Tag: professionaldevelopment

Looking ahead to the next revolution around the sun

So, yesterday was my birthday—and I’m now technically a full year into my fourth decade (even though I’ve kiddingly said that I’m celebrating my 39th birthday for the third time).

Last year I did a post shortly after my birthday on trying to answer the question of which hobbies, passions, and interests fall under the jack-of-all-trades umbrella, and which fall under the specialist umbrella. That posts evolved from a previous post (‘self-reflection, planning, and yet more self-reflection’).

I’d stated then that my two biggest struggles were imposter syndrome and being stuck in the ‘academic’ mindset of career progression (though industry does have clear career progressions—my ‘problem’ has been not knowing which direction to go in).

Recently I’ve been coming back to the possibility of freelance/remote/contract work where I could be doing writing, data analysis, project, and/or product management in addition to writing/blogging on personal/professional development topics as well.

The main reason why I’m leaning in that direction—we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and I feel more comfortable with going in a direction that is semi-location independent and to a degree company-independent as well.

While at the same time, I want to create a ‘niche’ that will allow me to flow between topics that I feel fall into either the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ category or the ‘specialist’ category. In addition to allowing me to make use of my strengths: learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative/ideation/arranger.

So how am I going to do this?

Well, I’ve come up with three broad areas that will be added to the two ‘fun’ niches that I already have ‘pages/tabs’ for on the blog/website.

The three broad areas that I’m going to be adding will be:

  1. Health and Wellness
  2. Science Education and Communications (abbreviated Science Ed and Coms)
  3. Personal Development (may also include some aspects of professional development as well)

Since each area is extremely broad, I’ll be focusing on certain subtopics within each area (though the science education and communication may remain some broad—only because I find almost all science to be interesting). What those subtopics are–I’m still working on those lists, but my goal is to have three-to-five subtopics per broad area.

They will also have their own ‘tab’ on the website (serving as individual ‘portfolios’), and I’ve decided that the Health/Wellness tab is going to be the ‘renamed/worked’ Fitness tab; Science Ed and Coms will be the ‘renamed/worked’ All Things Science tab; and Personal Development will be the ‘renamed/worked’ Everything Else Bucket List tab.

The two ‘fun’ niches that I will be keeping on the blog (and that already have their own tabs/pages) will be travel and photography (which I’m going to be combining with the birds tab).

Having these five ‘niches’ or areas will allow me the flexibility I need to stay focused, productive, and happy. Science education and communication may also branch out to include social sciences and humanities at some point (as I also enjoy those topics as well).

Other crafts (such as cross-stitching, jewelry design/creation, knitting, and others) may show up from time to time under the personal development tab or possibly just as individual blog posts.

Looking back over the past year, I’ve realized that I have made progress in numerous areas (even if it has been minuscule), and as I continue forward on this freelance/remote/contract path I know that I will continue to improve in those areas. That being said, I’m still going to be working on the following areas:

  1. Time and project management (I have numerous writing projects in the pipeline, but haven’t really gotten anywhere with any of them)
  2. Brainstorming, researching, writing, editing, and publishing–on a schedule
  3. Publishing my writing (in more places than just the blog and LinkedIn)
  4. Different types of writing (though I’m actually doing this a little with the volunteer medical content writing position):
    • Creative/Fiction
    • Scientific
    • Non-fiction
  5. Reworking the blog/website to serve as one of my ‘portfolios’ (with another being my LinkedIn account) in terms of the different areas/niches I want to branch out into

So, I have the overall plan of trying to go freelance/remote/contract for writing/data analysis/project and/or product management. Now it is time to rework the blog/website (slowly, since I have had it going for a couple of years now), and then figure out the other little nuts and bolts of starting my own business.

So, for my next revolution around the sun–I’m going to focus on stepping out of my comfort zone more, write more, create more, and if the pandemic every gets under control–perhaps even travel more.

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Working on crafts, & updating the website: Goals for the Pisces Full Moon

So the moon will be entering its latest full moon stage either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world). This full moon is also falling on my birthday, marking there are only ten days left in September, and then only three months left in 2021 (slowly peaking around the corner to see what may be coming towards us in 2022).

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

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

Have I been overly sensitive and too easily hurt?

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

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

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

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follow:

  1. Well, I haven’t been too dreamy—I’ve been at times too distracted, too upset, semi-depressed, and totally irritated to the point of not getting enough done. But then again—the idea/concept of being super busy, productive, and always getting things done—that can be a determent to ones mental health. Therefore, while I may have been slightly less productive the past month (in terms of trying to get my freelance business up and running), I have been more productive in terms of managing my mental health.
  2. No, I haven’t been overly sensitive and too easily hurt. But then again—we’re still in the pandemic and I haven’t been interacting with a lot of people outside of family (and what other interactions I have had have been online, and its easy to block the trolls and haters).
  3. Nope.
  4. I’ve been getting better at meditating, or at least sitting quietly for a few minutes every night. Now the goal or challenge will be trying to introduce meditation/sitting quietly to the morning and possibly early afternoon routines as well.
  5. I’m trying to get better at this—I’m good at being in touch with my ‘analytical’ side, but had spent years ‘ignoring’ my intuitive side. That is something I’ve been working on correcting over the past year or so. In terms of trying to follow my dreams and hunches—I’m slowly working on moving away from the bench, and towards a more independent ‘career’ of freelance/remote/contract writing/data analysis/project and/or product management style career. This is because due to the pandemic—I think it is more important to have a career that is location independent, and semi-company independent as well.

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

All of the zones are still a ‘challenge’ this year due in part to the fact that the pandemic is still going and I’m still self-isolating (even though I got my J&J shot back in April—I’m a little petrified of the delta variant). Though, even if everything had gotten under control and we weren’t in the middle of the pandemic—I still don’t have the time for romance.

As I stated last year, I’m still trying to figure out my life, and part of that is determining where I may be moving (with at least one dog), and I don’t feel like trying to start a relationship with someone knowing that I’d possibly be moving at some point in the near future. Currently I’m not around ‘human kids’ (my niece is out in California, and I haven’t gotten together with any friends that have kids in well over a year), but I am surrounded by ‘furry kids’ (three dogs and three cats) daily. Though one of those furry kids is currently at the vet’s getting numerous tests done to determine what caused her to develop hemolytic anemia. Therefore I’m going to focus on the ‘creativity’ part of the fifth house.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately doing cross-stitching, as this is a nice activity that doesn’t require me to concentrate that much on it (as I’m doing more abstract designs than following a pattern) and it doesn’t cause my hands to cramp as much as knitting does.

I’m still working on stretching my crafting comfort zone (which usually encompasses photography, knitting, reading, and when I have a working sewing machine-quilting), and now can add cross-stitching to that list. Next craft that I will hopefully find as enjoyable will be jewelry design/creation.

So what are my goals going to be for the Pisces Full Moon?

  1. Continue working on my third cross-stitch project, and then also start working on creating some jewelry (bracelets and necklaces to start but maybe also some ear-rings).
  2. Start reworking various pages/tabs on the website. I have a general idea of the direction(s) I want to go in, and some pages will be combined, others will stay the same, and one or two will be renamed and/or reworked.
  3. Personal/professional development and self-reflection

There are only a few goals for this full moon period—mainly because I know that I’m going to be a little distracted (at least emotionally) until we have a ‘proper’ diagnosis and treatment plan for our one dog (who developed hemolytic anemia earlier this month). My game plan is to be productive, but at the same time realize that there may be a day or two of doing nothing but creative work—and that is fine.

