Tag: contentdevelopment

Adding in the gaming factor: part one of the development plan

Okay.

I redrew my personal/professional growth game last week. I decided to remove a board, and condense certain topics down in order to have a ‘single’ board.

The ‘rules’:

  1. No longer than six weeks per turn
  2. Roll each set of dice three times. Then after all six rolls & determining what squares I’ve landed on–consolidate them down into a list.
    • I have two different colored sets of dice (and I only use six of the seven dice; these are basically the dice one uses for role playing games). After rolling all six dice:
    • Lowest to highest; and lowest number is ‘by itself’
    • Then start adding up the numbers
    • Also…it’s eighty-four squares back around to ‘start’
  3. Pick three to four items to complete. BUT list out everything, so that if something gest completed sooner than the six week period, I can go back and choose other items to complete.
  4. To keep myself accountable: Two blog posts: when starting & then after the six week period. Possibly then take a day or two off before rolling the dice again (that way it isn’t two back-to-back posts on the same day).
  5. Timing:
    • For reading: Fiction books (one week, including time to write & post reviews). For non-fiction books (no longer than three weeks per book)
    • For e-courses: it depends on the length of course. But aim for at least 30 minutes per afternoon working on a e-course
    • For refreshing/learning a foreign language: Minimum of 25 minutes/day. This is actually an ongoing task, regardless of whether or not I landed on the square
    • For crafts: this will also vary (depending on the craft project)
    • For reviewing ‘subject matters’:
      • Randomly choose a chapter
      • Word search (or crossword puzzle) of key terms
      • Infographic or poster
      • Minimum of 15-20 slides on key points
      • Quiz or test

Notes: The textbooks for development biology & genetics are either in the storage unit or garage currently. For the topics of oncology, small RNA biology, molecular cloning, and the ‘-omics-‘ items I don’t really have textbooks for those items (or at least not ones that are fully devoted to all aspects of the topic).

I rolled the dice this afternoon, and the following list was generated based off the squares I landed on:

Landed on multiple times:

Reading (seven times)

E-course (six times)

Review oncology (three times)

Squares I landed on twice:

  1. Landscape design
  2. Interior design
  3. Review cell biology
  4. Review biochemistry

Squares I landed on once:

  1. Learn about public health
  2. Review molecular biology
  3. Research an interesting person in history
  4. Review stats
  5. Small RNA biology
  6. Learn graphic design
  7. Learn about international law
  8. Content development
  9. Learn about economics
  10. Ancient South America
  11. Review molecular cloning
  12. Unplug for the night

What am I going to be focusing on first?

Reading:

I have numerous nonfiction books that I’ve started over the past few months. A goal is to finish at least three of those during the next six weeks. In addition to reading three fiction books (at least) and writing small book reviews over.

E-course:

I plan on working through at least three e-courses on Skillshare and/or Udemy. Bonus points if courses cover items listed further down on the ‘squares’ landed on (such as economics, graphic design, public health, or stats).

Review oncology:

I plan on continuing my oncology blog series on the science/health/medical blog. Over the next six weeks I plan on getting the blog posts for adenocarcinomas up (this is the first ‘carcinoma’ subtopic), and will actually be covering cell biology/anatomy as I talk more about the two major gland systems in the body in regards to how cancers can develop within them.

‘Fourth’ item:

The ‘fourth’ thing will actually be two different things: (a) unplugging for the night. I plan on ‘unplugging’ at least three to four nights per week. This means that I stay off of the computer after say 7pm, and then put the phone on do-not disturb/airplane mode for the same time period. This will allow me to either work on crafts, clean/organize, or read. (b) content development, as this is basically an on-going task (along with the refresh/learn a foreign language).

Those are the main four/five things I will be focusing on…if I feel the need to ‘add’ something in—I’ll add in interior design (as I’m working at trying to turn my bedroom into a ‘micro’ studio apartment (minus the kitchen & bathroom) by the end of fall).

A major goal of the next six weeks: time & project management. Figuring out how to balance out the different ‘projects’ for the different blogs, and other social media channels. In addition to rekindling the enjoyment of research & developing unique ways of sharing the information.

I’m not sure what type of ‘rewards’ I will be going with for the game…as I’m also trying to get the debt down, limit the amount of ‘stuff’ I buy, and am aiming at only buying things that I will actually use (i.e. limit the number of random knick knacks that I might decide to buy). 

I’m also working on the intentional movement/fitness board game—as I decided I wanted something a little more than just a circle with things written. Possibly a similar board game, but with specific exercises in different boxes (the ‘random’ aspect would be the amount of weights lifted and/or time spent on each exercise).

Check back in late July (July 29th to be exact) to find out how I did with the first round of the game…and to find out which books I finished reading, which e-courses I worked through, and how I did at getting the next series of oncology blog posts up on the science/health/medical blog.

How do you go about expanding your learning—by games? To-do lists (tied to goal lists)? Totally randomly, or what? Share your tips below.

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Planning…three quarters of the way done…onto the milestones

Introduction:

So the moon is going to be heading into Sagittarius tomorrow and/or tonight (depending on where you are in the world)—marking the fifth full moon of the year. But—before looking ahead and making goals in relation to Sagittarius, I need to look at the goals I set for Scorpio and see how I did with each of them.

