Goals Check In: August 2020

August was another challenging month with long work hours, poor balance, and the stress of an upcoming move.

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save Savings on track this month!
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. The delivery bill was a bit high this month, around $300, but a good chunk of that was from a big sushi dinner for my “quaranteam” (husband, cousin, her husband). I also bought some clothes online for a wicked good deal, but nothing mindless and I didn’t even treat myself to anything this month!

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed three books, bringing my total to 32.
  • Endymion by Dan Simmons
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimon
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King
Explore New Ideas This was a bit of a fail this month.
Improve Photography Skills Chipping away at the Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography on Udemy.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 My current course focuses on data understanding and visualization using KNIME and ggplot2. I prevously took a course in R Programming, but the experience using ggplot2 has stuck a lot better in my mind.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature This month I went on a long hike and spent some time by the apartment pool. Not as much actual “nature” as I would like, but anything outside these walls is better than than nothing.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 7 times in August. Still working towards a consistent practice.
Home Exercise Routine I worked out 0 times in August beyond the hike and yoga. Aiming to get back on track after the move.
5,000 Steps/Day August average: 3,717 (+16 month on month). I was pretty sedentary again this month and spent way too many hours in front of my computer. How do people actually do 10,000 steps?! I do notice that days I run errands it is much easier to get to 5k.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use My Facebook stayed deactivated through August, and I don’t see any reason to turn it back on. I did end up re-activating Instagram with (1) a seriously trimmed following list and (2) a renewed commitment to meaninfully engage with my friends beyond just likes and (3) most stories muted. The result is that I can easily get through my whole feed each day in around 20 minutes and see only friends’ posts. This makes me feel in control of my experience instead of being force fed what is algorithmically most engaging.

Goals Check In: June 2020

I am focusing on intentional living to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Creating and tracking goals are helping me feel like myself through the pandemic. Here is my (belated) June update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save On track! I slightly exceeded my goals.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. I did so-so this month. I made two larger purchases, a wetsuit and a Fitbit Charge 4, but stayed away from the smaller things that add up. Restaurant spending remains low while sheltering in place.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed five books, bringing my total to 26.
  • The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
  • The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Explore New Ideas
  • SKY Breathing by Art of Living - I started this breathwork class offered by my employer, and am finding it somewhat odd. Another coworker mentioned that it felt like a pyramid scheme. I would not be surprised if we were nudged into a teacher training program at the end. I am not planning on sticking with it, but it’s a good reminder of the value I got out of regular meditation.
  • Started Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography on Udemy.
Improve Photography Skills I started a course on Udemy! I have not yet been out to shoot photos, but it’s still on the list.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 No classes in June - they resume in July.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature This month I went camping and scuba diving. It was all in the same week, but it was so wonderful to be outdoors in the forest and by the sea. I camped at a secluded HipCamp site, where I was able to safely physical distance from one other camper on the 125-acre property.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 9 times in June.
Home Exercise Routine Fail. I was a potato in June. Such a potato.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use I got an iPhone and I’m still trying to figure out how best to use the Screen Time report. I averaged 41 minutes per day on the category “Social Networking” which appears to include Instagram and Gluon. I removed Instagram from my phone for nearly a week and it was glorious - until I missed messages from my friend who is currently in Iraq. I need to find out how to keep in touch with her without IG!

Goals Check In: May 2020

I am focusing on intentional living to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my (very late) May Update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save On track! Exceeded my savings goals and made donations to the Texas Civil Rights Project and NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Restaurant spending was pretty good, $157 for the month spent for three takeout meals from our neighborhood pizza joint. I did splurge on some house plants and related supplies.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed two books, bringing my total to 21. A few more are nearly done too!
  • Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
  • Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Explore New Ideas
  • Cocktail How-To with Spirit Guides, covering some home cocktail mixing basics and a few recipes. We’ve been making the Gold Rush at home, super tasty!
  • Completed Playing Big with Tara Mohr, a 4-part women’s leadership development program offered by my company.
Improve Photography Skills I should acknowledge that I am making zero progress. I still don’t want to let it go.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20I finished two classes in May and registered for a summer course that starts after a much needed six-week break. The double class load was tough. I kept telling myself that it was worth it to finish by EOY. But honestly, the added load took away from time I desperately needed to rest and take care of myself.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature I spent a little bit more time outdoors this month, including a (socially distanced) day at the outdoor civilian rifle range on Camp Pendleton.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 13 times this month! This might be my record. The studio re-opens next month, but indoor practice with strangers does not fit in with my COVID risk management strategy.
Home Exercise RoutineI did such a great job getting in a routine in April, then fell off the wagon mid-May. This was due in part to wrist pain preventing me from doing push-ups.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use This was absolutely terrible in May. I spent far too many hours scrolling through social feeds and news sites.

