Tag: marchinreview

A quarter of the way through the year: Reviewing March Goals

So we’ve made it through the first quarter of 2021–three months down, and nine to go. While non-essential trvel (bacially anything other than work) is still semi-frowned upon hopefully by mid to late 2022, it will be allowed again. While numbers are still going up worldwide, hopefully between the various vaccine that are available the pandemic is starting to come under sometype of control.

I have a feeling that basically every year now there will be several ‘WTF’ moments scattered throughout the year. Though so far in 2021–we’ve had at least one WTF moment a month:

January & February saw issues with both the supporters of the orange blob and orange blob himself (for more see the post February in review), and winter weather. March then saw a cargo tanker get stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week before it was unstuck and traffic started moving again. I loved the one meme that basically stated that you weren’t really having bad week unless your problem was visible from the international space station.

In terms of when I’ll be eligible for the vaccine–the state has opened up Phase 4 (which is my phase)-so all I really need to do now is call one of the local pharmacies and find out what the times are for the shot(s) and go get mine. So that means I should hopefully be ‘protected’ by summertime. Though I will still be social distancing and possibly self-isolating still as well.

I like the fact that we have a new administration that actually listens to science–we’re slowly starting to get the virus under control. When I published ‘February in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 29.2 million cases, and as of last night the US is at a little over 31.1 million cases (an increase of less than 2 million–and I’ve forgotten when the monthly increase was that low). Hopefully it is due to people getting the vaccine and listening to the experts. Though spring break was two weeks ago–so we will have to see if there is any upswing in cases during the early part of April.

So before I look ahead to April (with the plans of trying to become slightly more productive), I should look at the gaosl I set for March and see how I did with each of them.

Goals for March included:

Getting somewhere between 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Barre Blend

Reading (or finishing) 2 non-fiction books

Reading 3 fiction books

Finishing up the assignments for the MWO & finishing the Clinical research coalition and Regulatory affairs council programs

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (more emphasis on cross-stitching and jewelry design)

Finish at least two other e-courses

So how did I do with each one?

Getting somewhere between 135-155,000 steps. I manage to hit and surpass the step goal for March. With teh weather warming up and getting outside more–I managed to get 197,430 steps for the month. I had been able to do two walks at Boomer (a full ~5 mile walk and a shorter ~1.5 mile walk), plus walk Chaos through the neighborhood a couple of times.

Finish Barre Blend–well I managed to do the first four weeks of the program, and then switched and did CIZE and/or yard work/walking for my exercise regime for March. I switched the programs mainly because I’m not a barre fan. Being bowlegged/knock-knee didn’t help and the ‘modifier’ was still a professional dancer–so I felt like it wasn’t really a ‘modifier’–she was just someone who is doing the workouts low impact.

I am going to finish up the last four weeks of the program throughout the year–possibly a week at a time between other programs.

Doing CIZE has been fun–I still have two left feet and have to go slower and modify more than I would like to currently (there are certain moves that I just don’t feel like I can do them ‘on beat’)–but I’ve managed to try five of the six workouts (routine six will be tried next week), but currently I actually prefer the second and third one over the others (though how I feel on #6 is still up in the air until after next week).

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books

I managed to finish the following: ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life: A creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobensteine

I’m also halfway through the following: ‘You Turn: Get Unstuck, Discover Your Direction, and Design Your Dream Career’ by Ashley Stahl

I’m working on a post that incorporates an exercise from The Renaissance Soul, so I will also be posting it as a partial book review, along with it also being a partial book review for ‘How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick. I finished that book back in October last year.

Since I’m only halfway through ‘You Turn’–I’m about a half a book behind ‘schedule’ for the year. I’ve managed to read 5 non-ficition books so far–I’m a sixth of the way to my goal of 30 non-fiction books by the end of the year.

