Tag: research

Harnessing time & project management to focus on personal & professional growth

So Thursday night marked the first full moon of 2024. We’re now twenty-seven days into the new year, and I’m ready for it be over. I know I should give it ‘more time’…but there is the ongoing genocide in Gaza (yes, the ICJ ruled…their ruling amounted to a ceasefire [stop any & all genocidal activities]…but Israel is ignoring it [as expected])…and I have a bad feeling things are going spiral out of control soon…and this is going to explode into the third world war.

Plus…there is that new variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus floating around as well…

Last year, I didn’t post any new or full moon goals for the first half of the year (depression and so forth)..and I’ve made it a goal to try to be better this year…even if I’m a day or more late in posting the goals (or reviews). 

What are some questions to reflect on during the first few days of the full moon? According to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland:

Have I been too self-centered, egotistical, or proud?

Have I been treating the people around me like minions?

Have I been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous?

Have I been expressing myself creatively enough?

Have I shown myself enough self-love?

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

  1. Let’s see…there is still the SARS-CoV2 virus running around (technically we’re in the ‘epidemic’ stage and not pandemic stage)…there is a genocide being carried out live in Gaza…and we’re heading into possibly the most heated/volatile presidential campaign season (even worse than either 2016 or 2020). Since I’m still working on building a freelance business, I don’t think I’ve been self-centered or egotistical about things. I’m proud that I haven’t totally lost my sanity or have had any type of major mental breakdowns. I won’t say that it has been a walk in the park—I’m still struggling with a few things, but I’m surviving.
  2. Nope, I haven’t been treating the people around me like minions. I live at home with my father currently—there are no minions here. Though the animals would say that I’m their minion.
  3. Again, nope I haven’t been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous. This is also because again—I haven’t really been out of the house for quite a while. Last year, I just started meeting a friend for lunch monthly again. Though I’m sure that those I’ve blocked on various social media sites might argue this. 
  4. Well, this is something I’m working on. Currently I’m working on a afghan and I’m about a little over a third done with it. I also have a needlepoint project I could pick back up, doodling, drawing, coloring, painting, and numerous other craft projects to do in my evening spare time. I would like to get up to Boomer with my camera at some point…but since I’m really a fair weather girl..that will still be a couple of weeks before that happens (and then will probably be the first time in over a year since I took my camera up there).
  5. The answer to this is almost me shrugging my shoulders…as in I’m not sure. From fall of 2021 though this year has been a goddamn rollercoaster…and I’ve never been a fan of them. So, I probably am not showing myself enough self-love and/or self-care. It is something I’m going to be trying to get better at as I navigate 2024 (with fingers and toes crossed that a world war isn’t going to suddenly erupt). So, yeah—I still need to work on improving my health: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social. 

With focusing on self-care/love, this will include doing intentional movements (anything from lifting weights, to walking, to cardio and yoga), meditating at night, doing a oracle/tarot card reading, starting to listening to podcasts again, reading, and just trying to figure out what works for me.

Looking at my chart—the Leo full moon is going through my 10th house, which is also my career zone. So, with it going through my career zone—the past couple of years have been spent trying to figure out what it is I want to do with the second half of my life…both personally and professionally.

I’ve decided that I’m going to be focusing on freelance (and possibly remote work) with science/health/medical communications/education, in addition to also adding in some history/social sciences and current events. As well as figuring out how to monetize the creative/hobby blog (link to a different site for selling crafts? Go to craft fairs and/or farmer markets? The possibilities are possibly endless.

The combination of the two—will allow me to combine my core values: learning/knowledge, imagination/originality, growth/evolution, communication & community, simplicity & insightful; with my strengths: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative, creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking. In addition the combination of these paths (freelance work in different fields and creative craft work) will also allow me to embrace my multipotentialite personality.

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

  1. Develop not only an calendar for intentional movement (such as weight lifting, cardio & other stuff), but also a weekly schedule for working on different projects (such as morning updates on Gaza & the West Bank; my microbe series I want to get started; and other ‘random’ projects), as well as continuous learning (working through e-courses and listening to podcasts). 
  2. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan…with mini-goals/objectives
  3. Spend time in the evenings working on crafts (continue the afghan, or also work on the needlepoint project, doodle/draw, maybe try to make some jewelry).
  4. Evening oracle card reading and meditation time. 