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

Question time: what are some of your favorite crafts?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Time for personal/professional assessment & developing/modifying the daily schedule

So, we’re going to be heading into another ‘new moon’ phase this week. If you’re in North America, it will be on today (Monday, September 6th), elsewhere in the world—either today or tomorrow.

The new moon is two weeks prior to my birthday this year and the full moon will be on my birthday this year.

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 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 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 last year, I’d realized that the ‘new normal’ was possibly going to consist of social distancing, wearing a mask, and just being considerate of others. Too bad others haven’t gotten that memo yet (but that is a rant for another day).

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 you to friends of theirs you’ve never met
  3. Wish on a start 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, some of these things still aren’t really possible due to the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic (and who knows when it will get under control). Therefore, if I were to try to do something in regards to my 11th house it would be either wish on a star every night for a month, or thank my best friend for being around still. I also know that I could try to do virtual meet-ups, but that will still require me investing in a better wifi router for the house, and some drapes for one side of the room (if I decide to sit at the desk).

Prior to the pandemic, I would have a monthly lunch get together with a college classmate, but we haven’t done that since March of last year, and with the way things are going—it could easily be March of next year (or possibly 2023) before we may be able to get together for lunch again.

So, since I’ve decided to stay in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

  1. I’m going to take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, mental health/spirituality, and finances) and work on developing a working schedule that will allow me to be productive, but at the same time enjoy time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (either alternate between weightlifting and shadow-boxing ro stream Morning Meltdown 100)
  3. In combination with the first goal–organize the schedule, and work at blocking out periods of time (or assign certain tasks to certain days) and see if that helps improve my productivity
  4. Work on completing the third and fourth goal from the Leo New Moon goal list
    • Determine the top five to ten types of freelance/remote/contract writing that I would like to do and start drafting examples of each. Also start drafting my ‘own’ medical content pieces.
    • Determine the top five to fifteen items/sponsors/affiliates and so-forth for the other three ‘blocks’ of my business foundation
  5. Continue with the evening meditation and start trying to incorporate them into the morning as well.

My focus moving forward has been ‘Progress over Perfection’, and while it has been a bumpy and windy road, I feel like it is now allowing me to start writing the next chapter of my life (since I’ve stopped reading the last one). I also know that I may have to take an ‘in-person’ job at some point to help make ends meet until I really can get the whole online/freelance/remote/contract writing/consulting/blogging career up and running.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

‘Dog Days of Summer’ impact on Leo New Moon Goals

So, it’s now September, which means there only four months left in 2021—with four new moons, and four full moons. The September new moon is coming up, for those in the US it will be on Monday, September 6th (Labor Day), but for others it could be on Tuesday. Therefore, before looking ahead to the Virgo New Moon, I should look back at the goals I set during the Leo New Moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals that I set for the Leo new moon? They included:

  1. Continue developing my self-care/self-love routine. This will include meditation, time outdoors, journaling, stretching, and figuring out what type(s) of exercise I enjoy the most.
  2. Continue with the creative/reflective and minor research content posts for the blog, but also start working on creating more in-depth pieces as well (in addition to possibly new ‘landing’ pages and consolidating other pages)
  3. Determine the top five to ten types of freelance/remote/contract writing I would like to do and then start drafting examples of each. Also start drafting my ‘own’ medical content pieces.
  4. Determine the top five to fifteen items/sponsors/affiliates and so-forth for the other three ‘blocks’ of my business foundation.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of developing my self-care/self-love routine, I’ve been doing evening meditations, spending some time outdoors (either sitting & reading, having my camera, or doing some yard work; currently it’s a little too warm for walks), journaling a little in the evenings, and figuring out the exercises/intentional movements I’d prefer doing.

Those movements include lifting weights, shadow boxing, walking, yard work, stretching, and dancing (as long as I’m by myself). I’m planning on probably canceling my Beachbody-on-demand subscription this month, which means I will be needing to find things that I can do that really won’t require ‘streaming’ workouts on the computer (as I’m going to be trying to limit my screen time).

The first goal was the only one I managed decent progress with, I didn’t publish as many posts/pages last month as I’d done in previous months (though it doesn’t look like it hurt the traffic to the blog that much), but I’m behind on the las three goals that I set for the Leo new moon.

I’d planned on getting several bird pages, travel pages, and reworking the science section done last month, and I’d only managed to get a couple of the bird pages done. I also hadn’t gotten around to figuring out the different top groups for the writing or other blocks of my future business foundation.

I would love to say that it was so nice that I was sitting outside all the time not wanting to be on the computer, and that was a small portion of it—the main reason is I was just so irritated with how quickly things have gone downhill again in terms of dealing with the pandemic, that I just wanted to ‘ignore the world’—so that is what I did. I ignored the world, and only did the bare minimum amount of work each week to meet my goals.

This is something that I’m going to be working on going forward—staying more optimistic, focused, while still ignoring the world (but not letting it irritate me to the point I try to ignore my goals).

So, I managed a quarter of my goals for the Leo New Moon, which is better than what I managed in 2020 (since I hadn’t set goals for the Leo New Moon), and that is what progress is—forward movements with the occasional backwards slide.

As I look ahead to the last four months (and series of new and full moons), I know that there will be progress, as well as a few steps backwards—but I also know that I’m further down the road this year compared to last year. In addition, I can see the ‘signs’ for doing freelance/remote/contract work starting to shine a little brighter.

How are you planning for the fall and winter?

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsScience

Heading into Fall: Reviewing the ‘dog days of summer’ goals

So, we’re on to the last third of the year—there are now only 122 days left in 2021. While it feels like time is starting to speed back up again, I’m wondering when things are going to totally go to hell. The vaccination rate is still on a steady decline (though there are days when the number of shots given is high), and the delta variant is still running rampant through the country. Luckily, I’ll be able to get the J&J booster shot sometime between October and December (they state that it is most effective six to eight months after the initial shot). So, it looks like I’ll be staying in self-isolation throughout the fall and winter (with the occasional walk to get the paper on the weekend, and possibly a walk once a month at Boomer Lake).

The world is still crumbling at a decent clip, and I’m talking about everything from the issues in Central Asia (Afghanistan) to the fact that while Greenland lost a huge amount of ice—they also got a huge amount of rainfall (for like the third time in recorded history). Therefore, I’m limiting my news intake to morning/night and the occasional lunchtime checks on Facebook. When I published ‘July in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 35.7 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 40.1 million cases (so it was an increase of not quite 4.5 million cases last month—all due to the delta variant and fewer people getting vaccinated).

So the numbers are going back up, and less than 0.5% of the hospitalized cases are vaccinated individuals (break-through cases). That means over 99% of the people in the hospital for SARS-CoV2, haven’t gotten the vaccine (and a good number now are children under the age of 12 that currently aren’t eligible for the vaccine). I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)

Staying in self-isolation will give me the time to really start focusing on trying to get a freelance/remote/contract career started (focusing first on writing, crafts, and possibly project/product management, then stretching to data analysis, and possibly educational consulting).

Before looking ahead to September (the start of the last third of the year, and a semi-modified new set of goals, and continuing to work on my time and project management skills), I should look at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

  1. 135-155,000 steps
  2. Restart LIIFT4 (mainly following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
  3. Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and roll the dice to figure out the next advancedcheeky scientist program to start
  4. Finish reading two to three non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews over at least one of them)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (Continue working on the cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

So how did I do with each of them?

135-155,000 steps: I managed to get in 154,591 steps this past month. Mostly through wandering around the house and yard, though I did manage to get a walk in at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I’m thinking that for September–most of the steps will be from wandering around the house/yard, walking through the neighborhood (early mornings, so I can wear my mask), and possibly a walk at Boomer Lake.

