Tag: selfassessment

Where is the focus needed: Time & Project Management

So…the moon will be entering the Aquarius constellation over the day or so…marking the second new moon of 2024. But, before looking ahead to the Aquarius new moon, I need to look back at the goals I set for the Capricorn new moon…and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals for the Capricorn new moon? They included:

  1. Work on developing my vision of where I would like to be in 3-5 years in regards to remote/contract/online freelance writing/blogging. In the same note, write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve the said vision.
  2. Read at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started
  3. Finish at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  4. Start refreshing my Spanish again (or start learning Arabic) using the app Mondly

So how did I do with the above goals?

Developing a vision of where I want to be in three-to-five years:

This vision ties in with my new ‘definition’ of success. In three-to-five years, I have my debt paid off, a credit card (or two) canceled, and all other debt being paid off monthly.

I have two successful freelance businesses—which includes having a podcast & YouTube channel (that I do for fun), an online store to sell crafts, and several e-courses (covering a broad range of not only science topics, but history & social sciences as well).

Plus getting into the best shape of my life, creating & embracing my vision/version of minimalism, mediating more, and having my mental/emotional/spiritual health on an even keel as well. 

Have I figured out the monthly/quarterly/yearly goals to get there? Nope…not yet—but I have the vision…so I’m actually a little over halfway there—compared to the past.

Finish reading at least one non-fiction book:

I’ve actually finished the following:

  1. Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell
  2. White Women: Everything You Already Know about Your Racism & How to do Better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
  3. Healthy at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD

These are three of the five non-fiction books that I’ve finished so far this year. The other two–I finished roughly right before the Capricorn new moon started…so they couldn’t count towards this list.

Finish at least part of a personal/professional development course:

Nope…while I did finish a very short e-course last month–it was before the start of the Capricorn new moon & can’t count towards the goal.

Start refreshing Spanish (or learning Arabic) on Mondly:

Nope…haven’t gotten into an consistent habit of doing this currently.

Four goals for the Capricorn new moon, and I managed to complete about half of them (reading & having a rough idea of where I would like to be in three-to-five years). The other two goals…all I can say is that I allowed doom scrolling and reading the news sidetrack me from these goals. Also the fact that I have yet to design/create/figure out the best ‘fluid’ schedule for the day/week/month.

I know the REALLY BIG PROBLEM…I try to put EVERYTHING on the calendar…I try to BLOCK OUT ALL TIME…make use of ALL TIME…be SUPER-PRODUCTIVE…and then I end up doing nothing—due to analysis-paralysis & that pesky imposter syndrome/inner critic. One of the goals for this month—create at least two really detailed outlines for topics related to the science/health/medical blog & at least one really detailed outline for a ‘blog’ series for this blog (I’m thinking of comparing different goals setting methods, time management, project management and so forth). These outlines will be the ‘framework’ for blog posts, infographics, posters and so forth. Plus–I can block time for just them in the weekly schedule.

My top strength is love of learning…but if I don’t develop a WORKING schedule that is tailored for ME…my top strength also becomes my top weakness. I also know that for certain projects—I need to write, pause, and then come back and edit. This is a problem mainly when I do my morning updates on Gaza for LinkedIn—I almost always overshoot the character limitation (which is 2974 characters—including spaces).

So, after I get this update posted…I’ll be reflecting back on how I’m (more or less) spending my days…to figure out where I’m wasting time (doom scrolling), and whether or no I need to try to download yet another productivity app that will allow me to ‘block’ access to certain sites during the day (so I don’t ‘doom scroll). This HAS to happen…because I really don’t want to try to do an 9-5 in-person job. I don’t think that will work anymore. I’ve grown a little too accustomed to doing what I want, when I want.

So…2024 will be the year that I continue in the direction of freelance work (with the extremely small possibility of a remote job—as the steady paycheck for awhile would be nice), becoming better at both time & project management. It will also be a year that I develop a “working” relationship with my inner critic/imposter syndrome (that I’m going to name ‘Carla’).

In addition—this is the year of authenticity, growth, creativity/curiosity, & prosperity.

How did your Capricorn goals go? Successes or near misses? And what is your go-to word for 2024?

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Focusing on time & project management during the Super Blue Moon

So the moon will be entering its second full moon for August tonight—making it a super blue moon. I’ve seen it stated that the moon could be either in Pisces or back in Aquarius…so I’m going to go with the first—that the moon will be moving through Pisces tonight.

That means there is only a day left in August of 2023, and four months left in the year.

So if I look to the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are five questions that one can ask themselves during this time:

Self-reflection questions:

(1) Have I been dreamy to the point of not getting enough done and making silly errors?

