One month at Green String Institute down, two to go!

Whoa it’s been a while! I have been writing up blogs this whole time, but we have very limited Wifi on the farm and it won’t connect to my laptop so they are trapped there for a little while. In the meantime, I bucked up and decided to write something from my phone. Apparently my last entry somehow got cleared so the TL;DR is that I am currently an intern at Green String Farm in Petaluma, California as part of their Green String Institute program. I have a blog post with details on what we do/our typical day/etc that should be posted soon :).

I wanted to litter this post with images, but limited time and data/control of wordpress from my phone is killing that idea. In the meantime, general photos can be found HERE and photos from all of our communal intern meals can be found HERE. Both are usually about a week behind.

For now, thoughts one month in! All quotes within this post are from Bob (Cannard, the leader of GSF and our teacher at GSI).

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On My Next New Adventure: Moving to Petaluma, California for the summer!

6/1/16 – It appears the content of this blog post has mysteriously disappeared. I can’t figure out how this happened and am frantically trying to find a draft or some way of finding the content but so far haven’t been successful. Any tips/tricks? 😦


On Social Media Usage Insights I Learned During my Buffer Job Application Process (Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the job)

I originally came here to write a post about my recent job rejection from Buffer. The post led me to start reflecting on my social media usage over time, which became a monster post of its own. As a result, this material is being split into two different blog posts. This post will contain information about Buffer and why I wanted to work for them in this post, with some basic information about the things I noticed about my social media usage. The second post will have some more in depth analysis of my Facebook usage over time, and include a bunch of charts/graphs. If you’re more intertested in the social media aspect of this post than me rambling about how awesome Buffer is, you can skip ahead and click “Read More.”

Around the beginning of the year, I debated starting to schedule my social media posts. If you follow me you know I post A LOT on social media. Like, way too much. I am aware of it, but my ADD and love of constant interaction have kept me from ever really reigning it in. This over-posting is sometimes interspersed with several week social media hiatuses to reboot and recharge, after which my posting decreases significantly and then steadily climb back up to “all the damn time.” I wanted a way to better manage my personal social media, and I decided to give Buffer a try.

For those that don’t know, Buffer is a tool which helps you create and schedule social media posts in advance. Buffer also analyzes data from these posts and provides metrics to help you find out the best times to actually post for maximum audience engagement. When I went to the website, I noticed a link saying that Buffer was hiring and decided to take a look at the types of jobs they were looking to fill and find out more about their company. Within minutes, I was hooked. When I began reading about Buffer’s company values, it was like reading about my personality in company form, I felt like I had found my tribe. I could make an entire entry about why Buffer is awesome, but for the sake of brevity here are some of the main reasons I wanted to apply to work at Buffer (with links to further resources on their site):