Life isn’t so much about finding balance…but finding equilibrium between areas of life—sometimes we do need to push a little harder in the career…but then we need to fall back and spend more time doing things that replenish us and allows us to ‘refill’ our internal cup. This has actually been one of my biggest stumbling blocks—finding the equilibrium between things…as well as finally admitting that I was on the wrong career path.

Will I get all goals accomplished? Well, I am starting a couple of days late (because, as usually I’m running behind schedule on things)…and technically half the goals are continuous (three and four), while the first two goals are more fluid…so I’ll aim to get them accomplished…and I’ll check back in next month (with the update) and we shall see…

What are some of your Leo goals?

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Baby steps…functional resume created…brainstorming more ideas:Taurus Full Moon in Review

So the moon will be entering its last full moon stage for 2022 tonight—but we’re getting rain, so I won’t be able to view it. That means there are only 24 days left in 2022…That also means I need to look back over the goals I set for the Taurus full moon before looking ahead to the Gemini full moon.

The goals that I had set for the Taurus full moon included:

  1. Change up my breakfast routine–aiming to try to get more protein and fruits
  2. Work on the second blog–getting the about me and home pages written, in addition to hopefully at least one or two blog posts written and posted as well. I’d also like to start brainstorming ideas of communications pieces that can be added to the portfolio section of the website.
  3. Semi-continuation of the above goal–brainstorm ideas for communication pieces that could go in the ‘featured’ section of my LinkedIn profile
  4. Have a functional format of my resume ready to be optimized for job applications
  5. Work on fleshing out my definition of ‘success’ and creating a digital vision board to go with it

So how did I do with each of those goals?

Well—I managed to make progress on two of them:

I’m slowly switching up my breakfast routine to also include oatmeal with fruits and nuts, and waffles (not the healthiest choice—but a little better than just the blueberry muffin).

I have a functional format of my resume finally created—and have already used it for a potential job. I really detest trying to summarize twenty years of work into like two pages (currently its basically three pages). I have summarized (more or less) the past twenty years of my life (grad school to current) into three pages.

The other three goals I’m still working on—the second blog/website while it is technically ‘live’—I need to get the correct copy up on a couple of the pages (about me and the home pages), plus a blog post or two; I’m still working on fleshing out what my definition of ‘success’ is…mainly in terms of breaking it down to ‘success in x area of life’; and I’m still working on brainstorming ideas for different types of communication pieces that could go on both the blog and the featured section of my blog.

So—forty percent of hitting goals is better than zero. True, I could have done more work on trying to get the second blog up and running, and brainstorming ideas—but I’m also granting myself grace considering how totally hellish the past few months have been.

One of the tasks for the next few weeks—start fleshing out the goals for 2023 and beyond. Mainly start figuring out the long-term goals in regards to several of the level-10 life areas (personal development, spirituality, finances, career/professional development, hobbies/crafts, and health/fitness).

Though I’m also going to be trying to give myself the gift of self-acceptance especially when it comes to not getting everything done due to anxiety going sky-high or stress or any number of reasons why I decide to turn off the computer at night and work on the needlepoint projects.

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

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

No Comments AstrologyfoodFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

On to the final quarter of the year: September in Review

So, we’re in October…that means there are only three months, 92 days, roughly 13 weeks, or 2,208 hours left in 2022. It’s the final quarter of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of October and the end of 2022.

Truthfully, I’m tired, burnt out, and just ready for 2022, the decade, and the century to be over.

September was a mess—while there was my birthday, it was a nice low-key day—but the rest of the month was a mess. How as September a mess?

Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned briefly in my August in Review—it’s still ongoing, and we’re not sure how it’s going to resolve (there is a fifty-fifty chance of it going either way right now).

There’s numerous things going on in the world—ranging from Russia’s still illegal invasion of Ukraine (by the way—I think Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council…just sayin’), to the death of Elizabeth II, to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.

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

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘August in Review’ on September 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 96.3 million cases and now as of October 1st —we have reached just a little over 98.2 million cases (an increase of not quite 2 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

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

Once I call a local pharmacy to schedule an appointment, I’ll be getting my booster shot sometime during October (and possibly the flu shot as well).

While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.

So before setting goals for October (and possibly the fourth quarter), its time to look back at the goals I set for September and see how I did with each of them. The goals for September included:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finishing one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
  4. Read at least two to four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card darawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Getting the second website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

120-150K steps:

I managed 126,581 steps during the month of September. In part due to a partial walk up at Boomer Lake on Labor Day, and the weekly walks to the corner convenience store for the newspaper on the weekend.

One partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement:

I managed a partial walk up at Boomer Lake on Labor Day. Since it’s been a while since I’ve walked all the way around the lake, I’m slowly getting back into the routine. I’ll probably aim for at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake each month (especially as the weather get colder), and hopefully by the spring—be walking all the way around the lake again.

In terms of the intentional movement—the step tracker states that I’ve been moving at least five to ten minutes a day—but I haven’t been writing down what I’ve been doing each day (need to improve on that).

Finishing at least one of the non-fiction books I’ve started:

Nope, didn’t finish reading any of the non-fiction books that I’ve started.

Read at least two to four fiction books:

I managed to read seven ‘new’ fiction books during September (and probably a good dozen or so re-reads). The new fiction books were:

  1. Home Base by Abbie Zanders
  2. Legacy (Montgomery Brothers #1) by Laura Pavlov
  3. Peacekeeper (Montgomery Brothers #2) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Rebel (Montgomery Brothers #3) by Laura Pavlov
  5. State of the Union (First Family #3) by Marie Force
  6. Collide with Me (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #7) by Claudia Buroga
  7. Shattered Sea (The Tattered and Torn Series #4) by Catherine Cowles

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

I managed 22 days of not spending any money during the month of September—which considering how bad of a month it was—is a victory in itself. The goal for October will be a minimum of 22 days and a goal of 29.

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

I’ve managed to get better at evening meditations—mainly through the use of the soothing pod app on my iPhone. I’ve also managed my daily oracle card drawings and daily gratitude journal entries.

The time outdoors has either been brief (when I take the dogs out), sporadic (sitting outside on and off throughout the day), or semi-long (spending the afternoon outdoors or walks).

Craft time:

Well most of my craft time was spent on Canva creating various images for different LinkedIn posts throughout the month, in addition to using PowerPoint for image creation as well. I spent a little time using doing some photography as well.

Crafts, such as jewelry design/creation, cross-stitching, coloring, or doodling didn’t really happen—goal is to do more of those crafts throughout the fourth quarter.

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

Nope…this didn’t happen.

Getting the second blog/website up and running:

Nope…this didn’t get accomplished either.

Writing, writing, and writing:

This is one where I did do a fair amount of writing—I managed to keep two weekly series going on LinkedIn, and even started a third one. In addition, I managed usually some type of ‘original’ content another two to three days on the site. While I didn’t get much writing done for the various blogs (though I did get at least five posts on this blog done last month)—I did manage to write somewhat consistently all month.

August, September, and now October (and probably November and December) were/are also focused on trying to find my new normal.

With a family member in the hospital (now going on nine weeks), we’re hopefully that they’ll be released hopefully by Christmas—yes I’m well aware of how far off that date is currently.

That means—I need to have a schedule in place that will allow me to get my work done (writing, reading/research, crafts/hobbies, and so forth), while also being able to help with the potential home care for said family member.

I’m still working on figuring out that schedule. Every time I think I have it partially figured out—the inner critic/imposter syndrome loves to pull me back into my comfort zone—or throw out an idea/thought that has my anxiety spiking.

Looking back at what I wrote at the end of August—I claimed that I was going to aim for consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

Well, I managed to be consistent in reading fiction books (seven new books, and probably a good dozen or so re-reads), and was somewhat consistent in the research and writing.

Moving forward into October, the goals are going to be:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two to four fiction
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 22 days, goal is 29)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Getting the second blog up and running
  9. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So the goals for October are basically identical to the goals for September—with the exception of the steps (October is a little higher—at both ends).

As I stated in my review of August (and it definitely applies for September):

 “Also, since I ‘fell’ down on a few of the goals last month, by repeating them—I’m giving myself grace for not being ‘perfect’ and another shot on hitting the goal this coming month.”

I have my fingers crossed that October won’t be any worse than September (and I’ll have a ‘rough’ idea on that come the end of the first full week of October)—but if it is by some chance worse—I’ll just have to give myself grace and remind myself: Progress over Perfection, and sometimes ‘okay, and published’ is better than ‘perfect and forgotten’.

I’m still going to aim for consistency—consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

Aiming for consistency allows me to lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

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

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

With fall here—what is one of your fall goals?

Namaste…

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoutdoorsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Virgo Season: Time to start planning the goals

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

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

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

  1. Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.
  2. Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.
  3. Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.
  4. Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
  5. Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward

While most would think that the new moon would be moving through my first house (since my star sign is Virgo), it actually moving through my 11th house (or friends’ zone), since I’ve been going with my rising sign (which is Scorpio).