Read 3 fiction books

I read the following books during March:

Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (Billionaire Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott

This is the 16th (though technically 17th book since there was a novella released within the ‘Washington Billionaires’ arch) billionaire obsession book. This series focuses on ‘ultra-rich’ billionaires and the trials and tribulations of being able to find someone who will love them for them and not their money. While every book is a stand-alone book, they’re ‘grouped’ into mini-series that usually introduces the next ‘mini-series’ (usually within the last book of that ‘mini-series’), and I would suggest reading them (at least each ‘group’ ) in order to have all the backstory for each character. Jax is the second in the ‘California’ group following his older brother’s book: Billionaire Undercover: Hudson, which had come out back in July of 2020.

Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) and Wild & Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van

I have the entire series and have been slowly re-reading the last 15 books since I decided to pre-order #32 which is out on April 2nd. This series (and all series by the author) are at the ‘hotter’ edge of romance (they’re menages), in addition to fact taht the heroines are all dealing with some contemporary social issue–so if you’re not into reading menages and don’t like dealing with various topics-then these books aren’t for you. While I would like to see a book where the female lead isn’t dealing with societal crap, I do like how she has numerous shoulders to lean on within the book and series. I read romance mainly to escape reality and transport myself somewhere where there is still a decent amount of good in the world–not saying that there isn’t good in the world, but with the way the world is going and the news–I’ll take my escapism every day thank you.

Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van

Another contemporary series by Becca Van–again similar background to her Slick Rock series, so again–if you’re just into sweet and rosy romance series, again not for you.

There was also a sale on free e-books mid-month and I bought/downloaded probably another 30-40 books, so I will have pently to chose from during those weeks when I don’t have a new book to look forward to.

Finish up the MWO assignments and the Clinical Research Coalition & Regulatory Affair Council programs

I’m also through the third module for the clinical research coalition program. There are another eight videos left in this module (which is all about job search strategy) and then the fourth module (which has five videos about job trajectory) to finish. While I find the field to be interesting-if I decide to go this way, I think I will be focusing on the clinical research scientist side (the one that writes the protocols and does the analysis of the data collected in the study) instead of the clinical research associate side (which is the side that oversees the clinical trials–too much traveling for this girl).

I didn’t make any headway into the regulatory affairs council program this month (I’m still somewhere within module 1) and I ididn’t try to power through the writing/editing tests for the MWO.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

I’ve been pretty good at this challenge (and will have a more detailed breakdown on it in the monthly update on this challenge).

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

For the most part I’ve been able to spend a little more time outside in March than I did in January or February, since the temperatures are warming up. The issue now will be to make sure that I’m not spending so much time outside that I neglect doing what I need to do on the computer.

I’ve been doing better at evening meditations, as I think I only skipped one night last month.

Daily craft time–so I’ve done ‘crafts’ daily (if one counts being obsessed with the color by number app on the kindle), but other than that or the few days of photography–I haven’t expanded my ‘crafts’ niche yet.

Finish at least two other e-courses

Since I’ve been thinking more and more of going freelance/independent in terms of the next career stage I decided that I should start figuring out my ‘personal/professional’ brand and brushing up on digital marketing.

Therefore I watch the following ‘short’ courses on Skill Share (each were less than a half-hour):

Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce by Bonnie Summerfeldt

Create a Simple Digital Marketing Plan by Tamara Budz

Both were good short courses, and of course left me with more questions than answers (plus an assignment or two to work through).

I’m also starting to refresh my Spanish with the website Mondly as well. I’m happy that I remembered that I bought a premium subscription to the site and have the choice of numerous languages to learn. I’m starting off by refreshing my fluency in Spanish, and then will refresh my fluency in German, and then move on to another language).