Restarting LIIFT4: I’m still giving my wrist a little more time to heal (I semi-sprained or did something to my right wrist last month), and therefore didn’t do any lifting this past month. As I mentioned in another post (400 day update), I have until basically the end of September to decide if I’m keeping my beachbody-on-demand subscription or not. I’m trying to limit my ‘screen time’ (or as much as one can when they’re thinking of freelance/remote/contract writing as a career option). Therefore I’m thinking of working out away from the screen (lifting weights and doing other things), and doing ‘screen time’ for mainly yoga.

Finishing up the MWO program & deciding on new one: I’ve finished the editing assignments for the program, and am still working on the writing assignments. I have one module left to go through (though I may not get the certificate until I complete the writing assignments), and then would be ‘done’ with the program. I did roll the dice and decided that I’d be working through the following programs over the next several months (regardless of when I finish the MWO): User Experience Squad, Project Management Consortium, Regulatory Affairs Council, Business Development Federation, and Product Management Group.

Finish reading two to three non-fiction books: I managed to read the following non-fiction books:

I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotentialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker

Though I haven’t written mini book reviews over either of them yet.

Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews on at least one of them): The fiction books Imanaged to read during the month of August included:

Vortex: A FBI Thriller (#25) by Catherine Coulter (review posted to blog)

Dawn Unearthed (Ravenwood Coven #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review posted to blog)

Wiretaps & Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday (review posted to blog)

Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday (review coming soon)

My Next Play (On My Own #3; advanced reader copy) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review coming soon)

Three out of the five books have reviews posted to the blog, and the other two books are books that I just finished within the past few days, so those reviews should hopefully be getting posted to the blog (and other sites) by the weekend.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month:

There have been a couple of books bought, one (or two) large amazon orders–but truthfully, nothing more than usual. The breakdown for this will be in the next installment of the limited spending challenge check-in.

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

I’ve been able to spend time outdoors this month–though there was only one walk at Boomer Lake (due to combination of temperatures and the delta variant). I am very grateful that my parents have a decent size backyard that one can be out in during this period of time. I’ve been doing my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments for at least a few minutes (hoping to add this to the morning routine as well).

In term of the daily gratitude entries–I’ve been pretty good with these, even if they’ve been something along the line of being grateful that I don’t have kids and therefore I don’t have to worry/stress about navigating things with the pandemic still raging.

Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project):

I actually finished my first small abstract cross-stitch project the other day. Instead of trying to find a pattern, I’m sticking with abstract made up on the spot designs. The reason: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and trying to write letters on the fabric was giving me a headache, though I do know that with practice I’d be getting better at both of them).

My first cross-stitch project completed

I should be getting in my glue gun by the end of the week, and will be gluing some of the fabric to the backside of the framefor a more completed look.

I’m starting on a second and larger cross-stitch project, and am finding it therapeutic stabbing the fabric over and over again with teh needle and thread. It seems that the amount of time spent on the project is directly correlated to how irritated I am with the world.

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

I started two different short e-courses this past month, and finished one of them:

Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence on Udemy

With the way the world is going today (especially in terms of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers), this is something that a lot of people seem to be lacking. Out of the five main concepts (self-awareness, self-control, social skills, empathy, and self motivation)—I feel like everyone needs a good dose of empathy.

While I may be getting tired of being in self-isolation (more or less) daily, at least I know that I’m doing my part not to spread the virus. Just like I know that wearing a mask in public, helps slow the spread of the virus (even though I shouldn’t be carrying it—it would still help protect me from catching it).

Everyone that is screaming ‘it’s their right’ on whether or not to wear a mask, or get vaccinated, or whatever—yes it is your right, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. We’re a global society, and we really should be looking out for each other (instead of being of the ‘me-and-mine’ mindset).

After taking the course, I’ve realized that I need to work on the self-motivation (keeping the inner critic/imposter syndrome in check) the most, with maybe self-awareness coming in second. I’m usually aware of my emotions, and while I try not to let them get the better of me, sometimes I don’t always control my facial features as much as I should.

Another thing I did last month (and actually at the very end of the month)—I submitted a ‘application’ for paying freelance writing gig. The opportunity came from the company that I’m doing the volunteer writing for (one of the editors wants the pages on another site rewritten), so I sent a response with links to both the blog and my LinkedIn profile (as my portfolio) to the editor I work with and we’ll see what happens.

Even if I don’t get the job—I managed to quiet my inner critic long enough to ask some questions in one of the medical writing Facebook groups I’m in, and put together a response and emailed it back in the afternoon. This is a really big step for me, since I’m more likely to try to let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win and not try to go for things.

I decided earlier in the month that I was going to be keeping the website url, and running tagline for the blog. I will be updating the site over the next few months (especially with a ‘portfolio’ section to highlight various science/medical writing styles/topics, and other writing examples).

I’m not going to change up my ‘goals’ that much, though I will be trying to put a little more time into the other ‘writing’ projects that I’ve got on my plate.

The other goals for September will include:

  1. 130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month, in addition to maybe one or two walks through the neighborhood in the mornings (when I shouldn’t run into anyone who could be potentially ‘anti-mask’)
  2. Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, yoga/stretching)
  3. Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for the MWO and finish the sixth module of the MWO program
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (continue working on the new cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

I’m keeping the goals similar to the ones for August—though I’m changing up the fitness/intentional movement goal. Instead of streaming workouts (though I might do that for the yoga), I’m going to just put on music and either lift weights (focusing on certain muscles) or shadow box. This way I’ll be getting in my fitness/intentional movement for the day, but at the same time will be having some ‘screen free’ time as well.

I’ll also be trying to figure out what other types of writing I’d like to be doing, so there may be a variety of blog posts (or pages) popping up throughout the month as I try my hand covering different topics.

While I’ve semi rewritten the ‘work with me’ page, that page and the welcome page may get updated throughout the fall as I slowly make my way into the freelancing world of writing, editing, proofreading, and crafting.

So, while time is starting to ‘speed’ up, I hope that everyone is getting their vaccination shot(s) against the virus, and if you have kids—they’re getting theirs as well. As that (along with masks and social distancing when needed) is really the only way we’re going to be able to get to a ‘new’ normal.

While I’d asked this question last month on what types of posts people would like to see more of (science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths), I decided that I will continue forward with a mixture of all (as that fits my personality and my top two strengths: learner and intellection).

I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What are you most excited for this fall?

No Comments Book ReviewsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Slow and steady progress: 400 days into challenge

I just realized that I missed doing a 1-year check-in for the challenge last month since I’d been so focused on doing 100-day check-ins. I’ve also realized that I don’t check-in as often as I should with the list, possibly because we’re still in the middle of this damn pandemic and at times I feel like there isn’t a point.

TV shows were removed during earlier updates, as I usually don’t watch that much TV currently, and I am also thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand subscription, since I’m also wanting to start ‘working-out’ away from the TV/computer screens. But, if I decide to do that—it will probably be before the fifth check-in on the challenge, and it will have it’s own post on the blog as well.

There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. While three vaccines have been approved for emergency use and the Pfizer was just granted full approval for people over the age of 12 (with several more in the middle of phase 3 clinical trials), I managed to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1 & done) in early April. The numbers of cases had started to go down, but then people got lax on getting their vaccines (or just didn’t want them—not going to rant here), and then the delta variant decided to become the most dominant—and numbers are going back up. Therefore, I’m still going to be sheltering in place through the fall and winter, and hope that maybe by the late-fall of 2022 things may be heading towards a new ‘normal’.

So how are things progressing?

