Tag: timeandprojectmanagementskills

Return of the monthly accountability posts

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to ‘revive’ a blog series that I let fall by the wayside last year. That series—“months in review”. Basically I’m trying to restart my monthly accountability posts. 

I think I only managed to do a “January in Review” last year (possibly…maybe?), and then I barely posted on either blog for several months. This was due in part to the family medical issue that had started in August 2022…it continued into the early months of 2023…and ‘accumulated’ with my mom passing away during emergency surgery in May of 2023. Needless to say—in addition to trying to manage burnout symptoms, I’m also trying to manage grief as well. Then it didn’t help in October when the world lost it’s shit and any sense of sanity & common sense.

So, the ‘month in review’ posts—what were they? They were monthly accountability posts. They were posts were I listed out various goals that I attempted for the month & how I did with each of them, and at the end of the post were goals I set for the following month. They were also posts where I’d give an update on the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and various stats. This ‘new’ series will be mainly covering the goals and whether I accomplished them or not—and if not, what I plan on doing differently to accomplish that goal within the first few days of the following month.

You will also notice that I’m going to be referring to personal/professional development as personal/professional growth—because I feel like ‘development’ has a slightly negative vibe to it. I don’t need to ‘develop’ into a writer…I’m already a writer, but I can ‘grow’ into becoming a better writer, photographer, blogger, or whatever.

So, with this ‘restart’ to the month in review series, what were my goals for April? Those goals included:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least three fiction books
  3. Complete at least one 30-day challenge (working on a Sudoku puzzle, iPhone photography, something)
  4. Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can stick with
  5. Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel
  6. At least two blurbs/reviews on science papers (for the science, health, medical blog)
  7. Working through at least two e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a foreign lanuage)
  9. Post to each blog (minimum once–would like two or more times)
  10. Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science/health, medical blog):
    • Oncology series (carcinomas & sarcomas)
    • What is a microbe series
    • Metabolism series (why some supplements are ‘scams’)
    • Why some foods (chocolate, onions, walnuts/pecans) are bad for dogs & cats

These goals are in addition to the goals that I’d drawn on my April BINGO card (and actually some of these goals are from the April BINGO card). So how did I do with each of the goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books. I read the following books during April:

  1. Top 10 most interesting dinosaurs by Daniel Bozso 
  2. 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 more discoveries from the golden age of dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
  3. Becoming What You Are: A Concise Guide to Awakening the light within by Two Workers
  4. B*tch Don’t Kill my Vibe by Reese Owen
  5. What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
  6. Waking up in the winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson

So 100% on this goal…and actually managed to double the number of books that I read.

Reading at least three fiction books. I read the following fiction books during April:

  1. Moments for You (Wilder Brothers/Cousins #7) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. The Keeper (Playing to Win #1) by Bella Matthews
  3. The Wildcat (Playing to Win #2) by Bella Matthews
  4. The Knockout (Playing to Win #3) by Bella Matthews
  5. Caged (The Defiant Kings #1) by Bella Matthews
  6. Shaken (The Defiant Kings #2) by Bella Matthews
  7. Iced (The Defiant Kings #3) by Bella Matthews
  8. Overruled (The Defiant Kings #4) by Bella Matthews
  9. Haven (The Defiant Kings #5) by Bella Matthews

Seeing a pattern? I found a new (to-me) author—Bella Matthews, and have been binge reading her backlist (after having purchased the Playing to win series). I think I’ve also (more or less) finished two other connected series…I just forgot to write them down on teh wod document that I have going to track how many books I’ve read during 2024.

Completing at least one 30-day challenge (100% complete):

This month’s challenge was attempting to finish a Sudoku puzzle everyday. I probably should have kept track of how many days I actually managed to complete the puzzle without messing up…but I’d say it was probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the time (so somewhere between 20 and 25 days of ‘correctly’ finishing the puzzle).