Since it is April already the goals for the month will include:

At least 130-150,000 steps

Getting a new pedometer; my fitbit zip is currently acting up and since I can’t find a decently priced replacement–I’ll be going with a different brand of pedometer (hopefully getting the new one on Saturday–so steps may be off for the first two or three days of the month

Finish up CIZE and move on to 21-Day Fix Live

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books (plus hopefully post book reviews within 2-3 days of finishing)

Read 3 fiction books (again post book reviews within 2-3 days of finishing)

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, work on the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization, and work through at least the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council (bonus if I finish all threethis month)

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors & mediation/sitting quietly

Craft time (more photography and designing/creating at least 1 necklace/bracelet set)

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day on Spanish

While I didn’t hit all goals 100% (especially reading non-fiction and working through professional development courses), I’ve realized that part of the problem is that I’m afraid if I decide to go that ‘direction’ in terms of my career I may end up bored before too long, and unable to articulate the reason to managers/supervisors and end up either being dissatisfied with my work or possibly fired.

But now that I know what part of my issues are–I should be able to recognize the signs and be able to prevent boredom from either totally occurring or getting too out of hand (because lets face it–all jobs are going to be slightly boring at some point).

I’ve figured that the best way to deal with this issue is to create personal/professional development plan for the next few years–I’m going to tailor it towards freelance/remote/contract/consulting/blogging and actually try to reach out for help in a few areas (something that I’ve been slightly petrified of doing lately–not admitting that I need help, but trying to figure out who would be the best to ask for help from–aka trying to find mentors).

Currently I’m reminding myself of the following: “Progress over Perfection”, and “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”. In addition to keeping the following words at the forefront: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

How did your first quarter go?

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March in Review, a few days late

Well we’re now a quarter of the way through the year (and I’m a few days late in posting)—and I’m pretty sure we can all agree that either we need to restart 2019 (because the end spilled over into 2020), or lets just skip to 2021 (maybe 2022). The novel coronavirus-SARS-CoV-2 has become a global pandemic, with travel basically shut down around the world. The US is now the current epicenter for the pandemic (we’re over 200K cases and climbing). So any travel I had planned for this year isn’t going to be happening—in fact there are a lot of things that I had planned that either aren’t going to be happening, or I’m going to fall short on—these include the yearly step goal (5 million), and possibly transitioning into industry (hiring is slightly down, plus I’m still not a hundred percent certain which direction I want to be going in).

Luckily, things are transitioning online—so the once networking event I was thinking about going to in Boston later in April—it is online, so I can hopefully attend from the comfort of my own room. So we will have to see how things are going to go (I’ve already missed one online networking event—I forgot about it and streamed a workout instead).

            I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I want to be doing with my life—I’ve realized one reason why I’m leery of trying to be an “expert” in a certain topic—I enjoy learning, and if I feel like I’ve learned all there is for the topic, I tend to lose interest and move on to something else.

                        I do this a lot with movies—there is only a small number of movies that I’m willing to watch more than once (and that is usually as I’m doing something else at the same time and I use the movie as background noise). The funny thing is I don’t do this with books—I can re-read a series over and over again, and usually not get bored by it (it probably also helps to have a couple of hundred (or more) books on the kindle).

So what were the goals for March?

The goals for March included:

At least 465,000 steps (breaks down to 15,000 steps/day)—this is to get back on track to hit the 5 million steps goal by the end of the year.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

Money log/Weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—actually try to have a bare-minimum spend month (again blog post coming later this week, early next week)

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Determine the best direction(s) for the blog to go in for 2020 and beyond.

So how did I do with each one?

At least 465,000 steps (breaks down to 15,000 steps/day)—this is to get back on track to hit the 5 million steps goal by the end of the year.

            This goal I fell way short of—I only managed to get a little over 130,000 (130,709 to be exact). Walks are still permitted during the “shelter-at-home/shelter-in-place” period—but everyone seems to be doing those. While I can keep six feet away from people, others are still out in groups and I just don’t trust that someone isn’t going to cough (and not into their forearm). So I had only been hitting about 5K steps a day. My yearly total is down as well (it is at 693,486 for the three months; when it should be somewhere between 900,000 (at 10K/day) and 1,260,000 (at 14K/day); this means that I should be doing almost 16,000 steps a day to get to 5 million by the end of the year—or 11K a day to get to the base minimum of ~3,660,000 steps.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

            I did manage to read at least two books, and they were the following:

Never too busy to cure clutter: simplify your life one minute at a time. More than 365 tips to make room for what’s truly important by Erin Rooney Dola

Leave your mark: land your dream job, kill it in your career, and rock social media by Aliza Licht and Donna Karan

I also started a couple of other books, but am also trying to work through the exercises as I’m reading them, so they will hopefully be finished during April.

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

I’m sticking with Morning Meltdown 100—and should hopefully be finished it with in early June. There have been a couple of days where I didn’t do a workout, but have only allowed that to stretch to two days and no more.

This is helping me control my stress and anxiety somewhat—I know that I should also be focusing on my nutrition during this time as well, but currently between working out and having chocolate they’re both helping me keep my calm.

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

I’ve been listening to podcasts quite frequently (usually when I’m working on crafts or trying to write). One that I was listening to the other day really resonated with me as it had briefly mentioned the book/concept YouMap—which I had read last year (and worked through numerous exercises). The concept of the book is to look at four different areas and then determine what works best for you that encompasses those things. They mainly talked about the strengths aspect—and that really is my sticking point—my top strengths are Learner, Intellection, Input, Achieve, and Deliberative (or Ideation). I need to figure out what direction/focus to go in that will allow me to use these strengths, while at the same time trying to improve others.

Money log/Weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—actually try to have a bare-minimum spend month (again blog post coming later this week, early next week)

Well this didn’t go quite as I had planned. I will be trying to repeat this challenge come April (and possibly May as well). There will be a blog post coming to update on how I did for this challenge in the coming days.

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Determine the best direction(s) for the blog to go in for 2020 and beyond.

So, this is still a work in progress. The only calendar that I’m semi sticking with is the workout calendar for morning meltdown 100 (and I’m off a couple of days on that). I think that my main problem is trying to fit everything into a day, instead of trying to figure out how to stagger the work (something to work on over the next few weeks as we’re still self-quarantining).

So I did well on a few things, and fell short on others. I wasn’t too shocked when the virus was actually declared a pandemic—I was hoping for a better response from the US (but again, not shocked at the poor response considering who is sitting in the White House). I would say that I’m going to buckle down and get all sorts of things accomplished during April, but I’ll be honest—there might be a decent size list, but I’m only going to be aiming at hitting 75 to 85% of the goals (which is better than not setting any goals for the coming month).

Therefore the goals for April are going to included:

At least 300,000 steps (should try to aim for ~10,000 steps/day)

Reading at least two non-fiction books

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin

Money log/Weekly-check in/No Spend days

Work on developing an editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Also still try to determine the best direction(s) for the blog to in for the rest of this year and beyond.

Then remember: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

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March: A month in Review

Well the first quarter of the year has come and gone. Some things have gotten accomplished, but I’ve fallen short on quite a few other things. One thing I despise about March is the start of day light savings time—where we set the clocks a head an hour. We don’t gain or lose anything other than a little bit of our charming personalities. For the most part I can adapt pretty quickly, except I usually end of snacking a little more, and it takes me a little longer to get back into a workout routine. Plus it’s still flu season (luckily I got my flu shot last fall, so I only had a very mild case this past week). As we head into the second quarter of the year, it’s time to look back on the goals for March and see how I managed with each one.

The goals for the month included:

At least 434,000 steps (again this breaks down to a minimum of 14K/day), though I would like to maybe aim for 475,000 steps (which would break down to a little over 15K a day).

Continue with the photography challenge

Workout daily (continue to alternate between weight training & cardio)

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

Try to get at least one more science post up on the blog (maybe two if possible)

Aim for a week of no spending (keep a money log)

Continue interacting on linkedin

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps (again this breaks down to a minimum of 14K/day), though I would like to maybe aim for 475,000 steps (which would break down to a little over 15K a day). Well I’ve at least made it to the 434,000 steps for the month. There have been several days that I’ve decided should be rest days—so I usually end up with less than 5K steps. I did manage to get to a total of 464,960 (I was just a little over 10K shy of the 475,000 goal). This brings me to a total of 1,329,138 and I’m still on track for both the goal of five million by the end of the year, and my ~14-20 million by the end of 1001 days challenge.

Continue with the photography challenge. So far so good, I’ve managed to keep up with the challenge. I’m alternating between newer pictures and older ones that I haven’t shared. Right now the photography challenge is mainly on the blog, and then shared on either twitter or pintrest (depending on the post).

Daily workout (continue to alternate between weight training & cardio).  This really didn’t happen this month. In between trying to readapt to day light savings time and just life in general—I managed to make sure that I was walking daily, but that was about it. April will be when I get back on track. I’m actually thinking of maybe trying to start transformation 20 come April 1st (it’s the new ShawnT workout from Beachbody that should be available to everyone).

Read (or finish) at least three non-fiction books. I managed to only finish one book this month and that was: “Choose the life you want: The mindful way to happiness” by Taj Ben-Shahar. With day light saving time starting, and coming down with a mild case of the flu—I fell back into a routine of re-reading some of my go to series (also there were a couple of new books out in two series, so I needed to remember what had happen so I could read those books). I have one or two other books that I’m about 70% of the way through, but didn’t manage to get them finished this month.

Try to get at least one more science post up on the blog (maybe two if possible). I have several ideas for different science posts for the science page of the blog (and even a couple of blog posts), but that is as far as I’ve gotten for those. One issue is again my poor illustration skills and the fact that I want them to look good.  So the posts may just be “wordy” to begin with, and then once I’m comfortable with not perfect illustrations I’ll start to add in some illustrations.

Aim for a week of no spending (keep a money log). I did manage to have a week of no spending—it was the very first week of the month. I’m hoping to do better in April and actually maybe have a month of no spending. The money log only lasted about the first two weeks of the month, and then I kept saying I’d add in things after work—but I never did. Again this is a work in progress.

Continue interacting on linkedin—this is something that didn’t really happen this month. I think it was a combination of not getting decent sleep, allergies, and just feeling blah in general that I more or less stayed off linkedin last month. This is something that I need to be doing (interacting—not staying off of) more of, and hopefully will be doing better with come the second quarter of the year.

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta).  I’ve made some progress on this—I have several pages of notes on the types of positions that could be of interest, and things I should be doing to help narrow down the positions from seven to maybe four (or at least ranked a little better than what I currently have). In terms of the different e-courses that I’ve bought (or saved) I’ve managed to only get through one or two (and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with transitioning to an industry position).

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read). Truthfully I can’t remember if I read anything on either website this month. I may have during the first week of the month, but if I did—I forgot to take notes.

So I’ve been up and down on the goals for March—but truthfully with the time change and then battling the crud—I’m not surprised. I’ve also realized that there are several things on my 101-goal list that I haven’t been consistent with either the first quarter of the year. But that is the nice thing about life—you can realize something isn’t working perfectly and then start slowly readjusting things so that you’re hopefully hitting the goal at least 80% of the time for the month.

So as we head into the second quarter of the year, my goals for April will include:

At least 434,000 steps (breaks down to 14K/day).

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

Continuing with the photography challenge

Being more active on linkedin

Working out daily (hopefully starting transformation: 20 or another round of LIIFT4)—or at least on a consistent basis. I’m not going to push myself if I know I’m not feeling well—so there has to be balance.

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

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

Read at least one scientific article a week and write a 500-word summary for a potential blog/science post.

The goals are pretty much the same–which is good. If I can stick with them for a couple more months, they should almost be a habit and then I can start in with some new goals.

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