23 June 2008

Thirdly Review 2008, Part 2

I've been remiss in doing my quarterly review. I had it on my schedule to write up my review a month ago, but then I felt a little down (I had to send in my laptop for repair), so I put off writing it.

Also, I realized that quarterly isn't accurate since I only plan to review after each semester and the summer. So the title has been appropriately changed to "thirdly." Onto the review.

The contents of this review are only going to address January through May, even though I'm writing in June. My work output really hasn't improved since my last report. First, I went through a craze where I spent vast amounts of time analyzing Sondheim musicals. I think it was useful to use musical plays as a means of self-reflection, but it did take up a lot of time. Then after that ended, I had a whole bunch of visits from various people (including my dad coming to see me for a whole week) plus I flew cross-country to see my sister and I had a weekend-long hockey tournament in Vermont. Somewhere around April, the Stanley Cup Playoffs started and I would find myself watching a 3 hour game every 2-3 days, going to bed at midnight or later (because my favorite team lives in the Pacific time zone), and then trying to get up early and failing. Ugh. Normally, all of this stuff wouldn't be a problem, but if I'm already having trouble getting started on my work, disruptions are major sabotage.

Non-work wise, I just had the usual activities: reading my RSS feeds, checking online forums, watching Battlestar Galactica, and playing hockey. I think the amount of time I read RSS feeds is reasonable (average of 1.5 hours a day). I could definitely cut back, but I'm not sure I want to. I check Facebook once a day but that doesn't take long (about 10 minutes a day). I feel like Facebook has gotten to the point where you have to check it daily like email. I don't spend as much time on forums (hockey, musicals) as much as I used to. I learned what I need to know for the most part, so it's not necessary to spend as much time. Hockey, next to RSS feed reading, takes up the most time. Of all my activities, this is the only one that involves real contact with people, so I am definitely keeping this one. I just concluded my second season with the women's team and I really feel like part of the team now. I genuinely enjoy the company of my teammates. It's wonderful.

This third, I'm planning on staying in town for the most part except for a few day trips. That will cut down on distractions and help me focus on work. I'm trying to put less pressure on myself and keep up a sunny disposition (listen to South Pacific!). I think it's helping me a lot. To keep me on track, I'm slavishly trying to follow a schedule where I get up at 5:30 am every morning and go to the gym 5 days a week. It's really hard, but I think it will be worth it. The trick is to focus on just a few things at a time. I just find it so hard to let go of all ridiculous ambitions.

Now that I'm socializing more with my hockey teammates, I would like to extend that to fellow graduate students. I have a habit of turning down invitations. Being alone isn't so bad, but it is definitely not a good thing in the long term. I have to work on making eye contact and stopping to say hello to people more. I need to get back to my friendly West Coast self! My hockey teammate recently pointed out to me that I see relationships as a black-and-white thing, which unfortunately is not true. I want to work on getting more comfortable with "gray."

That's pretty much a wrap. The key is to want to get better and to believe that things will get better.

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