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, since I’m still in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how did I do with each of them?

90-Day Content Challenge:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can we say anxiety attack….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily/Nightly Meditation:

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

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

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

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

So how are you viewing your progress??

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Updating the personal/professional development plan: reflections on the bounce zone

It has been roughly a year since I drew my first comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram.

Original comfort diagram that I drew mid-Feb 2021

It was an ‘assignment’ that I was given when after talking with a coach–it became obvious that I was floundering on trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life (since I’d decided to take time to actually try to answer that question)…

I decided that the diagram was going to encompass both personal and professional goals, thoughts, and ideas–mainly because I knew if I didn’t have some more ‘creative’ ideas down, I would spend way too much time wallowing in the analytical side of my brain.

The above diagram had roughly seventy-seven items within the four zones: 13 items in the comfort zone, 35 within the stretch zone, 17 within the risk zone and 12 within the die zone.

Over the past year, I also added in the ‘bounce’ zone–as I haven’t/hadn’t developed the ‘confidence’ to state that there were more activities that I felt ‘comfortable’ doing on a day-to-day (or even week-to-week or month-to-month) basis. I was starting to enjoy the activities, but still hadn’t/haven’t figured out the best ‘schedule’ for them to become ‘comfortable’ tasks.

Over the past week or so, I drew another one to see how far I’d come over the past year:

Latest Comfort diagram–Feb 2022

The comfort zone has slightly increased, the bounce zone is present, the stretch zone has ‘shrunk’, and the risk and die zones are holding steady.

While some things have ‘changed’–I also realized that I’ve also become slightly ‘stagnant’ as well. What became ‘stagnant’ is the fact that I wasn’t trying to push the boundaries of teh comfort, bounce, or stretch zones the past few months.

Therefore, I’m working on a plan to change that, with the ultimate goal of expanding the comfort and bounce zones.

How am I going to do that? Well, I decided it would be a combination of picking things from the comfort, bounce, stretch and risk zones and also incorporating things from my personal/professional development board game, and came up with the following list:

  1. Work several different ‘comfort’ tasks into the daily/weekly schedule (so that they don’t fall back into the ‘stretch’ zone), and they include: cross-stitching, meditation, reading (also work on expanding the genera), cooking, gardening, photography, and being outdoors.
  2. I decided to roll the dice last week (for the first time in awhile) for my my personal/professional development board game and came up with the following items:
    1. Start learning python coding
    2. Review genomics (though I’m going to include transcriptomes, proteomes, and metabolomes)–should have called the square ‘review -omics’
    3. Review statistics
    4. Landscape design (funny that I rolled this, as I’d already picked it out of the ‘bounce’ zone as something to work on this spring)
    5. Business development
    6. Public health
    7. ‘Rock Art of the American Southwest’
    8. Ancient India
    9. Ancient China
    10. Reading; while I rolled a ‘list’ of books to read–I will probably just go with whatever catches my attention
  3. Work on content development in the following areas:
    1. copywriting
    2. Blogging (science/medical education/communication; health/wellness; personal/professional development; hobbies/crafts, and travel)
    3. Science writing (‘short’ blog posts [~500-1000 words], ‘longer’ articles [~1000-2500 words], and ‘reviews’ [~2500-5000+ words])
    4. Creative writing (short stories, poetry, and so forth)
  4. Spirituality and Oracle cards
  5. Doodling and drawing
  6. Personal/professional brand development/management
  7. Refresh a foreign language
  8. Project management

Obviously I can’t do all of this at the same time—well I could, but I like sleeping too much…The end goals include: stretching my comfort zone, overcoming the writers block, transitioning into that first remote writing/data analysis position, and rediscovering who I am and what I really want to be doing with my life.

Content development and project management can be tied in with all the other items on the list–and actually that has been one of the ‘bigger bottlenecks’ lately–writing. I’ve started at the screen more times than I want to admit, and I’ve stared at various science news emails more times that I want to admit over the past month or so–and have barely written a word. I haven’t shared an news article for probably two week (prior to today), and that wasn’t because I didn’t want to–but because the words didn’t wan to come…not hte greatest feeling when one is thinking of pivoting into a writing (and deadline) intensive direction…

I created a ‘brain-dump’ (or brainstorming list) of ideas for the three different niches I’m thinking of writing within:

‘Brain-dump’ or brainstorming list of topics to write/blog about

You might notice that the ‘list’ is longer within the science/medical subsection–and that is because that is my background. I have my PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology, and have spent basically two decades working within higher education research, and have at least an understanding of various fields.