Goals Check In: April 2020

I am focusing on intentional living to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my April Update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save Still focusing on sticking to the plan and not getting distracted by the news. Expenses are lower while sheltering in place, and I’m funneling the extra cash into emergency savings.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. We’ve settled into a Friday delivery routine. I ordered dinner twice this month with very generous tips for our Grubhub drivers. I allow myself one gift to myself per month. This month was a DrinkMate beverage carbonator, which I am very pleased with. I have replaced my daily can of Spindrift with sparkling filtered water and lemon. If I’m being honest, I also got Jabra Elite 75t earbuds… Debatable if these are a necessary expense or a treat!

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I read every day this month, completing four books including two Hugo winners.
  • Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
  • Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
  • The Stone Sky by N.K Jemisin
Explore New Ideas New goal category for miscellaneous courses and areas of exploration! Aiming for 4 monthly.
  • Plant Basics - Can You Dig It with Lord Fierce - a Houseplants 101 workshop covering light, water, soil, and other basics. I am very interested in acquiring more houseplants after we move and took LOTS of notes!
  • Playing Big with Tara Mohr, a 4-part women’s leadership development program offered by my company.
Improve Photography Skills I should acknowledge that I am making zero progress. I still don’t want to let it go.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 Currently enrolled in two classes. My program canceled one of the core classes at the last minute due to low enrollment. I hoped to knock out the requirements this quarter, but the advisor assured me it will return in the Fall.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature I barely spent time outdoors this month besides a few walks with my husband and dog. My mental health is suffering because of this.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 7 times this month, all Yin or Restorative. These have not been my go-to styles in the past, but my body is craving the slower pace and deep stretching.
Home Exercise Routine Thanks to DAREBEE, I’m finding a routine that works for me. In the morning, I do wall push-ups and an ab workout. After work, I do a low impact bodyweight program and yoga. I found my stride in the second half of the month in making this a daily habit. When I complete these 30-day programs I’ll roll right into the next level.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use I reigned in my social media usage this month. My daily average is now around 40 minutes, down from 60+ last month.

Reflecting on Eight Weeks in Place

Eight weeks have passed since we began our stay at home confinement.

I signed up for two classes this quarter because I thought, “What else would I be doing right now? I should be productive!” It turns out that I would very much like to have time to relax, read, watch TV, and generally do nothing. I enjoy the coursework, but reading, homework, discussion boards, and quizzes are gobbling up the free hours that I desperately need to recharge. On the bright side, I look forward to finishing my certificate program before the end of the year.

On the subject of doing nothing - I decided to take two personal days next week. My plan? Read no news, do no homework, stay off Facebook. Maybe I’ll go for a long walk or binge on B-movies. I will dedicate two full days to listening to my mind and body and taking care of myself.

As we approach the transition to “Phase 2” of re-opening life on the west coast, I am encountering a whole new type of anxiety. I oscillate between feeling we’re moving too slowly or too quickly to return to some sense of normalcy. I hope we never find out if Southern California or any other region had or has the potential to have an outbreak on the scale of NY/NJ. Yet, the impacts on the economy and mental health affect everyone. Coming out of this I will deliberately shop local, shop small, and savor hugs with friends.