What goals did I set for the Scorpio full moon? They included:

  1. Planning out for May: setting up (at least the basic) calendar, the May BINGO card, the May brain-dump, and also trying to set up the ‘editorial’ calendar for the oracle card instagram channel.
  2. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan, and writing out the rough draft for my personal/professional growth plan
  3. Set up a new 90-day content challenge plan

So did I do with each one?

Planning for May:

I made my basic editorial calendar, my May BINGO card, and did a brain dump for May (and even tried to ‘organize’ the brain dump). I’ve decided that instead of drawing out numerous calendars for everything each month—I’m going to try to ‘organize’ by color. Now I just need to chose which color pen/marker is going to be for what ‘project’/‘channel’. Also need to determine the best time of day for posting to the oracle card instagram channel. I haven’t been ‘consistent’ with that channel currently, mainly because of the pain of switching between channels on the computer (for some stupid reason, I have to keep ‘verifying’ my original account when I switch back..on the same damn computer…in the same damn tab on the browser…but this is actually an ‘rant’ for another day).

So, I would say that I completed 98% of this goal…I knocked two percent off—since I haven’t been consistently posting to the oracle card instagram channel this month (actually haven’t posted since the beginning of the month).

Working on the two-to-five year plan:

Okay. I’ve written out eight goals that I want to accomplish in the next five years in relations to personal/professional growth.

Those goals include:

  1. Having both blogs ranking on the first page of various search engines for different topics (science/health/medical educational topics for the jessicamatts[dot]com site; and personal/professional growth & crafts/hobbies for the becomingjessi[dot]com site).
  2. Consistently posting to both blogs (which right now is a struggle)
  3. Writing consistently on Medium & SubStack
  4. Branching out into writing ‘articles’ on LinkedIn
  5. Have grown a large organic following across various social media platforms & I’m posting consistently to various social media channels. (Which includes the different instagram channels)
  6. Have an online shop for selling crafts/pictures/whatever
  7. Have gotten out of debt & have canceled at least one credit card
  8. Have created my own vision of minimalism along with my own vision of success
  9. Have gotten into the best shape of my life (lift heavier weights, riding the exercise bike longer, hiking/walking further; paddle boarding, kayaking, and whatever).

Now—I just need to break these down into actionable steps & achievable milestones (that won’t have me freaking out)…so I’m about 75% of the way done with this goal. A lot of this comes down to developing a working schedule for research/writing & editing/proofreading prior to posting. Also probably wouldn’t hurt to invest sometime into learning SEO optimization for the different businesses/blogs that I’m wanting to launch/run.

90-day content creation plan

Okay…unlike previous years where I tried to ‘plan’ out how I’d be creating new content everyday for 90-days, I’m going extremely simple this time.

I’ve set up a new spreadsheet that I’ll be using to track different aspects of ‘content creation’: research, writing/editing/proofreading, & publishing (for written things), status of craft projects, if I’ve made it outside with a camera (whether its the phone or my actual camera), what book reviews I written, and then where things are getting ‘published’ and whether or not the content can be ‘repurposed’ into new content for other sites.

Trying to do a single project in a day (or possibly three) was mind-numbing and anxiety inducing when I tried that a couple of years ago. Now I’ll simply keep track of things in a spreadsheet…every time I write something (whether it’s for this blog, the science blog, a random musing that I post to LinkedIn, Facebook, or wherever)–I’ll enter into the spreadsheet, at some point I may add in columns to try to keep track of the ‘stats’ of how well the post did…but for now…I’m not going to focus on that (at least until I’ve taken an couple SEO courses).

One series of content that I repurpose weekly are my daily updates on what is going on in Gaza & the West Bank. I do a daily update on Instagram (can be found at jessi1980), and then I compile, edit, proofread the daily updates into an single (fairly long) piece that I publish on both SubStack and the creative blog.

An new challenge will be to see how many different ‘projects’ I can possibly ‘repurpose’ across different channels. Currently—it’s my daily Gaza updates on Instagram (they get ‘repurposed’ on the weekend as a weekly summary that I post to SubStack & the creative blog). That’s one…and I’d like to see if I can manage to possibly have three to four different ‘projects’ getting repurposed.

Conclusions:

Three challenges, and I made progress with all of them. I haven’t broken down the goals for the two-to-five year plan into more manageable pieces, but I’ve written out the goals. I’ve got a tracking sheet set up to keep track of the writing I will hopefully be doing daily & to see how many ‘new’ projects I can I plan out to launch come later this summer or early fall.

I commented on someone’s post on LinkedIn this morning, that it’s difficult to engage in ‘training/coaching’ sessions when you have a hard time articulating to yourself what it is you want to accomplish, much less try to articulate it to someone else. Why am I mentioning that here? Well..because it fits in with these goals that I’ll be carrying forward—while I know what I want to do..I need to determine the best path, because there really isn’t a job out there that would let me learn/research/contemplate any topic that I find of interest today…that would let me bounce between different topics/projects or would allow me to put a project on the back burner because I’d gotten slightly ‘bored’ and my brain wanted to switch directions.

