Monthly Goals – August

With the busy summer and going out with friends all the time, I admit that I’ve been slacking on the bullet journal. Not a lot, just that it’s not quite so up to date. Sometimes, I will end up jotting down my to-do list on ToodleDo, since I have a widget on my Android phone.

I’m hoping to get back on track in the next week, so I might as well just write my up my review of my monthly goals and get it over with:

Health and Fitness

  • Get my bicycle in working order (0/5): I was aware of this goal but just kept putting it off.
  • Work on floor sitting (2/5): Learned more about this while listening to more Katy Says podcasts. Was doing it here and there. Not so great.
  • Work on exfoliation (4/5): I bought a giant long handled brush and have been exfoliating regularly.

Teaching and Professional Development

  • Complete Queen’s free OT AQ course (0/5): Totally flaked out on this.

Finance and Auto

  • Get a will (0/5): Nope.
  • Discuss finances with family (0.5/5): I literally kept saying to my mom several times, let’s get together with my sister and do this. Ummm, didn’t happen.

Not a very productive month!!! Whatevs!!! Just enjoying my August, since I didn’t have the chance to the past 4 years.


Monthly Goals – July

Health and Fitness

  • Find a family doctor (0/5): Put this off to next month as I’ve decided it may be easier to find a doctor in Waterloo.
  • Visit Queen Street Yoga and apply for YTT program (5/5): Done and done. Got accepted into the program and even paid my deposit of $565.
  • Walk around parks (2/5): Looking to do more shinrin yoku a.k.a. “forest bathing”. This worked out really well at the beginning of July, when I was hitting up several parks around Toronto. It petered out when I started getting busy and meeting up with family and friends.
  • Learn about barefoot walking (5/5): Definitely knocked this goal out of the park! Got a pair of FiveFingers the first week I was back in Toronto and been wearing them an average of 3-5 times a week. Also tested them out on gravel in Waskaganish too.

Teaching / Professional Development

  • Reconnect with teachers in Ottawa (3/5): Ended up meeting with my former principal, who is still one of my work references. J. and I stayed over at her house and hung out with the family. As a thank you for her hospitality, I actually bought her daughter a couple of books – Wonder and Shaun Tan’s The Arrival – with some leftover Amazon credits, since she really likes reading. Was suppose to meet with a former colleague, but unfortunately, he never replied or confirmed getting together.*


  • Watch two Canadians Investor Conference videos (0/5): Never got around to it. Been busy.
  • Learn about tenant rights (0/5): Fell down list of priorities.
  • Learn how to barter on Bunz (4/5): This has been my obsession lately. I’ve made one trade so far, which was a copy of the card game The Resistance. I gave away a bottle of moscato and a Stella tall boy. This was a good first trade, because N. and I chatted a bit and she gave me lots of great tips to start! I might even have a new lunch buddy as she works out of Waterloo but lives in Toronto. However, I will be careful with trading and should only go for items I really want, as I don’t want to waste time driving around for something I don’t need.


  • Explore Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 (0/5): Fell down the list. No time since being so busy.
  • Learn OK Google commands (4/5): As I have been driving a LOT this month, it made sense that I finally start using some of the OK Google voice commands. This will come in handy when I am driving around Waterloo and Kitchener, so I need to start learning now! I need to also learn how to use it safely so that I am not distracted while driving on the road. There is a learning curve to all this!

*I’ve noticed this has happened with weaker relationships where correspondence occurred mainly on Facebook. I had just deleted my account back in early July after 5 years of being forced to use it in the north.

Monthly Goals – Merry May

Health and Fitness

  • Go walking (2/5): Did one super long walk to the water intake plant and back (2.5 hours). Also walking occasionally to work, although not consistently. Weather has been on and off, rather cold for May, which has turned me off from going outside.
  • Work on myofascial release (1/5): Bought the Physical Therapy bundle off Cody but it was just way too busy this month being on the road so much.


  • Continue with WRDSB paperwork (3/5): My mom and uncle drove out to Waterloo to pick up my paperwork, and after getting sorted out, I finally started my online training. I finished it this afternoon, but only a week into June, and not in May, as I originally intended.
  • Make connections at OAME (2/5): Made one new friend, N. Also reconnected with T., the prof who has been mentoring me, and J., a friend from university. Didn’t end up going to all my sessions though, because of the car troubles and just being tired.

Personal Development

  • Research car insurance (4/5): On one of my sick days, I ended up calling a whole bunch of places. I’ll likely settle on OTIP.
  • Watch 3 Canadian Investors Conference videos (0/5): This fell on the back burner. Not a biggie.
  • Make a communication agreement (3/5): As my relationship is going to become long-distance, we just went over a general communication agreement to follow.

