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Ikar's Diary


Ikar

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19th February - 1st March:

The last two weeks have been busy. Last Wednesday, I attended the speakers' club after a long time and I decided to take up a bigger speech the next week. I also met the university career coach and had a good conversation with her. She even asked me if I would give a presentation at a student career festival in April. The thing is, I haven't even gotten to the notes from last Wednesday ten days ago. I went to billiard, I'm currently moving in with my girlfriend, I met friends, family, went cycling, to the theater, watched seminars, started lessons with two new students...

Things have been hectic and I feel I am not happy with constantly catching up on something, so I will prioritize myself at the weekend. I also added a task to my calendar to write here weekly. I have been fairly consistent so far, but I noticed that whenever things get busy, I stop reading, journaling and start delaying things future important things that take just a few minutes to plan. I also get forgetful and people need to tell me something three times to remind me.

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  I'm using the template I used the last time. 24/1/24 - 2/3/24

"L" will stand for the (last) plan/notes for this term. "T" will stand for done this term.

I added "Future goals/direction" to better reflect on the things I am trying to do and to add specificity. I will copy it and stick it somewhere where I can see it to remind myself whenever I feel aimless. I will also use different colors: blue for newly added goals/habits, green for completed/successful, orange for ongoing/some progress and red for ones I haven't worked on in that period.

 

Books/Reading articles/Learning:

L: I unsubbed from a lot of email newsletters several weeks ago, so I get very little nowadays. No time for reading; if I read, I read uni-related materials. I want to get back to the business book after I am done with my exams.

T: Back to reading the business book, although I haven't read for over a week, as I was just so busy.

Possible direction/goals:

(Borrow) and read one book until the next monthly report.

 

Family:

L: I spent two days with my family over Christmas and introduced my girlfriend to my parents. I also met for sushi with my brother several days ago.

T: I met with my father for lunch a few days ago. My brother helped me assemble a new computer a few weeks ago. I'm also receiving some tips regarding the new flat and the stuff in it (Internet, furniture etc.)

Spoiler

Since October, the project of my grandma's kitchen has been my responsibility. Some progress has been made, however I know that half a year is just too big of a time-frame to justify. I'm gonna lay out the plan:

Weekend of 11th/12th March: Ask my grandma to give me a "free hand" in the reconstruction of the kitchen. She was hesitant regarding the scope of the reconstruction, which made me hesitant in turn, because I didn't know what to do. I want to convince her that she has nothing to worry about and that the whole operation will be fast.

Weeks 11 and 12:

Consult my father and brother as to the design of the kitchen and use the IKEA kitchen planner to help me out. Show my grandma the plan for the kitchen at the end of week 12 and get a green light.

Weeks 13 and 14:

Go to IKEA to get the furniture and other shops for linoleum and other smaller stuff. There's no need for new electronic appliances, so there's no need to get involved with electrical thingies. Transport the furniture to my grandma's flat.

Weeks 14 and 15:

Plan a weekend with my father/brother to help out with the reconstruction. Removing old furniture, a bit of demolition, painting, putting in the new furniture. Get it done well and ASAP.

NOT: I don't want to get alienated from my family.

Possible direction/goals:

Work on getting the new kitchen for my grandma.

Continue work on maintaining the relationships with my family.

 

University:

L: I ranted about the thesis a little bit in my post above, but if I really had to submit it in 24 hours, I could. I just want it to be cohesive and well-written and that takes time. I've been working on it anywhere between 2-5 hours daily, sometimes I threw in an afternoon session too. Some 17 days are left to submit it.

I was in a somewhat resigned mood the last few days before the submission date on 8th January. That was because my tutor came up with quite a few ideas what to change/fix/do better. I honestly wasn't in the mood to spend my whole weekend on that, so I just dealt with the most pressing issues and submitted the thesis. Regardless, I'm happy that he did give me the feedback. I got a B from him and B from my opponent a few days ago, so I am happy.

I've been studying for the exams the past two weeks. As I wrote in the post above, I've had some ups and downs and I know it's not possible/constructive for me to study all day, but at the moment I feel positive.

T: Finished. I still feel somewhat positive even after a month. To evaluate: The profs at the exam were OK, though I wish the testing of competences was done in a different way. I don't need to care about it anymore though. I'm going to remove this section for the next report; I added "learning" as a part of "reading", so whenever I educate myself on something in the future, it'll be there.

