Tag: SeptemberinReview

Down to the last quarter of 2021: where did the time go?

We’re heading into the last quarter of the year—there are only 92 days left in 2021. Somehow, the summer sped by and it seems like the fall is going to swirl into winter before we know it. Truthfully, there really hasn’t been much change for the pandemic—various numbers are bouncing around (namely the number of people getting their vaccines, and booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine [if you’re in one of the three categories] started this week). Hopefully J&J will be announcing when their booster shots are available and will be for everyone (not just a small percentage of the population). But, no matter what—I’ll still be self-isolating for the most part through the fall, winter, and into spring—at least until the numbers are on a steady decline (and I’m not talking about the vaccination rate).

I decided to stay away from the media as much as possible this past month (as it really doesn’t do much for me—other than ramp up both my anxiety and stress levels). In terms of the total number of cases of the virus in the US, when I published ‘August in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 40.1 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 44.3 million cases (so it was an increase of a little over 4.2 million cases last month—again all due to the delta variant, poor social distancing [especially in schools] and fewer people getting vaccinated).

So, while there are ‘breakthrough’ cases (people catching the virus after getting at least one vaccine shot), majority of the cases are still unvaccinated individuals. Hopefully within the next few months, the Pfizer shot will get emergency approval for younger kids age five to eleven (which will hopefully help cut down on the spread of the virus through schools). All I’ll say is this again: I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)

As one may have noticed—I’m slowly working on ‘reorganizing’ pages/tabs on the blog. I’ve combined the birding tab with the photography tab (more organizational pages will be coming for the ‘main tab’), and I’m renaming/rewriting other tabs. I decided that I’m going to be a multi-niche blog/website and focus my writing on three main areas: science/medical education and communication, personal/professional development, and health and wellness. Though I will also be doing crafts, photography, and travel as ‘enjoyment hobbies’—so those will still pop in every so often, as well as book reviews.

Before looking ahead to October and the start of the last quarter of the year, I should look at the goals I set for September and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for September included:

  1. 130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month
  2. Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, and possibly yoga)
  3. Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for MWO, and finish the sixt module of the MWO
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, mediation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (start a new cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps: I managed to meet and slightly surpass my step goal. I managed to get 157,114 steps during the month of September. I managed to get two walks in at Boomer Lake, took Chaos for two short walks through the neighborhood, and wandered around enough during the day to get my steps.

Start my own fitness routine: This didn’t happen. Mainly due to the fact the month was thrown into partial chaos by the fact that we had to take Rolex (one of our younger dogs) into the vet several times due to her developing hemolytic anemia (all from a damn allergy shot), and this threw me for a loop. I also decided to renew my Beachbody-on-demand for a year, and will hopefully be starting up with morning meltdown 100 again in October.

Start the User Experience Squad program and finish up the MWO program: Well this didn’t happen either. In part due to the issues with the one dog, and therefore I spent more time working on crafts (which seems to help me control my anxiety) then I did workingon any professional development courses.

Read one to two non-fiction books: While I’ve been reading books–I haven’t finished any of them yet.

Read two to four fiction books: So, I managed to publish book reviews for My Next Play (On My Own #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday on the blog earlier in the month (these were two books I’d finished reading towards the end of August).

I’ve also read (but haven’t finished the reviews):

Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston

Yours to Keep (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month: I’ve done better this month in terms of honoring the challenge, and will give a breakdown on it in the next installment of my limited spending challenge check-in.

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

I’ve been spending more time outdoors, as the season is changing (technically we are in autumn now) and I want to be outside while I can. I probably should have my journal, or laptop with me and that way I can also work outside (instead of feeling slightly bad that I’m just sitting and enjoying the weather).

I’ve been really good at my evening meditation/sitting quietly as that has become critical to being able to fall to sleep at night. I think it’s a combination of the ambiance of the room (I have candles lit) and realizing the days over and what has been done is done, and what hasn’t been accomplished can wait until the next day (or week).

I’ve been keeping up with the daily gratitude entries as well—though sometimes they’re something as simple as I’m glad I don’t live in an apartment and having to walk the dog in the rain.

Craft time (start a new cross-stitch project):

I managed to finish my second cross-stitch project and have started (and am also finished with) a third cross-stitch project. I’ve found that cross-stitching is actually relaxing and seems to help me manage my anxiety and stress. Once I’m done with the third (and possibly before starting my fourth), I may try and see if I can cross-stitch with small beads or possibly take a break from cross-stitching and create some jewelry.

My second completed cross-stitch project

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

I started working through a little more of the write your way to freedom course, and am currently in the second module (picking a niche or niches and working on a ten to thirty day challenge). As the temperatures get cooler, and the days shorter—I will probably be spending a little more time indoors and working though various courses.

So I’d say I was probably about fifty/fifty on meeting the goals this month. Some of the goals that I didn’t hit—were computer heavy, and those were ‘missed’ because I found the weather to be nice, and spent most of it outdoors. Others that were ‘missed’ were due to scheduling and the month just having curveballs thrown constantly. But—fifty percent is better than nothing.

