What have I been up to? – January 2017

I can’t believe January’s behind us – eek! Anyway, read on for my monthly check-in on what I’ve been up to.

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Despite the cold weather and political turmoil, January has been a rather good month for me. I like to use a review system close to Jeff Sanders‘s to track my progress. So here are my goals, wins, losses and fixes for January.

Goals:

  • Apply for PhD programmes – done 20/01/17;
  • Submit 2nd assignment for Open University course – ongoing;
  • Go swimming – hmm still procrastinating on that one.

Wins:

  • I submitted PhD applications based on quite a bit of research and feedback;
  • Inspired by the ‘Show your soft side’ article by Lucy Fry in Healthy magazine, I committed to health and fitness in a softer, more flexible way, doing a lot more workouts at home (yoga and strength training) than in December;
  • I experienced new things, namely the Women’s March in London and an interesting talk about earthworms (!).

Losses:

  • Between the applications and coursework, some days I put too much on my plate and got frazzled when I didn’t get it all done;
  • I ate animal products then felt unwell;
  • Late nights (playing Civilization or arguing with boyfriend) led to subpar sleep and accomplishing less than hoped the next day.

Fixes:

  • Limiting my daily tasks to obey the 1-3-5 rule (+ our shared domestic tasks, all beautifully organised in Todoist) and accepting that getting most of them done is good enough;
  • Following the ideal day I outline in my calendar, and the priority order of the aforementioned tasks, rather than getting distracted by the smaller stuff;
  • Testing new rules (a Trump-free zone for instance) and rituals to create a more peaceful and loving atmosphere at home.

The big thing on my mind this month was really the PhD applications. Being brave and vulnerable about my desire to do a PhD has led me to receiving a lot of encouragement and constructive feedback on my research proposal, which I obviously wouldn’t have got by  working on it on my own and keeping it a secret until I thought it was ‘perfect’ enough to share with the world (i.e. just before the application deadline after a manic rush…).

I have done well on my intention to do something new every week in winter (and listing them in my ‘goals book’). It doesn’t have to be anything big: I’ve put down watching The Last Samurai and planting a hedge for example. Another goal for winter is to ‘produce’ something every week – it’s important for me to focus on this as I often have lots of ideas, but end up stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’. This month involved creating research proposals with lengths and contents adapted to different applications, as well as writing emails in Portuguese for people involved in urban agriculture in Brazil.

Totalling my daily habits tracker (an article about that kind of thing is coming soon – for now see Jeff Sanders’s book for more info) shows that I have been regularly choosing good work practices, i.e. working standing up or escaping the flat to work from my favourite cafe in Abingdon. What I need to work on is stretching more regularly – it seems small but it does make a difference.

Anyway, enough about me: what have you been up to this past month?

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