  1. They have a really great set of company values based around positivity and happiness. There’s also a value to have a focus on self-improvement. It’s no secret I struggle with depression. But despite this, or perhaps even because of this, I work really hard to maintain a positive mental attitude. This includes mindfulness and gratitude training, good habit formation experiments, reading a lot of self-improvement material, and constantly working to better myself. I don’t always succeed, but I am always working on it. I have worked in some very negative and toxic environments and know that working in a company that promotes happiness would be an excellent fit for me, and me for them. (They even used to have a page about employees ongoing habit experiments, that unfortunately isn’t updated anymore, had I been hired I wanted to try to reboot this!).
  2. They are very transparent about their company. They not only list employees’ salaries (even the CEO’s is listed!), but they tell you the formula they used to get them so there is no stressful salary negotiating. They also talk openly about past mistakes and failures in the company. I try to be as transparent as I can online, from talking about depression to admitting when I screw things up or fail at goals(2), so it felt really great to know I could work for a company that not only approves of but embraces transparency.
  3. They not only encourage employees to use vacation time, but they PAY them to do so. When I left my former position I had two months of vacation time accrued because I was never able to use it. I was only able to be paid out for a certain amount of hours, and because I was leaving I wasn’t allowed to take a vacation so I ended up losing a lot of vacation time that I worked hard for. When I complained to my former boss about not being able to use it due to our insane experiment schedules he replied “They give you too much vacation anyway.” This put a really bad taste in my mouth and made me sad that I had lost something that I worked hard for, so it felt nice to know I could have a job where I was encouraged to actually take earned time off.
  4. Buffer allows you to self-manage, which includes creating your own schedule. Another Buffer value is to “Live Smart, Not Harder” which includes giving it’s employees the freedom to determine their own optimal working schedules depending on what makes them happiest. After nearly a year doing all part-time and freelance work, I’ve learned a lot about my self-driven productivity and work habits. Namely, I tend to have a few very productive hours in the morning, followed by a lull mid-day, and then I get a second wind and am productive again in the evening. It’s hard to find a job that fits around these productivity hours, but Buffer lets you work when you feel it’s best. They trust their employees to be productive on their own, which is important. I am self-driven, using things like Rescuetime to track my productivity and tweak scheduling for maximum work, and I’d love to be trusted to do so.
  5. Buffer works as a distributed team and encourages employees to work from wherever they are happiest. This means, so long as there is Wifi you can work from wherever you want. Some employees work at home, others in coffee shops, and the coolest example: a handful of Buffer employees recently worked from Mexico! This is such a cool concept and has gotten me mildly obsessed with the Digital Nomad culture. I have lived in Philadelphia forever and really want to explore other areas, but am not sure where I want to live yet. Had I worked for Buffer I’d have had the ability to change locations periodically until I settled in one place.
Those are just a handful of reasons Buffer is cool. The following is the full list of their 10 Company Values:
buffer values
After submitting my online application for Happiness Hero at Buffer, I didn’t have any interaction from them other than an email stating they received my application, and a follow on Twitter from their co-CEO Joel. I followed a handful of Buffer employees and became part of their Slack community, but aside from that the only direct contact I had from Buffer was a very nice rejection email from Deborah just over a month after I applied. I wrote a tweet about how I had been rejected and Darcy replied asking if I’d care to elaborate on what I learned to them. I started this writing back and then realized it would make for a good blog post and here we are.

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On Habit Formation Experiments (and an Explanation of My Public Goal Accountability Experiment)

It’s been a whopping two months since I last wrote! My brain can’t quite comprehend how that much time flew by so quickly, but it has. The great news about this is that I have some interesting data to share!

My goal for 2016 was to look at the mistakes I made in regards to habit formation in 2015 and use that information to change my approach for goal setting this year. A large part of my problem has always been trying to make too many changes at one time. This year, I made a monthly chart and wrote 1-2 things I’d like to add to my routine or change for each month. I then decided which habit formation methods I was going to try in 2016 and decided on the following:  MOTI, a Public Goal Accountability Spreadsheet, a Facebook Accountability group, Coach.Me app/site, and Way of Life app. Some of these I’ve already stopped using, others are going strong! Details ahead…

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I Failed at Almost Every Goal I Set for 2015 and the World Didn’t End

Well, if you’re someone who actually checks in from time to time, you know that this blog has been neglected for a few months. This isn’t to say I haven’t been writing, I actually have nine drafted posts, some almost finished and some not even close. Blogging is just one of many habits/hobbies that have taken a hit for me this year due to depression.

Depression has been a leading theme for me this year. It’s difficult and feels vulnerable to admit it, but I’ve always found it really important to be open about mental health issues to lessen the associated stigma. I don’t want to write about it at length because that’s not the point of this entry, but I wanted to just acknowledge that I’ve been depressed for most of this year and it’s a big part of why this blog died for a while. The TL;DR on this is that I expected leaving my job was going to cause immediate happiness… and it didn’t. Womp womp. Lesson learned. So I am depressed and old coping mechanisms aren’t working. I’m super actively working on coming up with better coping mechanisms and making some positive changes, but maybe I’ll write about those another time. In the meantime, I did write a short article over at Medium about some small changes I’ve made, it’s here if you want to check it out.

On to the point of this blog post, today I took a look at my blog post about my goals for 2015. I not only failed at most of the goals I listed (I achieved 5/20), but I didn’t even remember having listed half of them! I guess I wasn’t so serious about some of those changes after all.

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