Well this was unexpected…

First off, thank you all so much for the support and kind words about the incident at the park. It made my spirit crumble seeing that other family got to keep their dog at the playground and I was the “rulebreaker” asked to keep my dogs out of the park. I felt worse that my 1.5-year-old was part of this incident. I felt compelled to explain to her why world can be so unfair even though she won’t comprehend what I’m saying.

Continue reading Well this was unexpected…

Working on my daily three

Happy weekend coffee share! So I wanted to do a recap of how my three tasks a day experiment has been going so far. The practice is pretty simple: I write no more than three tasks per day on my work planner for work-related tasks and I do the same on my day planner for my non-work related items. If you see my work planner before, you would find a ridiculously long tasks lists containing mix of high- and low-priority items. On my day planner, my task lists were starting to look more like wish lists of things I wanted to do.

Here is what I learned so far:

It’s not about doing less and being lazy, it’s about setting boundaries — especially at work.

Listing three high priority work items sets intention for my work day. But there are days when something happens that calls my attention (per my supervisor) and all of the sudden there’s about an hour left in the work day. From there, I want to take a brief moment to breathe…. and then a volunteer stands by my door asking if I’m busy. I take another breath and I look at my list shocked by how I did not make any effort to do anything on my daily three. I look at the volunteer profusely apologizing for not being able to help her right now but she could send me an e-mail. Thankfully, she was very understanding because there have been some who would NOT take that as an acceptable answer.

It’s ok to have recurring tasks even if they’ve been there daily for the last several weeks because they’re clearly very important

Everyday for the past several weeks on my work planner I listed “write letter of recommendation.” This will continue up until the beginning of November because I have MANY volunteers who are applying to medical school, P.A. school, nursing school, graduate school, undergraduate, etc. It’s in my daily three because I would HATE to miss a deadline for something so important to them.

Other recurring tasks were around events and projects I managed. For example, this past Thursday, I had this large event. A month leading up to this event, I wrote on my work planner the name of that event everyday up to the day of. I wanted to make sure I still had it on my mind to finalize the details, confirm RVSPs, etc. I knew this event would have gotten lost in the shuffle of other things and suddenly re-emerge itself the week of if I did not write it down on my daily three everyday this month.

For home, I write exercise on my daily three everyday because I know I forget to exercise on most days. It’s clearly important to me since I spend a lot of my time sitting on a desk. Other recurring tasks I’ve had at some point was watering my newly installed plants daily for the first several weeks until established.

Spreads my to-dos throughout the week.

Maybe this is more beneficial for my home life. Why do I let myself believe I can do a million tasks in a day when I can just spread it throughout the week in groups of three? The daily three makes each day more digestible.

It looks like my daily three for work and for home will be here to stay!

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

How do you manage your tasks at work and at home? Comment below!

Maximize Your Work-Life Balance as a Health Care Professional

Happy Motivation Monday, everyone!

I came across a post on Med à la Mode about work-life balance as a healthcare professional. I work in retirement living. It is an interesting hybrid of healthcare,  recreation, and real estate. In retirement living, there are nurses and other non-medical line staff on the floor taking care of the older adults. First of all, I have to say the line staff work with a heart of service and compassion. It is amazing how they put up with all the workload they do in their day-to-day. Whenever it comes to a project where I do work with the line staff, I already know this is one more thing too many. I make sure I develop a good relationship with them — that always goes first before the start of any project. I also want to show that we can be diplomatic and we could work together. I don’t want them to shove whatever down their throat, push them to the ground until they’re burnt out and unsatisfied. I hear from other colleagues who say, “I am receiving push-back from so-and-so which is why this project is not done.”

Maybe the reason why I am empathetic towards the line staff is that I too have many of those same moments they’re feeling. I have a lot in my day-to-day, I get pulled from 17 different directions, and I am expected to perform miracles.

I like to think of myself as a champion of work-life balance because each day I do these checks where ask myself things such as, “Do I need to stay in the office another hour later?” or “Do I really need to reply this e-mail now?” Before I almost never did these self-checks. I always said “yes” to whatever task and followed through in what is considered “record time”. I was praised for being “on top of it” for years. It’s great to get praise, but after a while, this machine-like work ethic slowly started becoming unsustainable without any car. I was tired and feeling foggy all the time. I felt bad for my dogs because they need me to come home and feed them. That is more than enough reason for me to step away from the computer.

Anyways, enough ranting. I came across Stacey’s post on her blog. It was timely for me because back in December, I pledge to take care of myself and put relationships and meaningful things in my life first rather than bury myself in my computer, smartphone, and cubicle.