Monthly Goals – April

Health and Fitness

  • Start lifting and strength work (2/5): Worked on front squats for a day. Also did some deadlifting and squats too. It’s a start!
  • Try new recipe (5/5): Made African peanut stew and the potato and asparagus salad.


  • Get reference letter signed (5/5): One of the three reference letters I had were not signed. I noticed on one of the school board job postings that they required signatures on all the letters. Chased after my former VP and got a reply within a week.
  • Create a teaching portfolio (0/5): Slacked on this and it fell on the backburner.
  • Work on OAME presentation (1/5): Also slacked on this.
  • Continue job applications (5/5): Signed a job offer with Waterloo but also applied for Ottawa-Carleton at the end of the month*.


  • Inquire about moving process (3/5): Even though I am on sabbatical, I am entitled to having my personal belongings moved. Haven’t pinned a date yet though.
  • Watch 3 Canadian Investors Conference video (5/5): Watched Janine Rogan, Robert Farrington and Rob Carrick.
  • Get J. investing (3/5): Made a start as he set up a Tangerine Investment Fund account for TFSAs.
  • Evaluate first quarter expenses (4/5): I don’t enjoy writing everything down, but at least it gives me a snapshot of what is happening with my money. It was also fun to learn how to make pivot tables.


  • Caulk the bathtub (0/5): This was a rollover from March. Didn’t get to it… again.

*Job applications for public school boards in Ontario are not often on an ongoing basis. We can only apply when they are posted once a year.

Monthly Goals – March Madness

Here are the goals that I was focusing during the month of March:

Health and Fitness

  • Book a dental appointment (5/5): Booked one for the upcoming Goose Break. Gotta make use of my health plan while I still have it
  • Book an allergist (5/5): This was a task I was suppose to follow through in 2015. I actually had a referral lapse and now I’m paying for it, trying to get another family doctor to give me a new referral. Ugh. Have an appointment though, finally!


  • Complete Queen’s OT course (1/5): Queen’s University has a free course on Occasional Teaching. This got put on the back burner. I had started it but I am going to push this off to August as a good time to get myself into the mood of substituting on a daily basis.
  • Explore use of Google Forms (3/5): I had only learned about this tool in my AQ and used it for an assignment in January. It’s so easy and versatile!I’ve found that lots of teachers are actively used GAFE tools. I used it on two occasions at work too  I also shared what I had done with my colleagues during our weekly Professional Learning Community meetings (PLCs).
  • Start teaching teaching portfolio (0/5): Procrastinated on this. As I’d like to apply for the Ottawa school board, I know that they encourage the use of a portfolio during the interview process. I will need to print out some photos with an online order and have been meaning to make use of a 40% coupon code. This will be a priority in April.
  • Explore one new #edtech tool (5/5): Played around with SketchUp 8.


  • Watch 2 Canadian Investors Conference videos (3/5): Enjoyed the interview with Robert Brown and watched another with Susan Daley of PWL Waterloo.
  • Work on taxes (4/5): Second time processing it on TurboTax on my own. I know, I’m still not an adult yet but my mom helps me with a large part of it.
  • Consolidate TSFAs and close Questrade (0/5): Yeah, stock-picking is not my game. I need to sell and just close up my Questrade account.
  • Transfer investments to a robo-advisor (3/5): Moving more of my TSFAs to WealthSimple but still waiting. Had to re-sign some forms and deal with a few glitches.


  • Learn how to caulk (1/5): Brought a tube up from Toronto at the beginning of March but haven’t done it yet.
  • Learn how to use the steamer for the floor (5/5): We are trying not to use a lot of chemicals and just use more eco-friendly methods. The steamer is a machine that J. purchased a while ago but I hadn’t learned how to use it until this month. It was kinda fun but also sort of scary as you have to wait for the water to boil and be careful about opening the latch so you don’t burn your face!

