Taking time to reflect

After another busy week, I’ve taken some time to reflect.

I’ve been pretty ambitious in my approach to this year, and for the most part I’ve been keeping up with my plan to reach my goals.

I spent an hour this morning reflecting on my first two months (almost) of 2018. At the front of my journal, I have a one-pager that I use to keep myself in check.

I used this as my roadmap for my reflection, and looked at each of my goals, as listed on my one-pager.

Finish manuscript

What’s working: I’m doing surprisingly well here. I’m past the 11,000 word mark and am hoping to surpass the 15,000 words I’ve set for the end of March. For me, getting started can often be the hardest part. I have a lot of stories that crap-out at the 5,000 word mark, so I’ve made it over that hurdle. Snack writing has really helped with this goal.

What needs improvement: Although I’m on track to that March goal, I would have actually surpassed it if I’d not taken on too much. In particular my work as an online tutor has been more intense than I expected. Over the summer, I taught three groups in two different units. They submitted on alternating weeks, meaning I have been marking constantly for the past eight weeks.

Solution: I’ve decided to take a smaller workload as a tutor for my new cohort in March. My two groups in the same unit will mean I can plan more effectively around my teaching and marking commitments.

Weekly blog

What’s working: I’m generally keeping up with this commitment. This is more for me than for anyone else, because it forces me to put something into the world each week. It’s also good because I’m writing even when I have nothing in mind, meaning I’m developing a habit of pushing through writer’s block.

What needs improvement: The blog is often the first thing to go when work, life and everything gets a bit crazy. I have been late for my own deadline a few times, but also I missed one post entirely.

Solution: I’m bringing this back to the top of the pile as a priority.

Get something published

What’s working: I’ve had a positive response from a magazine. They are interested in a piece I wrote for an issue in June. This is very much early days, and may still fall through – but the positive response has been wonderful.

What needs improvement: I’ve only submitted a few things. In fact, I have a piece that I should be submitting, but keep delaying because something isn’t quite complete about it.

Solution: Be more outgoing, be brave and submit more work. Sometimes it will be the editor of a magazine that is able to see what I can’t and give me feedback to get this going in the right direction.

PhD Candidature

What’s working: I’ve had good conversations with two universities now. There is interest, and they’ve given me advice on things I can do over the coming year to support my application.

What needs improvement: I’ve been given some introductions that I need to follow up. Time has been a factor here, but I can’t keep putting it off.

Solution: Set aside a specific time to focus on this goal. This will be supported by the lighter workload at university. There needs to be a dedicated day and time each week that I work on this goal.

My overall reflection has been that I need to learn to say ‘no’ a little more. I have a tendency to take things on because I want to impress people. But I want to make sure I do everything well. I made a decision to take a smaller workload at university because I know it will make a huge difference to the other elements of my goals.

I’m going to check in and reflect again in a few months to see how I’m tracking.

Take care everyone.

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