It’s MID YEAR. How did this happen? Time flies when you’re having TOO.MUCH.FUN.
How did the first half of your year go? Go anywhere? Accomplished anything? Ate something AMAZING?
Here’s mine so far:
Spent the New Year in NYC.
Got a new job
Discovered by Chloe (their Caesar salad is AMAZZZZINNG).
Had surf and turf (lobster & steak) for my 31st birthday.
Watched the last Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie – Logan. EPIC.
Went to the Philippines for a week.
Met my brand new nephew, Jac.
Met my best friend’s son, Joe.
Had a legitimate black out in front of friends and family. My eldest niece never let me hear the end of it. (In my defense, I can remember bits and pieces, but somehow can’t remember the times I cursed).
Whew! There’s a lot more, but figured 20 is enough to keep you going.
For the second half of the year, I’d like to focus. New York, while amazing, provides a ton of stimulation for any human being. Let’s face it, it’s pretty stressful to live in the city that never sleeps. Too many things to do, too little money to do it. However, New York also offers opportunities that any one can avail, if they only focus on what truly gets them going everyday.
So, my game changer for the back half of the year would be to focus on things that really matter to me (as seen in my Mid-Year Passion Planner game changer page). I know this is just words right now, but I’m holding myself accountable to this. I hope plan to provide concrete results when this year ends.
I want to hold myself accountable (yes, eerily similar intro to the previous post)….
I want to talk about being a detail oriented person. I tout myself as being one of those people who can easily spot a tiny detail from a mile away.
So, why am I holding myself accountable for this? Well, let’s see, it’s easy to become way over your head when you keep touting yourself as one. Why? Because you start slipping and start missing those tiny details when you’re not paying close attention (or when you multi-task, or when you’re not mindful about the situation on hand, or when you’re just tired).
It’s easy to miss those details if you’re not laser focused on the task at hand. It’s even easier to miss if you’re body AND mind is not 100% in the game.
What’s the moral of the story here?
Sleep at a reasonable time. Screw House of Cards or Orange is the New Black binge watching. Those shows will always be available, your thinking cap will not.
Leave the task you’ve been laser focused on for more than an hour. Come back to it after an hour or two. Chances are you’ll see details you’ve missed and you can correct before showing it to others.
Do not multitask especially if you’re doing something time and brain consuming.
Be mindful. Easy to say but hard to do, but always practice mindfulness everyday. Meditate, think happy thoughts, think how much you’ve accomplished before the week even ended.
I miss Bologna (Bo-lo-nya). My second home away from home.
I learned a lot living in this quaint little city. I explored every nook there is, though I know I missed some hidden treasures.
Here are the top 3 lessons it taught me:
I became self-sufficient. Though in some respect I had help. My sister’s high school friend and her family helped me navigate the city. She took me under her wing as part of her family. My Italian roommate helped me through the apartment renting process. It was tedious and frustrating, especially if you don’t speak the language. I dealt with the bank on my own (thanks to my Italian lessons, I was able to brokenly speak with the tellers).
Bologna taught me patience. It almost bypassed me because I was a stubborn Americanized person who didn’t know any better. I missed integrating myself into the culture of ‘dolce far niente’ (sweetness of doing nothing). I took years off my life by stressing out about how I only got internet service 4 months before I left the country. In the end, what I got is a slap in the face “it doesn’t effin matter, you’re in Italy for pete’s sake”.
For the most part, I uncovered the city on my own. I went to places that only locals went to. Shopped at markets for fresh and local ingredients to cook at home. Frequented makeup and skincare indie shops – I literally became obsessed with beauty when I lived in Italy.
I’m playing catch up with the planner challenge. This week had its highs and lows, so I’m glad it’s the weekend. Today is the NYC Paws Parade, so if you’re a dog lover like I am and you live in NYC, then this event is for you.