The other two areas aren’t as ‘filled-out’, but as I continue to brainstorm ideas, or even look within one or two of the selections–I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to come up with more ideas to write about.

One of the fundamental questions that one is suppose to answer when thinking of blogging, copywriting, or even writing–is who is your audience? What question(s)/problem(s) are you wanting to help answer/solve?

I think that for me one of those answers is trying to improve science communication between the general public and the scientific community, and also trying to improve science education as well. None of the topics are inherently difficult–but can be considered difficult if they’re not explained properly and limiting the amount of scientific jargon one uses.

As Albert Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it enough”.

Therefore, I’m going to be ‘diving’ into research for numerous topics, as I have a ‘basic’ understanding, but I also know that I don’t know certain areas well enough to explain them in simple terms.

I’m aiming to start having monthly (then working up to biweekly) blog posts on different science subjects, adding in a new bird photography page (biweekly, if not weekly) with an accompany blog post, and also a monthly ‘throwback travel’ page with its accompany blog post–this will be in addition to the different goals setting posts that I do monthly and any book reviews that I post as well. My aim–is to expand the comfort zone to include writing, blogging, and copywriting by the end of the summer.

What is something you could work on to move it from your stretch zone to your comfort zone?

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Focusing back on a new job search

The New Year has started with a new job—though the job may or may not be there for the next year (have to love budget cuts to higher education). So I’m back on task for trying to determine what it is exactly I want to do within science (or outside of science), since I really can’t see myself slaving away to try to land one of the coveted assistant professor positions and then work my way up the academic ladder.

So now there are some key questions that I need to ask myself as I continue on this journey of professional development and transitioning into a different job in industry.

One of the huge questions that I need to decided on the answer to is—do I stay within my comfort zone or do I start edging out of my comfort zone. Now everyone has numerous different comfort zones when it comes to work and personal life. The one I’m going to be contemplating here is my professional comfort zone of doing research.

Being a research scientist is something that I love. I’ve always considered the role of a research scientist as someone who is slowly trying to put together a massive jigsaw puzzle without a picture or knowing how many pieces you’re suppose to be working with.  There are others helping you put together that puzzle, and over time they leave to work on other puzzles, or you might even get bored with that particular puzzle and head off to help other people with their puzzles. You might learn new skills by moving from puzzle to puzzle (or you might not).

With the way funding is going these days, if I’m going to stick with research—it will be within an industry setting. I picture those puzzles are a little bit more defined by the project managers and senior scientists—so at least when you come in there should be the frame of the puzzle already put together.

Going outside of my comfort zone would open up a lot of different doors for me to peek through to see which one would be a good fit. I’ll be talking more about those positions in later posts. But for now the other positions I’m thinking of include health economist, technology assessment & alliance officer, technology transfer officer, epidemiologist, or possibly quantitative research analyst.

Another key question I will have to ask myself, is do I want a job that I know may require long evenings or the occasional weekend? I know that scientific research isn’t just a nine to five job Monday thru Friday. But at the same time, I do like knowing that I can go home at the same time everyday and not have to take work with me (for the most part).

I know that any of the positions may require evening and/or weekend work (and even possibly travel), but I want to make sure that the work is worth having to “give up” some of the valuable “personal/me time” that needs to be carved into our days.

Another question is where do I want to live? I know that going into industry will require moving again (there just aren’t that many biotech type jobs in Oklahoma that I’m interested in). So then it is a matter of trying to decide: Where on the East Coast (NYC, Boston, somewhere else), the upper Midwest (MN or WI), or maybe the Pacific Northwest?

I have one major requirement when it comes to moving to a new city—there needs to be a good (or should I say decent) public transportation system. The reason for this is that I don’t drive (anxiety issues with being behind the wheel), and will be needing to be close to a bus or subway stop for getting to both work and various stores.

Now before you say anything—this is how I survived in Boston for my first postdoc. I lived near one of the subway lines, which gave me access to pretty much the entire city and the surrounding suburbs. Yes it took longer to get to work with the way I went—but that gave me time to wake up in the mornings. Going home at night was a pain, especially if there were sporting events in the city—and weekends getting to and from work were even worse (but I tried to plan my weeks to where weekend work was minimally needed).

Once I figure out comfort zone or not, which geographical area (city), and then which company I want to work for—I’ll start the next fun step of tailoring my resume and cover letter to fit each job application.

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