So…yeah—I’ve gotta break these goals down into reasonable & achievable milestones…and that will be the next ‘project’ once I’ve gotten the goals for the Sagittarius Full Moon written.

How did you do with your Scorpio full moon goals?

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Full Moon Goals: Two completed, two started, and one forgotten

So the moon will be heading into it’s next full moon—tomorrow. Which means that I need to reflect back on the goals I’d set for the Libra full moon, before looking ahead to the Scorpio full moon.

So what were the goals that I’d set for the Libra full moon? Well, they included:

  1. Reflecting on the first quarter of 2024 & potentially ‘fine-tuning’ goals for the rest of the year.
  2. ‘Brain-dump’ for April
  3. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan 
  4. Start drafting an outline for a personal/professional growth plan (also known as personal/professional development plans—but I like using the word growth instead of development).
  5. Work on creating an fitness calendar or game board to help get me back into an fitness routine.

How did I do with each of them?

Reflections on the first quarter of 2024:

Yep…I managed to get a decent amount of stuff done during Jan-March. Did I get everything I wanted done (or even started)? Nope..but I got a decent amount of things done. The biggest thing that ‘derailed’ me—was having to ‘argue’ with a certain platform to get access back to my account. While people probably think that I enjoy following rules (since I was never much of a ‘rule-breaker’ growing up)…I only follow the rules if they make sense & agree with my values…I’m currently very begrudgingly following rules on a certain platform until I build a large enough following off of that particular site.

I’ll be ‘fine-tuning’ some goals for the rest of the year. I’d initially aimed to listen to at least three podcasts a week and watching at least three TedTalks a week, and writing a ‘blurb’ weekly on different science papers. All three goals will be getting ‘modified’ going forward. In addition—I haven’t ‘restarted’ a photography challenge…because I haven’t decided if it will be daily on Instagram and then bimonthly update on the blog or what…decisions, decisions…

‘Brain dump’ for April:

Yep…this is the second one that I’ve done this year…and it’s starting to help me get slightly organized and giving me numerous projects that I just need to ‘number’ and start focusing on. I’d kinda forgotten how much I enjoyed doing a mixing research and creative writing…now I’m working on a series of ‘creative’ interviews (currently focusing on different dinosaurs—though I’m thinking of stretching it into other areas as well).

One thing I may do with future brain dumps—after the initial, take the ideas and break them into groups, based on the amount of work that needs to go into ‘completing’ the project. So..that means I need to think of the titles for the different ‘groups’.

Continue working on the two-to-five year plan:

So, this is probably going to be a work in progress for a couple of months—the main reason, is that I’m working on merging a couple different goal setting methods into one plan: Having the ‘long-term’ (aka possibly five year goals) set via the ‘value-based’ method; then the yearly goals via the OKR (objective & key-results), with new and full moon goals weaved through as well.

I know my values: Learning/Knowledge; Creativity/Curiosity/Imagination; Authenticity/Self-Respect; Growth/Evolution/Transformation; and Spirituality/Inner Harmony.

Now…it’s just a matter of setting goals that fit within those values…and then breaking them down to yearly/quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily goals/habits.

Start drafting the outline for the personal/professional growth plan

Nope..this is on the schedule for the upcoming week (or next month). 

Work on creating a fitness calendar or game:

I have a rough-draft of a fitness board game. Last week I meant to sit down and write up the ‘rules’, tracking sheets (mainly for the weights), and start using the game…that never happened. So I’d consider this goal to be about half done. One goal for this week is to write up those rules, draw up the tracking sheets & start using the damn game. While I’m not aiming to hit any particular number on the scale…I am aiming to get into the best shape of my life (regardless of what the scale states my weight is at).

Conclusions:

I made five goals for the Libra full moon…and I managed to ‘totally’ accomplish two of them (reflections and April brain dump). The creation of the fitness game is in progress (I’d say I’m about halfway done with that), I’m making a little progress on the two-to-five year plan, and I really need to sit down and create my personal/professional growth plan (mainly for launching the different freelance businesses and to ‘focus’ my attention on different craft projects).

I’m starting to actually try and track my energy throughout the month…and sometimes it varies—but the week before either the full moon (this month) or the new moon, I literally don’t feel like doing much of anything. This was me last week…I had quite a few things I wanted to get accomplished, and while I got probably about half the list done…I could have done more—if I had the energy to do.

So..that is another ‘project’—tracking my energy throughout the day, week, & month. When I’m feeling ‘blah’…I may focus more on learning (reading and e-courses) or networking, and when I’m feeling more ‘energetic’…I will focus on more ‘research’ intensive projects. But—at all times give myself grace, since productivity can vary from day to day, week to week. What is productive for me, may not seem productive to others…and that’s fine—it’s my life, my lane, not anyone else’s.

So…now before I look ahead to the Scorpio full moon, I’ll inquire—how did you do with your Libra goals?

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Reflection and planning for the fourth quarter: Aries Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering its next full moon cycle for the year tonight. This means that there is only an day left in September and then we’re sprinting into the fourth and final quarter of 2023.

I will be more than happy to see the end of this year…and if I could find a time machine—I’d jump ahead a few years to say 2026 or 2028.