I’d started also trying to do a crossword puzzle daily as well…and I’d say the percentage I got done was around 10-15%…not great…so maybe try to work on getting better at crossword puzzles over the next few months.

Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can hopefully stick with (~60% complete):

I’ve created a basic board game for intentional movements…though I’m thinking of purchasing a hula hoop and some battle ropes to add into the mix. My problem for the past couple of years has been ‘boredom’…aka—doing the same workout programs that I’ve done in the past. In order to break that ‘cycle’ I need to mix things up—and also not focus on a number on the scale or a number on the tag of clothes…but aim to get into the best shape of my life, honor my body, and accept (plus work with) the limitations of my body—i.e. knowing that lunges, pushups, tricep dips, and even jogging/running aren’t things I should be doing a lot of…though jogging may be possible a few months down the road—the others I should avoid due to my bone structure (being knocked-kneed/bow-legged; messed up bone structure due to the hereditary multiple osteochondromas).

My biggest hurdle currently—is figuring out the ‘time’ to workout daily. I’m not a big fan of being ‘observed’ when working out…so yeah—still need to figure out the best ‘time’ of day to do things. 

Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel (possibly 5% completed?):

Not quite done with this one…mainly because I haven’t quite decided if it’s going to be solely an ‘science, health, med’ comms/topics channel, or is it going to be like me—multifaceted. The single topic channel would be in theory easier to plan than a multifaceted one…but I’m worried that I’d get bored with it…though that could just be the inner critic/imposter syndrome whispering in my ear to keep me ‘stuck’.

Two blurbs/reviews on sciences papers (for the science, health, med blog) (5% completed):

Nope..I have the notes for one blurb/review (over the leafy and weedy sea dragon genomes), and just need to go back through and edit it down—I was over thinking things and started to also create a mini-review, when I should have been making note of things I found of interest and wanted to research on their own…with then linking back to the original ‘blurb’ that brought the ‘new topic’ to my attention. 

Working through at least two e-courses (100%–I watched/took notes):

I watched two ‘short’ e-courses on SkillShare in April, and those two courses were:

“The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success” and

“Creative Business Plan for Artists: Create a Thriving Business”

Now…I just need to go back and complete the ‘assignments’ for both of the courses—in order to get the ‘certificates’ of completion. Which will then help me actually move forward with trying to launch potentially two different freelance businesses (the freelance science, health, medical comms & the creative hobby/personal/professional growth business).

30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a language) (only about 5% completed)

Nope…I managed to do this for the first few days of the month, and then I let all sorts of other ‘tasks’ take precedence over logging into Mondly for a half-hour to practice learning a foreign language.

Post to each blog (minimum once—would like two or more times) (100%—creative blog was several times; while the science, health & medical blog was once)

I usually manage to post to the creative blog at least four times a month (in regards to setting goals via of the new and full moon phases), and sometimes I manage a fifth or sixth time (book reviews or updates on what’s going on in West Asia). The site that usually I have more ‘trouble’ posting to is the science, health, and medical comms blog/website. 

I actually managed to post to the science, health, & medical blog website once last month—back on the 7th, I posted about 2024 world health day. I’m behind on the oncology blog series—only because I’ve realized that I need to divide some of the posts into multiple posts. A goal for May is to get back to a biweekly schedule of posting the oncology blog series, plus possibly posting about other topics as well (potential public/global health posts in regards to the rise of certain infectious diseases in certain areas of the world).

Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science, health, medical blog/website): (possibly about 45% done)

The oncology blog series (focusing on ‘location-based’ classification of cancers currently) ~35% done. I need to break these two outlines into ‘multiple’ outlines, as I’d noticed that the posts were getting ‘fairly’ long (i.e. getting close to almost ‘mini-review length–at least in my mind).

What is a microbe series–~80% done. I have a basic outline and some notes. But I should ensure that I have a couple of ‘examples’ of each group/family/class of microbes picked out and a outline for what I’d like to cover on those organisms.

