Monthly Progress Report: March 2015

The last month FLEW by! I can’t believe it’s time for another one of these already. I should note: A friend keeps teasing me for using Excel, so I am trying to learn Plot.ly to make my data more readily available publicly, but so far I have not done very well with teaching myself. I’ll get there, just be patient with me. I am also looking into some data visualization classes so I can make the data I show here more visually appealing and interesting (IE Throw in some charts instead of raw data, derp).

Before I get into my progress report, I have some exciting news! I will be attending this year’s Global Quantified Self Conference in San Francisco from June 18-20th. Even more exciting: I will be doing a Show and Tell presentation at the conference! I will be making a handful of QS related blog posts leading up to the conference (and obviously after).

And now onto March’s stats…

Fitness

This month kind of evens out on the fitness front. I haven’t been stretching nearly enough because I hurt both my calf and my hamstring, but I have been kicking ass in my aerials class and feeling really great about it. I also finally started running (only five days ago)! The first day I ran I could only go 0.1 mile (one block) without stopping, the second I got to 0.2 miles, and the third day 0.3 miles (see chart below). Then I had shin splints (so happy two friends told me how to get rid of them quickly) and wasn’t able to run again until today. I could only go 0.3 miles at a time, and sometimes not even that, but whatever 0.3 miles is better than 0.0 miles. See some more stats below (or don’t, whatever!). I’ve also worked some push ups and pulls ups into my morning routine. I need to add an ab workout and a little yoga but keep forgetting.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 1.27.29 PM

It feels good to be making progress, and this is the most consistently I’ve run in at least five years, so I am happy about it. I’m trying to do about a mile a day while my body adjusts to getting it’s ass kicked by cardio. Speaking of, my new Fitbit Charge HR has officially made me aware of the horrible lack of cardio in my life, which is what finally got me to start running. As for the Charge HR, it took a while but I’ve finally adjusted to wearing something on my wrist, and I do like looking at the heart rate data, but I really wish Fitbit would add the option to Export and look at microdata. I’m sure they will eventually but I am impatient. I’m also looking into other methods of tracking HRV (Heart rate variability). I got overly excited and bought a Garmin chest strap without doing enough research and goofed up because it doesn’t work with my phone (it’s ANT+, which only works on Droids). Someone had already suggested I get a Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor, but I forgot until AFTER I had ordered and received the Garmin. Gahhhhh. A reminder why to be patient and do more research when purchasing wearables, for sure.

As for my 3000 miles in 2015 goal, I am making good progress. In fact, I am about 40 miles ahead of schedule! Below are March’s mileage stats, and below that you can compare it to March 2014. I’m finally picking up speed and demolishing my step goals. Running can only help, right?

Fitbit Stats

Fitbit Steps Data for March 2015

Fitbit Stats

Fitbit Steps Data March 2014

Reading/Writing

Writing is going the same. I am still journaling daily (okay, sometimes I cheat and take short notes in my One Line a Day journal or type them in Evernote then fill in longer entries in bulk), but my gratitude and accomplishments journal went to shit around March 11th. I had been bad about it for about a week, trying to go back and fill it in late and not remember what the hell I did or was grateful for, and then I just stopped all together. Not thrilled about this, and hoping to pick it back up again. I know for sure it was doing something positive to my brain because I’ve felt pretty shitty the last two weeks since I stopped doing it. I am hoping to get back to it, but in the meantime I have been using an online daily accomplishments calendar iDoneThis. I really prefer tangible, written records, and even feel I am more likely to keep up with them, but for some things it’s just easier to do it electronically and right now iDoneThis is working. I also just added a second iDoneThis calendar to use as a gratitude journal (literally just as in one minute ago). Here’s hoping this will keep me on better track.

I kicked ass at reading this month! I read 373 of my saved Pocket articles, way more than February’s 149 and January’s 282. However, I added 371 articles, so I am still swimming in things to read. I feel like this last month has been more about reading and learning progress, and a little less productive in physical ways, but I’m okay with that. If you’re ever interested in what I am reading, a list can be found to the right of each post or you can click here to view my Reading.am feed. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it but I really love Reading.am and that I am able to easily share all of the articles I am reading.

I also read a lot of books in March, finishing the month with eleven completed titles (one of them was really short, though). I always have people ask me if listening to books REALLY counts as reading. As of now I say it does, because I am still absorbing the information. But I can see their point, and think about this a lot. Any opinions? Feel free to comment! My total reading stats for the year are below. Both means I used Whispersync to switch back and forth between Kindle and Audible.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 12.52.50 PM

Total Reading Stats to Date for 2015

Speaking of Audible, my stats for the year are also below. I’m actually pretty pissed at Audible right now. I keep track of my listening time (total, monthly, daily, etc) using their app. I recently looked at the app to see which reading level I was at (You get a rating after X amount of hours: Novice, Professional. Scholar, etc) and I noticed it hadn’t changed in days even though I had listened to about ten hours of audiobooks. I sent them an email and they were very nice about it and are working on fixing it (with data I sent them), but after deleting and reinstalling the app I lost a ton of my stats. Fortunately, I had already saved the numbers for January and February, but March’s are guesstimated. This probably wouldn’t bother most people but as a quantified selfer, I was really annoyed and wish they had more accurate tracking abilities within their app (and on the website). For now I’ll be keeping a close eye on it and manually tracking.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 12.56.14 PM

As for BLOG WRITING, I am still being really slow about writing entries, but I’m okay with that. I’d rather post decent content than rushed crap. I have a handful of blog entries outlined and researched, but my brain just hasn’t been cooperating with me on a writing level too often lately. I’m hoping it cycles back around to writing ALLTHEDAMNTIME mode sometime soon.

