July Goals 2022

goals, 2022

Hello!

June has been a really good month – my goals were really sensible and achievable and by being able to actually achieve some of them, made me feel really motivated to carry on working for the rest! Having a week off with my partner in the last week of the month has meant I feel pretty good going into July – I’ve just watched Season 4 Volume 2 of Stranger Things (oh my god), I’ve been to a new gym in my area and I’ve had a super productive week with wedding prep so I’m ready to go into July. I was going to say ‘with a spring in my step’ but I think I’d need about a month to catch up on sleep for that.

Here are my goals for this month:

Career Analysis
I’m having a mild crisis with what I do – I’ve been randomly thinking about completely retraining and changing my industry, then I get a wave of passion for what I do and who I work with and then my ongoing identity crisis hits and I have no idea what I want, what I can do and if I’m even any good at anything.

So this month I’m going to carve out some time to do some quizzes online (because I love a quiz and absolutely put way too much faith in them), make some colour coded spider diagrams and evaluate my key skills, what’s important to me in terms of work logistics (hours, location etc) and maybe talk to some friends and family about options.

Doing a masters I didn’t love and starting my career in a pandemic has made things feel very jumbled up and I want to try and figure it out; unjumble it in my mind, then I can make progress with my actual career.

Sort my photos
I love timehop and use it every single day to look back on what I’ve shared on past year’s on social media, but more and more recently it’s old screenshots, a hundred takes to get one good photo and random crap from group chats on WhatsApp (though, the family group chat has the pictures of all my cousin’s kids and they’re wonderful, I love them). But there’s thousands of photos there and it needs a good sort out!

I used to order 50 prints a month on SnapFish and put them in a scrapbook and on our photo wall but I haven’t done it in well over a year and the photos are getting out of date! Even if I spend just ten minutes a day going back and deleting unnecessary photos and deciding which ones I want to order, I’ll probably be done in a week!

Wedding
I was feeling so overwhelmed with all things wedding, especially having attended one this month, but with my week off I’ve done some research, made lots of lists and actually feel much better about the whole thing!

For this month, I’m going to finish planning our wedding cake with my mum (who is kindly baking it for us), finding and booking a make-up artist, consulting with my florist especially regarding hair pieces, and researching bridesmaid’s dresses to start ordering them for trying on in September.

Make fun videos on TikTok
Have I said before that making creative things into goals absolutely kills the creativity? Yes, but honestly I’m making really good progress on my annual goals and I had a gap so I thought I’d fill it with something fun.

I made a big fuss about trying to make structured TikToks and only making videos for a certain niche, then I thought fuck it and just had fun – I’ve posted some book stuff, some silly sounds and even a dance and I wanted more of that spontaneity!

Is it spontaneous if I make it a goal? Not particularly, but we’ll gloss over that bit!

Recurring Monthly Goals
Read 3 books
Save money (tick – always do it on pay day or I know it won’t happen!)
Date night with my soon-to-be husband
Do a craft project

One thing I think I’ve definitely made progress in this month is taking things at my own pace – for so long, I felt like if I wasn’t getting up at the crack of dawn and doing something ‘productive’ immediately, then I was a failure and it would feel impossible to get anything done for the rest of the day. But whenever I’ve had a day at home recently, I’ve let myself stay in bed for as long as I want, and slowly made my way through my to do list and it’s been wonderful to take a slower approach and potter through my to do list and realise by about 5pm I’ve done everything and I feel significantly less tense!

I’m working on putting this practice into other aspects of my life, but I’m pretty sure buzz words for every company ever are ‘must thrive in a fast-paced environment’ so not sure how well that’s going to go!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

how I could spend my Friday’s now I work a 4 day week

2022, career, lifestyle

Hello!

As of the beginning of this month, my work has changed from working 5 days a week to working 4 days a week and now I have Friday’s off!

But I am a creature of habit and I thrive on routine so immediately my thoughts turned to ‘what task could I do weekly to fill that time’ so I thought I’d talk through some of the options that immediately sprung to mind!

First thing’s first…

Adulting

All the boring things – cleaning the house, laundry, tidying the garden, sorting letters and emails and insurance and phone calls and all the boring things that always get put off. It’s not how I want to spend my Fridays, but realistically it’s how I should.

Crafting / Starting an Etsy shop?

I have so many craft supplies that I barely use – my sewing machine? Still barely know how to use it. My Cricut? Actually don’t know how to use it. Can I crochet yet? Not a chance. I would really like to use this time to use all my knitting materials and finish a cross stitch I’ve been working on forever and work through all the kits I’ve got!