NOT: I don't want to drop out of the university.

Possible direction/goals:

Do the main part of my diploma in summer/autumn 2023 and do the defense and finals in January/February 2024.

Work on the assignments in a timely manner.

 

Business/English:

L: I will have two new courses in January and one new in February, all of them my own (A). I went back to my reports, pulled the numbers that I write every month and construed a graph for the year. I've had less hours since July, though at the same time the share of my own students went up. The last quarter of the year wasn't as successful for me, though March-June were especially strong. The new students in January/February should bring the hours up as well as A share above 60%. I'll use this in my all-year report for sure!

I've finished the second round of my biannual questionnaire. Got some good feedback from my students and a few ideas for the future. I'm gonna rework it a bit for the third edition too. I might want to create some list of milestones I've already achieved, in the type of "past projects" below to have a better overview over the work I've done over the years, but I'll leave that for the next report.

T: My work has been going well. I've had some good initial lessons with my students in the last couple of weeks. The uptick in my own courses has been significant. I'm likely going to cancel two agency courses. I was a bit bored after finishing the university, however the last two weeks I'm overwhelmed. I feel like I need to do a better job managing my time and prioritizing again. Maybe I could cancel all agency courses in E, but that'd probably be excessive and needlessly imbalancing.

-

An example for 21 hours last week: Category A 66% (49); B 4% (5); C 0% (6); D 12% (6); E 18% (33). Brackets are % values from previous month.

-

I've done a bit of an analysis of my courses and categorized them based on what they provide me. I earmarked five types of courses:

a) my own - well paid + generally more motivated students (as they pay the courses themselves) + more challenging

b) premium - language school courses paid at a premium compared to my standard LS courses for various reasons (roughly matching the a) group)

c) flexible - courses from LS that don't have a fixed schedule, meaning it's on me if I make time for them or not (though I mostly do, as can they plug the gaps or can start my day)

d) challenging/fun/prospective - standard LS courses with an added quality

e) neither - standard LS courses without any added quality

-

NOT: I don't want to have a job that I don't enjoy. I don't want to have a job that is not well paid.

Possible direction/goals:

With my job position and student demand secure, I'm more able and willing to reschedule or even cancel classes in case I want to do something, mainly in the evening and for holidays. I enjoy having this option thoroughly.

Keep classes at a stable 20-25 hours a week.

Keep asking for reviews or recommendations from students.

Look into strategies to become truly self-employed by skipping the agencies in between.

Create a learning plan for myself.

Go through "lecturer academy" materials.

Write down specific areas and what I want to do in them:

Networking and business events.

Get a system to mark down the progress of my students, together with their learning plan.

Check out business vouchers for equipment.

Past projects:

Questionnaire.

Fixed logos on my website for better visuals.

Updated the pricing section of my website. Variable/tiered pricing (do in July/August).

Got minor pay raises from language schools.

Did evaluations/testing of my students, if required.

Attended one networking event and one marketing seminar.

Introduced "phone call" classes. Update website/business profiles with "phone calls".

Lecturer academy.

Sample business contract on my website.

Google sheets system for students.

Questionnaire part 2.

 

Exercise/Movement:

L: Nothing special, though a lot of walks.

T: Went for walks and a cycling trip with my girlfriend.

NOT: I don't want to become fat.

Possible direction/goals:

I enjoy the fact I do not have to be "actively" dealing with this area of my life, as it's technically a part of my job. I just have to be on lookout if that was to change.

Keep in shape.

 

Blogging:

L: I haven't had time to even think about blogging with everything that was going on, although I do have a half-way written article in the works that I could publish soon. On hold until I finish the uni thesis.

T: Now, blogging has a reminder in my calendar now, however it's not really an activity I could care for now. We'll see.

Possible direction/goals:

Find a suitable UI/web template.

Set up emailing for subs.

Post two articles a month.

Polish links in articles. Interlink new articles with old ones.

Finish articles in concepts.

 

---

 

What to do if I am bored?

Replacement activities for 1 hour: reading books, cleaning, washing the dishes, reading newsletters

Replacement activities for 2 hours: going for a walk, work on my business, blogging, diploma thesis

 

---

 

Additional thoughts/activities:

My hobbies are: personal finance, graphs/projections/statistics, gunnery, GIS/statistics, reading/videos about (modern) history, English, working on my business, blogging/writing, geography.