Day 9: Simplify
I admire those people who plan and write lists using different colors. I tried utilizing this system once, but it ended up being too time consuming and confusing for me. So, I simplified by using only 1-2 color pens maximum.
Day 8: Personal style
I don’t doodle or draw on my planner, so my personal style is simple: assigned bullets for events, tasks, notes, and errands, a la Bullet Journal style.
Day 7: Favorite Supplies
Post Its, 0.5mm pens (any kind), G2 pens, & Staple’s yellow legal pads are my go-to supplies. If I feel adventurous, then I use my metallic Sharpie pens.
Day 6: Functional
I use the lined and grid pages of the Passion Planner to jot down notes, ideas, goals, and books I read.
Day 5: Big Projects
For Personal: I just started using my big planner’s grid pages to track passion projects and goals.
For Work:I have a digital master tracker spreadsheet that I created with my manager to keep track of the big projects I am currently working on.
Created opportunities for myself, work wise. (Slowly checking off that list from my last post)
Not a bad first quarter if I say so myself.
This next quarter will be mostly focused on exploration and passion projects. I clearly stopped posting on the blog for 2 months, so I would like to focus on that in the next quarter or so. To help me with this, I decided to take on creative challenges such as the #planwithmechallenge. This is a challenge I discovered while scouring the web for how people use their notebooks to plan their days. The focus of the challenge is to share and gain new ideas on how one can improve their planning system. It will answer the HOW and WHY of my daily planning routine. I currently face challenges in keeping up with my planning and to do list system that I think this may help me face and eliminate those issues.
My planners and why
I currently use 2 planners: big and small Passion Planner. The Passion Planner has a weekly & monthly setup with a few pages at the end of the planner to use for note-taking and brainstorming. I try to keep all work related (whether passion project or my daily 9-5 grind) items in the big one, while the small one is my free form planner where I get to choose what to write each week.
Do I feel like this current system is working for me? Quite honestly, I haven’t figured that out yet. I find myself not referring to them during the work week because I rely mostly on my yellow pad paper for my work to do lists and my digital calendar for personal appointments. I am hoping that this challenge will help me find a way to merge all these resources together.
I changed my blog’s theme again. Hopefully, this will happen less after my Skillcrush Blueprint class.
Speaking of Skillcrush, I signed up for their Web Design blueprint that starts on Monday. The lessons are already available online, so I got a head start last weekend. I plan to do 1 lesson per day starting on Monday.
I also took advantage of Skillshare‘s $0.99 3 month membership promo. I signed up for a bunch of classes (ones that you can finish within an hour or two). One of the classes I took was about content strategy for blogging. It was a good class because the learnings can also be applied to industries outside of blogging.
I have been struggling to establish an efficient & flexible planning system. I am currently ping-ponging between digital and analog, but for the most part analog has won the game. However, I struggle to keep up and whenever plans get derailed, I lose the momentum of keeping up with the system.
I have a travel wish list post about South Korea that I plan to publish tomorrow.
I recently finished 52 Cups of Coffee by Megan Gebhart. The book is a recount of the passion project she completed during her senior year in college. Her project’s premise was simple – for each week of her senior year, she had a cup of coffee with an individual and wrote about what she learned in the process.
Below are some of my key takeaways from the book:
Make a plan and follow it, but when something fell out of place or you recognize a new opportunity, make a change.
So many times we miss great things because we are afraid of the opportunity, afraid to try something new, afraid to fail, afraid of the work it will take and the sacrifice required. Sometimes we’re even afraid of succeeding – opportunity knocks, but we don’t always answer the door.
Discover what you are willing to sacrifice when you’re young and have fewer responsibilities.
Look at the positive and focus on doing your best in difficult situations.
The job you get is important, but it’s what you do once you get there that truly matters.
Become good at things you don’t like doing. Remember the importance of becoming good at things you don’t like doing, because someday you might need those skills.
Look at the potential scenarios of a project that can happen and do you best to prepare