And the step up from that, maybe I could find something that I enjoy and I am good at making and turn that into a little Etsy shop! I quite like the idea of having a little side hustle business, but it’s got to be something I really enjoy or there’s no point and I won’t keep it up. But it’s a little background idea that might become something at some point.

Reading / Self Care

Have I made it clear enough that I like reading from the book account and the monthly book posts and the several hundred books in my spare room?

I think a really solid idea would be to take this day to really look after myself – take a long shower, actually do some skin care, do some activities that I find relaxing like reading, cooking, watching TV… sleeping. Throw in some exercise and some meditation or something and I’ll have cured my depression right?

(for legal reasons, that is a joke)

Spend time on music

I have a lovely electric piano, a guitar, a ukulele and maybe even a flute somewhere but can I play any of them properly? Absolutely not.

There’s so many apps and programmes and YouTube tutorials where I could relearn and get better at these instruments and I think it would be good for me mentally to spend time learning something new, I think it’s quite a therapeutic hobby.

Creative Writing

I’ve always said I’ll publish a book one day but the older I get, the less creative writing I do and the less likely this dream is to become a reality but now is the time to grab that dream by the horns! Setting myself weekly writing goals and setting up a desk at home to actually make some progress every week would be a fantastic way to use this extra day…

But the line I want to be very careful not to cross is not to put even more pressure on myself – how I’ve made my to do lists has kept changing this year as I try to fit in more and more and what I learnt from my April writing challenge is that I literally don’t have the hours in the day. Even if I was working at full capacity (which no one ever is right? Everyone gets distracted and tasks take longer than expected because we are not robots) I would not have literal time in the day between driving back from work, making dinner and driving out to dance on three nights a week and expecting myself not to take even ten minutes to just sit on the sofa after a long day and mindlessly scroll through Instagram is ridiculous and unachievable, which only makes me more stressed in the long run.

Realistically, I’ll probably do a combination of these things – when I’m run down, I’ll have a slow day and try to look after myself more, when I’m feeling inspired I’ll work on my writing projects, when I want to sit and cross stitch and binge a new Netflix show I will and when I need to do boring adult things I will get them done. All tied in with a healthy amount of seeing family and friends and planning my wedding!

Maybe as I settle more into the 4 day week, I’ll try something that’s more of a commitment like volunteering or doing a course or something, but for now, I’ll stick with this.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

2022 Goals

2022, goals

Hello and Happy New Year!

Usually the Christmas holidays feel slow and almost drag, but they’ve gone so fast that I can barely comprehend that we’re in 2022! How mad is that? I’m getting married this year?

Outside of the astonishment at the passing of time (and still processing March 2020), a New Year means new goals and a time to refocus, figuring out what’s most important to me and how I want to spend my time this year and I love it.

I spent my Boxing Day looking within myself (read: staring absentmindedly out the window) to figure out what I want to spend my precious free time on this year, knowing that there isn’t that much of it around a full time job, dancing three times a week and getting enough sleep!

So here’s a basic summary of how I ‘design’ my goals, for want of a better word – I have three categories; Professional, Personal and Home; and in each of those categories I have three goals (I like the number three). Then, I have a list of 10 goals that either don’t necessarily fit into any of those categories or just make more sense in a ‘bucket list’ style (but I feel weird calling it a bucket list because it’s not a bucket list).

Is it perfect? Probably not. But it works for me and I’ve been doing it for three or four years now so I’ll stick with it!

Professional:

  1. Stay in the same job (if that’s what’s right for me) – the fact I got a job so quickly after my previous contract ended still baffles me, but I’d like to stay here for the whole year if I can. With the caveat that if it isn’t right for me anymore, for whatever reason, I don’t have to make myself stay for the sake of a goal. I know it sounds like a silly stipulation, but it’s what works for my brain!
  2. Learn to use AfterEffects – an Adobe software I’ve never been taught how to use before. I need to find a course or an online class or something, but I’m trying to do a lot of AfterEffects style editing in quite obscure ways and I think it would make everything simpler and streamline my editing process.
  3. Update my Portfolio Instagram page once a week – maintaining a portfolio has been a bigger challenge than I should probably admit, but rather than doing ‘update’ posts every six months, a little round up each week seems much more manageable. I’ve included this weekly goal in my new bullet journal set up so I get to colour in a square every time I do it, which is incentive enough for me.