Professional Development and Career–Ongoing:

Professional Development e-courses completed, and those that I will be working through
  1. Transition into an industry position (this is probably going to be remote/online or freelancing; exact direction (subjects) still to be determined; there will be several posts on this goal
  2. Learn a programming language (going to go with python to start); just need to set up the newer laptop and download both teh program and bookmark the e-courses that I bought on the subject
  3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
    • Clinical Research Coalition--Finished May 30th 2021
    • Medical Writers Organization–need to finish the writing assignments; finished up the editing assignments last month
    • Data Science Syndicate–Finished September 3rd 2020
    • Project Management Consortium
    • Management Consulting Firm
    • Intellectual Property Pack–Finished June 25th 2021
    • Regulatory Affairs Council
    • All other e-courses that are in the journal (including other Cheeky Scientist Courses)
  4. More interaction on LinkedIn-while hard to score (see the below photograph), I’m slowly figuring things out. There are certain posts that do better than others, and certain versions of posts that do better than others.
    • Sharing articles from various biotech pages and other science pages–I’m managing to do this at least once a day, Monday thur Friday, I don’t really share much on the weekend.
    • Commenting on posts–as I commented on a post, I’m trying to do more than the just usual congrats, or that’s great. So this is still a work in progress
    • Giving/Asking for recommendations–this still needs to be done in order to ‘finish’ building my professional/personal brand on LinkedIn. I just have to decide who I’m going to ask (and then who I’m going to give recommendations to)
    • Start writing my own posts–see the below photograph, but I’m slowly dipping my toes into the world of LinkedIn publishing. I mentioned previously that my first two comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts had been my best posts (1st had over 1900 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments; the second had over 6 thousand views, 36 reactions, and 20 comments). Obviously I didn’t use the correct hashtags with the third diagram (as it hasn’t come close to the number of views, reactions, or comments yet).
  5. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals–trying to get better at the whole ‘planning’ things out in advanced.
  6. Renew professional memberships–I need to pick two (one is going to be joining the American Medical Writers Association, and then the other may be either ASBMB or ASCB).

Screen-shots of the stats on some of the ‘original’ content I’ve created for LinkedIn

Personal and Professional Development: on-going

7. Becoming fluent in Spanish–I need to get back to using the app Mondly, and aim for thirty minutes two to three days a week to begin with and build back up to doing it daily.

8. Become fluent in German again

9. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, Swedish, or Mandarin

10. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books total (since I first started these challenges in 2017). Aiming for twenty to thirty (plus) books a year, this year is going to be low (unless I start really reading all non-fiction and very little fiction).

Various Non-Fiction books I’ve read since 2019

11. Finish the books on scientific writing

12. Start building a portfolio (possibly as another ‘page’ on the blog) of different types of work (writing/data analysis)

14. Develop a daily writing habit

15. Write a letter to my future self

Personal Development and hobbies: on-going

16. Paint and frame at least one original painting

17. More photography–have been doing some, but now between the weather and the delta variant I’m not walking at Boomer as much as I would like to

18. 365 photography challenge–this one I’d try to start, but had fallen off track already. May try to restart it in the fall

19. Update photography pages on blog–I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab, and I have about another 100 pages to go, plus have been trying to expand the travel pages as well

20. Make my own jewelry

21. Learn to cross-stitch–I’ve started an abstract project, where I’m just filling in the entire tapestry with colors

The current status of my cross-stitch project

22. Get a new sewing machine–on hold, due to the fact that there are issues with the machines being able to wind their bobbins, and the fact that people are probably buying them up again to make masks.

23. Make a new quilt (on hold due to #22)

24. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop when sitting at desk; on hold due to #22)

25. Start a new afghan–not sure if I’m going to be buying any yarn this year or not, since I still need to finish patching the second afghan that Chaos had chewed holes in.

26. Showcase crafts on blog (weekly update or possibly new pages when I have several completed?)

27. Start writing a book

28. Learn Photoshop

29. Write in the journal daily

30. Create my own coffee-table photography book

31. Learn basic sign language

32. Start a virtual book club

Finances: on-going (still a little difficult as there is no steady paycheck yet):

33. Create monthly budgets–currently this is just paying off the monthly bills

34. Credit cards debt down and hopefully paid off monthly–there are two that are high (where they aren’t paid off in full). Plus one is probably going to be high for a couple of months (since I’m thinking of possibly buying a bookcase and nightstand).

35. De-clutter the house–basically trying to sell DVDs back as a way of earning some extra money; on hold only because of the delta variant and me not wanting to be around other people

36. Saving account up another 20+K–this will take quite awhile since I haven’t ‘officially’ started doing any freelancing or remote work yet; nor have I landed any type of contract position

37. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities–on hold, again due to the delta variant

38. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

39. Finish the various financial e-courses (and decide how to implement what I’ve learned)

Fitness and Health: On-going

40. Get into the best shape of my life

41. Multivitamin and supplements daily–I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often

42. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts–these might be removed by the time I do a 500-day check-in as I’m thinking of cancelling my beachbody-on-demand membership

43. Morning Meltdown 100–I finished my 1st round on 9/15/2020

44. Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt series–Made it through 3/4 of the program by 11/14/2020

45. 10 Rounds–1st round finished 12/26/2020

46.Barre Blend–Started on 2/8/2021; managed to do half the program before deciding to call it quits

47. Insanity Max 30

48. LIIFT4–Did a round of the program back in 2018; second round finished on 11/14/2020, 3rd round (focusing mostly on the lifting) was finished 7/23/2021

49. 22-Minute Hard Corps

50. T20

51. Insanity

52. Insanity: Asylum 1

53. Insanity: Asylum 2

54. 4 weeks of Prep

55. 6 weeks of work

56. T25 (have already done once)

57. Brazil Butt Lift

58. 21 Day Fix (have done once); started the ‘LIVE’ version and made it a week before moving to LIIFT4

59. 21 Day Fix Extreme (have done once)

60. Country Heat (have done once)

61. CIZE–managed to make it through the program, even though I felt like I had two left feet the entire time. Finished this April 9th 2021)

62. Muscle Burns Fat–First round finished 1/17/2021

63. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced–First round finished 2/7/2021

64. Let’s Get Up! (hopefully out fall 2021; but have to decided if I’m keeping BOD or not)

65. 9-week control freak off the wall (technically with dumbbells)

66. Shawn Week

67. 80-Day Obsession

68. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnival

69: Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

70. P90

71. Core de Force

72. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (I had been practicing, but I haven’t done much lately–need to get back to it)

73. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

74. Hold a two-minute forearm plank

75. Hold a ninety second plank

76. Meditate nightly–Have been doing, even if its only been for a minute or two

77. 60-80 oz of water daily–some days I fall way short on this; something to work on

78. Stretch daily

79. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)–on my way; some months are better than others.

Blog and Social Media: On-going:

80. Finish the YouTube for bosses course

81. Finish the YouTube course creation for bosses course

82. Launch a YouTube Channel

83. Launch an online course

84. Launch an online freelance/remote/contract business

85. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day–have managed to increase the monthly views (May-July it was a little over 500 views per month), and now just need to work on increasing the weekly and then the daily views

86. Rebrand myself (?)

87. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

88. Get Pintrest followers to constant 400+

89. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

90. Publish at least two blog series

91. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

92. Blog–tried this for August, but life had a way of throwing it out the window; will try it agian for September

93. Instagram

94. Facebook Page(s)

95. Twitter

96. Pintrest

97. Get BecomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

98. Various top 10 author lists

99. Various top 10 book series lists

100. Launch a podcast

Spirituality: On-going:

101. Full/New Moon Goals–I’ve been managing to keep with these, even if I may not hit each goal that I set for each new/full moon

102. Create my own altar (wiccan/pagan): This was accomplished earlier this year, though I will be moving things around since it is a small shelf and everything feels crowded

103. Oracle Card readings (Weekly or Daily)–I’ve managed to do this more or less daily (though there have been a few days that I’ve missed). I started a 120-day oracle card sharing challenge, but after 26 days I’ve called it ‘quits’ for now, as it was feeling more like a task than an enjoyable hobby.