Goals Check In: March 2020

I have been focusing on intentional living in order to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Obviously the world is not what it was a few weeks ago. Plans and routines are disrupted. I found restaurant spending and reading much easier this month, while social media and time in nature were a challenge.
Anyways, Here is my March Update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save With the economy in the shitter, I am grateful that I am still employed. I am also proud that I’ve had the discipline to stick with my savings goals. Focusing on sticking to the plan (current focus is building emergency fund) and not getting distracted by the news.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. LOL @ restaurant spending while we’re sheltering in place. We’ve still been ordering takeout around once a week, but costs are lower (no drinks or spontaneous dessert). I spent a whopping $27 on restaurants in March against my goal of less than $100 which I rarely meet. I am allowing myself one “treat myself” gift per month which gives me time to be thoughtful and order things that spark joy without going overboard trying to buy away my boredom.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Improve Photography Skills It looks like we won’t be traveling in June or much this year at all, which was a main motivator for this.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 Starting two more classes next week! On track to finish in December.
Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I successfully read 30 out of 31 days in March and completed five books, including two Hugo winners.
  • The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
  • The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
  • Waking Up by Sam Harris
  • Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend Time in Nature Spent 3 days snowboarding in Park City, Utah before everything shut down. Also took Peppy to zoom around at a baseball diamond before they locked the gates.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 9 times this month. Not great, but I’m adjusting since my yoga studio closed.
Get in Hiking Shape On hold due to shelter in place order, since trails are closed and treadmills are locked away. Instead, next month I will be focusing on getting a good home excercise routine.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use Social media use is through the roof, much to my detriment. I’m averaging ~1hr/day on Instragram and probably similar on Facebook. I’m also reading way too much news.

Forced myself to take the dog for a longer walk and do “Gentle Yoga” πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ on Down Dog. Sunshine and movement do wonders for my mood, which needs all the help it can get these days.

πŸ“š Finished reading Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris.

Progress: Somewhat limited my news intake and spent “only” 45 minutes on Instagram yesterday, which noticeably improved my mood and sleep.

The Mindful Living Summit runs March 19-22 with daily sessions available free for 48 hours. I’m working my way thought it and highly recommend to anyone interested in mindfulness πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ

Goals Check In: February 2020

I have been focusing on intentional living in order to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my February Update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save My annual bonus gets paid in February, so I put it directly into savings before it could tempt me. The dedicated emergency savings fund is coming along nicely, and I’m starting to feel a greater peace of mind that comes along with it.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Excluding travel meals and my husband’s birthday dinner, restaurant spend was spot on this month! I did buy some random crap from the internet, like a Dual USB Wall Charger I’ve had my eye on for a long time. I guess the long consideration period makes this a mindful purchase - not super necessary, but charging my phone and a second device at the same time sparks joy for me.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Improve Photography Skills I’m keeping this on here so I think about it every month. But I have too much on my plate right now to really devote time to this. Specifically I want to finish the Lynda course I have in process, followed by the Photography Masterclass. I specifically want to level up before our June travel.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 On track to get an A in my current class, which wraps up soon.
Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I successfully read every day and completed four books in February, including two Hugo winners and two “diverse voices”:
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer
I loved all of these books for different reasons. Cannot recommend The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee enough (check out the NPR review).

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend Time in Nature I don’t think I quite achieved 1 hour per week outdoors, but I did spend a good amount of time outdoors in total. Our last day in Hawaii we spent whale watching, took Peppy on long walk, lounged an hour by the pool soaking up some sun, and spent a whole day snowboarding in Colorado.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 9 times this month. Not great. But I did find an app that I like and started testing out a home practice, which will be super important when we move ,since studio options will be limited.
Get in Hiking Shape Headed into March, I’ll be reframing this as exercising daily, which I will count yoga towards, but I also want to grow my yoga practice so that will still keep its own count. I felt active this month between the yoga and snowboarding, but didn’t do much other dedicated exercise.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use Shared 0 Posts and 33 Stories on Instragram. 15 Minutes Daily Average last 7 days of February, my lowest average in a while. I ditched SnapChat from my phone and stay logged out of both Facebook and Instragram as the default. Using login as a small hurdle to use is SUPER effective, especially when coupled with the fact that I also have to log into my password manager in order to retreive my social media passwords. I still mindlessly open the app but run into the login screen instead of an endless scroll.

Goals Check In: January 2020

This year I have been focusing on intentional living in order to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my January Update! A little bit late because it was saved as a draft.