Personal:

  1. Use DuoLingo every day – with the way DuoLingo works with it’s ‘streak’ feature to encourage you to come back every day, it’s almost difficult to forget. I started trying to learn Italian last year but fell off the bandwagon after a month, so I thought I’d go back to a language I’m semi-familiar with (to a very basic level), so I’m now learning French. I really like how DuoLingo teaches and how the app is laid out and I’ve really enjoyed spending 10 minutes a day learning.
  2. Blog once a week – I covered this in my last blog post but I accidentally stopped blogging for the last month of 2021 and I missed it! A lot of my goals this year are focused on adjusting doing what I love to make sure I don’t overbook myself and burn out. Going from 2 blog posts to 1 a week should be a good way to maintain doing something I love but not getting stressed about it. So far so good, if you’re reading this!
  3. Cosplay – no, I never finished my 2021 cosplay goals but (pandemic allowing), hopefully I’ll be able to go to MCM ComicCon again this year and I’d love to get a costume together. I’m thinking along the lines of a female Doctor Strange (mostly for the cape), the 13th Doctor and/or Luna Lovegood. All of these I think would be relatively easy as they’re more about buying pieces than making something from scratch, but we’ll see if I actually get round to it!

Home:

  1. Wedding – not just planning, but the actual wedding! I’m getting married this year and there’s still a fair bit to do, including buying my dress (I tried some on before Christmas!), getting my partners suit and all sorts of finer details. I don’t know if I’m excited or nervous, but it’s going to be a big year for sure.
  2. Weekly saving challenge – I had a go at this 52 Week Saving Challenge in 2019 and made it to approximately week 40 before I had to stop to be able to pay for things like bills (boring). But it was really satisfying and I saved more than I ever have before so I wanted to try it again this year to have some money in my personal savings as well as the wedding savings and my Help to Buy ISA. Not being a student and having a full time job should really help with this and I’m looking forward to the challenge that the latter weeks of the year will bring!
  3. Go on a budget summer holiday – I just want to go somewhere and lie in the sun and read, preferably with the sound of the sea in the background. I haven’t done enough research on this yet and with the wedding I’m not sure whether it’s financially viable, but we’ll see!

10 aims (that aren’t a bucket list because it’s not a bucket list):

  1. Read 36 Books – this is my StoryGraph reading goal for the year! As part of my update to my blogging schedule, I’ll also be doing a monthly round up of what I’m reading. 36 books in a year is 3 a month, so if I can review roughly three books a month till the end of the year then that’s my goal met!
  2. Book buying ban – I have over 200 books on my shelves at home that I haven’t read. There’s absolutely no way I’ll finish reading them all this year but I’d like to make a good dent!
  3. Go to a museum – my partner and I use to have date days in London and go to the museum pre-pandemic, but I’d love to be able to do this again this year.
  4. Go to a concert – I love live music and I feel like one concert this year is a good aim. Minimum.
  5. Go to a new place – I wanted to include some more ‘one off’ goals on my list this year, can you tell? After the wedding, my partner and I want to go on a UK break to have some time off together before we can afford a proper Honeymoon in 2023. I always feel drawn to places I’ve been before so I want to use this opportunity to see somewhere new and scratch that travelling itch! I’m thinking maybe Scotland?
  6. Continue updating my wardrobe seasonally – this was something I started in 2021 that worked really well for me – it helped me figure out what I actually enjoy wearing, what I look forward to getting out again and it saved so much space in my drawers! I need to start being properly ruthless with the clothes I don’t wear. Right now, I’m thinking I need to throw out some hoodies because I very rarely wear them (but they’re so cosy…)
  7. Writing challenges – I’ve been banging on about it forever, but I love creative writing and every other month (ish) I like to set myself a challenge of writing a certain amount in a month. I find if I don’t do this, I don’t write at all so doing it this way helps it become something I prioritise and actually work on!
  8. Monthly date nights – a way to make sure that my partner and I spend some dedicated time together at least once a month!
  9. Do one craft project a month – I have enough craft kits, materials and gadgets to fill up a whole room in our house, except they’re currently gathering dust and I hate it. So I figure if I can finish one project a month then it clears the room a little bit and gives me a creative project to work on!
  10. 1 Second Everyday 2022 – this will be my third 1SE video and I love making these. Here’s 2021 if you missed it!

And that’s it!

I’m really pleased with my goals for this year and I’ve started developing a routine to maintain those daily habits and trackers for the weekly and monthly habits so nothing is forgotten and I can make consistent progress!

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, a wonderful New Year and I wish you the best for 2022!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

May Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

April really flew – between moving house, the country opening up a little bit to get to unessential shops and doing extra hours at work, I seem to have blinked and missed most of the month but I’m looking forward to things feeling a little more settled in May. Hopefully I’ll get more on top of my workload, I’m definitely going to spend lots of time with my fiancé before his five week work trip to Italy over June and maybe I’ll even figure out how to look after myself a little better.