This month, I did these cool activities: spending time on the GQ forum, had multiple good events with friends, moving/renting a new flat, assembling a new computer with my brother, meeting a career coach, going to the theater twice, going to a cycling trip with my girlfriend, attending the speakers club, playing billiard.

 

---

 

Goals/resolutions/aspirations for 2024:

Main must-have plans for 2024:

Prepare for (Feb-June) and successfully make (July-August) the CELTA certificate course.

Finish the university in January. In case something goes horribly wrong, then in May. I've got this.

Move in with my girlfriend in April.

Set up the new kitchen for my grandma.

Optional nice-to-have plans for 2024:

Re-start my financial blog in February.

Learn how to type with all ten fingers on the keyboard.

Habits:

Stop watching porn (again).

Start getting up when my alarm rings = Put my alarm across the room.

Establish flossing at least once a week.

Exercise regularly.

Continue: planning, walking/exercising, writing/journaling, reading, working on good life/work balance.

It's a short list, but if I manage all of it, I will be happy.

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2nd March - 6th March:

I finally managed to clean out my "urgent" to-do list today, so I am taking some time to write here. I had a lot of stuff to do, but I decided to take it in an order of importance over a few days, so I wouldn't be stressed.

I spent time with my girlfriend, cycled, did some stuff around the new flat and visited her parents. I had two feedback lessons of English with older teachers, had lessons with new students and canceled the courses I was planning on canceling. My friend and I also went to a table football tournament on Monday and completely smashed through it 16-0, without losing a single round, though the competition was tough as usual and some of the matches were very close. Today I also went to the speakers' club and presented my first longer speech and although I think my preparation could've been better, it was still fairly successful.

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7th March - 14th March:

A few things happened; my girlfriend and I got a new mattress for our flat and the internet is also up. We also went for a trip on Saturday and I visited my family on Sunday. Met a few friends too.

-

I started reading again, though not daily. I have some free time these days to use for my work, but I also need to relax and allow myself to be bored. I need to figure out an email to some of my students regarding the duration of our lessons.

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15th March - 17th March:

On Friday, I had lessons as usual and after that my girlfriend and I went to get mattresses for our new flat. After that, we hung out with her sister and had a good time. I spent yesterday mostly by myself; preparing for the next week, reading and working on my business. Today, my girlfriend and I went for a trip to another town and I spent some time on myself too.

I also got tickets for Dire Straits, as they'll have a show in my city in about a month. I'm fairly excited about that 😄 

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18th March - 21st March:

The workweek has been going well. We got new furniture for our flat on Tuesday. I went to the speaking club on Wednesday and also had lunch with mom and brother. I haven't found time to read, but I want to read a bit later today. Gonna visit my family tomorrow and assemble new furniture on Sunday.

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22nd March - 26th March:

The last few days have been tough on me mentally. I think the main reason has been the stress induced by the whole moving process. My girlfriend is capable in these things, but I feel like I am not performing well enough, which is frustrating, because I'd like to be able to help her out more. Tomorrow I will sleep in the new apartment for the first time at last.

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On 3/26/2024 at 7:52 AM, Ikar said:

22nd March - 26th March:

The last few days have been tough on me mentally. I think the main reason has been the stress induced by the whole moving process. My girlfriend is capable in these things, but I feel like I am not performing well enough, which is frustrating, because I'd like to be able to help her out more. Tomorrow I will sleep in the new apartment for the first time at last.

It's ok. Be kind to yourself and look back at your journey for strength. 

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  I'm using the template I used the last time. 2/3/24 - 27/3/24

"L" will stand for the (last) plan/notes for this term. "T" will stand for done this term.

I added "Future goals/direction" to better reflect on the things I am trying to do and to add specificity. I will copy it and stick it somewhere where I can see it to remind myself whenever I feel aimless. I will also use different colors: blue for newly added goals/habits, green for completed/successful, orange for ongoing/some progress and red for ones I haven't worked on in that period.

 

Books/Reading articles/Learning:

L: Back to reading the business book, although I haven't read for over a week, as I was just so busy.

T: Still reading the business book. Not daily, but enough to get a new idea or two from it every week. Some newsletters too, but not many.

Possible direction/goals:

(Borrow) and read one book until the next monthly report.