So the moon will be moving through the Aries constellation—which means that astrologically we’re ‘starting a new year’ since Aries is the start of the Zodiac calendar. It is the time to reassess, redesign, toss, and make new goals if one is inclined.

So what are some of the questions we can reflect on during this time? They include:

Have I been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month?

Have I been going too fast or been impulsive this month?

Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilties?

Have I had enough fun?

So before answering the questions, I do need to point out that September is basically over, and these questions can be answered in one of two ways: 1) reflecting back on the month of September, or 2) how one want to behave during the Aries phase (which is the first two weeks of October). So as usual I’m going to number the questions 1 to 5 as I answer them.

  1. I would have to say that I’ve managed not to lose my temper, get into any arguments (at least any that are worth remembering having), and I haven’t been acting selfish. September (while it is my birth month), is now just another month I’d rather avoid if possible. I was joking with someone that I was only going to acknowledge half the year, and was debating on how often that would mean I’d have a birthday.
  2. Have I been impulsive during the month of September? Well—yes, if I take into account how many e-books I’ve bought. I probably should keep the phone on airplane mode for majority of the day to ensure that I’m not spending time on social media; also should download another time management app that would ‘block’ my access from different sites (namely Facebook). Have I been going too fast during the month of September? No. I probably have been going a little too slow again. While I have the science/health/med blog/website up and going—I haven’t gotten a blog post up or started any projects to highlight in the portfolio section of the site. The goals for October are not to spend excess money (only order what is absolutely necessary and no new books [other than what’s already been pre-ordered]), and to have at least one if not two blog posts up on the new site, and drafts of at least three different pieces for the portfolio done. 
  3. No, I don’t think I’ve been brash, blunt, or too competitive this past month. I may start being a little more blunt around certain topics (especially education and basic civil rights), but that is a topic for another day. I’m only going to try to be competitive with myself—and only the person I was yesterday.
  4. Well I’m still self-isolating for the most part, and therefore majority of my interactions with people are virtual. I’m working on being more empathetic while at the same time drawing and maintaining my boundaries on certain topics/areas of life.
  5. What is this word fun? The past year has been nothing short of a dumpster fire and we’re going to be stuck dealing with the damn SARS-CoV2 virus thanks to all the idiots back in 2020 that didn’t want to stay at home any longer, and all the idiots that refused to wear masks, social distance, and get their damn vaccines and/or booster shots. While I may have caught COVID—luckily it’s been extremely mild (though it could also still be allergies—need to purchase an in-home test to determine for certain). Therefore, I’m slowly trying to ‘reintroduce’ fun into my day-to-day routine. Fun for me can mean anything from working on my needlepoint project, to sitting outside with the dogs, to making cookies or brownies.

Aries is moves through my sixth house (or my daily work and health zone). This house is where we can sit and reflect on who we are (both in terms of professional/work and personal/health) and decide to work on those aspects that we don’t like.

It’s that time of year (for the second time) to sit and reflect on various things—the good, the bad, and the silly. Figure out where we’re stalling, and then try to develop a plan to start pushing the needle forward again (instead of having it spin around in a circle).

Health wise—I’m still procrastinating on developing a weekly schedule for fitness. I have most of my dumb bells in the family room (the 14-lb and 20-lb weights are still in my bedroom), the exercise bike is in the living room, and I technically have the room to roll out the yoga mat. 

My excuse has been centered more or less around our youngest pup and the fact that if you’re on the ground—he thinks it is playtime (and he plays rather rough—but then again he’s only about seven or eight months old). The excuse for the bike—nothing to watch and I get bored after only a minute or two; and the dogs try to attack the pedals. 

Needless to say—I need to ‘schedule’ the thirty minutes or so for a bike ride, pop on a movie (or pull one up on Amazon video) and get my workout in. Also—can pop in a workout DVD (I do have a handful that I could work out to again), and see how they handle me trying to do a workout in the front of the house.

Nutrition wise—I’m trying to get more protein in each day (starting to mix protein powder in with plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and fruit), drink more water, and cut back on the processed foods (mostly the sweets and chips).

Career wise—I’m pivoting to freelance science/health/medical communications. Why—to help improve the science/health/medical literacy in the global community. There is so much mis- and dis- information out there on various things, that if we’re going to try to colonize another planet—we need people who understand these topics.

I’m still working on developing a schedule that will work for life (health/wellness, career(s), personal/professional growth, and crafts/hobbies), and determining different ways of handling the procrastination bug when it bites (which it does on a fairly regular basis). So time and project management skills are still on the ‘improvement’ list of habits.

The Aries full moon is arriving just before the start of the final quarter of 2023. Therefore, my goals for this full moon are going to revolve around getting things going for both the final quarter of the year—and the next year or two. 

The goals of the Aries full moon will then include:

  1. Setting up the October calendar, fourth quarter BINGO card, and the October BINGO card
  2. Devise (and then test) an intentional movement schedule that includes weight lifting, walking, cardio (exercise bike, dance parties, and shadow boxing), yoga, and so forth.
  3. Have at least two mini-book reviews written and posted on various sites
  4. Work through at least part of a personal/professional e-course
  5. Continue reading (and finishing) at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started.

The motto for the final quarter of 2023: ‘Progress over Perfection’.