104. Sitting outside in the morning with my coffee (back to waiting for nicer weather–so hopefully sometime this fall)

Others (that don’t require travel): On-going

105. Keep at least three plants alive–I’ve managed to ‘root’ and replant several cuttings from our dumb cane plants, so I guess that could count as keeping plants alive. Though the Christmas poinsettia didn’t survive it’s repotting.

106. Design a science based board game

107. Update my digital vision board

108. Reorganize my storage unit

109. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard).

110. Help put up a partial privacy fence in backyard

111. Start downsizing clothes and creating different ‘minimum’ wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out). Have found different non-profits that I could donate clothes too, but the overall project is on hold due to the delta variant. Once that is under control, I’ll box up clothes that I don’t want and ship them off.

112. Develop different 30-day challenges–this one may be taken off by the 5th check-in if I haven’t come up with one and seen it through to completion.

113. Start down sizing the rest of my belongings (would like to live comfortably in a small house/apartment and I know that I don’t need majority of my stuff).

Goals that require a little traveling (or having moved into my own place):

114. Re-pierce my ears

115. Go to at least one scientific conference

116. Present at a scientific conference

117. Got to at least two professional networking events

118.Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

119. Visit at least three new countries

120. Visit at least one new national park and/or state park

121. Visit at least one new national monument and/or state monument

122. Visit at least one new zoo

123. Visit at least one new aquarium

124. Fly out and/or land at three new (to me) airports

125. Visit at least one new city

126. Visit at least one ‘new’ state

127. See the northern lights

128. Attend at least one blogging conference

129. Attend at least one author-reader conference

130. Swim with whale sharks

131. Parasailing

132. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

133. New couch and chair for living room

134. New dresser for bedroom

135. New mattress and box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

136. New TV & stand

137. New desk/craft workstation

While the number of goals seem shorter than previous: the total number is still about 147 (ten of the goals in the professional development group were dotted instead of numbered).

Since, I thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand membership next month, there will probably be about 25 ‘goals’ that may disappear from the list (at least the ones that would require the use of streaming; older programs that I have the DVDs on may still be done).

Therefore I may in add some additional personal or professional development programs to the list, or some other goals to take their place (in other words I’m not sure I’ll be decreasing the total number of goals or simply switching numerous ones out).

I’d mentioned in a post last week (my most updated comfort diagram share), that I felt like I’d let my time management slip the past month or so—and I have. I actually tried to make an ‘editorial’ calendar last month for August through October. But, life has a way of getting in the way at times, and it threw the calendar out the window (though I’m going to try to update it for the rest of fall).

I’m almost certain that I want to go in a freelance/remote/contract direction for my career (since the delta variant isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon), and am slowly brainstorming the ideas needed for that pivot.

The bingo card that was created at the beginning of the year (both for yearly goals and the fitness programs I wanted to get completed), with the best intentions—I’ve realized that I probably won’t be getting a ‘bingo’ this year, and I will need to fine-tune the ideas for my 2022 yearly bingo card and any future fitness bingo cards.

I’ve decided currently that I’m going to keep the current web addy (becomingjessi) and the running tag-line (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) for the blog, but also start trying to brainstorm some ideas for new ones as I slowly start trying to develop my freelance/remote/contract business (writing, with possibly data analysis, project/product management, consulting).

So, the summer saw me becoming a little lax in time management and online learning—but I’m reactivating the self-control app, and will be setting weekly goals (say three hours of online learning, non-fiction reading, and work on crafts; in addition to some type of word total for writing).

The volunteer writing position that I took is helping me learn some of the ins and outs of researching various types of topics and writing for a general audience (I’m slowly figuring out how much science is actually needed within those topics), and I’m hoping to be able to do more than one post a week (one for the company, and then a different one for the bog) within another month or so.

So I will be brainstorming/mind-mapping different ideas for the career pivot that will appeal to my mixed-style multipontialite personality (different types or number of projects), and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, ideation, and deliberative) moving forward. This will mean trying to determine the best type of daily schedule (when to do research; what to research; how long to research; blocks for writing and so forth).

Therefore, the goals for the next 100 days will include getting through various professional development programs (finishing up the writing tests for the Medical Writers Organization, making it through the Regulatory Affairs Council, and possibly the Business Development Federation program as well), reading at least 3-4 books off the personal/professional development list, and creating my own fitness/intentional movement calendar for the rest of the year (weight lifting, and then some types of cardio and recovery), and then whatever else from the list that will fit into the 100-day schedule.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareercomputersCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoutdoorsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsSciencespiritualitytravelUpdatesvision boards

Time and project management: Focus of the Second Aquarius Full Moon

So we’re going to be heading into our second Aquarius full moon for the year. Tonight, we will see the moon enter its full moon stage & the Aquarius constellation (for the second time). This means there are only 131 days left in 2021. While the year isn’t dragging as much as it did last year, I wouldn’t mind it slowly down just a bit.

I reflected on the questions for the Aquarius period again, and realized that some of my answers changed a little from the last month. So, again one can look at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland there are a series of questions that one reflect on during the next few days:

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying to hard to befriend people, and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forward this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as followed:

  1. I would say that my response is going to be similar to what I wrote last month. We’re in the middle of the delta variant surge (numbers are going up—and not the correct numbers [i.e. the number of people getting vaccinated]), so I’m really not interested in ‘the romance of life’ (though I am re-reading a couple of romance series).
  2. Well, yeah I have been living a little too much in my head and not enough in my heart. I’m trying to survive the combination of the pandemic and stupidity waves. Though I am trying to be a little more optimistic going forward-I’ve also realized that my faith in humanity has been severely shaken thanks the past few years.
  3. This depends on what one is talking about—especially since I’ve been on a ‘reboot break’ for the past year and a half. Since there is really no one correct way to take care of ones mental health—I’ve been focusing on what works for me (crafts, sitting outdoors, and when needed ignoring the world).
  4. I’m trying to network more on LinkedIn, but at the same time trying to have it focused in a few directions. I know that I need to build rapport and add value before even thinking of asking for something as simple as an informational interview. Therefore, I don’t think I’ve been trying to befriend people for the wrong reasons.
  5. I’ve slowly been moving forward this month. While I did try to set up an editorial calendar for the month (it went out the window by the 6th), I have made small progress in a couple of different areas. I’d decided that I’m going to try to go with weekly goals (in terms of different personal/professional development areas), and will also try to set aside certain time periods to focus on say research (even as simple as finding papers on different topics), and then also set aside time to write and edit.

Aquarius is also moving back through my 4th house or my home and family zone. This is the time when one should try to find a balance between one’s personal life and one’s career. Two months in a row, it is focusing on my home and family zone. While I mentioned last month that cases are starting to go up again, I’m pretty certain by fall we’re going to be back at hitting 2+ million new cases a month, at least until the vaccines are approved for younger kids and the parents wise up and get their kids (and themselves) vaccinated. Therefore, my personal life and career are still deeply ‘intertwined’, since I’m going to be home more or less all day, every day for the next few months.

I’m still working on shifting my mindset from ‘balance’ to ‘harmony’; allowing myself to be happy with whatever choice I’m making at any particular point of the day, without the overwhelming feelings of guilt for not trying to ‘multi-task’.