Metabolism series–haven’t started

What various foods aren’t good for dogs and cats–haven’t started

I have notes and a rough outline for the what is a microbe series. I have a very rough draft for the carcinoma position of the oncology blog series (location based cancers part I). Since I haven’t fine-tuned the carcinoma outline…I haven’t moved forward to the sarcoma outline..which is currently ‘okay’ since I’m so far behind in writing/posting this series to the science, health, med blog. 

Conclusions:

So with April being the first month (in over a year) in which I tried to set ‘a laundry list’ of goals…I’m happy to see that there were only two or three that were less than 10% completed (refresh/learn a foreign language, planning out the YouTube channel, & blurbs on science/health/medical papers). I’m acknowledging that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was probably responsible for sidelining me for a good chunk of the month in regards to those two goals, and writing/posting to the science, health, & medical blog/website.

Reading is always something I enjoy…I’m proud of the fact that I managed to read/finish half a dozen non-fiction books this month, and am aiming to read at least three next month as well (if I can do half a dozen, great). Research & writing is something else I enjoy…I just need to get into the mindset that ‘good, decent, & done’ is a better mindset than ‘great, in-depth, and perfect’.

Perfectionism, comparing myself to others, and feeling like I need to have all the answers/solutions/every outcome mapped before moving forward is whats kept me stuck for quite a while (not to mention the whole family medical crisis/grief/finding my new normal). But I can say that I’m slowly making my way forward on my own path…

So what goals are going on my ‘laundry’ list of goals for May? They include:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction
  3. Completing at least one more 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish the outline/mind-map and possibly launch the YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on the science, health, medical papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • The two topics from last month (metabolism & foods that aren’t good for pets & why)
    • “Interviews” with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us “toxic/poisonous” (“interviews” with different creatures that either produce their own toxins/posions or house microbes that produce them)
    • Interviews with citizens of ancient civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus others)
    • Ancient Civilizations (Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt)
  11. Writing/working on projects for at least 30-minutes a day (minimum two different projects a day)
  12. Work on the large needlepoint project and maybe (start and/or finish) a small needlepoint proejct
  13. Create a rough draft of a coloring book from some of my black & white doodles.

There are ‘more’ goals listed for May…but several are just setting up for the research step of the project (such as goal number ten—the mind-maps & outlines). Others may be ‘competed’ quickly (such as say just reading four fiction books—but I know I’ll be reading more than just four). 

Having thirteen goals listed for May means I’ll also be working on my time and project management skills. Especially when it comes to ensuring that I’m doing my daily intentional movement, making time to be on Mondly learning a foreign language, working through an e-course, mind-mapping & creating outlines, research, writing/editing & publishing content. The overall goal for May is to complete at least fifty percent of a third of the goals; complete seventy-five percent of a third, and hundred precent of the other third. Yes, I know that with thirteen goals—it’s not an ‘even’ third.

How do you go about goal setting? Yearly? Quarterly? Monthly? What style of goal-setting do you use? SMART goals? OKR (Objective, Key Results)? WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan)? GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will)?

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Gotta get better at time and project management…I’m a work in progress

Okay…The moon will be transitioning through the last new moon phase of 2023 tonight through tomorrow night going through the Sagittarius constellation. But before I look ahead to the Sagittarius new moon, I should look back at the goals I’d set for the Scorpio new moon and see how I did with each of them.

I will be totally honest—the past two months have been hard…I’d say possibly even harder than this time last year (and my mom was in the ICU and it was touch and go)…

Over 21,000 Palestinians have been murdered…and for what? Their land, oil, natural gas, and other resources…

Last month (when I posted the original Scorpio new moon goals)—the death total for Gaza was over 12,000…almost another 10,000 have been killed in a month…and it’s almost 46,000 wounded…and thousands dying (or dead) under the rubble…

Hopefully tomorrow the UN general assembly will pass a ceasefire resolution (and then figure out how to enforce it)…

And now back to looking at the goals I’d set for the Scorpio new moon…those goals included:

(1) Continuing to work on healing my relationship with food and movement.