As I head into the last quarter of the year, I’ve realized that I need to have a slightly more focused agenda—especially in regards to trying to set up my freelance/remote/contract business. I’m going to try to accomplish this by starting my to-be-accomplished lists again, in addition to having a ‘due’ date next to the item (which may or may not correspond to the current week).

The goals for October are probably going to be similar to the ones for the past few months—but trying to be a little more focused (at least in terms of the personal/professional development goals).

Therefore the goals for October will include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps; hopefully there will be one or two walks at Boomer Lake, and a couple of walks through the neighborhood with Chaos
  2. Start my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Work on the editing/writing assignments for the MWO & finish the 6th module. Start the Business Development Federation program
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  5. Read two to five fiction books (have small book reviews written and published on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Craft time (finish the third cross-stitch project; possibly start a fourth or maybe make some jewelry)
  8. Work on updating the blog/website (finish rewriting different landing pages; aim for at least one 1500-3000 word article for each area: personal/professional development, science/medical education/communication and health/wellness [pick one or two subtopics within each to write on])
  9. Work through at least a part of another personal/professional development course (not listed above)

I also put in my ‘application’ for another freelance writing position (with the same group, but for a different project), as I wasn’t selected for the first freelance position.

I’m thinking that in terms of the ‘writing’ assignments that I’m giving myself, I’m going to create a chart/diagram that goes from things I’m totally interested in, willing to learn about, to things that I’m only semi-interested in but still willing to write about to areas that I can write about but not really interested in. I think that having a ‘scale’ on which to rate things will probably help me create content easier, but also help me find my ‘ideal’ clients/customers/businesses that I would like to partner/work with as I move forward.

Hopefully October will be a little more smooth sailing then September was (having to deal with hemolytic anemia in dogs isn’t fun), and I will be able to focus on establishing myself as a freelance/contract/remote writer instead of worrying if we’re going to be losing our dog or not.

As we move forward into the last quarter of the year and then into 2022, I hope that those that are still holding ‘out’ on getting the vaccine for whatever reason—will get it. The Pfizer shot has been granted full approval by the FDA, and any side effects are usually mild to moderate, and then for everyone to get their children vaccinated. That is truthfully the only way we’re going to see the tail end of this damn pandemic (along with masks and social distancing when needed).

So question time: what is your favorite part of fall?

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Progress on personal & professional development goals: September in Review

So September is over, that means my birthday has come and gone—here is to starting the fourth decade of my life in self-isolation. There are only three months left in the year, and the coming month or so will be interesting—two full moons in October (last one on Halloween), then we ‘fall back’ time wise that night/early the next morning, and then the presidential election is just a few days later.

So I decided that I would try to ‘schedule’ the time that I’m either checking my email or on social media—that way I can hopefully get quite a few other things done as well—I think that the schedule will work (though some days will be better than others). Now I’m thinking that I may also need to ‘schedule’ my time outside—as I realize that once I sit down outside, I’m more likely to stay outdoors for the rest of the day (though like today I have brought my laptop outside to work on).

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘August in Review’ I noted that the US had over 6.2 million cases and now the US is a little over 7.4 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.2 million cases in a month). With elections just a little over a month away, it will be interesting to see how it turns out—I’m hoping the way I want, that way the virus can be brought under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

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

The goals for September included:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

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

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 150,000 steps—I managed to meet and surpass my step goal; I managed to get a total of 202,386 steps in for the month. Unfortunately, the number of viral cases kept going up for the month (we went from ~952 cases at the beginning of the month to over 1900 cases as of the 30th). Therefore when I do decide to walk at Boomer Lake, it will have to be during the week (when hopefully everyone is at work), and isn’t a full walk around the lake (depending on what time I leave in the morning).

Finishing Morning Meltdown 100 and starting a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4—So I finished up Morning Meltdown 100 mid-month, and then started on my combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4. This combo calendar will now take me through mid-November. I’m tracking change by how heavier I’m going in the weights, am I doing less modifications, and do I feel better/sleep better.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books: I managed to finish the following:

“Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it” by Sara Vermunt

            One of the things that I really liked about this book was the reminder that at times we need to think back on the things we enjoyed as a child to help find a clue to what we may actually really enjoy doing as an adult. I actually have several different ideas now swimming around in my head on things I could try to do and/or directions I could possibly take the blog/site, or even just other pages I could add to the site.

No spend days/no spend weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month—this is something that I’m still working on—large goal again for October.

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python, and start learning how to use it—I finished the data science syndicate program on the 3rd of the month. While I have installed python on my computer, I haven’t yet started any course that will teach me how to use the program yet.

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

I re-watched one skillshare short course—“The writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit”. This was an okay short course—basically talking about creating an area that is solely for writing, determining what you’re going to be writing on, having a routine in place, and also reminding us to read books that we enjoy—if you don’t enjoy reading a certain genera of literature it’s no fun.