How we’re this far into 2021 I’m really not sure, it’s going faster than I can keep track of but here are my May mini goals!

– Work on my portfolio: now that I’m in the professional working world, I want to make sure I keep my CV, portfolio and showreel up to date so that next time I apply for a job it doesn’t feel like a huge task! This month I want to spend time working on building a website that encompasses everything I would want to show off to a potential employer. I’ve been working on designing a website for a tech festival with work called Ox Tech Fest (yes, I’ll take the shameless plug) and I’m so proud of how this website has worked out and having worked with a graphic designer and a web developer, I feel like I have ideas for my own website. I’m sure I’ll share when I’m ready!

– Work on my cosplay costume: with April getting away from me and moving house and stuff, I didn’t get round to what I wanted to do for my Team Yell cosplay from Pokemon Sword and Shield – hopefully I’ll balance my time a bit better to get my sewing machine out this month!

– Wedding planning: next stage in the planning is to research music and entertainment and figure out what we want that part of our wedding to look like. I have absolutely no idea where to start with this other than my fiancé and I have started a Spotify playlist but I don’t think an aux cable is quite what most people have in mind for a wedding! Any recommendations welcome please!

– Research dance classes in the area: I may have left dancing behind after 15 years when I went to uni, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely prepared to give up! I never got the chance to find classes at the old house because out of the 18 months we lived there, approximately 13 of them were whilst the country was in a pandemic lockdown! I know things aren’t back to normal yet but I’d really like to find a dance class, meet some new people and do some exercise! I want to get my tap shoes back on!

– Go for walks three times a week: and with exercise in mind… I’ve noticed I’m starting to feel a bit agoraphobic at the moment; I’ve managed to find excuses over the last couple of months but feeling trapped in my own house is actually quite scary, so I want to push myself and get to know the new area we live in and actually get some fresh air. Even if at first it’s just walking to a park down the road and sitting with a book, it’s a start.

My recurring monthly goals haven’t been very successful – I wanted to make more effort to save money but moving house is really expensive, even if you’re only renting. I wanted to have date nights with my fiancé at least once a month but we haven’t managed it yet. And I wanted to read 2 books a month and I didn’t make it through anything in April (though I got ahead in other months so I’m still good on my 2021 goodreads challenge!). Realistically, date night’s just aren’t a priority right now and finances need to be flexible to allow for ‘real life’. I definitely want to get back into my reading habit though.

Things are feeling a little flat at the moment, so I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to feel a little brighter but it’s a work in progress – making an effort not to spend my lunch break at my desk is a good start!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I’ve lost my mojo

2021, career, creativity, lifestyle

Hello,

At the beginning of the month, I decided to take a week off blogging because I was moving house and I didn’t need to put that added pressure on myself.

Since then I have written three posts, none of which I’ve published because I’ve been having this whole internal debate about why I blog – why do I write, why do I share? It’s not because I think I have skills I can teach people – I’m not an expert crafter, bullet journaller or even blogger – I don’t think people can learn from my life and mental health experiences, I don’t think they’re helping anyone particularly and I don’t have enough of a journalistic flare to share interesting thoughts and opinions on films, music or fashion, let alone more significant topics like politics, current affairs or justice movements.

So why do I blog at all?

I drew this same conclusion with my YouTube channel and decided last week that I’m not going to plan to make YouTube content anymore – since starting my graduate job in January, I’ve published a total of three videos. Whilst I’ve filmed more and edited a couple, it was only those three that made it to my channel and I wouldn’t say they’re my pride and joy. Then I got to thinking about what videos I was most proud of on my channel and which ones I’d like to look back on, and I couldn’t really think of anything. I got into the cycle of thinking about the purpose of my content and drew a blank; I don’t think there’s a purpose in my sharing anything.

In part this may be due to my work – the content I’m producing there in graphic design, video and audio format is for a purpose and I can see the impact it has; good social posts mean people act on our call to action, our Reels on Instagram are getting over a thousand views in less than half an hour and I have a part in producing a podcast that is actually on Spotify! Without sounding too big for my boots, I’m doing really well in my job and I feel like a lot of my creative energy is going there.

So I’m giving YouTube a break – I’m not ‘quitting’ or deleting the channel or anything dramatic, but I’ll wait until the right idea strikes me because then it’ll be worth making.

But what about my blog?