Therefore, I’m going to keep with the larger ‘open-ended’ goal that I set for the last Aquarius full moon:

Working on time and project management skills, by finding time for crafts, making progress on projects, and feeling accomplished at the end of the day.

My specific mini-goals will be:

  1. Create a timeline/schedule for my various writing projects that I’m coming up with (including the  ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project)
  2. Create a timeline/schedule for the rest of the bird pages for the blog
  3. Start a 30-day journaling challenge (find some type of inspiration on pintrest)
  4. Continue working on the cross-stitch project (hopefully have it done by no later than the end of September)
  5. Start working through various e-courses.

I’ve been slowly working on my time management skills over the past week. I’m back to using the app Self Control (added in a few additional sites to the block list), and that has helped in terms of mindless scrolling. Though I still need to fine-tune my daily/weekly schedules (or at least be at peace with the fact that I enjoy sitting outside so much during the nice weather).

I’m going to be trying to work on the project management aspect of things over the next few months, especially since I accepted he volunteer medical content writing position last month.

Therefore, I need to figure out the timelines for different projects (in addition the volunteer position), and actually stick to the schedule—though I know there will probably always be a slight change due to something going on in the world.

I will be reminding myself that the goal is progress not perfection, and even if the path looks to be winding back on itself—it is still forward progression, and as I move forward I will be able to see how far I have actually come.

What are some of the projects that you’re juggling?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Looking back at the ongoing personal and professional development adventures

So, the moon will be heading into the next new moon cycle tomorrow night (or possibly Monday night—depending on where you are in the world). That means I should look back at the goals I set for the Cancer new moon and see how I did with them, before looking ahead to the Leo new moon.

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

  1. Continuing with the ‘next adventures’ of my personal/professional development board game: reading two to three books (‘Why You’re Stuck’ by Derek Doepker, ‘More of Less’ by Josh Becker), work through a copy-writing course, and start drafting some science posts/pages.
  2. Figure out the answers to the following questions/points that I raised when trying to create a financial plan: (1) what are the different ways that I can earn money; (2) what would the ‘minimal monthly earnings’ be for each areas’ and (3) will it stay a online/remote/contract/freelancing/consulting/blogging mixture or will it be a hybrid (online and in person).
  3. Use the answers from above to slowly create a new 12-month goal/plan for the various areas of my life.
  4. Continue with my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments.
  5. Continue with my oracle card challenge and doing my evening readings/drawings as well.

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. I’m still working through the ‘current adventures’ of my personal/professional development board game. I’m currently halfway through ‘More of Less’ by Josh Becker, and just a little ways into ‘Why You’re Stuck’ by Derek Doepker. I’m slowly working through the different copy-writing courses, and I have an outline for my ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project completed.
  2. Last night I did a double post on how I was going to try to simplify my life and at the same time ways I was going to try to diversify my earnings. The initial four methods are going to be: freelance writing, affiliate marketing/advertising revenue/sponsored content; selling photographs; and creating/selling jewelry (and possibly some tee shirts). I’m still working on figuring out what the ‘minimal monthly earnings’ would be for each area (and I also realize that they may change month to month, especially as I’m just starting out). Currently I’m aiming for strictly online/remote/contract/freelance work since there are various variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus still spreading throughout the US and the world.
  3. This will actually be accomplished over the next week or so, since my ‘pillars’ for diversifying my income were only chosen over the past week or so. I also need to work on my ‘vision’ statement as well–basically try to answer the question of where do I see myself in say three, five, ten, or even twenty years.
  4. I’ve been doing well with the evening meditations or periods of just sitting quietly and focusing on my breathing.
  5. I’d been pretty good at the oracle card challenge, up until this past week. Currently I’m basically five days behind ‘schedule’ and I am thinking of doing a four-to-five card spread to ‘catch’ up and end it (currently) at 30 days. While I enjoyed doing the challenge, it has started to lose its enjoyment and is starting to feel like something I ‘have to do’ instead of something I want to be doing. The evening card drawings have been going okay–though I’m thinking of trying to move them to the mornings so that I can reflect on them throughout the day.

So, I focused more on the mental health goals this month compared to the professional development goals. I’ve realized what one of the triggers of my anxiety is–trying to set goals that are years in the future. The reason: I’m still ‘afraid’ of making the wrong decision in terms of my life, therefore I overthink things to the point of almost not doing anything.

The only way to face that ‘fear’ is to slowly move in the direction of change, and while I say ‘slowly’—I’m talking about working on ‘change’ daily (brainstorming ideas, research, writing, editing, and so forth), so that the anxiety starts to dull and hopefully only spikes then for ‘real’ threats. I’ve already started ‘slow’—I managed to get a volunteer medical content writing position, and I’m learning quite a bit from the editor and position (especially that writing 1000 words is harder than it looks when you need to limit the amount of scientific jargon you use).

So, the personal/professional development adventures will continue—hopefully I will be done with at least one of the books within a week or so, I will also have hopefully worked through part of at least one writing course, and have found five to ten resources/references for my ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project. I’m pretty certain that I can develop a ‘year’ plan that can be extended and revised as I met (or change) goals and benchmarks.

Progress is never a straight line, it can curve, fold back, and zigzag along—you just need to trust in the process and continue moving forward. Compared to where I was mentally three years ago—I’ve made strides in putting myself first, I need to continue those strides, but also work on creating a community as well.

What strides have you made over the past few years?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesHealthNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

Duel post: simplifying my life, but diversifying my earnings

So this week was ‘simplify your life’ week, which is celebrated during the first full week of August. Since there were quite a few ‘bumps’ in the road this week–I’m going to be doing a duel post: three ways I’m currently trying to simplify my life, and the four (or possibly five) ways I’m looking at to diversify my income.

So–warning, this is a fairly long post, but hopefully it will also give you some ideas on simplifying your life and diversifying your income.

These two ideas are tied together–stressing over money is one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression. The ‘simplify your life’ week isn’t so much a push to embrace minimalism, but a ‘push’ to reduce the stress and anxiety in one’s day-to-day life.

So, while ‘simplify your life’ week is celebrated during the first week of August, it is something that can be done at any time of the year.

The three ways I’m currently thinking of implementing to simplify my life moving forward are going to take me at least a month (if not longer) to implement (and keep going), but they are:

(1) Create ‘minimalist’ wardrobes:

While I’ve tried to do the 333 clothing challenge before (where you only have 33 articles of clothing for 3 months), I usually ended up not removing anything from the closet.

Therefore I’m going to create two different ‘minimalist’ wardrobes:

Business professional and casual:

  1. One-to-two suits (one dark color and one light color)
  2. Two-to-three pairs of dress slacks (dark, medium, and light color)
  3. Five-to-ten blouses (a mixture of dark, light, and print)
  4. One pair of dress shoes (with no more than a inch and a half heel) and one pair of flats

‘Non-business’ wardrobe:

  1. Three-to-four pairs of jeans (dark, medium, and light color)
  2. Two-to-four pairs of shorts and/or capris
  3. Four-to-eight tee shirts
  4. Four-to-eight long sleeve shirts
  5. Four-to-eight sweatshirts/hoodies
  6. Four-to-eight sweaters

Then I will also have all my workout clothes as well.

When I manage to create these two wardrobes, I will probably be able to free up about half my closet in terms of space. Just by cutting down the tee shirts along (I think that I’ve boxed up about fifteen to twenty shirts that I’m currently not wearing and still have about another twenty or so hanging in the closet), would free up a quarter of the closet.

This doesn’t count the clothes that I still have in my storage unit that I used for packing material when I was moving home. If I manage to get down to these ‘two’ wardrobes before I move out of my parents house, I’ll only have to got through the other third (clothes I haven’t laid eyes on in almost a decade) and decide what I want to keep or remove.

