priced program for learning a foreign language and start refreshing my Spanish or German.

(3) Mediate for at least five minutes every day (and I’m already a few days behind on this one).

(4) Continue with my savings challenge (basically see how many no spend days I can have and try to work up to both a no spend week and then maybe a no spend month).

(5) Continue trying to add value to my connections and determine the industry position and company (or companies) that I would like to work for. Then try to set up some informational interviews.

(6) Continue trying to meet up with friends on the weekend.

(7) Continue working on different craft projects (afghan, jewelry making, photography)

(8) Donate clothes that I don’t wear all that often.

(9) Straighten up my storage unit and start moving other things into it.

(10) Workout 6 days a week (BOD or DVD), measure at the end of the month. First try to get through Yoga Booty Ballet by mid-May.

 

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Level 10 Life

As I look towards the New Year, I’ve realized that I need to quit being a passive actor in my own life and I need to start putting serious work and dedication to certain areas to be able to get to where I want to be. So I’m doing things a bit different—I’m doing both a 101+ Goals in 1001 Day Challenge, and looking at my life from a level 10 view. Level 10 Life is a method that is described in Hal Elrod’s book “The Miracle Morning”; after seeing what the Level 10 life chart looks like and trying it myself—I’ve ordered the book and it is on my to-be read pile for this year—so look for a book review coming later (yes, I’m doing things backwards—but hey I never liked marching to the same beat as others). Below are the “10” Levels of life that we usually are giving some part of our life to, and the ranking (1 to 10) is how satisfied I am with each level as the calendar switches from 2017 to 2018; why I feel that way; then hopefully ten goals for each level that I can work towards over the next say three to five years to get everything up to a 7-to-9 ranking.

Here is a picture of what my “Level 10 life” looks like right now.

My current Level 10 life

Some of these goals will be overlapping with my 101+ goals in 1,001-day challenge that I decided to start this year as well (see that post-101+goals). Note—not all sections have 10 goals yet (and one has more), mainly because I’m still trying to think of ideas/goals for each area.

 

Level: Family and Friends (5): This is the level that I have the most satisfaction with, though it is only at basically 50%. It helps that I do live with my parents currently and my younger brother lives with in the state. I try to keep in touch with friends through social media, and the occasional get together.

GOALS for Family and Friends:

  1. Touch base with people (email/facebook/ in person) more often
  2. Sending Channing an postcard/letter monthly (start a pen-pal system with niece)
  3. Try to have a monthly lunch meet up with friends
  4. Send out a yearly Christmas letter/card to update everyone on how I’m doing (start a new tradition)

Level: Personal Development (4): This is a pretty good ranking, considering I’ve really only started to spend the past couple of months working on any type of development (personal, spiritual, or professional).

GOALS for Personal Development:

Read all the personal development books that I’ve currently bought (or pre-ordered) on my Kindle (roughly 56)

  1. Read the few autobiographical/personal/professional development books that I’ve bought on my Kindle (Roughly 3)
  2. Brush up on at least one foreign language (Spanish & hopefully German)
  3. Start doing more cooking (learning/trying new recipes and cultures)
  4. Tackle my anxiety of driving (find a place for lessons that has done some work with people that have driving phobias/anxiety)
  5. Take at least one vacation trip solo a year (either to a new state/city or to a new country/city)
  6. Listen to at least one podcast a day
  7. Write in a journal daily (make a hybrid of bullet journal and a normal journal)
  8. Set goals monthly (review daily/weekly/monthly)
  9. Develop a time management schedule and stick with it (i.e. planning out the day)

Level: Spirituality (3.5): This isn’t that high, but then I’ve never really considered myself to be a spiritual person (I vary daily between being a pagan and an atheist depending on my mood).

GOALS for Spirituality:

  1. Read the different spirituality books that I’ve got on my Kindle (4 right now) and possibly buy a few more
  2. Try to keep up with doing my new and full moon rituals (wishes)
  3. Mediate at least five minutes a day
  4. Do yoga at least twice a week
  5. Set up an altar for meditation/spell casting

Level: Finances (4.5): This is almost to 50% mainly because I do have a decent size savings account at the current time, though the debt could be lower.

GOALS for Finances:

  1. Get credit card debt down to less than $400 a month re-occurring
  2. Put 8K into a short-term CD investment
  3. Get savings account up at least another 20K
  4. Get a side hustle(s) going that can bring in at least $500/month (cover the re-occurring credit card debt)
  5. Have a monthly budget set up and stick with it; Write down everything that I buy (charge) for two months to see where money is going (and cut back accordingly)

Level: Career (4.5): This is almost to 50% mainly because I’ve realized that I really don’t want to be a professor in academia. Now I just need to spend some time trying to determine exactly what it is that I want to do, and work my way towards that goal.

GOALS for Career:

  1. Read the books that I’ve bought on scientific writing and presenting (7)
  2. Finish the CSA transition plan (mainly trying to rewrite my story to be short and powerful).
  3. Finish the CSA and SMBA modules
  4. Determine the best non-academia position that I fit and meet my criteria of balancing work and life
  5. Start networking with my linkedin connections
  6. Determine the company(ies) that I would like to work for
  7. Start reaching out for informational interviews
  8. Start reaching out for recommendations/referrals on linkedin
  9. Apply for key positions within companies
  10. Land dream(ish) job and start working my way up the ladder to the point that I want to get to.
  11. Finish the other online course bundles that I’ve bought over the past several months (programming, project management, Six Sigma)

Level: Relationship/Social Life (0.5-1.0): This is the lowest ranking. Currently I’m not in any relationship, and until I have my life somewhat figured out (i.e. what my career choice/goal is; location for said career) I don’t feel comfortable getting into a relationship with someone, that could end up having to be long distance. Also right now I don’t feel comfortable trying to meet people in the same town that I basically grew up in (in other words I don’t feel like potentially dating someone I went to school with (either public or college).

GOALS for relationship/social life:

Try to get together with friends on the weekends (lunch, or walking around Boomer Lake)

And more to come as I can think of them………….. Read More

No Comments careerCraftsfitnessHealthjob searchingLevel 10 LifePersonal DevelopmentPhotography