Tag Archives: productivity

Revisiting Resolutions

I got curious today about what my New Year’s Resolutions were from back in January. I remembered that I publicly declared those resolutions on this very blog, so I thought today would be a great time to revisit them! Some are accomplished, some are going poorly. Such is life. At least there’s still 5/12’s of the year left to accomplish them, right?

(Note: I’m going to copy/paste the resolutions straight from the January post in italics, before updating them in a red font.)

• Lose 30 pounds. Sure, why not? This time… I think I won’t rely on Crohn’s Disease to, ahem, assist me, so perhaps they will stay off a little longer this time? I haven’t gained it all back, but if this trend continues I should be able to be a contestant on the Biggest Loser by 2013.

This one is not going well at all. Thanks to the wonders (and stress) of grad school, combined with the Geography building being right across from the University Center, I’m currently +8.6 pounds for the year. I told you I was on my way to being a Biggest Loser Contestant! In somewhat more encouraging news, though, I am down a couple pounds since May. This is probably closely correlated with Resolution #2…

• Train for and run a race of some variety. 5k, etc. Preferably more than one, but that will all depend on how more time I can devote to training. The good news is that Karen has agreed to do it with me this time. The bad news? We’re both really good at wimping out after a few weeks.

The training began in January…and ended in January! Trying to start running again in the cold and at the beginning of the semester was a good way to set myself up for failure. So there’s the bad news. The good news is that I started again this summer, and although Karen wimped out on me after a few weeks, I’ve kept to the Nike+ Beginning Running program without her for several weeks now. I’m not quite up the “Running Obsessed” level, but I am at least on track to run a 5k before the year ends. The biggest challenge ahead will be maintaining my running schedule once the semester begins.

• Travel the world. (As a geographer, this is pretty much always a goal, not really a resolution. And since I’m planning on going to Berlin and other parts of Germany for thesis research this summer, this one should’t be too hard!)

Mission Accomplished. This one was completed with my summer fieldwork in Berlin and our mini-vacation in Paris. I can now check France off of the list of countries to visit, though I wouldn’t mind returning in the future to visit some French locales not named Paris!

• Read something other than the literature for my Master’s research and/or class. This one might actually be sort of hard! I’m thinking of reading the Lord of the Rings, but I seriously doubt I’ll find time for it this year, so I may stick to a few Star Wars novels I’ve been saving. Wouldn’t hurt to read some of the photography books I’ve amassed over the last 2-3 years either!

Believe it or not, this one can actually be checked off the list as well. I made it a part of my summer plan to get some leisure reading in and it worked. I only got around to reading D.H. Lawrence’s The Prussian Officer and Tina Fey’s autobiography Bossypants, but it was a start! I’ll definitely have to save LotR and Star Wars for another day/month/year.

• Play my trumpet. Regularly. I’ve decided to break it back out from hiding/storage. Cleaned it up nicely last year but never played it much. The first step, however, is to get Story used to it so she doesn’t freak out and bark every time she even sees it.

This one is a work in progress. Story is a little less scared of the trumpet now, but I’ve only played it twice all year. I did, however, start to teach myself piano from Karen’s beginning piano books, so at least I’m making some musical progress!

• Become more fluent in German. The two German courses I’m auditing this semester should help with that, but I’m still slightly terrified that I won’t be able to interview people in German this summer!

This one never really reached fruition, because I found a way around being terrified to interview in German during my fieldwork: First, speak English, and Second, find a translator. I may have gotten a little better with the help of the my two audited German courses, but I ended up dropping one midway through the semester because of the busyness. Which leads me to the last bullet point…

• Somehow, find a way to not “overdo it” this year. I came close to overdoing it this semester, but I was able to stay on top of all my various projects, papers, performances, etc. by the skin of my teeth. I’d like to take a step further back from the edge, but I know in all likelihood that I may actually be inching my way closer to a plunge, given my course load and responsibilities this semester alone. I know Summer and Fall won’t be as bad, but there’s still field work and comps and thesis writing death to think about then.

I miraculously pulled this off, and finished the spring semester with flying colors, all A’s, and new-found responsibilities of being entrusted to teach a section of Geography 101 for the department this upcoming year. How did I do it? Mostly, I saved my sanity with a combination of Sbarro’s in the aforementioned university center and Eric Whitacre’s latest CD, Light and Gold. I was also greatly blessed to receive three scholarships/grants from various sources at UT to fund my fieldwork, so part of my stress (rushing about to meet various deadlines!) paid off.

Now this resolution has to be extended to this fall semester. I’ve already blogged about how busy I have been just getting ready for the fall, but it will definitely pick up the pace in a few weeks.

Such a Bum

Man, it’s hard to be a blogger.

Well, OK, it’s not that difficult if you’re someone like a fellow Weakley Countian, newscoma, who worked for the local newspaper and blogs a ton. She could probably pull off making a living just through blogging if she set herself up with the right amount of advertising or paid subscriptions, or whatever. (Hey, it works for Dooce, right? In case you don’t know, Dooce makes a living blogging about being a mom and other stuff. I don’t read it, but Karen does.)

But I’m not going to go into the monetizing of online content spiel, because I’m not in a mass-comm-discussing mood.

So anyway, I’ve had my iPhone 3GS for just under two days now. I feel that my productivity has shot up quite a bit, now that I have the Internet in my pocket. There’s no way I will ever go back to going without a phone with a data plan ever again. I’d give up cable way before giving up a data plan. Seriously, Karen and I pretty much watch three or four channels in our 70+ cable subscription. Animal Planet, ESPN/ESPN 2, and Fox Sports South (when they carry the Cardinals games). Aside from Animal Planet, following sports is pretty easy with the iPhone, not to mention MLB has an application which lets you watch games on your phone. We’ve mostly used our TV to watch movies, which is more fun anyway. Before we became obsessive with the iPhones over the last 48 hours (and I’m sure it will subside, at least a bit) we were reading more than watching TV.

Wait, didn’t I say that I wasn’t in a mass-comm mood? Maybe I was just kidding myself.

Since I’m on an iPhone kick anyway, I may as well post some of the more interesting applications I’ve downloaded to increase its functionality. Granted, not all of these are really great or anything, but all but one have been free so I’m taking that trade-off.

  • Twitterific (For following twitter updates)
  • Stanza (eBook reader with several libraries of free books)
  • Facebook
  • USA Today
  • Lose It! (A food/exercise counter similar to NutriMirror)
  • AT&T myWireless (account manager and bill pay)
  • e*Trades Mobile Pro
  • Shazam
  • Remote (iTunes remote control)
  • Yelp
  • Restaurants Nutrition
  • 8 (a “glasses of water” counter)
  • iFitness (the only paid app, has 100’s of exercises demonstrated, plus user workouts)
  • Instapaper (Downloads Web pages you don’t have time to read so you can come back to them later)
  • Bible
  • Barnes & Noble Bookstore
  • Flixter (movie times, trailers)
  • Amazon.com
  • WebMD
  • Free German Essentials (a trial version with only 130 or so vocabulary words; the full version has 1000’s of vocab to learn)
  • Currency converter
  • Wikipanion (Wikipedia search)
  • AP Mobile (though I’m liking USA Today better, might get rid of this one)
  • Wi-Fi Finder
  • Mancala
  • myLite (flashlight plus some other cool things like strobe light)
  • Harry Potter 6 (interactive game, haven’t looked at it yet)
  • iSniper lite (Free trial game, kinda boring)
  • iHandgun (Sound emulator)
  • Lightsaber (Sound emulator)

See what fun can be had! Why do I get the feeling that some of you are criticizing my productivity…