In the most vain way possible, I like writing about myself and my life – any one who starts a blog or a YouTube channel does at least to some extent, otherwise we wouldn’t seek the attention of others online. Mentally, I have the approach now with my blog that it feels almost like a diary – one big old time capsule that I can come back to when I’m old and see who I was from the age of 18. I’m 24 now and so much has changed – then I had a tumblr blog with 25k+ followers and I loved having that community, but I went to uni and my interests changed and though that tumblr still exists, I don’t even know how many followers it has anymore.

At 24 I’ve got three degrees (which makes me sound sincerely more academic than I am), I’m planning my wedding with my fiancé, I’m living in what feels like a ‘grown up house’ in Oxfordshire (definitely didn’t see that bit coming!) – my life is entirely different. I don’t know if I am entirely different but I have a whole history on this blog and I’m not finished with it yet.

Things might take a more egocentric turn – though I’d love to have a niche and say this is about more than just me, I don’t. I can’t force myself to write about one singular topic because I’m passionate about so many more things than that. I love reading, I’ve got a lot of opinions about superhero movies, I really want to grow my own vegetables this summer, I’m going to try and make my first cosplay costume this year and learn more about sewing and knitting and material crafts. I play video games with my boyfriend when six years ago I’d never touched an Xbox controller in my life. I have a favourite Pokemon that isn’t Pikachu!

I’m human; I’m diverse and complex and I like talking about myself because I get over-excited and over-emotional and I just want to share with someone. I’ve learnt a lot about barriers and not telling the internet everything and I’m really proud of the significantly healthier relationship I have with social media now. And that’s what I want my blog to be about – all the complicated bits that make me who I am; the nerdy bits, the bits on depression meds, the bits that still kind of wish I could be a Hollywood actress and every other facet that makes me.

My mojo might have wondered off for a little bit, but putting all this in writing has made me realise one thing; all those times I said I was writing my blog for me and not an audience was a lie – I wanted to be an influencer, I wanted the #bloggermail and excuse to be creative all the time. But I’ve accepted that’s not going to happen and that’s not what I want; freelance isn’t secure enough for me, blogger mail can be incredibly wasteful and there are so many careers where I can be creative and I’ve found one.

Now this blog really is for me. If you come along for the ride then that’s great, but I’ve figured out what I’m really doing this for… and this time I honestly mean it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie

learning to work from home in a pandemic | graduate job

2021, career

Hello!

I’ve not written about the graduate job market or ‘post graduate life’ since I finished my undergraduate degree in 2018, since then I’ve finished a Post-Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning, a MSc in Digital Media Production and I actually got a job! Two months after my masters dissertation hand in I’m actually working!

As we’re living in another nationwide lockdown in the UK, my work has been exclusively from home and navigating mentally reassigning my home environment into a work space as well as trying to figure out a new workload is a challenge and a half. I know personally it takes me a little while to adapt to change and figuring all this out virtually is challenging for anyone who’s had to adapt how they work.

There’s a lot to figure out – not only a new group of people and procedures and responsibilities, but doing all this in the place I’ve been spending days and days on the sofa since my dissertation was handed in. It sounds easy enough in theory – all the things you usually have to do without the commute to sit in an office with less than comfy chairs, probably at least one person who annoys you a little bit and where it’s not socially acceptable to wear a blanket  cape when it’s freezing outside. Working from home should be almost fun with the fridge 15 steps away and no one to judge you for it, right?

By now, anyone that’s had to work from home knows it’s so much more than that – for me, my downstairs living room and kitchen area is all open plan. If I really wanted to I could probably dive bomb the sofa from my desk and I have snacks within arms reach basically everywhere. Today I tried working at my make-up vanity upstairs and I found a lovely little cosy nook to sit in, but the bed was two paces away and it was challenging enough getting out of it without the temptation to get back in.

It’s an entirely different mindset that you don’t very often have to get into at home. Being that switched on in an environment that’s usually associated with slowing down and relaxing? It’s why some students are finding online learning so hard – because it’s not their school environment.

I’d like to think it goes without saying that it doesn’t mean I think that offices should be open and kids should be in school, I’m not saying that at all, I’m just saying it’s a difficult transition to figure out.

Starting a new job without being able to meet any of my colleagues properly, separating my work and home environments and sometimes feeling a little lost with no one to turn to is strange, but at the end of it all I’m grateful to have a job – after my undergraduate experience of applying for over a hundred jobs and not getting anything and then worrying about being able to get a job at all when the job market is so minimal in a pandemic, the fact I have any work is lucky and I really do feel lucky to have it.