Monthly Goals – February

Fitness and Health

  • Meal-planning (0/5): Been getting lazy with this. Argh.
  • Try new recipes (2/5): Tried two new recipes from the Indian cookbook


  • Start on Queen’s AQ on OT (1/5): Just worked on the first module … continue in March
  • Apply to school boards (3/5): I ended up applying to DDSB, UGDSB and WRDSB; next week I have an interview in Waterloo! Decided not to apply to PDSB, TDSB or YRDSB. The later two are declining boards and areas which I either know will not be good future home for me. I’m still interested in Peel but will reapply the next time it opens up.
  • Work on interview questions (1/5): Only getting started on this! Otherwise been spending time scouring the teacher discussion groups on Facebook, collecting info and bugging former coworkers for tips and tricks.
  • Get a third reference letter (5/5): Glad that this didn’t take too long. Signed and scanned into a PDF, uploaded onto Apply to Education


  • Set up ASPs for RSPs (5/5): Am funnelling $333 off each biweekly paycheck towards my new WealthSimple account.
  • Set up password maintenance system (2/5): Started transferring information but not finished yet …
  • Analyze ETFs (0/5): Too much job hunting going on. ONCE AGAIN, this fell on the back burner. I’m putting this goal on pause for now.
  • Work on AQ reimbursement (5/5): Printed all my papers, now just waiting for a copy of the transcripts to come in from Queen’s University ($15/transcript) so I can submit it to HR and get the $680 reimbursed

Also, no net worth postings this month. I’m switching to only calculating it every 2 months.

Monthly Goals – January Goals

January has been pretty busy. It flew by a lot faster than I had anticipated!

Health and Fitness

  • Add HIIT workouts (4/5): Just around my 34th birthday, I wasn’t feel great about my personal image. I’m not one to get upset about age, so this was unusual … I just felt really, REALLY shitty about myself and didn’t even want to move at all. I suddenly realizing that I can see changes in my body and that two pairs of leggings I bought a few years ago do not fit me anymore. I felt horrible for a few weeks. I decided to rally the support of my Cody friends, whom I can definitely rely on and ended up purchasing the Cody App FitFlow plan ($35 USD) to try some HIIT. It worked out well to get me back onto the mat and moving. The workouts are just doing the mini 10-15 minute long classes, and although it took a few more weeks, it helped me get out of the funk.
  • Revisit backbending (3/5): I hadn’t really planned this goal; it just sort of happened. I know core work includes your back as well so I revisited Mackenzie Miller’s backbends program.


  • Work on Apply to Education account (3/5): Purchased some credits, as well as sent in my first official job application on it to WRDSB.
  • Apply for the Toronto District School Board (0/5): I didn’t do this. I should do this anyway.
  • Get reference letters (3/5): Received one letter from my former vice-principal; this was a bit of a chase and it actually took me near 3 months for it to happen. Ugh. Now to get one from my principal.


  • Analyze my ETFs (0/5): This goal fell by the wayside. Move to March goals as current focus is to finish my online course and get moving on school board applications.
  • Sell of old mutual funds (5/5): Done! This felt good to finally clean out. I’m so glad my mom was there to help me to wrap this up after I signed off, as I’m not often in Toronto and spent most of my holidays in Israel/Jordan.
  • Cap off RSPs for 2016 (5/5): Was missing about $1500 so now I’ve capped it off by throwing some money into my WealthSimple account.


  • Learn new crochet stitch (3/5): I tried, but this was a bit of a disaster.
  • Research home cleaning strategies (3/5): It’s amazing how many free tutorials there are on YouTube. I started watching some home cleaning videos just to get ideas on how to clean more effectively. Over the past year, we’ve also been choosing less harsh cleaning products as we realize our pets are often on the floor and exposed to what we put on them.

Monthly Goals – December

This is a bit late, since I was on the road so much for Christmas/winter break.

Health and Fitness

  • Finish Pilates plan (2/5): I started learning about Pilates this year, specifically in November. I wanted to continue my plan but didn’t get very far. It’s become more enjoyable – I hated it initially –  and I appreciate that the attention to detail in the pelvic floor just isn’t there in yoga. I look forward to learning more.
  • Start new GMB’s Focused Flexibility program (0/5): I did one day and then I injured my neck. Put this on pause.


  • Reopen ATE account (1/5): I got my password, but have not upgraded the account yet for long-term storage. Transfer goal to January.
  • Stay on course with the AQ (5/5): Odd to write a goal that is basically, ‘Do your homework’, but sometimes it’s necessary when things get busy. This went well.


  • Research more about WealthSimple account (0/5): Was going to break down my ETFs and analyze them. Didn’t happen. Transfer goal to January.
  • Start Udemy course on investing (2/5): Did half of the course, but started to realize this was counter-intuitive if I am going to follow the Canadian Couch Potato method …
  • Listen to more financial podcasts (5/5): The month of December was finance month for me. Listened to both Canadian Couch Potato and Jessica Moorhouse. It was great!
  • Research Tangerine investments (5/5): This was a goal added later on after listening to so many financial podcasts. Bought $10,000 each of the Tangerine Balanced Portfolio in RSPs and Tangerine Equity Growth Portfolio in TSFAs. Will continue to look at other investments rather than let it sit at 0.8% interest.