(2) Have I been overly sensitive and too easily hurt?

(3) Have I been acting like a martyr? Or too easily led?

(4) Have I been meditating every day, and if not, why not?

(5) Have I been in touch with my intuitive side? Following my dreams and hunches?

My answers:

  1. I don’t think I’ve been ‘too dreamy’ lately…distracted, semi-depressed, dealing with grief, and still totally irritated with the world? Yep…this year hasn’t been the greatest, I’m working on finding a new routine, while balancing various other things—and working on improving my overall mental health. I haven’t been making silly errors, but I probably haven’t been getting nearly enough things done…though I have managed to three ‘BINGOs’ on my August BINGO goal card.
  2. The past year has been a sh*t show of epic proportions, and I probably am a little more sensitive lately compared to say two or three years ago. I do realize that everyone is busy with things and that if someone doesn’t respond—it only means they’re busy. 
  3. Nope.
  4. While I’m still using the soothing pod app for ‘guided’ meditation at night…I’d say my ability to ‘focus’ on breath for meditating is currently sitting around two minutes (the opening intros of the guided meditations)…then I listen as I pull a couple of oracle cards to ‘read’.
  5. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times—this is something that I’m working on…having spent so many years in higher edu research—I’m extremely good at being in touch with my analytical side, and ‘ignoring’ my intuitive side. I’m working at getting better at being in the moment, taking things slowly, and not having everything planned out. I am going after my dream of having a more independent career away from the bench. I am pivoting to the direction of freelance/remote/contract science/health/medical communications. In other words—writing, creating infographics, posters, slide decks, and other educational type material. Once I have that up and going, I’ll also be working different ideas/directions for this blog as well (creative writing/crafts/photography/travel/book reviews). I’ve chosen these directions because I want something that is location independent, time independent, and allows me to ‘jump’ between different areas/subjects that are of interest to me as I create content. 

So in addition to the self-reflection questions, one should also check to see what house or zone the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Pisces full moon is moving through my 5th house (according to my rising sign), which is also known as the “kids, romance, and creativity zone”.

I’m still semi self-isolating—I’ll meet a friend for lunch occasionally, we try to get out to walk the dogs at a park once a week (temperatures permitting), and hopefully within a month or two I can start trying to get a walk in at Boomer; but there are new variants of the omicron COVID-19 variant popping up—so I may not do the lunch meetup all that often this fall.

I made note last year that when (and if) I move, it would require moving into a small one or two bedroom house, due to my dog…well, now when that happens—it will probably be a two (or three) bedroom house with a basement, and possibly an apartment over the detached garage. Seems mighty specific, huh…well—moving is going to become an ‘family’ affair. My father is going to be retiring within two or three years, and has been talking of moving once that happens. My younger brother is financially dependent on my father, and well—I’m going to have power of attorney…so I’d rather be in the same area in case something goes wrong.  The current ‘specifics’ of the house/property is from how I imagine us being able to move and ‘live’ around each other.

Again, the only ‘kids’ I’m currently around are the furry variety—the two dogs and two cats. My niece is out in CA, and we don’t see them that often; and when I meet up with friends for lunch, if it’s during the school year—her daughter is in school.

I’m doing well with crafts…I’m making progress on my large cross-stitch project, and have started a large doodle/drawing project as well. If I like how the doodle/drawing turns out this winter—the second one will actually be done on a canvas (the current paper is a little too thin for even water colors).

Pisces Super Blue Full Moon goals:

(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.

Four goals, and while only one (the last) will actually have a ‘yes/no’ in terms of completion—the rest can also be considered on-going/continuous goals—but if one doesn’t start them…one can in theory never continue them…

Bits and pieces from previous chapters of our lives usually find their way into our current chapters that we’re trying to write…the bits and pieces from my previous chapters unfortunately right now include: imposter syndrome, inner critic, negative self-talk, and feelings of inadequacy. 

I know that I can work through all of those feelings, and will be doing so—but also just acknowledging them is a huge step in the right direction of self-care/self-acceptance, and healing. 

Therefore, I’m also going to keep the following quote at the forefront: ‘progress over perfection’, and knowing that I’m slowly starting the next chapter of my life (as I’m done re-reading the last one), in addition to limiting the influence of others in terms of what I decide to do with my future.

Question time: what are some of your favorite crafts?

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Peaking around the corner at 2023: Gemini Full Moon Goals

So, we’re entered the full moon for December on the 7th, and I’m a couple days late in posting…This means that there are now only twenty-two days left in 2022. I have no idea how I feel about that fact, nor do I have any idea how I feel about 2023…other than hoping it goes (or at least ends) a little better than this year is going to be ending.