I had also started watching the skillshare course—“Writing and Blogging with Passion: Create a Flexible Editorial Plan and Calendar”. In addition I’ve also been working through an affiliate blogging short course program as well. One thing I’ve realized with some of the courses—I will have to do a lot of brainstorming to fit the blog to their suggestions, since I’ve decided to stay somewhat multi-facet in topics that I’m covering.

So I’m slowly making more progress on various goals—the biggest thing that I need to get control over is my time management. There is enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want—it may mean though that I don’t spend forty minutes aimlessly scrolling through social media or checking my email every five minutes. Once I have that under control, and remember that I’m the only one that can walk my path I will be on my way to achieving my goals—though they may look different four months down the road compared to today. That is fine—that is evolution, learning, and realizing that in four months I may not be the same person that I am today.

Goals for October will include:

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

Then complete at least two other short 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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September: Month in Review (a few days late)

Well September is officially over, and there are only 92 days left in the year. I’m also a day or two late in posting this as well. As I’m writing this I realize that my birthday has come and gone, and I am currently looking down my last year of my thirties. I also realized that I fell short on most of my goals for September.

We’re officially started 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.

September 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 September included:

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

So how did I do with each one?

At least 420,000 steps

            So I at least managed to surpass my step goal for the month of September (and only had a few days that I was within 1500-2000 steps of my daily goal). My total number of steps for September ended up being 467,751 steps (almost 50K above my goal), and it brings my current yearly step total to: 4,047,300 steps. I’m well on my way of reaching my goal of 5 million steps by the end of the year.

Continue with the photography challenge

            I ended the month with another hiatus (and probably will start October with one as well). It isn’t that I’m not enjoying the challenge—because I am, but because I feel like I’m in a posting rut (the same topic—though the animal might be in a different pose, since pictures were taken on different days). So this is something that I’m going to be working on over the next few months.

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

            Well I stuck with mainly walking for the month—though there was a day or two at the beginning of the month that I did LIIFT4. I have created a hybrid calendar with LIIFT4, Country Heat, and Yoga Booty Ballet that I will hopefully be following for the rest of the year. I’m being smart and starting slightly light on the weights (instead of doing heavy right away), and may double up on the Country Heat & Yoga Booty Ballet on the weekends (Wednesday may be an automatic rest day, since there are quite a few chores that I have to take care of once I get home from work).

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

            This didn’t happen. I think that I might have managed a day or two here and there in terms of no spending on campus. One thing about quitting my job come November—I’ll be saving quite a bit of money, since I won’t be buying chocolate and/or coffee on a daily basis.

Read 3 non-fiction books

            I finished reading the “introduction” book in a self-development series (and am almost through with the second book; and the only other one I bought). The title of the book I finished is:

                        “Simplify your pursuit of success: Six simple steps to success” by Michal Stawicki

Continue working on the reboot/pause plan

            I’m still working on this plan. I have an idea of how the first two weeks may go—mainly getting my storage unit in order and enjoying the start of the holiday season (Thanksgiving). Since I’m also in the process of trying to rework my transition plan, and plans for traveling are slightly on hold (until I can figure out what will be either a mental health break and/or a combination work/enjoyment trips).

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

            This one is also a work in progress, as I haven’t found a planner calendar that I actually like (in other words one that is large enough for me to write multiple things for a single day), I’m in the process of trying to create my own monthly calendars where I can have multiple things written—or at least referenced back to on different days.

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

            I managed this for a while at the beginning of the month, but fell behind schedule towards the middle/end of the month. Though I didn’t take any notes to do a recap post on the blog.

So I fell short on basically ninety percent of my goals for September—but that ten percent success rate is what is keeping me going—Progress over perfection. I know that I’m not perfect, that I’m going to give in to my anxiety now and then, that I’m going to fall back on my fiction reading to help deal with my mood swings (and lets not talk about the current state of the world); but I am doing a little each day that helps me get a little closer to some of the goals that I’ve had set for quite a while.

Therefore the goals for October will include:

At least 434,000 steps

Photography challenge (if there has to be a recap session to make up for a few days—oh, well—I’m only human)

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

Continue working on my reboot break & start reworking my transition plan

Aim for one week no spend

Continue working out (hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet)

Set up the monthly calendar (can start with November as a trial run)

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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September in Review

We’re now entering the last quarter of the year; and I’ve realized that I’m almost a week late in posting my summary of how September went. So there is only 92 days left in the year (and when this gets posted—basically only like 85 or 86 days left in the year). I had hopes that by this time, I would have been further along in some areas (like networking and the job search), but I’m not—and I realize that in part that is due to my own mental issues (anxiety being the number one issue), and that I need to just make a master plan and slowly work towards that goal. I’ve also realized that I didn’t post that much last month–my apologies; things have been crazy lately and in the evenings I realize that I tended to either try to do things for my transition plan or just veg out on the computer–going to try to be better and more diligent in how I spend on my time on the computer this last quarter of the year (so there might be even more posts coming–who knows 🙂 ).

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