If anything, the thing I’m finding more difficult than working from home is being ‘switched on’ for 8 hours a day, being awake and functioning at 9am (anxiety ruined my sleep schedule) and navigating not being a student. I’m grateful that I can roll out of bed at 8.45am and start dinner as soon as I finish at 5pm (or lounge on the sofa before I shove something in the oven). Today my fiancé had a day off and I got to pop downstairs for cheek kisses and the occasional cuddle (don’t tell my boss) but it was weird that he had a day off and I was working because that hasn’t happened for about a year?

So my tips from working for home after four days of doing it – stay hydrated, have a to do list to try and stay focused, plan your lunch because half an hour for a break isn’t actually very long, set an alarm for the end of the day if it helps and today my phone popped up with a thing called ‘focus mode’ and it essentially blocks a bunch of apps during work hours and it’s a little annoying for procrastinating but good for not procrastinating.

And at the end of the day, we’re not working from home – we’re at home, trying to work in a pandemic and that’s not the same.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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2021 Goals

2021, goals, organisation

Hello!

It’s my favourite time of year – goal setting time!

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know I love all things organisation, goals and planning (even if I am also a Queen Procrastinator and spend more time making lists than doing the things on them… it’s a work in progress) – every month I make mini goals that help keep me focused and working on my yearly goals, every week I make a spread in my bullet journal that helps me work on the tasks in my monthly goals and I’ve been setting yearly goals ‘properly’ (as in, actually tracking them) for probably three or four years now? So I’m getting better at figuring out what I actually want and what’s achievable.

And if we’re learnt anything from 2020 is that something can always throw a massive spanner in the works no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so I learnt a lot about being okay with not ‘achieving’ my goals and knowing that it’s not always a personal failure if I don’t do something. As well as knowing that goals and priorities change – last year I wanted to learn website design and photography, but actually, that’s not a priority for me right now so I didn’t make the time for it.

It’s all about balance and making ‘SMART’ goals. I know I sound like a University Careers officer, but making Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound goals takes practice and breaking bigger tasks into smaller (smart) goals will make them more achievable in the long run. Sometimes waiting for the long run or seeing ‘the bigger picture’ is the real challenge. Whether it’s your career, health and fitness, personal hobbies or anything else, a year isn’t going to perform miracles – I’m not going to reach my goal weight healthily in a year no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to reach my long-term career goals and I’m not going to be able to grow my hair down to my butt – they’re not achievable and that’s fine. But I can set a smaller healthy weight goal that aligns with long term weight loss, I can work towards certain career aspirations that are steps towards my long term aspirations and I can promise myself I’m not going to drastically cut my hair.

The key for me is writing everything down – whether it’s the big life-time goals or the little tasks to do next week, having a note of it makes it much easier to remember.

With all that said; here are my 2021 goals. Because I’m a little bit of an organisation nerd, I have three categories each with three goals (I also like the number three) and then a list of ‘bucket list’ goals that aren’t category specific.

PROFESSIONAL GOALS:

  • Start my new job!
  • Make a proper portfolio – on my blog, on Instagram and an up-to-date Showreel
  • Adapt a book into a screenplay (to learn about screenwriting from experience)

PERSONAL GOALS:

  • Start a bookstagram and get involved in the book community online
  • Make a cosplay costume – a mix of buying and making things
  • Find a therapist

HOME GOALS:

  • Savings goals – wedding, house and personal
  • Organise wedding – complete 2021 tasks list
  • Travel (pandemic allowing):
    • International Holiday with fiancé (if safe)
    • Centre Parcs with family (if safe)
    • MCM Comic Con London (if the con is even on)

‘BUCKET LIST’ GOALS:

  • Read 25 books
  • Writing challenges – January 30k, April 35k, July 40k, September 45k, November 50k
  • Monthly date nights!
  • Find a dance class (COVID allowing)
  • Knit myself a Weasley inspired jumper
  • 1 Second Everyday 2021 video
  • Limited spending; less personal spending
  • Actually go to the dentist/doctors when necessary
  • Sew more – finish t-shirt blanket, fix clothes, make new things, learn about making clothes!
  • Get another tattoo (COVID and finances allowing… but please I really want one)

To make my goals more specific, I do have savings goals and spending limits on the finance related goals but finances are so personal and these are what are (hopefully) achievable for me and I don’t want to give the impression that my savings goals are ‘normal’, so I’ll keep them private.

But other specific goals like my wedding organisation list – I know exactly what tasks I have to achieve this year to be on track and I have a 2022 list for all the final planning, my writing challenges are assigned to months with word goals, rather than ‘more’ date nights it’s ‘monthly’ date nights – I’m not by any means suggesting I’m an expert on goal setting, but having specific and time-bound tasks make it all feel more achievable to me at least.