As I’ve been reflecting back on the past several years—there may be a ‘economic gap’ on my resume—it isn’t a ‘experience gap’—I have added in the science/medical/health content creation, blogger, and writer to my resume (and acknowledged the creative blog as well).

Before I get carried away in the direction of reflections and what I may or may not have accomplished this year (that will be the topic for at least one or two posts at the beginning of the year)—back to the topic at hand: December’s full moon.

Wednesday, the moon moved through the Gemini constellation, and there are questions that one can contemplate during the days surrounding that transition. If one looks at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, those five questions are:

Have I been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month?

Have I been glossing over other people’s feelings?

Have I been too quick to change my mind, or too restless?

Have I been too much of a silver-tongued hustler?

Have I done enough reading to keep expanding my mind?

If I were to number the above questions one-to-five, my answers would be as follows:

  1. Well, I’m still self-isolating for the most part—so I don’t think I’ve been gossipy or superficial this month. Flighty…yeah, I’ve been a little flighty this month, but considering the ongoing family medical drama (that is still ongoing and acting like a roller coaster)…not surprising that I’m a little flighty.
  2. I don’t think I’ve been glossing over people’s feelings either this month.
  3. This depends on what we’re talking about—I haven’t changed my mind in terms of pivoting into remote/online/contract writing and/or data analysis position and trying to start my own freelance company. Being restless—maybe a little, but hey—dealing with a family medical issue (which has entered month four), the damn SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay, and I’m not sure which way is up anymore.
  4. Nope.
  5. Working on this—I’ve realized this year that I go through cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction. I have enough non-fiction books that I really shouldn’t buy any new ones next year—or at least make sure that I’ve read at least three books for every book I think of buying.

So I’m also going to see what house the moon will be transition through during this time. Using my rising sign (which is Scorpio), the Gemini constellation is moving through my eighth house—the focus of this house on “death and rebirth, reinvention and transformation”.

Thanks to the SARS-CoV2 virus, I’ve spent majority of the past three years doing serious self-reflection and personal/professional development. I’ve decided the direction I want to head in for my career transition—remote science/medical/health communications, with the long-term goal of having a successful freelance business within both that realm and creative/hobby side as well. Therefore, I have allowed the ‘bench lab scientist’ to ‘die’ and I’m going to be reinventing myself in 2023 as a successful science/medical/health communicator.

So this is the time to try to find balance between slowing down, rushing to learn things, being real with people, money, and determining one’s self worth.

Therefore my small goal list for the last few weeks of 2022 (and the first few weeks of 2023), will include:         

  1. Setting up my master 2023 habit-tracking journal. I had fairly good success with the 2022 master habit-tracking journal (just had to remember to take time towards the end of each month to finish setting up the next month—especially towards the end of the year)
  2. Continue reading one of the many non-fiction books that I’d started during the last half of 2022
  3. Finish getting the second website/blog up and running, as it will be one of the major parts of my online portfolio for science/medical/health communications
  4. Get the ‘writing/working’ station setup in the bedroom…aka rearrange the room
  5. Figure out an schedule/calendar for various sites (LinkedIn, the creative blog/website, and the science/medical/health website), plus figure out the other social media sites that I want to use to promote both blogs

But above all, remind myself—that I’m making progress and that is what I should be striving for: progress over perfection, the ‘okay’ draft over the ‘polished/perfect’ never published draft.

Here is to the last full moon of 2022, and sending out happy thoughts and vibes to everyone, and fingers crossed that going into 2023 and beyond—things calm down, and we all figure out what our individual (and global) new ‘normal’ looks like.

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Ways my inner critic has been derailing my progress

So in a slight continuation of my last post on self-reflection and trying to stretch the comfort zone, I thought I’d share my reflections on my inner critic or imposter syndrome. To date–I haven’t named my inner critic, though I may name it at some point.

So in addition to doing the work of filling in my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram, I was also wanting to see if I could notice any little habits that I had when I didn’t feel like doing something I know I should be doing. I figured if I could notice these habits, I was at least a step or two closer to dealing with inner critic dragging me back into the comfort zone.

So far that list is at five different things (that I’ve currently noticed over the past few weeks):

Constantly brushing my hair and looking for split ends to trim.

Scrolling through social media (namely Facebook) and amazon, plus checking my email constantly when I feel like I hit a mental ‘brick’ wall.

Turning to the kindle and either reading (or re-reading) a book, or deciding to do ‘just one more color by number picture’

With the weather warming up, I will go outside (usually after lunch) and sit at the patio table. I may or may not take anything outside with me, and if I do take something outside it is usually my camera.