I urge everyone around me: family, friends, and colleagues to evaluate each day — it does not matter how many times per day — “am I achieving work-life balance?” If you say “no”, then please step back.


From Med à la Mode blog:

So, you’ve taken the first step and have decided that you want to become a healer, first, that is a remarkable choice to make; to devote your life and to care for others, be it at the level of a pre-med, medical, physician assistant student or physician. With this decision in mind, it’s crucial to make sure you take care of yourself, too. Failing to do so can result into burnout, an alarming trend that is plaguing the health care industry.

Burnout is defined as a “pervasive healthcare problem characterized by a loss of emotional, mental, and physical energy due to continued job-related stress.” With burnout, it can cause you to disengage and see your work as something negative and meaningless, when it once was a positive accomplishment in your life.
What is work-life balance? Work-life balance is the relationship between your work and your personal life, and how these priorities affect and overlap one another.

Here are some simple steps that I’ve come up that I use that can help you do just that: 

(Click here for the original post)

Monday Motivation: I’m back

…actually, I came back from Iceland on Friday night.

It was such a fantastic trip. Stayed tuned for Travel Tuesdays and the future one’s thereafter.

Also on Friday night, when I arrived to LAX, I turned on my phone to find out I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED TO THE MPA PROGRAM!! I start school on January 21st.

Today is my first back at work. It feels different. It feels busy(ier). Maybe because I got accepted to grad school, I anticipate more tasks next coming weeks. I need to print and complete to send out my submit my intent to register at school. Plus catch up with the pace of work.

dai-ke-32162Actually, hold up. No need to go from 0 to 100 MPH as soon as I get to my cubicle. Instead of seating myself at my desk to review my e-mails, I’ll distribute gifts to my co-workers, write my “thank you” cards to the people who wrote me their letters of recommendations, then I’ll get around to the world’s to-do list (aka e-mail) for me.

I always hear one saying, “I need a vacation from a vacation”. I think instead of self-flagellating coming to the office 2 hours before your usual time and staying 2 hours after, to play catch-up with your tasks, just ease into your first work day back. Besides you have meaningful activities framing around your work whether it is going to the gym, walking your dog, spending time with family, cooking dinner — it makes no sense to stay 2 hours after to NOT go to the gym, NOT walk your dog, NOT have dinner with your family.

How do you adjust coming back to work after a vacation? Comment below?


Weekly Coffee Share: Last one before I turn 30

If we were having coffee, it would be at home and I’d serve these life-changing donuts. On Friday, my coworker took me and few coworkers to this donut place called Donut man. I’m not a fan of glazed donuts, but these are different not too sweet.

Donut Man Strawberry donut

Last week, I saw Miss Sloane — I love Jessica Chastain. It was like watching a modern-day Greek tragedy of a hard-working woman doing what it takes to succeed as a D.C. lobbyist even if she makes unethical work decisions. Miss Sloans works 24/7, forgoes friendships to get ahead, and takes drugs to stay awake. I can see spectrums of Miss Sloane in a lot of people including myself. For me, I get over-involved, I am determined to do it well and do things right. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who push me but I always ask myself, “How far do I need to lean in?” Instead of asking me, maybe I should ask them “how far.” Until I fall over?

For grad school, they needed 3 letters of recommendation from my colleagues, so I could not start this semester. I may not have gotten into grad school (right now), but I found out I was going to be a co-author for a study I was working on for the past year. My partner submitted it and it’s on its way to be published in a journal. It’s a huge honor to get an authorship, but a little part of me felt a little sick.

For every achievement I’ve hit in my life, I get a “congrats” immediately followed by “what’s next?” and pushing me to go for bigger, greater. Again, I repeat, I am blessed by people who cheer me on, but what if I am fatigued? What if I want to run at a comfortable pace and enjoy process? Or what if I want to take a break and enjoy sitting still?

For the past year, I’ve been preaching to people that I’ve got other goals not related to my work. Why does it have to be? I urge people to be more well-rounded and pursue things in life that bring you joy.

This is my weekend before I turn 30. In the last few months I came to realize I am workaholic and I’ve recovering and fighting to avoid relapse. I decided to dedicate this new decade to pursue things in my life that bring me meaning. I also want to listen to my body. Almost a year ago, I inflamed both my wrists from typing a lot. It was not quite carpal tunnel but I did get a ergonomics check. About 2 weeks ago, I got carpal tunnel on my right wrist. I did not want to do another ergonomics check because let’s face it: I don’t want a modified keyboard and expect me to work at my former pace. Instead, why can’t I listen to my body telling me, “you can step away from the keyboard and computer screen.”

What’s up for this week?

This week is going to be busy work-wise and it’s going to be short. Monday, I am driving to San Diego, but I am hoping I can finish the day and go home at a reasonable time. Tuesday, is a full day and I am throwing my coworker a farewell happy hour because it is her last day. Wednesday, I hope I can start a little later because I am hosting a networking event later that day. Thursday looks promising and open. And finally, Friday, is my day off. It’s the start of my long weekend and we’re going to Sequoia!

Sequoia Kings Canyon

I hope this week, I can squeeze in time for a professional massage. I am embarrassed I just discovered the benefits! My husband gave me a massage yesterday because I told him I felt like my body was breaking down. He’s not a professional masseuse, but I felt the difference. I felt more alert and my mind is not so foggy.

Julie Weekend Coffee Share

Credit: The Smushed Peach

Interested in participating in the Weekend Coffee Share yourself? Come on over to Nerd in the Brain for more details! Check out the link party page or this wordpress tag for inspiration.

Weekly Coffee Share: A Mini-Vacation

If we were having coffee, I’d serve Iced Raspberry Lattes at home. This is my favorite post because it’s an opportunity just write about anything in one post.

My first guest post! I did my first guest post for The Cappuccino Traveler featuring one of my favorite coffee places in LA. Go check it out!

Cacao latte and churros

Turning over. This summer has been the busiest summer for me work-wise. Last week, our intern ended her practicum and in another week, my coworker is leaving her post. I do confess, I did have moments when I butt heads with my co-worker. I got along with her most days, but when it came to confrontation all I got defense, defense, and “I don’t have any experience in [fill in the blank].” In a lot of jobs I’ve had, if I encounter something I am not familiar with whether it’s a skill on Excel, a product, or troubleshoot something, I researched how to do it and tried it myself. I kid you not, I had a former coworker who has a Master’s degree who did not know how to do Microsoft Excel. My supervisor asked me to give my former coworker an Excel training. In retrospect, I should have e-mailed YouTube how-to videos to save myself the time. I’ve been trained since my university days to research and use your resources — Youtube, forums, and overall the Internet has opened up A LOT of doors for me try different things. Public universities for the win.

Mini-vacation. On Friday, I took a well-needed day-off. I urge people instead of calling it a “mental health break” to call it something else. I hated it when anybody said “do you need a few hours for a ‘mental health break’?” It’s a silly question; we all deserve time off at anytime to pursue an extra day of meaningful activities in life, not because you’re overworked.

Caballero Canyon Santa Monica Mountains
I used my day off to explore a trail not too far from the bustle of the San Fernando Valley (Hike #31 coming soon!)

For me, I am going to stick with calling it a “mini-vacation”. It’s simple. Mini because it’s a day here, a day there. I stay local and I use that day off to go to places I would normally go on a weekend such a brunch spot or a hiking trail, but on my mini-vacation day it’s far less crowded.

Took the plunge. I took the plunge, I bought tickets to “Hamilton” at the Pantages. This was after days of deciding too. I also consulted with people if I should buy the tickets. Note to self: Don’t consult. Everyone has different opinions on what is worth spending. The replies I got back was “I would never pay this much to go see a play”. Sidenote: These are people who justify paying thousands of dollars on a designer purse, a nice car, closet of designer clothes, etc. Maybe reaching out to them was not a great idea; clearly, designer clothes and shoes are meaningful for them, while tickets to a highly accoladed musical is meaningful for me.

What’s up for this week?

One of the committees I am part of got a nice sponsorship. I received the e-mail on Friday. I look forward to reaching out to them to see what this entails. I’ve been part of this committee since the inception of this chapter — to be one of the three chapters in whole world to be chosen for this sponsorship is huge honor. My efforts and contributions has paid off, and in return being part of this committee has helped me blossomed professionally. I was initially part of this committee because of my event planning skills, I never thought this skill would bring me so far.

At work, we are doing a 6-week healthy habits lifestyle challenge. Each day from Monday to Friday, we need to eat 2.5 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruit, 64 ounces of water, and do 30 minutes of exercise. I have no issues with exercising and drinking water, but the fruit and veggie consumption will be challenging. To help catalyze my consumption, I make myself green smoothies for breakfast. Last week, I had a green smoothie 4 out of the 5 days. I’m not sure if I am able to keep up drinking only green smoothies for breakfast each morning for the remaining 5 weeks. I enjoy switching my breakfast foods around. Maybe I’d like to make myself a Florentine omelette — it’s got spinach!

Julie Weekend Coffee Share

Credit: The Smushed Peach

Interested in participating in the Weekend Coffee Share yourself? Come on over to Nerd in the Brain for more details! Check out the link party page or this wordpress tag for inspiration.