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.

Reframe β€œI am stuck inside” to β€œI can finally focus on my home and myself”… Approaching this time with a mindset of feeling trapped or stuck will only stress you out more. This is your chance to slow down and focus on yourself.

Aarti Gupta, PsyD

Are we sheltering in place? Day 4

Orange County effectively walked back their order yesterday, but we just received word from the governor of California that “everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job.”

I’m already tired of people telling me this must be so normal for me since I typically work at home. Nothing about this is normal. As a remote worker, the time I spend outside the home is really important to me. Limiting travel means long delays in seeing friends and family, which is hard right now.

On the bright side, I exercised and meditated today after work. Looking forward to getting outside when the sunshine returns this weekend.

Highlights: Cooked chicken sous vide which came out great. Got added to two Slack channels for dog pics. Talked to my mom on the phone.

What do you call this? Day 3

Today is my third day at home practicing good social distancing, and the first full day since Orange County Health Officer ordered that “all public and private gatherings of any number of people, including at places of work, occurring outside of a single household or living unit are prohibited.” I normally work from home so that part of my routine is business as usual. Many of my coworkers are less comfortable with long term remote work, which has been a great opportunity to spend some time every day just socializing and sharing photos of pets/kids/improvised work stations. I wish it were always like this.

More or less everything else that would normally get me out of the house during the week is closed or cancelled. I’m reading too much news, and the uncertainty of how long this will last is making me anxious.

Today’s highlights: Finding half a bag of Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles in the cupboard. Completing a decent home workout. Zooming around an empty baseball field with Peppy, who did pretty well tonight with his off-leash control.

What have I been up to the past few weeks? Studying, reading, celebrating my husband’s birthday, working with a dog trainer, getting our taxes done, agonizing over what is worthy of a blog post. My study buddies are pretty adorable πŸˆπŸ•

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.

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.

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! ♻️