Good habits begin somewhere

That’s a good thing to remember when, on your first self-declared day of responsible funemployment, you wake up at 9:30 after staying up too late on Tumblr. It’s never too late to start over, though.

On the plane home from Thanksgiving in Ohio, I made myself a two-page list/motivational speech about how I’m going to use this time between graduation and finding a job. The list includes projects like learning more code, working on novels 750 words at a time, keeping up with running in cold weather and organizing get-togethers for people from my cohort who are still in Chicago.

Worrying is easy, of course: it feels like you’re doing something when you’re pretty much accomplishing the opposite. This Thursday I’m headed out to Seattle for a week, which is going to be phenomenal, but I’m already telling myself that this is a perfect opportunity to fall behind and fail before I get started.

Nope. It’s going to be okay, and I’m going to make this be okay, and I’m going to have a lot of fun doing it. I was wondering if anyone might have some recommendations for me in terms of websites where I can learn things.

  • I thought I’d try Code Academy for the coding part. I know is out there, but if I can avoid paying for something, I’d like to try that. (Unless someone wants to talk me into Lynda? We used it briefly during an Interactive Foundations-type class this spring, but, er, I did not use it as much as maybe I could have.) If anyone can speak to Khan Academy, I’d also be interested in hearing how they do, on any subject.
  • Going through all my photos in hopes of developing some sort of portfolio has really impressed on me that I need to take more and more interesting pictures. I’d like to find a reliable weekly photo challenge to follow: and the official WordPress feed seem all right, but I’m happy to take other recommendations on, say, Twitter or Tumblr or something else I can follow on an RSS feed. I’m also going to try carting my camera around with me everywhere I go, and maybe referring to the Digital Photography School (or your favorite alternative!) for further help.
  • I’m getting a bit frustrated trying to find the right template for my portal/portfolio. I don’t want much — a static, WordPress-based site where I can convince people that I have good clips, can do other good stuff that Medill taught me, and that I would make a great hire. Anyone know of a minimal, tweakable template that might do? I can build one myself, but I’d rather the site look a little better than that, in truth.

Recently I found a fabulous handout from The Writing Center at UNC–Chapel Hill about procrastination. It breaks down why we procrastinate and what we can do about it in a really straightforward, non-blaming way, and it’s advice we all can use, anytime. This is going in my bookmarks, and I plan on returning to it often.

It also helps me to check in with status reports on a regular basis, and I find that if I announce I’m going to do something, that keeps me generally accountable about keeping it up. (Not always, true, but I’m chalking these both up to delay and not giving up. Some of these are even on my projects list.) So expect to see me checking in here once a week — maybe on Mondays, but we’ll see what works. If I haven’t, please feel free to prod me over Twitter or in my Tumblr askbox, which are the two most likely places I’ll see the reminder.

Another goal: get good enough at ukulele to justify buying a really nice one
Another goal: get good enough at ukulele to justify buying a really nice one

Affirmation time! This could be a period of, as Gus demonstrates above, hiding under the table. But I don’t think it will be. Off to go do things, gang! And please, if you have recommendations (or un-recs) on any of the points above, take to the comments and let me know what you think.

Happy Monday, all! Yeah, I said it. ♥

3 thoughts on “Good habits begin somewhere”

  1. I’ll be interested to hear how Code Academy goes–I did the first few lessons and then fell off the wagon and got annoyed by all of their follow-up emails. But I might like to give it another shot…

    Thanks for the UNC link! I wish I’d had it in undergrad. But it’s certainly helpful now too (and, as you said, blessedly non-blaming) — it’s going into my bookmarks for sure.

    1. For sure! Yeah, I think reviews will definitely be a part of this series. I also remembered that MeetUp, and especially Northwestern’s Knight Lab, could make for some great in-person learning opportunities. I’ll keep everyone informed!

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