(2) Doing brain dumps, mind-maps, outlines, and research for not only the science/health/med comms website and my LinkedIn profile, but for the creative blog and other social channels.

(3) Pick a finance e-course that I’ve bought over the years and actually start working through one.

(4) Continue to unplug at night (putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 7:15pm)

(5) Continue figuring out my personal/professional brand

(6) Continue to read the various books that I’ve bought on the history of the problems within West Asia.

So how did I do with these six goals…that can almost be considered ‘open-ended’….

Well…

Healing my relationship with food and movement: (~60%)

My relationship with food is slowly getting better. I’m still working at getting more protein in during breakfast and snack time…and working at limiting the highly processed snacks (such as chips and dip). In terms of movement—I’ll admit to being a fair weather person, and someone who totally detests the gym…therefore—I’m still working on developing a plan that I would be able to stick with consistently…

Doing brain dumps, mind-maps, outlines, research: (~5%)

I’ve done a little work…mainly keeping up to-date on the genocide that is happening within Gaza and the West Bank…plus some other global news. In terms of doing things for the blog and so forth…not really.

Working through a finance e-course: (0%)

Okay…this one I didn’t even start. While I’ve started an e-course, it is one of the many professional growth/development ones that I’ve bought over the years. The personal finance ones that I’ve bought…I’ve only watched like the first video…note to self: Start one of those this week.

Continuing to unplug at night: (90%)

I’ve been pretty good at doing this. I’ve been working on my latest afghan project the past couple of weeks after dinner and my shower. I may quickly check the computer and respond to message prior to taking the dogs out prior to meditating…

Figuring out my personal/professional brand: (~5%)

Branding…the process of creating a ‘mark’ around your name and/or your career. Something that wasn’t touched on in any of the undergrad courses I took (should have taken an marketing course or two as an undergrad)…

This is still something that I’m slowly working on…I know what I want to do with my life/career…I want to improve not only science/health/medical literacy within the global community, but also improve education within the same arena…

This means also creating e-courses (that won’t be affiliated with any organization) for not only college students (to use as additional ‘study’ material), but for public education (currently thinking high school and potentially middle school and/or junior high)…

While at the same time balancing the science/health/med research and writing with crafts and hobbies. I’ve learned that I can’t just hyper focus on one thing…it tends to lead to burnout, depression, and huge loss of energy…

So…the approximate five percent work has been figuring out what it is I want to mainly focus on..and trying to decide on fonts, colors, and things like that…

Reading various books that I’ve bought on the history of the problems within West Asia: (~20%)

So I’m about a fifth of the way through: 

‘The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017’ by Rashid Khalidi

I’m also not quite halfway through with:

‘Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement’ by Angela Davis

So…

The only goal I basically accomplished: unplugging for the night. The others ranged from nothing to possibly about sixty percent…not a great month…but not totally horrid either.

What improvements do I need to be implementing?

Set time(s) for working through e-courses, and other types of learning (such as learning a new language), instead of just thinking ‘whenever’ will work…

Designing and implementing a good tracking system for various things (not just nutrition/movement, but pages read, minutes/hours reading or working through e-courses).

Also set time(s) for brainstorming sessions, and other planning items.

Time and project management….figuring out how to best support Gaza and Palestine (currently it is by sharing updates on different social media platforms), while at the same time figuring out how to build my businesses from the ground up…

While still working at healing from burnout…and managing grief, and other emotions…

Progress…not perfection that is what I’m aiming for and aiming to improve. Moving the pointer and ‘goal’ posts forward a little each day…as small steps can add up over time…and are better than trying to make a massive leap once or twice a year…

What is one of your top favorite things about fall?

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