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save Rolling my various savings goals together. Having specific shared goals and automated saving to 401k and HSA accounts has been making this one easy.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Other than the week we spent in Maui, restaurant spend was right on track, one delivery order and ~$100 on restaurants. I bought a few kitchen things and some (necessary) shoes online, which doesn’t feel excessive.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Improve Photography Skills I took a TON of photos in Maui and have already started to select which ones I want to edit.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 Started a new class! The schedule was just posted for Spring quarter as well. I’ll be able to take the final two required courses in spring, leaving just two electives.
Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices Completed six books in January which kind of blows my mind, but I read a lot while on vacation. Apparently “relaxing” on vacation is a normal thing. I also read every day, although some days were for like 2 minutes before falling asleep.
  • Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
  • World of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • City of Illusion by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Ringworld by Larry Niven
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend Time in Nature I have been thinking what a reasonable goal for outdoor time would look like. I’m starting with a minimum of 1 hour per week in dedicated outdoor time (hike, park, beach). This month, I met this easily. At home in California, I went on a long dog walk and a few hikes. In Hawaii, I spent time by the pool and beach, watched the sunset and hunted to hidden waterfalls. On the water, I logged two dives, explored two snorkel sites, and went on a sunset dinner cruise and a whale watching tour. I saw dolphins, sea turtles, colorful fish, and countless whales (it’s mating season).
Do Yoga 15x/Month I only made 8 classes. Was doing good for the first 3 weeks then just got busy with school and work and vacation. Not an excuse, just an obversation that this tends to get cut quickly when there is too much on my plate.
Get in Hiking Shape We’re in the early planning stages of another trekking vacattion which means it’s time to start putting in miles on the trail and treadmill, leading up to back-to-back weekend hikes for the weeks leading up. I hiked 21 miles in Jan which is a lot better than 0!

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use Shared 0 Posts and 33 Stories on Instragram. 23 Minutes Daily Average last 7 days of Janaury. I’ve managed to stay logged off of Facebook on my mobile browser for most of the month. This is slightly better than December, and I’m considering trying to stay logged out of Instragram to create a disincentive to using it so often.

Goals Check In: December 2019

This year I have been focusing on intentional living. As part of this, I have been setting specific goals for myself and tracking them closely (yes I am a spreadsheet nerd) in order to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my December Update!

πŸ’° Financial Health

Maximize Retirement Savings Done!
Save X% of Take Home Pay 54% achievement here. My overall savings rate was still excellent, so I’ll cut myself some slack. My goals shifted slightly towards the end of the year when I started an HSA.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Restuarant spend was a little higher than I would like - I ordered delivery twice and picked up the leftover tab at a friend’s going away party, neither of which I feel bad about. My other purchases were limited to gifts, an extra long yoga mat (used from REI!), and a much-needed jewelry box.

🧠 Personal Development

Improve Photography Skills No progress :(.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 Completed Effective Data Preparation with an A grade and registered for one class next quarter.

πŸ“š Reading

Complete 25 Books I finished 6 books in December, bringing the final tally for 2019 to 36 books.

πŸ’» Digital Life

De-Googlify I’m still rating myself 60% de-Googlified, but the last 40% will be hard (Maps and Calendar 😭). No updates since last month, but my e-mail provider ProtonMail is coming out with ProtonCalendar sometime soon.
Set up password manager Complete pending final clean-up. I’m embarassed to keep seeing this here each month! I need to carve out some time to deal with the stragglers.
Reduce Social Media Use Shared 0 Posts and 47 Stories on Instragram. 31 Minutes Daily Average last 7 days of December. I’ve managed to stay logged off of Facebook on my mobile browser for most of the month.
Remove apps from phone Complete.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Nature Time I went on a nice walk with my mom while she was in town, but otherwise my time spent outdoors was limited to short dog walks, which I don’t count. The trails near my apartment close every time it rains, which as a former Pacific Northerwester drives me totally bonkers.
Yoga Tweaking this goal a bit to 15 yoga classes per month, because 4/week is too aggressive for me right now. I only made it to 9 classes in December. On the bright side though, I tried some new classes and found another instructor that I really like.