What is a personal/professional goal that you’re going to work towards achieving this quarter?

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Focusing on what I can control: Goals for the Taurus Full Moon

So the moon will have entered its latest full moon stage sometime tonight—and will also be a lunar eclipse as well (actually this was early morning—and we were overcast, so even if I’d gotten up early I wouldn’t have seen it). This full moon is also referred to as the Beaver Full moon, and since it’s an eclipse—it’s a ‘beaver blood full moon’.

There are twenty-two days left in November, and a total fifty-three days left in 2022. Looking further ahead to the start of 2023—I’m going to send up a wish/happy thought that it will be a little mellower, and not quite as bumpy as 2022 has been.

Depending on our schedule for the weekend, I’m going to try to get in at least a partial walk at Boomer Lake this weekend, with the camera (might not carry all the gear though).

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

Have I done enough exercise?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be:

  1. I think it depends on what aspect of life we’re talking about…In terms of having a set fitness routine—yes, I’ve been semi-lazy over the past month (and if I’m totally honest it’s been longer than that), I just haven’t been in the mood to try to get the dog and cats out of the room so that I could a workout. In terms of being overly self-indulgent, I’m trying to curb the spending (again). I have deleted various games off the kindle, and the only splurges at times now are more e-books.
  2. No—I’m not obsessed with status symbols or money. Money is necessary for survival in today’s society. Therefore, I’m going to make sure that I’m earning enough money to survive, thrive, and be happy—nothing more and nothing less.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through school (public and college) and all four positions after grad school as well. I’m trying to avoid the comparison trap of jealousy—everyone is on his or her own journeys/paths and no two are the same. I’m also trying to strengthen my personal boundaries—so I am slightly ‘possessive’ of my time alone and my winding down time. I’ve noticed that if I don’t ‘unplug’ by a certain time I start to get agitated and that won’t do in the evenings (or really at any time).
  4. I’m sticking semi with last year’s answer of yes/no. I really don’t like the phrase ‘comfort food’ as (to me) it screams of the diet culture industry. Food is meant to both comfort us and fuel us; and hearing the phrase ‘comfort food’ makes me think of counting calories, containers, and wondering what type of exercise I need to do to burn off the calories. Therefore—yes, I’m eating food that comforts me (including sweets and chips) but for the most part those are limited to the weekends. I’m still working on healing my relationship with food—which includes trying to listen to my body’s signs of when I need to be fueling it.
  5. As I mentioned in my summary of the Aries full moon—I’ve figured out what types of movement I’d be happy doing—just haven’t set a schedule yet. I’m trying to make sure that I’m not sitting on my butt all day—but I also cancelled my BeachbodyOnDemand subscription back in September since I seldom made use of it. Now I’m more of the mindset of turning on music and lifting weights or having a impromptu solo dance party.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves.

For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), I’m still not working, therefore that means focusing on other relationships—(family, and friends).

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—while everyone has claimed that we’ve moved out the ‘pandemic’ stage and into the ‘epidemic’ stage—there is now the flu to worry about (since majority of people aren’t wearing a mask)—I have been trying to get back into the routine of meeting a friend for lunch once a month.

It will be the turkey holiday soon—my older brother and his family are suppose to be in state that week—so there may be a small family get together at some point (if nothing else hopefully see the elder sibling).

It seems since we’ve hit the ‘20s’—each year tries to out do the previous. The world is tumbling in a downwards spiral—though I hope that at least in the US we can stem it for a while by having a blue wave on election night.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

  1. Change up my breakfast routine (to continue to work on mending my relationship with food)–try adding in oatmeal with fruits/nuts, or yogurt with fruits/nuts at least twice a week. Both to get away from the usual blueberry muffin, but to also try adding in a little more protein, fiber, and fruit to my diet.
  2. Work on the second blog–getting the about me and home pages written and functional.
  3. Brainstorm ideas: blog posts (both blogs), portfolio pieces, and featured pieces (for LinkedIn profile)
  4. Get the damn functional resume written and ready to be optimized for different job applications
  5. Work on fleshing out my definition of ‘success’ and creating a digital vision board to go with it

There are a little over seven weeks left in 2022—so while I’m focusing on finishing the year strong (resume, LI profile, updated websites, and so forth), I also need to start fleshing out the goals for 2023 and beyond. I know that 2023 isn’t going to start nice and easy (slim possibility of the family medical issue being resolved by then)—so I need to really focus on making sure that I’m controlling what is in the realm of my control—emotions, thoughts, and my day-to-day schedule.

Anxiety, stress, and depression aren’t going to be fading quickly—but I can really start trying to manage, control, and possibly even avoid prolong episodes of each—by protecting my time, and improving my self-care routine/schedule.

What are some of your favorite stress and/or anxiety relief methods/practices?

No Comments AstrologycareerfoodFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Two-thirds of the way through 2022: August in Review

So, we’re in September…that means there are only four months, 122 days, roughly 17.5 weeks, or 2,928 hours left in 2022. I’m now nineteen days from my next birthday…I thought I’d have gotten more done during August—but it was a total mess of a month.

I’d like to ask again–whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

How was August a mess? Well, we’re currently dealing with an ongoing family medical issue—that may or may not be resolved by Halloween—so yeah, it’s been a hellish month.