 

Family:

L: I met with my father for lunch a few days ago. My brother helped me assemble a new computer a few weeks ago. I'm also receiving some tips regarding the new flat and the stuff in it (Internet, furniture etc.)

T: Had a few family meetings, a lunch outside too.

Spoiler

Since October, the project of my grandma's kitchen has been my responsibility. Some progress has been made, however I know that half a year is just too big of a time-frame to justify. I'm gonna lay out the plan:

Weekend of 11th/12th March: Ask my grandma to give me a "free hand" in the reconstruction of the kitchen. She was hesitant regarding the scope of the reconstruction, which made me hesitant in turn, because I didn't know what to do. I want to convince her that she has nothing to worry about and that the whole operation will be fast.

Weeks 11 and 12:

Consult my father and brother as to the design of the kitchen and use the IKEA kitchen planner to help me out. Show my grandma the plan for the kitchen at the end of week 12 and get a green light.

Weeks 13 and 14:

Go to IKEA to get the furniture and other shops for linoleum and other smaller stuff. There's no need for new electronic appliances, so there's no need to get involved with electrical thingies. Transport the furniture to my grandma's flat.

Weeks 14 and 15:

Plan a weekend with my father/brother to help out with the reconstruction. Removing old furniture, a bit of demolition, painting, putting in the new furniture. Get it done well and ASAP.

NOT: I don't want to get alienated from my family.

Possible direction/goals:

Work on getting the new kitchen for my grandma.

Continue work on maintaining the relationships with my family.

 

Business/English:

L: My work has been going well. I've had some good initial lessons with my students in the last couple of weeks. The uptick in my own courses has been significant. I'm likely going to cancel two agency courses. I was a bit bored after finishing the university, however the last two weeks I'm overwhelmed. I feel like I need to do a better job managing my time and prioritizing again. Maybe I could cancel all agency courses in E, but that'd probably be excessive and needlessly imbalancing. I might want to create some list of milestones I've already achieved, in the type of "past projects" below to have a better overview over the work I've done over the years, but I'll leave that for the next report.

T: Canceled the two agency courses. I also changed the format of some of my 60minute lessons to 55 minutes, so I won't need to jump from one meeting to another instantly. Things are still going fairly well.

-

An example for 23 hours last week: Category A 71% (66); B 3% (4); C 9% (0); D 11% (12); E 6% (18). Brackets are % values from previous month.

-

I've done a bit of an analysis of my courses and categorized them based on what they provide me. I earmarked five types of courses:

a) my own - well paid + generally more motivated students (as they pay the courses themselves) + more challenging

b) premium - language school courses paid at a premium compared to my standard LS courses for various reasons (roughly matching the a) group)

c) flexible - courses from LS that don't have a fixed schedule, meaning it's on me if I make time for them or not (though I mostly do, as can they plug the gaps or can start my day)

d) challenging/fun/prospective - standard LS courses with an added quality

e) neither - standard LS courses without any added quality

-

NOT: I don't want to have a job that I don't enjoy. I don't want to have a job that is not well paid.

Possible direction/goals:

With my job position and student demand secure, I'm more able and willing to reschedule or even cancel classes in case I want to do something, mainly in the evening and for holidays. I enjoy having this option thoroughly.

Keep classes at a stable 20-25 hours a week.

Keep asking for reviews or recommendations from students.

Look into strategies to become truly self-employed by skipping the agencies in between.

Create a learning plan for myself.

Go through "lecturer academy" materials.

Write down specific areas and what I want to do in them:

Networking and business events.

Get a system to mark down the progress of my students, together with their learning plan.

Check out business vouchers for equipment.

Past projects:

Questionnaire.

Fixed logos on my website for better visuals.

Updated the pricing section of my website. Variable/tiered pricing (do in July/August).

Got minor pay raises from language schools.

Did evaluations/testing of my students, if required.

Attended one networking event and one marketing seminar.

Introduced "phone call" classes. Update website/business profiles with "phone calls".

Lecturer academy.

Sample business contract on my website.

Google sheets system for students.

Questionnaire part 2.

 

Exercise/Movement:

L: Went for walks and a cycling trip with my girlfriend.

T: Went for walks and hiking trips with my girlfriend.

NOT: I don't want to become fat.

Possible direction/goals:

I enjoy the fact I do not have to be "actively" dealing with this area of my life, as it's technically a part of my job. I just have to be on lookout if that was to change.

