I finally feel like I accomplished something this month! I finished a deliverable: my personal finance for grad students presentation, which I gave on November 13. I said earlier that I thought Grad Student Finances was my passion project for the fall, but it turned out that this presentation was.
I’m noticing that my priorities at the end of a month don’t match well my priorities at the beginning of the month. That’s a major component of why my goal reports have had a low GPA. I’m not doing less than I wanted to, but just different things than what I wanted to. I think I might do better by setting week-by-week goals, but I don’t want to bore you guys with such frequent updating so I don’t think I’ll put them up here.
I’m definitely going to be more distracted by personal stuff over this next period with traveling, moving, shopping for Christmas, and spending time with our family and friends in California, so I’m going to keep my stated goals more modest. 🙂
1: Finish thoroughly preparing for and deliver my PF-for-grad students seminar. Grade: A+
I gotta tell you guys – I think the presentation went REALLY well. Similarly to my defense last August, I rehearsed many, many times and delivered the presentation I wanted to. Of course going back over it there are things that I will change for next time, but I’m happy with what I delivered this time around. My friends who were in attendance and the anonymous feedback said that the presentation was very good.
The reason this goal gets an A PLUS is that we recorded the full presentation. I had low expectations for the quality since we had never done it before, but you can see and hear things reasonably well! Check out the clip below of me answering a question. I had just finished outlining my passive investing philosophy (with the caveat at the start that you should develop your own investing philosophy), and an audience member inquired about actively managed mutual funds.
2: Pin down dates for two local PF-for-grad school presentations and pitch one non-local. Grade: C+
I have a firm date, time, location, host, etc. to give the PF-for-grad students talk at one of the other local universities. The other university closed the door on booking me this year because they already had brought in a financial professional to talk about personal finance. I am working on preparing pitches for a few non-local colleges and universities, but haven’t actually approached any yet (see goals below).
3: Outline and start building spin-off presentations. Grade: D
I have broadly outlined the presentations I have in mind but haven’t started building any of them specifically.
4: Finish writing the core content for GSF. Grade: F
My focus just wasn’t on GSF this month. I did take a look at how far along I was in writing the core content and added to a few of the pages, but there is still a ways to go.
5: Ask for content submission for GSF from other grad students. Grade: 0
Nope, didn’t do it! I think I’m going to finish writing the core content and get the site online before doing this so it’s a bit clearer what I’m asking of them and where their stories will fit in.
Extra Money Paid in November
My personal income in November was just from my contract job (earned in October). No online income was paid out.
My goal for December is to earn $1,000 at my contract job. I was able to do this in November, but as I anticipate a major slowdown around Christmas this will still be a big challenge. I did see a slowdown over Thanksgiving as well, but thankfully I had paced myself so that I reached my earnings goal by the beginning of Thanksgiving week.
Goals for December and January 2014
I’m going to lump my next funemployment period together between December and mid-January. I know I’m going to have a big interruption over Christmas as we are traveling for two weeks, plus in mid-January I am moving to DC for the next phase of my funemployment, so my goals will look different after that point. So given all the personal stuff going on I know I’ll need a bit of a longer period to get this stuff accomplished!
1: Create a website to advertise my personal finance for PhDs (at various career stages) talks.
I have a mission statement. I have the suite of talks I want to give. I have video clips. Now I just want to put it together on a new site.
2: Put together my three prioritized presentations.
Instead of outlining and working on all the presentations at once, I have three talks that are my priority. Two are comprehensive talks for other audiences and one is a more in-depth topical talk. I want these presentations fully together by the time I start my fellowship so that when they are booked all I have to do is rehearse them.
3: Pitch my presentation(s) to target institutions #1, 2, 3, and 4.
I’m going to put myself out there and try to sell one or more of my presentations! I have specific institutions in mind but I’d rather not publish them now. I’m starting out with ones I have some kind of connection with.
4: Launch Grad Student Finances.
To accomplish this, I need to finish writing the core content, decide on a theme/layout, and get Grad Student Finances online. As I said above, I won’t worry about the supplements from other bloggers/grad students just yet.
5: Write a guest post about PhD Stipends.
New entries to PhD Stipends have virtually stopped, so I need to do something to goose them again. I have a blog in mind to submit a post to that I’m sure will help both the number and diversity of the entries. If anyone has suggestions for grad student blogs to approach I’d like to hear them!
For sure creating the three presentations is going to be my most time-consuming goal, but also the most fun!
How much are you lowering your expectations for your productivity over winter break? Can you predict over the course of a month what you will want to accomplish?