I could on and on about being pissed about Roe v Wade being overturned…but I’m trying to stay on a somewhat upbeat outlook of life (due to the ongoing family medical issue)…

While the anxiety has been acting up—I’ve been getting better at meditating at night (soothing pod meditations help), and am working on catching the imposter syndrome/inner critic as it pops its head out to yell…

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘July in Review’ on August 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 93.1 million cases and now as of September 1st —we have reached just a little over 96.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 3.2 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I need to get my booster shot soon, but am waiting for the next Pfizer one to be released (since it is suppose to also protect against the omicron variants).

As I alluded to the past few months, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for September (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have at least one mini-book review written)
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no-spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for 20 days; goal is 30 days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one personal/professional development e-course module
  9. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

125-155K steps:

I managed 132,940 steps during August. Between the weather and the ongoing family medical issue—I didn’t get any long walks in at Boomer Lake, just several walks up to the corner store on the weekend looking for the paper.

One partial walk at Boomer Lake, and five-to-ten minutes of intentional movment:

There weren’t any walks at Boomer Lake this month (refer back to family medical issue), and I would have to say that I probably managed five minutes of intentional movement each day.

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Nope…I’ve started reading quite a few non-fiction books, but haven’t finished any of them.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

I did manage to read quite a few fiction books (though I have yet to write any mini book reviews). The books I managed to read include:

  1. Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. Help Me Remember (Rose Canyon #1) by Corinne Michaels
  3. My Grumpy Billionaire by Nadie Lee
  4. Frayed (Willow Springs #1) by Laura Pavlov
  5. Tangled (Willow Springs #2) by Laura Pavlov
  6. Charmed (Willow Springs #3) by Laura Pavlov
  7. Sealed (Willow Springs #4) by Laura Pavlov
  8. Claimed (Willow Springs #5) by Laura Pavlov
  9. Off Limits (Rixon High #1) by L.A. Cotton
  10. Tragic Lies (Rixon High #2) by L.A. Cotton
  11. Ruined Hopes (Rixon High #3) by L.A. Cotton
  12. Broken Ties (Rixon High #4) by L.A. Cotton
  13. Missed Notes (Rixon High #5) by L.A. Cotton

Plus I think I reread The Callaghan Brothers series by Abby Zanders and the Winters Saga by Ivy Layne as well.

Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge:

I did okay with the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge. I managed 22 days of not spending money…eight days shy of my goal of thirty days no spend. I’m hoping to do a minimum of twenty-four days no spend during September.

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

I’ve gotten better at evening meditations (the soothing pod meditation app helps), writing at least one thing I’m grateful for each night in my journal, and doing a daily oracle card drawing.

Time outdoors has been sporadic—mainly in the evenings, though there were a couple of days that I did manage to sit outside during afternoon/evening hours.

Craft time:

Well, it depends on what one would classify as ‘crafts’…I did spend some time trying to design new graphics on Canva, did a little iPhone photography, and possibly colored one or two color-by-number pictures on the kindle.

I do need to try to do other crafts (such as design some jewelry or work on a cross-stitch project) over the next few months.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I don’t think I got much personal/professional development done. I am in a boot camp course for career confidence (but have only been able to catch one class ‘live’ and am behind on the homework).

Writing, writing, and writing:

Well, there was some writing done this past month…I think I managed the science Tuesday posts on LinkedIn and only missed one thoughtful Thursday post. But—I know that I can (and will need to) do better in terms of writing daily.

So I would say that I managed to hit probably half the goals for August…the month had its problems—and while I didn’t ‘hide’ from them…I also fell into some bad coping habits (buying ebooks for example)…

I have no idea of September is going to be any easier than August…but I know that I need to stay focused on the goals of finding either a flexible remote position or really trying to start up a freelance business…

Therefore the goals for September will include a mixture of personal/professional development (as they all usually are) areas:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five-to-ten minutes fo intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (plus write at least one mini book review)
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 24 days; goal is 29)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to create at least one necklace, one bracelet, and one pair of ear rings)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (taking notes)
  9. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and more writing

Goals are basically the same as last month (with the addition of getting the second blog site up and running)—but that is how you build consistent habits—repetition. Also, since I ‘fell’ down on a few of the goals last month, by repeating them—I’m giving myself grace for not being ‘perfect’ and another shot on hitting the goal this coming month.

I can already tell that September isn’t going to be any easier than August (and potentially could be worse)…but instead of falling under the ‘influence’ of my inner critic/imposter syndrome (which would result in very few things getting done)…I’m going to aim for consistency—consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

By aiming for consistency—I’m leaning into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

I mentioned last month that I was going to try to ‘unplug’ from the computer at night to read or work on a craft project—and I think I only managed it a few times throughout the month—so another ‘mini-goal’ to work towards (no computer after 8pm at least four days a week).

With fall around the corner—what is one of your fall goals?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Virgo Season: Time to start planning the goals

So, we’re going to be heading into another ‘new moon’ phase this weekend (and I’m probably going to be a day late in posting).

We’re entering Virgo season…I should be counting down the days until my birthday—but I’m not (and that’s another story for another day)…

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
  5. 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).