Cooking

Blah. March has been half and half with this one. I was sick for a week and a half and it blew my cooking routine out of the water. After that I was just super tired and lazy (I blame this on the weather for flip flopping between Spring weather and super freezing weather), but I’ve still been eating relatively healthy and have next week’s meals planned out so I can get back on schedule. I’m also going to have tons of time to plan and cook meals soon (see way below), so I won’t have any excuses not to anymore!

Productivity

Okay, so I am usually really good at personal organization and productivity. Unsurprisingly (and as my therapist warned me), I’ve fallen victim to trying to do too many things at one time. I HAVE tried to cut back, but haven’t fully succeeded. My problem is that I can’t seem to prioritize and figure out which changes I want to make first. The ones listed here are the most important right now (health/diet/learning), but I’ve also been trying to plan future projects and my brain has been imploding as a result.

Part of the problem is that my home Kanban has been sorely neglected for too long. I rearranged my art/desk space months ago and it still isn’t properly organized or situated. This is a major goal for this month. Fortunately, I just discovered the Bullet Journal system. I freakin’ love this and wish I had it in college! I set mine up this week and think it will help a lot with sorting out goals/prioritizing. I’ll definitely keep y’all updated on how it works for me.

Art

Life Book is still on the back burner. Intentionally, though. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and exercising after work when I’d usually be painting, and weekends keep slipping away from me. I also have barely been taking photos which is weird for me, but it’ll come back when I’m inspired by something. I have some pretty huge art plans coming up this summer, so I’m not worried about the lack of things being made right now.

Personal(ish) Stuff 

A lot of changes are coming my way soon. My last day of work is May 31st and I am both thrilled (no more killing animals!!!) and terrified. My job hunt hasn’t exactly panned out yet, and my future has never been so up in the air. It’s exciting because I have some awesome opportunities this summer, but it’s also pretty scary. I’ve had a job (and often 2-3 since college) since I was 15, and I’ve rarely taken vacations (and NEVER long ones), so knowing I have a huge chunk of time off seems both relaxing and intimidating.

I’ve started using my Trello to make an unemployment board and start blocking out concrete chunks of time for all of the things I want to do but never have (enough) time for (Yoga, Painting, Stretching, Cooking, etc etc etc). My goal is to wake up at the same time as I would for work, make breakfast, run, and start my day. Each day will have different planned goals, but with Trello it will also be easier for me to move some goals around if it doesn’t feel right (for example, if I’m scheduled to paint but would rather read I can swap tasks out). I also haven’t finished my “Every Damn Thing I Own” spreadsheet yet, though about 80-90% of it is done now. This project is on the back burner for a little while, because I’ll have tons of time to finish the spreadsheet and then purge belongings once I don’t have work to worry about.

The more personal thing, is that part of why this month kind of stunk is that I’ve been bummin’. Depression is definitely a topic I want to touch on here when the time is right, but for now I’ll just say that it’s something I’ve dealt with for more than half of my life and it sucks. Moreso lately than in a while. One reason being that I flip flop between majorly stressed about unemployment, and a little relieved for a short reprieve after a few years of being really psychologically distressed by my job (see this blog entry for details). But when I am stressed, I am majorly stressed and my anxiety disorder has been brutal as a result. In addition, I did that silly thing where you think you can be friends with an ex after a few months (three to be exact). It was fun and really nice for a few weeks because I did really miss my best friend, but it turned out to be a bad idea in the end and I had to cut ties again. It felt a little like reliving the breakup, and it’s still sad and something that I’m dealing with. But such is life and it’s a lesson that I’ll certainly learn from. In the meantime, I have a million things to keep my mind distracted so I don’t dwell on it too much.


Referenced Links 

  1. Plot.ly
  2. Global Quantified Self Conference Information
  3. Fitbit Charge HR
  4. Garmin chest strap
  5. Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor
  6. One Line a Day Journal
  7. iDoneThis
  8. Pocket
  9. My Reading.Am Profile (a list of all of the articles I have recently read)
  10. Trello
  11. On My Current Job Search (And Why I’m Leaving Science)
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About tamarahala

Tamara is currently living in Petaluma, CA as an intern at Green String Institute! She is a mixed media artist, student aerialist, and former neuroscientist.

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