Starting to outline (or write rough drafts) on different topics, and then ‘talk’ myself out of continuing through to a final publishable article.

So how am I working around these derailing habits?

In terms of ‘playing’ with my hair–I’m starting to braid it in the morning. While it doesn’t stop me from looking for split ends before braiding or later in the evening after washing my hair, it does keep me from doing it during the day. My thoughts were if I go through the trouble of braiding my hair, I won’t unbraid just to look for split ends. So far this has been working for me.

I will also possibly ‘stop’ the habit, whenever it is safe for me to go and get a haircut. Also by safe I mean that I’ve gotten the SARS-CoV2 vaccine, but will still wear a mask out in public. Since my last haircut was before the pandemic hit, my hair is the longest it has been in several years (just about to the bottom of my shoulder blades). So while I have this ‘habit’ under control, that is when I started noticing the other habits.

So in terms of trying to control the ‘mindless scrolling’ on the computer–I have downloaded an ‘time management’ app that is suppose to help with this issue. I haven’t used it yet, and the excuse for not using it is extremely flimsy: ‘since I randomly click back to Facebook or amazon or ‘whatever site’, how can I set a time period? I don’t know when I’ll be randomly wandering the web.’

I scroll though the web when I’m bored or feeling ‘stuck’ and wanting to ‘look’ productive. Also, most of the ‘groups’ that I’m in post on Facebook, but I can’t use that as an excuse for not being better at time management.

So what I’m going to do is 1) make a list of all the different groups I’m in on Facebook, and then make a schedule of when I ‘check-in’ on those groups (scrolling through, liking, commenting, and posting); 2) then based on that schedule-activate the time management app around it for Facebook. I should probably just have it set up to keep me off of amazon for majority of the day (or possibly only allow myself on it on the weekends); this will also help in limited spending challenge.

In terms of turning to the kindle constantly, the best way to deal with that habit will be to turn off the kindle and have it slightly out of sight (but still charging) for the day. The only times it may not be ‘out of sight’ will be the days when I decide to read (and possibly write out book reviews) outside during the nice weather.

That brings me to the biggest hurdle–nice weather. I like being outdoors when the weather is nice and warm (but not too terribly warm). My problem is actually not making proper use of the time outdoors. Sitting and daydreaming, or just sitting in general isn’t really the problem–the problem is doing those two things for several hours at a time.

So until it really becomes the gardening weather (where I can transplant some ground cover between different aresa of the yard, do basic yard work, or plant flowers and bushes), I will be trying to improve the time I spend outdoors.

I will either 1) have my laptop outside, sitting to where the sun doesn’t really hit the screen, to work on things for an hour or so (before having to take the laptop back in to charge); 2) have a notebook (or two) and just journal/write/doodle/sketch; 3) have my kindle and a journal with me and try to get at least one rough draft of a book review written; and finally 4) think of possibly investing in an iPad and have that outside for me to work on.

I will probably have my camera outside with me most day to work on my nature photography skills and possibly architecture photography skills as well.

In terms of the ‘writer’s block’–I’m acknowledging the fact that people may or may not read what I write and post. I realized this with the science recaps I did back in January–one had been viewed and the other one hadn’t been viewed. I’m still brainstorming what I think would be the best way to continue doing science new recaps, and having people actually read the article. Since I’m thinking of going in the direction of freelance writer and blogger–I have acknowledged the fact that it will take time to find my ‘tribe’ of people.

The best way for me to improve as a writer is to write and share my thoughts and views. Currently that has been mainly on the blog–some posts have people stop and read, others are just scrolled past. I also realize that I need to work through various courses that I’ve bought on different forms of writing (such as copy writing) and then figure out what ‘types’ of writing I want to focus on (say blog writing, copy writing, and possibly scientific/educational) and go from there.

So those are currently the five different ways that my inner critic/imposter syndrome use to keep me out of the stretch/risk/die zones and ‘safely’ within my comfort zone. My goal is to both continue edging into the stretch zone (and by definition stretch the comfort zone) and do it in such ‘small’ increments that I can trick my inner critic/imposter syndrome into believing that I’m sticking in the comfort zone.

Meeting this goal will require me to better at both time and project management, in addition to recognizing the current habits of my inner critic and keeping my senses tuned to any additional derailing habit that may pop up in the future.

Filling in the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram and paying attention (and acknowledging) the distracting tactics of my inner critic means I’m holding true to one of the words that I picked for 2021: growth. Growth is also the internal acknowledgment of ‘blocks’ and working to either dismantle the ‘blocks’ or at least work around them.

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