Looking back at what I wrote over the past two years—my ‘new normal’ is still social distancing (with a some exceptions), wearing a mask, and really just being considerate of others…

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

  1. Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do
  2. Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met
  3. Wish on a star every night for a month
  4. Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now
  5. Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to
  6. Thank your best friend for being there for you

Well, besides the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic/epidemic—I’m not getting out that much still. Therefore, there are still several things that I probably won’t be doing in regards to my 11th house.

I’d say that there are probably only two things that I could do in regards to my 11th house: wish on a star every night for a month, or thank my best friend for being around still. I am starting to do more virtual ‘coffee/water’ chats as well.

I had lunch with a college classmate a few weeks ago, and may try to get together again sometime in September (but it depends on a whole slew of other things).

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 try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (alternate between weight lifting and shadow-boxing).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, and block out periods of time (or set certain days to certain tasks) and see if that helps improve my productivity
  4. Work on the outlines/drafts for the following items:
    •  My LinkedIn oncology post series
    • The follow-up(s) to my LinkedIn molecular cloning series: Introduction to biofuels, Introduction to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and Introduction to vaccine development
    • Digestion, absorption of nutrients, and the nucleic acid biosynthesis pathways
    • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells: Similarities and Differences
    • Antibiotics and the rise of Antibiotic Resistant Microbes
  5. Continue with the evening meditations

Since the next few months are going to be extremely crazy (and that’s putting things nicely)…my motto is going to be ‘progress over perfection’…which means I need to spend a little time each week working on my other blog, doing research and starting to write on various topics (see fourth goal above).  I also am not going to let the opinions of others deter me from the path that I’m starting on, as I know it will be a windy and bumpy road.

How do you handle things when everything seems to be going to hell?

No Comments Astrologybullet journalcareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Focusing on the career: updating social pages, writing, and research

So the moon will be transitioning through the Sagittarius constellation tonight—marking the sixth full moon of the year; and we’re almost half way through June.

The Sagittarius moon is known for giving off ‘fun energy’, and while that is nice going into the summer months, and while I could say I’m hoping that it won’t lead to a spike in cases–we’re already spiking again due to the various omicron variants…so I’ll be spending the time reflecting and working towards either the transition to a remote communications position or starting a freelance business.

Sagittarius Reflection Questions from the Book: Moonology: Working with Magic of Lunar Cycles by Yasmin Boland

Have I been too flippant, or carefree to the point of being careless, irresponsible, even?

Have I been letting myself down by allowing myself get distracted and bored?

Have I been overconfident to the point of arrogance, or too preachy?

Have I been a commitment-phobe, to my own detriment?

Have I been seeing the bigger picture?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as follows:

My Answers/(Yours of course will be different):

  1. In terms of finances, yes I have probably been a little too ‘carefree’ lately. I’ve realized that the past nine-to-ten months I’ve reverted to spending money when I’m stressed/anxious/depressed—and since we lost Rolex last month (due to a relapse of hemolytic anemia); Russia is still invading Ukraine (and probably won’t stop there); and it just seems the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Now I’m aiming to just be at least 1-5 days better than the previous month in terms of ‘no-spending’.
  2. Yes, I have been allowing myself to get distracted (I won’t really say bored, but more of a ‘fear of failure’/’imposter syndrome’) more often lately. I’m actually going to be drafting writing ideas on this topic. I do allow myself to get distracted; though since starting the content development challenge and participating in #socialsaturday on LinkedIn—I haven’t been quite as ‘bored’. Still working on time and project management.
  3. Nope, I have not been overconfident to the point of arrogance or being too preachy.
  4. I liked last years answer, so I’m going to ‘recycle’ it. This answer again depends on which aspect of life we’re talking about. Am I being a commitment-phobe to myself (i.e. not doing my workouts, eating well, and so forth)? Or a commitment-phobe to someone else? If we’re talking to about the first (myself)—then yes, I have been a commitment-phobe to my own detriment. I’m working on getting better at it though. If we’re talking about being a commitment-phobe to someone else—nope (can’t be a commitment phobe if you aren’t in a relationship, and I’m currently not in a relationship).
  5. Which bigger picture are we talking? Trying to figure out my life in say five to twenty years? The current societal picture? The global picture? The current global/societal picture sucks…There is an illegal war going on (only because the aggressor has nukes and no one wants them going off—but what happens when they turn their eyes to other countries?), we’re still dealing with the SARS-CoV2 pandemic (don’t care if people are allowed to travel—the virus hasn’t disappeared), and we’re also dealing with the gun violence epidemic as well as numerous other issues. If the global society can’t stop the illegal war—it could very well erupt into the third world war. I’m seriously wondering now if we’re going to be able to survive as a society and be ‘recognized’ as society in say fifteen to twenty years.

What Zone/House is Sagittarius traveling through (for me)?

In addition to the fact that the moon has entered into Sagittarius, at least for me it has moved into my second house (or the cash, property, and values zone). This full moon brings about feelings of one’s financial security and stability, and self worth.

It means that we’re suppose to find a balance between various aspects of life—are we tired of working for others and wanting to strike out on our own—now would be the time to start planning it, have we been neglecting ourselves and focusing on others??