Regardless of whether you’re setting goals or not, I hope there are at least some positive aspects of 2020 you can look back on and I wish you the best for 2021, in your goals and aspirations but primarily your health and happiness – Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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life after a masters; what’s next?

2020, career, student

Hello!

Just short of a year ago I started my masters in digital media production at Oxford Brookes University and in normal circumstances I’d be days away from handing in my dissertation, but with the pandemic my deadline has been pushed back by six weeks so I now have until the end of October to finish my dissertation and find a job.

And it’s mildly terrifying.

Last time I finished a degree I spent a year being rejected from probably over a hundred jobs and that had a massive impact on my already low self esteem, so subconsciously I think I’m really nervous about that. But I can’t just not think about what happens after my masters because I have lots of work left to do (like a lot of work left to do…) – although it doesn’t feel like it now, life will go on after October 29th and if I don’t think about it till then, it’s just going to make things more difficult.

What I need to happen is to jump straight into a full time job – although many of my peers from my undergraduate degree found companies they loved and still work with straight away, I’m not expecting that. I just need to get my foot on the lowest rung of the ladder and start climbing, however many steps it takes to get there (wherever ‘there’ is).

But with being so unsuccessful two years ago, I just don’t know how I’m going to get a job when I don’t feel like I’m good enough. After so much rejection, I feel like I just don’t know how to get a job, even though I’ve actually worked two retail jobs since then so I’m not totally unemployable.

It all feels so far away but too close simultaneously – I see so many people I know whether they be media graduates I studied with, people I went to school with or random people I follow online working their asses off to get what they want to achieve and I feel like I have the drive and the motivation but I don’t feel like I’m skilled enough. Every job spec I look at feels so overwhelming and unachievable and I’m not good enough at it.

But actually? I’ve done my fair share of working my ass off. I’ve got a Post-Graduate Certificate and I’m so close to finishing my masters at the most unorganised, least supportive uni I’ve ever heard of,  I live in a house with the love of my life, we’re saving for a wedding and a house deposit, I’ve got the best support network of friends I could ever dream of having and I have a whole future ahead of me.

Do I know where I want it to go? Absolutely not – there are lots of areas that interest me and I think I’d be happy in any of them. Is there a whole multitude of jobs and industries that I still don’t know about to explore? Absolutely – having grown up at an incredibly academic middle class grammar school, there wasn’t much outside of doctor, teacher, engineer, lawyer – very obvious jobs that you can find in a kids book. Multimedia journalist was beyond their repertoire. TV camera operator? Nope, they’d probably class it as ‘low skill’. Even photography was wiped from the A Level options when I was in sixth form because it wasn’t academic enough.

I am creative – I love words and telling stories. I love data – comparing analytics, noticing trends, making spreadsheets, graphs and lists. I love coloured pens and post it notes! I love answering emails and organising calendars. I love working with creative people that can bounce ideas around and come up with something incredible as a team. I love the idea of sitting in an open, comfy, modern office space and taking myself off occasionally, finding a Spotify playlist and listening to piano instrumentals while my fingers type faster than I can think.

I have good, employable skills. I just need to get out the mindset that someone needs to ‘give me a chance’, because there is something out there for me and I will earn it; I am not a risk.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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graduating in a pandemic

2020, career, student

Hello!

I feel like I haven’t written about ‘student life’ in a little while – once I finished my undergraduate degree and spent a year receiving rejection email after rejection email, going back to uni to do a masters didn’t feel like becoming a student again as much as taking a step back. I definitely haven’t felt like a student since I started my course but that’s a whole other kettle of fish (which is a very strange phrase now that I’ve written it down…).

I wrote a whole post about finishing my masters in a pandemic so I don’t want to repeat myself, but I wrote that post at the beginning of May and it’s now the beginning of August – a lot can happen in three months.

In terms of final dissertation deadlines and graduation, my graduation date was always going to be Summer 2021, as the course was intended to finish in September 2020 and my uni don’t do winter graduation ceremonies, so that hasn’t changed. However my final dissertation deadline has been pushed back by about six weeks, so I now have until the end of October. I was given the opportunity to drop my dissertation unit and pick it up again in September, finishing next May and still graduating next July, but the course has been so awful and with my project idea I could work from home without the resources of the university.

Oh how I regret that decision!

Kind of – I still don’t want the course to go on for the worst part of two years, but expecting myself to do everything from home including teaching myself brand new softwares, techniques, writing a dissertation essay (which I didn’t do for my undergrad)… that was a big ask and one that I’m not managing to keep up with.