(2) Create a single ‘workstation’ area

Since I had decided to do a reboot break shortly before the pandemic hit, and have been self isolating sense—my ‘workstation/space’ has morphed into several different areas.

I have a large collection of pens/pencils/markers/highlighters scattered around the room (without counting in the colored pencils), and I truthfully have no idea how many of the pens/markers/highlighters even work.

I have several notebooks and journals in different spots, and I still need to set up the other computer for learning coding.

So how will I create a single ‘workstation’ area?

  1. Get rid of any pens/makers/highlighters that seem to be ‘dead’ or dying (little to no ink/color when being used for more than a minute at a time).
  2. Have no more than two holders for the various pens/pencils/markers/highlighters
  3. Create a ‘sidearm’ to the desk, so that I have writing space in addition to space for the laptop(s)
  4. Possibly purchase another bookcase for the ‘reference’ books that I’ve gotten recently

Then actually sit and work at the ‘workstation’ instead of sitting on the daybed working. Also have the planner (or editorial calendar open) out so that I make sure that I’m working on what needs to be completed and not wasting my time scrolling through social media.

(3) Cut down on the other ‘clutter’

So this one is more general than the workspace or clothing goal. That is because of current living arrangements (living with my parents), and dealing with stuff within the house and not tackling my storage unit quite yet.

So, whenever I do manage to move I want to have fewer boxes than what I will currently have to take out of my parents’ house. Cutting back on the clothes will help, but then so will just scaling back on everything else.

What are some of the things I can scale back on?

  1. I’m going to scale back on the number of DVDs I own; the reason is two-fold: (1) When I move, I won’t have a TV (right away) to hook the DVD player up to; and (2) I haven’t been in the mood to watch that many movies, and I can always stream them instead via Amazon.
  2. I’m going to also scale back on the amount of incense scones, and related items. Since I have a monthly subscription to CalmBox, I’ve gotten a good number of incense scones and other aromatherapy items—and they’re currently all sitting in a box under the bed. I either need to start using them at night when I’m mediating, donate/resell, or discard them.
  3. I also need to decide on whether or not I’m going to keep all of my journals from the past few years (I currently have them boxed up under the bed as well). While I probably won’t keep them, I do need to think of the best way of disposing of them (shred/rip pages, black markers, and so forth). It isn’t that there are ‘state’ secrets within them—but one can never be too careful.
  4. Basically used candles will be getting discarded, while I had though of trying to make my one (to make use of the leftover wax)—I realized that I was ‘still holding’ on to things that should be getting discarded. Though I do have three or four in glass jars, and will need to pry out the candle wax so that I can reuse the glass jars.
  5. Finally, I will need to make my way up to the storage unit and start going through that—mainly to repack the boxes that have slowly fallen apart over the past nine years that they’ve been up there.

So, how does this tie in with looking into ways of diversifying my income? Well—I can try to sell things online (DVDs, clothes, unopened incense scones, and other things), which would bring in a little bit of money. Mainly, it would help free up the mental energy needed to focus on pivoting and creating an online career.

One thing I’ve realized over the past eighteen months—it is extremely important now that I ensure that I have diversity in earnings (i.e. how money is coming in). Prior to my ‘reboot break’—I had a single source of income, my nine-to-five job. While I’m not averse to having another nine-to-five job, I know it needs to be supplemented/balanced with other sources of income, that way if there is another lockdown (or the position is terminated), I still have money coming in.

Right about the time I was getting ready to start my reboot break, I found an article on Forbes that dealt with different ideas for freelancing (55 in fact), though the article is no longer active. I ‘highlighted’ the type of jobs that I thought I wouldn’t mind doing, and they included:

Blogging; teaching; advertising copywriting; tutoring; stock photography; magazine article writing; photo editing; online research; editing; business management; voice acting; grant writing; wedding photography; wordpress site consulting, data analysis; and possibly college admission essay editing.

Though these can basically be grouped into the following:

(1) Writing/editing (blogging, advertising copywriting, magazine article writing, online research, editing, grant writing, and college admission essay editing),

(2) Photography (stock photography, photo editing, wedding photography), and

(3) Other (teaching, tutoring, business management, voice acting, wordpress site consulting, and data analysis).

I then found a book earlier this year that was on the same topic, and it was: ’25 Ways to Work from Home: Smart Business Models to make Money Online’ by Jen Ruiz

I’d mentioned in the review on ’25 Ways to Work from Home’ the twelve (combined) ways I’d like to work from home:

  1. Freelance writing (high yes, with moderate to high anxiety)
  2. Self-published books (high maybe, again with a moderate degree of anxiety)
  3. Start a podcast and/or a YouTube channel (high yes/maybe with moderate to high anxiety)
  4. Create online courses (high yes, again with high anxiety)
  5. Affiliate marketing/advertising revenue/sponsored content (high yes, again with moderate to high anxiety)
  6. Graphic design/video editing (maybe–these are areas that I would be learning as I go)
  7. Selling photographs (high yes, with moderate anxiety)
  8. Creating and selling jewelry (high yes, moderate to high anxiety)
  9. Selling clothes (high yes, moderate anxiety)

One might notice a running theme in the above ways of working from home—the moderate to high levels of anxiety. I’ve always dealt with some level of anxiety depending on the situation—tests (mainly standardize, then certain subjects) the anxiety levels are high, social situations—levels are moderate to high, stepping into the ‘unknown’—high levels of anxiety.

I realize that it would be overwhelming to try to focus on all the different ways I could bring in money at the same time. Therefore, I’m going to focus on four of them to begin with, and then after they’re all ‘up and running’ for at least six-to-eight months (of steady income coming in), I may add in one or two additional streams.

I’m currently going to focus on the following ways of trying to diversify my income:

(1) Freelance writing (focus is going to be science, personal/professional development topics)—I just need to figure out who or where to pitch ideas to, while also trying to increase traffic to the blog.

(2) Affiliate marketing/advertising revenue/sponsored content

            See above for the first few things I need to try to focus on doing

(3) Selling Photographs

            Determine the best sites for selling photographs and which ones I’d be posting. Currently, I’d be focusing on nature/wildlife/outdoors, historical, and possibly architecture.

(4) Creating and selling jewelry

            This is listed last, due to the fact that I haven’t created any jewelry in awhile. The main two things I’d need to do are 1) create a certain number of necklaces, bracelets, and ear rings for sale; and then 2) either set up an etsy store or determine other sites to sell on.

I may even try selling quite a few of my tee shirts online as well. I’ve realized that I really don’t need to have over sixty different tee shirts, as I probably only wear about five to ten of them during any one month (and since it is summer time—I’m living in the tank tops).

These are going to be my ‘pillars’ or the foundation of my online career. I know that all will take work getting up and running, and that I may not see results quickly and shouldn’t get discouraged as I work towards that career of freelance/online/remote/consulting blogging career in science education/communication/advocacy, with a touch of hobbies/crafts, and other topics as well (personal/professional development and history/geography/anthropology/archaeology topics).

So, I’m simplifying different areas of my life to help bring calmness and clarity as I strive to step into the online world of freelance/remote/contract scientific writing/editing/education/advocacy, while also focusing on crafts/hobbies and other subjects as well (to keep the learner and multipotentialite in me happy).

So question—how are you simplifying your life to make room for change?