This zone is popping up at a time when I need to really start ‘job searching’ and finish reformatting the blog/website. While I know I can probably find a job on campus if I really need one—I’d prefer to have a remote communications job or possibly one or two freelance clients and starting my own business.

In addition, I’m going to look into different ways of earning small amounts of cash (taking surveys, selling DVDs back, possibly sell photography prints or homemade jewelry).

So, while I’m still going to treat this time as a period of self-reflection, I’m also going to be doing other things that I need to do to really get the job search up and going….

So what are my goals for the Sagittarius Full Moon? They include:

  1. Finish updating my LinkedIn profile…While I’ve ‘technically’ have taken a career break the past two years—I’ve also been trying my hand at blogging and content creation…so I have to decide how to put that in…plus figure out the ‘transferable skill’ title for previous jobs…fun times….
  2. Create a functional resume template for science/medical communication jobs…
  3. Finish updating the few pages on the website that I haven’t updated, start doing some serious SEO research for the site, writing, and so forth…
  4. Continue with my 90-day content creation challenge
  5. And if I have time: roll the dice and see what the next adventure (or adventures) will be in terms of personal and professional development.

I’m working on ‘closing’ the previous chapters of my life (at least in terms of career) and write the next one as a ‘blockbuster’ chapter…

What is one of your Sagittarius goals?

Namaste…

No Comments AstrologycareerFull Moon Goalsjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Content Development and an anxiety attack: Scorpio Full Moon Goals in Review

So we’re a day away from June’s full moon, which means it’s time for me to look at the goals I set for the May Scorpio full moon and see how I did with each of them.

One thing I can say—I need to get back into the habit of writing these goals out on paper as well…since I may (or may not) look at back at either this document or the blog post. I noticed that I’ve gotten into the mindset of just checking things off a list—not really stopping to either contemplate what I did/or need to continue doing, or celebrating small wins.

Also—the last half of May was rough—the full moon was roughly a week or so before we lost Rolex (who suffered a relapse of her hemolytic anemia), and I’ve had more off days since…

Anyway, what were the goals that I set for the Scorpio full moon? They included:

  1. Continuing working on my 90-day content challenge plan (goal is to do some type of research/writing daily in addition to hopefully working on a craft project as well)
  2. Finish setting up my 12-month plan, and start a rough draft for my personal/professional development plan
  3. Continue to try to mediate daily/nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

90-Day Content Challenge:

I’m doing pretty well…I think I may have only missed a day or two over the past two weeks.

The biggest win though: I’m not just sitting around and playing on the kindle all afternoon…I’m actually either researching something of interest or trying to be more activ eon LinkedIn (but that’s another post entirely).

I’m reenergizing my interest in diverse topics: geography, anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, history, and various sciences…in addition to trying to come up with different ways of sharing what I’ve learned.

I’m talking about possibly coming up with lectures (such as dominant/recessive/semi-dominant trait inheritance–genetics based off the research for the snow goose), infographics and other graphics (molecular cloning series), posters (geography and various other subjects), and so forth…

The best part of it–is that I’m embracing my learner, intellection, creativity, and curiosity strengths and values…

Working on the 12-month plan and rough draft of a personal/professional development plan

Can we say anxiety attack….

I mean I shouldn’t freak out over trying to ‘breakdown’ a handful of goals into ‘smaller’ steps…but I did (and regularly do) freak out…

The heart starts racing, my stomach becomes extremely upset, and my pulse races…

I simply put the notebook up, grabbed my needlepoint project and finished it…

Needlepoint tapestry of a flower (red petals, orange center, green stem and leaves)
First attempt at needlepoint with cotton fabric

While I was working on the project, I realized what my problems were with trying to work on the 12-month plan and personal/professional development plan: imposter syndrmoe, fear of failure, and that pesky little pest–perfection.

Why am I freaking out over a 12-month plan that is combined with a personal/professional development plan?? The simple reason: with the current state of global affairs—nothing is guaranteed. Everyone wants things that are ‘safe’ and ‘reliable’—and that spikes the imposter syndrome and fear of failure.

So, needless to say—I’m still tackling the 12-month plan and development of a personal/professional development plan.

Daily/Nightly Meditation:

Currently I’m referring to it as ‘sitting quietly’ and can usually manage a couple of minutes at night.

I still need to reorganize the area of the bedroom that I want to use as my ‘mediation’ spot—and remember to pick up the pillows/blankets or whatever I’m sitting on so there are no ‘pet accidents’ on them.

So I can say I probably accomplished fifty percent of the tasks—I’m working on the content creation challenge, and managing a few minutes of sitting quietly…true it should be closer to two-thirds (since I only set three goals)—but the ‘sitting quietly’ doesn’t totally ‘quiet’ my mind…though I’ve found that if I skip it—my sleep suffers…so there is that to look into…

I told myself at the beginning of the year—aim for continual progress. It’s a bumpy and windy road—some days (hell, if I’m totally honest—weeks or months) that I don’t feel like I’m progress and my inner critic/imposter syndrome is running the show…but there are the days when I feel like I’ve managed to make decent strides on moving forwards…its all in how you view things…

So how are you viewing your progress??

No Comments Full Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections