Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pull Yourself Together!

With less than two weeks left until the big day, I've made a bit of progress, but I have a lot ahead of me. There are some things that can't be packed up until a day or two before I leave, like the kitchen and the bathroom, both of which will get their own bin (with a few additional items, like laundry and cleaning supplies, thrown in to fill the extra space). As I mentioned before, I expect to have enough bin space to pack up my apartment and then some. I'm still not positive where all of this stuff is going to wind up, but I have a couple of options, and the worst case scenario is that I'd get a storage unit for a year.

One of the big tasks was going through all of my clothes. I've probably got about ninety percent of my clothes sorted this point. I started by dividing them up by type (socks, shirts, pants, etc.), then dividing those up by type (dress pants, shorts, jeans, etc.). Now they're divided up into varied piles of what I'm taking, what I'm storing, and what I'm getting rid of. Because the bulk of what I have in my apartment is apparently clothes, with a few other boxes beside, sorting out the clothes has lowered the pucker factor a bit. Once I go through the boxes, I should be able to reduce my overall footprint a bit further.

I've got about half of my furniture sold. I need to sell three or four more items and then I'll be set. Believe it or not, that reduces some of my stress right there.

I think I may actually be in pretty good shape as far as packing my clothes and stuff to take with me. If I use those two seabags and that rucksack, I should have enough room to get my clothes, some additional gear, and most or all of the books I'd like to take into that baggage, with some overflow (four or five books, maybe) into my two carry-on bags. One of my upcoming tasks will be to assemble all of the books I intend to take so that I can figure out if all of them can go, and then figure out how to pack them in order to minimize the potential damage in transit.

I still find that I'm calming myself down a couple of times every day. Between the moving and the prospect of undertaking this graduate program, it's gotten sort of overwhelming. I still think that I'm well prepared for all of it, and that's probably why I'm not freaking out more vigorously at the moment. I like reminding myself that the best way to learn your true potential is to get yourself in over your head - something I seem to do every two or three years. Most of me knows that I'll do just fine, with all of it, but the part of me that's doubting myself seems to be growing louder as the time approaches. I dislike that.

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I did some work on my Operation Highlander spreadsheet today. It's a revision of the spreadsheet I came up with to track my goals and accomplishments upon returning from the Middle East. I've mostly failed at those goals, so I'm hopeful that a more solid schedule will help me maintain my discipline. Here are the categories that I've come up with.
  • Notes: I've put in a column for notes to help me keep track of miscellaneous scheduling items or other items of note.
  • Arabic: My goal when I got back from the Middle East was to study Arabic for about an hour per day. I'm scaling that back to forty-five minutes per day, five days per week, once I get to Scotland. I'll probably get more specific with the content of my studies either before or directly after I get to Scotland.
  • Study and Certification: I previously mentioned some certifications that I want to pursue while I'm abroad. I also have additional readings that I haven't completed prior to departure that I'll need to worry about once I've arrived. These two columns will track my readings (and writings, once I get into the dissertation phase), and the steps to complete the certifications.
  • Yomping: I'm not much of a runner, and I've always thought that a better fitness strategy involved walking in boots with a pack and increasing distance and weight over the course of a number of weeks. In the spreadsheet, this item is divided into "kit" - the type and weight of the load I'll carry - and "location". This may involve hiking up a few munros, if there are any within easy travel of Aberdeen.
  • PT: This column will track my goals and progress on the other end of my physical training plan. I got three or four weeks into most parts of my physical training plan earlier this year, and then failed spectacularly. I'm hoping that the new environment and more structured schedule will help me to stick to this workout plan. I'll post more about this soon.
  • Business Development: I want to develop some plans, tools, and potential products for when I return to the work force. I'm hoping to budget a couple of hours per week to work on some of these products so that they're ready to use or market once I complete my time in Aberdeen.

    I'll probably post an image of this spreadsheet week by week while I'm in Scotland. Not surprisingly, I'm really hoping that my ambition doesn't wind up being greater than my discipline. I'm confident that I can accomplish all of this, the question as always is whether I will accomplish all of this.

    * * *

    I wrote most of that a couple of days ago. I'm making slow progress. I hope to have most of my stuff packed or sorted by the end of Sunday. That'll leave all next week for errands and sorting out other loose ends.
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