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The ‘dog days of summer’ hindered some goals

So the year is officially over halfway over–there are only 153 days left in 2021. While it seems things are still speeding up (I swear that yesterday was May 31st), I have a bad feeling that we’re possibly heading to another lock down (or at least a emergency declaration) within the next few months. The number of people getting vaccinated is starting to decline, and the main variant of the virus (the delta variant) is said to be as contagious as chickenpox. While the vaccine will prevent you from dying (unless you have numerous other underlying issues), you can still spread the virus–so please, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and still practice social distancing. It would be nice if we could end the pandemic before the start of a new decade.

I’m truthfully trying to stay away from the news right now (I’m tired of all the irritating/disturbing news), and I’m fully aware that by doing that I’m exercising my ‘white privilege’. While a good portion of the US population has gotten (or is getting) their vaccine, our total number of cases currently is now slowly going up. When I published ‘June in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 34.5 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 35.7 million (So there was an increase of a little over 1.2 million cases for the month). So, the numbers are going back up (June only had ~500K new cases), it’s going to be scary to see what the numbers are in a couple of weeks when various schools (both public and colleges) start up again.

Therefore, I’m going to continue to self-isolate, wear a mask when I have to go out, and even cut back on the frequency of walks at Boomer Lake (or perhaps go a little earlier in the mornings).

Before looking ahead to August (midway through the third quarter, and a new set of goals, plus the plans of become slightly more productive), I should look at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them

The goals for July included:

  1. 135-150,000 steps, these will hopefully include at least one walk at Boomer Lake and then I will have to figure out how I’m going to get the rest in–due to the fact we’re going to be heading into the ‘dog days of summer’
  2. Finishing up LIIFT4 and starting the second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Read one to two non-fiction books (and write small reviews)
  4. Read two to three fiction books (and write small reviews)
  5. Finish the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and work through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries
  8. Craft time (start the cross-stitch project, and possibly create at least one necklace)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
  10. Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)

So how did I do with each of them?

135-150,000 steps–I managed to reach the minimum number of steps (and actually slightly surpassed with a a total of 140,686 steps), since I was able to do two walks at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I know that I can put movies on and march in place/circles to get in the steps (I’ve done it in the past)–I just didn’t feel like watching TV this past month.

Finishing LIIFT4 and starting MM100

I was actually almost finished with LIIFT4 (the lifting portion), when I semi-sprained my wrist mid-month. I had been doing some yard work and tried to cut a thick branch with the pruners and placed a little too much pressure on my wrist. I then decided I would focus on ‘intentional’ movement again while waiting for my wrist to heal. Even though there is some slight discomfort (every so often), I will be restarting LIIFT4 (possibly going light for awhile) on Monday, and then starting my second round of MM100 in September (finishing up 2021 with the program).

Read one to two non-fiction books (and hopefully write small review)

I’m currently a little over a third of the way through ‘The More of Less’ by Josh Becker. July was more fiction reading than non-fiction reading (in part due to the frequent mild anxiety attacks I’d been having).

Read two to three fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews)

The fiction books I managed to read this month included:

The Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd

Come Together (Butler, VT #7) by Marie Force

Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to binge reading the Green Mountain series and the first six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force (to be able to red book seven).

So far, Inked Obsession is the only one that has a review up on the blog currently. I’m working on the other two (A Scent of Magick and Come Together), and they should be getting posted sometime during August.

Finishing up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and working through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

I have my first ‘drafts’ of the editing assignments finished (I may go back and try to re-edit one or two of the assignments [see if I can get the word count down a little more for one of them]), and am slowly working on the writing assignments.

I didn’t watch any of the videos from the Regulatory Affairs Council program.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

While this will be covered in a little more depth in my limited spending check-in post, I will say that I did spend a little more this month than I had originally planned on.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries

Well, we’re in the dog days of summer—so if I was outside it was usually sitting in front of the fan (though I did manage to get two walks in at Boomer Lake this past month). I’ve been good at doing my evening meditation/sitting quietly for a few minutes before bed.

In terms of the daily gratitude entries, I’d been pretty good at doing those up until the past week or so. Goal for August—gratitude entry before other work in the evening.

Craft time (start the cross-stitch project and possibly create a necklace)

I have started a cross-stitch project. I haven’t gotten very far with it, but it is going to be an abstract design (actually really—no design, but trying to use each color of thread at least once), that I hope to finish by the end of September.

Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

I started working through the one program ’15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them’ last week (I’ve managed to watch at least five videos, and am about a quarter of the way through the course).

Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)

Nope, this still hasn’t happened. I think the main reason is that I’m trying to put too much stuff on the ‘plate’ each day, and if something has to be ‘left’ behind (as in not finished or started), it is usually this—refreshing Spanish.

While there were a few goals that I didn’t meet (refreshing Spanish, working through various e-courses, and having a ‘good’ limited spending month), I did manage to get a few other things accomplished.

I applied for, and was accepted as a volunteer medical content writer. While it isn’t a paid position—I’m gaining experience in medical content writing, and a company I can use as a reference at some point in the future. It is also helping me focus on topics that may not be of total ‘interest’ to me, but of interest to others.

Therefore, going forward I’m going to have to try to get better at time/project management—so that I can get things checked off the to-do list, but also generate content for others (currently just the medical content company).

I’m also working on trying to add more science and health posts and pages to the blog as well, with the goal of having at least one to two new pages a month, in addition to one to three new posts a month.

I’m keeping my goals fairly consistent—as that is how they become habits. Since I still slightly struggle with a few of them (limited spending, working through e-courses, and so forth), that means they’re not habits yet, and even when they become habits—they will still have a spot in the tracker journal.

As we move into the last five months of 2021—we may be facing another ‘shelter in place’ order (depending on how bad the delta variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus continues to spread), which means focusing on my mental health may take priority again this fall. The past couple of days, I’ve felt my anxiety spike just over the thought of picking a new template for the blog, rearranging the order of pages (possibly combining some and removing others), adding new pages and ‘rewriting’ my home and work with me pages.

While, I don’t like the semi out of control feelings that the anxiety attacks produce—I’m acknowledging the sensations and working through the feelings. The redesign of the blog may take a few weeks (or possibly even a few months), but I’ll get it done. When the anxious feelings really spike—that will be when the computer is shut down, and I pick up the cross-stitch project and stab the cloth over and over again (it actually helps).

So, the first seven months of 2021 are over, who knows how the last five months are going to go (especially in terms of the pandemic)—but I know that I will keep showing up daily, working on laying the foundation to an online career and presence. That career and presence will be multi-facet, mainly so that I don’t lose interest as I move forward.

Therefore the goals for August will include:

  1. 135-155,000 steps; I will probably need to put a movie (or three) on to get the steps in this month. We’re in the middle of the ‘dog days of summer’, and the delta variant is surging both in town and the state–this means I’m going to have to start limiting both the number of walks and the time spent up at Boomer Lake.
  2. Restart LIIFT4 (following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
  3. Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO program, and roll the dice to figure out the next advanced cheeky scientist program to start
  4. Finish reading two to three of the four non-fiction books I’ve started over the past two months
  5. Read two to four fiction books (write small reviews for at least one of them)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude entries in the journal
  8. Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

The goals are similar to last month; I just decided I’d leave off refreshing Spanish currently (since I have enough on the plate, when I also add in the weekly content I need to write for my volunteer position).

If another ‘shelter in place’ order is given this fall, I will probably have to go through various social media accounts and limit the number of political things I see (I’m totally pro-vaccine, pro-mask, and pro-social distancing; I just get tired of seeing all the stuff in regards to those who aren’t following the guidelines).

The blog/website will be getting a ‘new look’ over the coming weeks/months as I try to streamline how things look, and what type of ‘work’ I’ll be offering (writing/photo stock/project management and so forth). The domain name won’t be changing for a while (possibly late fall or early next year), depending on how things work out.

I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What type of post would you like to see more of: science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths?

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