Goals Check In: November 2019

This year I have been focusing on intentional living. As part of this, I have been setting specific goals for myself and tracking them closely (yes I am a spreadsheet nerd) in order to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my November Update!

πŸ’° Financial Health

Maximize Retirement Savings On track.
Save X% of Take Home Pay Bolstered by a 3-paycheck month, my YTD savings rate jumped to 113% of my goal. I doubt this will hold through December, but at least the extra paycheck is in savings for now.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Happy to report restaurant spending was the lowest this month that it has been all year! Drinks at the Marine Corps Ball, one DoorDash order, and a few small odds and ends (like In-n-Out drive thru for lunch) added up to $133 which is so close to my goal of $100 and the first time it’s actually felt achievable.

🧠 Personal Development

Improve Photography Skills Still on hold :(.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 R Programming course is complete with an A grade! Just need to finish one big report for Effective Data Preparation and I’ll be done for the year

πŸ“š Reading

Complete 25 Books I finished 7 books this month, 4 of which were already in progress when the month began. Still - pretty impressive if I do say so myself! I have surpassed my goal and completed 30 books so far this year.

πŸ’» Digital Life

De-Googlify I’m still rating myself 60% de-Googlified, but the last 40% will be hard (Maps and Calendar 😭). No updates since last month.
Set up password manager Complete pending final clean-up.
Reduce Social Media Use Shared 0 Posts and 48 Stories on Instragram. 33 Minutes Daily Average last 7 days of November.
Remove apps from phone Complete.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

New Category!
Measure Fitness Benchmarks I have come up with a handful of benchmarks to measure - timed mile run, timed plank, 1 min squats, 1 min pushups.
Nature Time My goal is to come up with a goal here through research and some loose tracking of my own nature time.
Yoga My stretch (GET IT?) goal is to attend yoga class 4x/week. Since I upgraded from Groupon to a monthly membership at a nearby studio, I’ve been averaging 2x/week.

I’m an aspirational morning hiker, so morning hikes are perpetually “things I like” and very rarely “things I did today.” But I got up and out there this morning with the pup, and it was lovely! Working on getting some exercise and ourdoor activity goals into the mix next month.

πŸ“š Today I finished Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way by Tanja Hester. She focuses on finding purpose and other social or mental factors when considering early retirement, semi-retirement, or a career intermission. It was a pretty quick read and somewhat light on numbers, although she does provide some additional resources with worksheets, calculators, etc. if you want to dive in to your own savings strategy.

Goals Check In: October 2019

This year I have been focusing on intentional living. As part of this, I have been setting specific goals for myself and tracking them closely (yes I am a spreadsheet nerd) in order to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values.

πŸ’° Financial Health

Maximize Retirement Savings After some catching up this month, I’m on track to max out my 401k, employer match, and Roth IRA for 2019.
Save X% of Take Home Pay My YTD savings rate is 85% of my goal, so I guess I rate myself a solid B. I probably won’t be able to catch up on this but my goal was fairly aggressive so I have no complaints.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Mindless online purchases are at an all time low, and I no longer puzzle over what a long list of Amazon purchases may have been when I review my monthly expenses. Restaurant spend this month was painfully high, but we got married at the end of October which lead to going out a lot more as we were planning, hosting out of town guests, and sometimes just plain too tired to cook.

🧠 Personal Development

Improve Photography Skills I’ve stalled pretty badly on this. Lynda courses took a back seat once I started my certificate program. In terms of output… I still haven’t done any sorting or processing of my photos from Morocco which have now been sitting for over two months 😳 I’m coming to terms with de-priotizing this for now, and will try to get some hours dedicated to this in December.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 Sub-goal for the year is to complete 3 courses with B grade or higher in order to be reimbursed by my company. On track with Introduction to Predictive Analytics completed with an A grade, plus R Programming and Effective Data Preparation in progress.

πŸ“š Reading

Complete 25 Books Crushing this goal with 23 books completed, 2 nearly completed, and 2 in progress awaiting library loan renewals.