Keep in shape.

 

Blogging:

L: Now, blogging has a reminder in my calendar now, however it's not really an activity I could care for now. We'll see.

T: -

Possible direction/goals:

Find a suitable UI/web template.

Set up emailing for subs.

Post two articles a month.

Polish links in articles. Interlink new articles with old ones.

Finish articles in concepts.

 

---

 

What to do if I am bored?

Replacement activities for 1 hour: reading books, cleaning, washing the dishes, reading newsletters

Replacement activities for 2 hours: going for a walk, work on my business, blogging

 

---

 

Additional thoughts/activities:

My hobbies are: personal finance, graphs/projections/statistics, gunnery, GIS/statistics, reading/videos about (modern) history, English, working on my business, blogging/writing, geography.

This month, I did these cool activities: playing at the table football tournament, starting lessons with new students, furnishing a new flat, going for hikes, reading the business book, spending time with my family for lunch/at the weekend, spending time with friends.

 

---

 

Goals/resolutions/aspirations for 2024:

Main must-have plans for 2024:

Prepare for (Feb-June) and successfully make (July-August) the CELTA certificate course.

Finish the university in January. In case something goes horribly wrong, then in May. I've got this.

Move in with my girlfriend in April.

Set up the new kitchen for my grandma.

Optional nice-to-have plans for 2024:

Re-start my financial blog in February.

Learn how to type with all ten fingers on the keyboard.

Habits:

Stop watching porn (again).

Start getting up when my alarm rings = Put my alarm across the room.

Establish flossing at least once a week.

Exercise regularly.

Continue: planning, walking/exercising, writing/journaling, reading, working on good life/work balance.

It's a short list, but if I manage all of it, I will be happy.

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13 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

It's ok. Be kind to yourself and look back at your journey for strength. 

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm gonna put some time into taking care of myself now. Wrote more about the situation below.

28th March - 1st April:

My girlfriend and I went for a trip for a few days. We visited a few towns and nature around them. The issue was that the day before we left, I started feeling ill and had stomach problems. It wasn't nearly enough to take me out completely and to cancel the trip, but I felt tired and weak for the whole trip.

With all that, I also had to deal with my girlfriend being active; active in the way of using her time during holidays. We went on hikes and I think we managed everything as planned, although I couldn't exactly keep up with her 100. She had a tough time waiting for me sometimes and I had a tough time keeping up with her too.

Regardless, it led us to a dicussion of spending bigger blocks of free time together. I'd say I'm active in my free time as well, just in a different way than she is. If I had a free day tomorrow, I'd spend it on catching up on errands in the morning, reading, spending some time on my work and hobbies and meeting with a friend in the evening. If she had it, she'd probably go for a morning-evening trip to the mountains. I just feel like she often rushes off for holidays to escape the reality of her unfulfilling job, while my holidays are more balanced in nature and I don't need big shifts of activities too often.

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2nd April - 7th April:

First week of living together with my girlfriend and I can say I am happy. A lot of the things are much easier and also smoother.

As for the events, nothing extraordinary happened. We worked on unpacking and most of the boxes are now finished. We also had to shop a bit for some smaller things for the flat. We also walked a lot.

I had some time to read through the newsletters and educate myself a little. I need to get some other more urgent projects done on time though, otherwise I can't go forward.

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8th April - 10th April:

Worked on some important projects in the last few days. The new PC chairs for my brother and me arrived on Tuesday and I helped my brother to transport it and assemble it. I also ordered a new adaptable PC table, so I'll be able to stand while I work when I feel like it. I'm currently working on a few projects - CELTA certification for English teachers and finishing the furnishing of our new flat.

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11th April - 18th April:

My girlfriend and I went to a puppet theatre last week. It was an adaptation of Orwell's Animal Farm. We enjoyed it a lot 😄

We spent Friday evening with friends. At the weekend, we also visited both my and her parents. I also had to change the wheels with winter tires for summer ones that are at my parents' house. We also cycled a bit and went to the cinema to watch a documentary.

My PC table arrived on Monday, though I can't assemble it fully without a drill. I had the CELTA interview on Tuesday and it went well. That means I should spend July trying to become a better teacher 🙂

Worked on my taxes on Wednesday. I also visited the speakers' club and attended a birthday party, so it was a good day. I fixed charging troubles I had been having with my phone yesterday. Busy week overall, but nice.

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