But I didn’t want to write this post to complain about my dissertation – I wanted to talk about finishing a degree in a pandemic and the consequent graduate job market… or lack thereof.

I think back to 2018, I graduated with a really high 2:1, my lecturers and peers had all told me I wouldn’t struggle to get a job and here I was applying for probably over a hundred jobs in the space of maybe 6 months and not getting anything. It was soul destroying.

So applying that to a world that is on 80% salary, predominantly working from home and making redundancies left right and centre… I can’t imagine how much undergraduates are struggling when the job market is so significantly reduced.

I’m at the point where I’m starting to look for jobs, both because I need to financially support myself and my partner and because I want to start my career – I’m 23, I (nearly) have three degree level qualifications and I want to start building a life for myself. I want a routine and tasks to do that I haven’t set myself and work friends and to share ideas and go to meetings and answer emails and all the boring stuff! I’m sure it won’t feel nearly as exciting if I get there but right now? Working with a company for a purpose, rather than desperately trying to pull together a dissertation in the wake of an awful masters course sounds like a dream.

Do I know what I want to do with my career? Absolutely not. Do I know that I’m good at admin and organisation and diary management and would like to work in a creative environment? Yes, so that’s what I’m going with. But very few places are hiring. Unless I’m looking in the wrong places, any advice would be more than welcome.

Graduating is scary at any time – especially as an undergraduate, you’ve often been in education for about 17 years and not knowing what comes next can be equally terrifying and exciting. But in a year where you don’t get to wear the cap and gown, get nervous about walking across stage without tripping and say goodbye to your mates, I can only imagine how much more disconcerting it feels.

All I can say is my heart goes out to undergraduates with a degree and no graduation. And if you’re in that position and you feel like not being able to find a job is a reflection on your ability; it really isn’t, something will come in time but right now? We’ve just got to ride the wave; our time will come; and you’re still amazing.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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adapting you goals (and why it’s okay)

2020, goals, organisation

Hello!

I write a lot about my monthly and yearly goals, I try to share tips on what’s worked for me and I’ve had a fair few messages from people saying they’ve starting using advice I’ve given, which is a lovely feeling. But I’ve never written about adapting goals and embracing change.

For me, the thought of adapting or getting rid of a goal feels like cheating, like I’ve done something wrong or failed. What I need to learn is that recognising when a goal doesn’t serve me or my long term goals or aspirations, there’s no point wasting time and energy to achieve it for the sake of not adapting it.

Maybe I’m making this sound more melodramatic than it is, especially considering the context that made me consider this at all. One of my monthly goals was to hit certain milestones in my crafting – I wanted to make four more face masks (which I’ve done!), plan my new cross stitch design and finish learning how to knit a soft toy that I intended to stuff with all my old holey socks (clean, of course).

I sat down to work on this duck and I realised I was getting stressed about all the different types of knitting stitches I needed to figure out and it all felt too complicated and big, when my crafts were meant to be my outlet to relax – to just sit, shove some YouTube on in the background and make something with my hands without thinking too hard.

But when I realised I didn’t want to make the toy, the thought of not achieving my goal bothered me.

So I changed it.

All I want from my knitting is to sit and do the same stitch mindlessly over and over again, so I’m just doing that and maybe one day it’ll be a scarf but it’s therapeutic and it felt so much better than forcing myself to do something that meant I had to concentrate when I wanted to do the opposite and unwind. So I changed my goal to just ‘work on knitting a scarf’ and in the evening if I’ve done everything else I just sit and watch videos or watch my boyfriend play video games and knit without really thinking.

I feel way less stressed and intimidated by the goal and I’m enjoying the process of knitting again because of it.

In the scheme of things, a craft goal is not that important and I definitely placed too much weight on it. But it made me think of my 2019 goals – at the beginning of the year I set a goal about building a freelance career because I had some work lined up, but that fell through before the end of January and I just ignored it for the rest of the year. I missed an opportunity to adapt the goal into something more suitable and perhaps have achieved something else in the span of that year.

Of course there’s going too far with adapting goals – changing them as soon as they get hard is missing the entire point of growing and learning from your goals. But if your goals as they currently stand don’t aid your growth in the direction you want it to – whether you realise it’s not a path for you, you want to try an alternative method or it is negatively impacting you – then continuing putting time into it isn’t worth it.

I don’t know if this was useful in any way, shape or form – there’s every chance I was just making a revelation about knitting into something way bigger than it deserved to be – but it’s helped my mindset on goals not being as rigid as I’d thought and allowing them the flexibility to serve your greater ambitions.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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