• nicolaioliden

March/Q1 2020



Wow, another month has come to an end. Each month I take a moment to reflect and evaluate a number of things. I also preview and plan for the next month. This month is a little different because we are also wrapping up Q1 of 2020. I normally add a few more questions to my reflection at the end of each quarter but will not be sharing those. I am releasing a Reflection Template soon to guide you through your own evaluations.


I highly encourage everyone to make some time for this reflection exercise. Soren Kierkegaard said "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." As an engineer, I never begin a project without doing a thorough investigation of the existing conditions. These reflections are a way to update and understand my existing conditions so I can plan my next path forward.


I plan to share my own personal summaries with you each month as an example of what to do.


REVIEW - March:

My biggest wins that I am celebrating this month?

  • I had a successful presentation to a group of 70 people!

  • Nearing the end of a major engineering project and I am proud of how we served our clients

  • I volunteered for ASCE National to be a resume reviewer. I am pretty proud of my service as a reviewer and hope that my input helped the 30 resumes I reviewed

A new thing I learned or tried this month?

I successfully tested a few Online EngineeringYOU group meetings. The first official online Early Career Development launches in April so I had to get comfortable with the video conference software and learn to read people virtually so I can lead the discussions well.


My biggest pothole from this month?

I think my pothole was probably everyone's pothole. Who would have imagined life would look so different from last month. The COVID-19 crisis has completely disrupted life as we know it. The crisis will not last forever, but it took me a solid 10 days to figure out how to successfully navigate this new season.


How balanced did I feel and what could be done to improve?

  • Career/Hustle - 8/10. Quality was up. Deadlines were met. Served my clients as best as I can. Now that I've figured out how to best navigate working from home, I know next month will be even better.

  • Relationships - 8/10. My wife and I kept our date night every week although we only went out of the house once. I pulled away from friends a bit this month to give myself more time to educate on how to best manage the Ethos Engineering office through the crisis.

  • Health - 6/10. mental/spiritual is great. Physical health took a major hit. Sure I could make an excuse that the gyms were closed, but the truth is I just did not make it a priority. I did not want it bad enough to make it happen. That will change in April.

  • Personal Growth - 2/10. I want to rate myself a 0 but I still learned a LOT this month. I spent most of the time I would have read for myself reading about how to navigate a company through a crisis. I spent a lot of time preparing the office to work from home. Personal development took a HUGE hit. I will prioritize reading time with the extra 70 minutes I have each day without my commute.

  • Finances - 7/10. We threw $1,500 towards retirement which was my big goal. We went over budget on groceries quite a bit. Next month we can save a lot of money by not going out to eat so much!

  • Hobbies/Fun/Adventure - 5/10. I typically don't NEED a lot of time and energy in this category to feel fulfilled but I did not spend enough time here. I will go disc golfing more often in April to fill this back up.

How would I rate my progress towards my goals?

I felt pretty “unbalanced” this month. I had to say yes to a lot of things that were not planned. I had to spend a lot of time learning things I didn't know. Although there were a lot of external distractions, I could have still sucked it up and pushed through on my goals.


PREVIEW - April:

What 2-3 things am I most excited for the upcoming month?

  • It's a little forced since we have been ordered to shelter-in-place, but I am excited to spend more time with my kids this month

  • I'm excited to work on a few EngYOU extras I've had in mind for a while

What is my biggest potential pothole?

My biggest pothole will be the temptation to get lazy at home. Spending so much time at home and not leaving can have an effect on people. I plan to watch an extra show or two on Netflix but I need to stay focused on my long term goals.


What 1-3 things can I focus on to make the upcoming month more successful?

  • Daily Routine will be key

  • Order take-out as little as possible to save money

  • Scheduling my day in advance and using my planner even if I'm not leaving the house


What 1-3 actions can I do to advance my goals this month?

  • Get active 30min each day somehow some way

  • Put $1,000 to investments

  • Read 4hrs per week (I need to catch up)

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