πŸ’» Digital Life

De-Googlify I’m rating myself 60% de-Googlified, but the last 40% will be hard (Maps and Calendar 😭). More on this later.
Set up password manager This is more or less complete as I have set up Bitwarden with all of my active login information and new strong passwords, but I still have some clean-up to do. It’s really mind boggling and frustrating how many retailers force you to create an account for a single purchase.
Reduce Social Media Use Shared 1 Post and 26 Stories on Instragram. 43 Minutes Daily Average last 7 days of October, but I spent a lot of time looking at everyone’s Halloween costumes so this was higher than usual.
Remove apps from phone I’ve removed games, news, and most other miscellaneous apps from my phone.

Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam

πŸ“š Today I finished Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam. I was half expecting a bunch of cheesey time hacks and was pleasantly surprised that it was more of an exploration of how we perceive time and strategies to improve our perception of time. Like taking time to slow down and savor pleasurable moments, and to revisit memories by looking a photo album or listening to a song you used to have on repeat.

She also describes a time resource version of Pay Yourself First, where you schedule time to do what matters to you most in the morning, before other people’s demands start taking over your day. Waking up 30 minutes earlier four days a week gives you two extra hours per week to do what matters most to you. Even if you make time by displacing other things that need to get done, doing it in the morning ensures that you have enough energy that it won’t get missed each day.

This really resonated with me, since I have started waking up earlier despite (mostly) eliminating my commute, allowing me to devote one or more hours each morning to reading, studying, and thinking before opening my work email and dealing with other obligations. Making some “me-time” in the morning hours has given my life a sort of balance that wouldn’t be possible if I was trying to cram that time into the evening hours when I’m tired and want to focus on having dinner and spending quality time with my partner.

If you have a few mintues, check out her TED Talk on time managment!

How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price

πŸ“š Today I finished How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price. The first half discusses the impacts of smartphone overuse and addiction, and the second half offers a pretty solid 30 day challenge for being more mindful of your phone use.

My library loan ran out before I could complete the challenge. I had already done several of the tasks on the challenge - removing apps, reducing notifications, cleaning up other areas of my digital life like groups/friends on social media and email subscriptions.

I really liked the idea of boundaries, or as Price describes “no phone zones” and the “phone wakeup time.” No Phone Zone is pretty self explanatory (no phones at the dinner table), but I’m still having a hard time making the bedroom a No Phone Zone. The Phone Wakeup Time goes one step beyond not sleeping with your phone to having a set time in the morning where you don’t use it. My mornings are my time to do yoga, read, and sit down to eat breakfast so making this time phone-free (besides for audio books) is really nice.

For a bite size portion of this book, check out Catherine Price on the Ten Percent Podcast or sign up for a 7 day phone challenge at the Screen / Life Balance.

Unsubscribing from catalog and promotional mailing lists is really satisfying, but does involve picking up the phone for most of them (millennial nightmare? πŸ˜…). Starting to see less junk mail come in though! ♻️

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

πŸ“š Today I finished reading How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. The book drew from a Medium article if you want a quick read or want to see related photos and artwork.

Odell presents a more philosophical and political take on the theme of intentional living I’ve been exploring this year (In Praise of Slowness, Digital Minimalism). From the Medium article:

I’m suggesting that we protect our spaces and our time for non-instrumental, non-commercial activity and thought, for maintenance, for care, for conviviality. And I’m suggesting that we fiercely protect our human animality against all technologies that actively ignore and disdain the body, the bodies of others, and the body of the landscape that we inhabit.

She also talks about birds a lot so be ready for that!

I’m really enjoying the new season of Better Life Lab.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

πŸ“š Today I finished reading Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport .

Bonus crossover podcast from two recent authors I’ve read! Check out Cal Newport on the 10% Happier with Dan Harris Episode #188: Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport

10% Happier by Dan Harris

πŸ“š Today I finished reading 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris.

I recommend this if you’re thinking about starting a meditiation practice. The audiobook is narrated by the author (an ABC news correspondent) and was pretty engaging.

He also has a podcast and a paid meditation app called Ten Percent.

In Praise of Slowness by Carl HonorΓ©

πŸ“š Today I finished reading In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl HonorΓ©.

You can also check out his TED Talk on the subject.