  • Finish books by Caitlin Moran, Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat (5/5): Sometimes I have to just get things done. I try to start too many books … it gets to be a problem.
  • Buy travel insurance and prepare for Israel and Jordan (4/5): This was a bit last minute. Bought insurance through American Express for approximately $47

The Downside of Being Offline: Using a Bullet Journal

I had a scare today; I thought I had lost my bullet journal, which is my personal organizer. I used it during a school meeting last night, but had no recollection of tossing it into my backpack. Thankfully, it had made its way home. I found it accidentally tucked under a vintage copy of A Clockwork Orange, which I had rescued from a pile of discarded books.

Since September, I’ve been using a #bujo planner*. I mainly use it to keep track of personal goals – weekly, monthly and annual. It’s become popular, partly because it’s therapeutic to doodle and draw, but also because it’s nice to just be offline. Yes, I still use my paid Toodledo account as digital notepad when I don’t have a pen, but pretty much everything** is in my bullet journal.

While I’ve used a variety of tools, including apps like (formally, to track my habits, I just felt that I needed a change when it came to writing monthly goals. I’d found that I would start fudging and editing the goals I had initially written down and delete ones I’d ignored, just to make myself feel better. It’s been working well so far and I can say that my bullet journal isn’t just a fad I’m picking up; it’s likely a tool I will be using for at least a couple of years. I enjoy drawing and laying out my new “weeklies” while listening to podcasting.

Some things will always remain online though, including net worth tracking via NetWorthIQ and fitness tracking on CodyApp.

Yet the ultimate issue with the bullet planner is that I have no back-up system. To be clear, I don’t intend logging everything on Toodledo so that I can check it off later. In my panicked state earlier this morning, I did consider how much I would be losing if I really could not find my planner.

My life wouldn’t be over. I’d likely be able to rewrite 50-70% of the active task lists that I had going on. Once monthly goals are complete, I published them on my blog. As for weekly habits, I really couldn’t care less.

And is there anything that would be so important that I’d actually forget entirely I’d have to do it?

Likely not.

So even as I did hug my planner with a sigh of relief when I uncovered it, I realized that I still don’t intend on backing it up. And that’s okay. It’d be like a piece of lost art. I would have enjoyed all the time that I’d put up with it, but I’d be willing to let it go.

*If you’re unfamiliar with bullet journals, check out this article from the Toronto Star, Bullet Journaling Will Get You Organized.

**For work, I keep a separate teacher’s lesson planner which I’d purchased (and expensed to the school board) from Staples. Keeping my work and personal life separate definitely gave me less stress; I found that I could appropriately put my energy to focus on work when I need to and have some space from it when I just want to enjoy my down time.

Monthly Goals – October

I had mentioned in September I wasn`t very focused on following my monthly goals* In an effort to change this, I started writing the goals down in my new bullet journal instead. As this is my day-to-day planner, I can refer to them more frequently. I feel that this is working well so far, but I will still continue to write my reviews on my blog, of course!

Health and Fitness

  • Get back into Cody (3/5): Started getting back to the gym, although the past two weeks haven’t been very good with the boyfriend getting sick. I could have gone after work without him, but sometimes we just end up leaving work together … yeah. I started back on Ashley Galvin`s plan, BodyStrong, but didn`t get very far and will continue this in November.
  • Use meal prepping (3/5): Started off generally okay but the past week I slacked off. It didn`t help that the boyfriend was still sick and I just didn`t want to cook for one. Ate random foods here and there.

Teaching and Career

  • Use Desmos activities (5/5): This has been going great! I’ve used about 4 different ones with my students, including Points Collector, Waterline and Polygraph and mentioned this on my teaching blog. Next week, I hope to try out Marbleslides!
  • Choose an Additional Qualification (5/5): I make sure to use the school board’s $900 for professional development. Registered for an educational technology AQ with Queen’s University, paid for the course and just waiting for it to start in the first week of November.
  • Work on a webinar (5/5): Not sure if I had mentioned this, but I found a mentor – a professor from Nipissing University in North Bay, ON. As I will be applying to speak at OAME in Kingston in May 2017, he suggested I do a dry run through a webinar. It went great, even though I had only one attendee. It really helped to get the ideas clear in my head and feel comfortable that I have enough material to contribute at the annual math conference.


  • Close Questrade (0/5): So many times I have failed this. ARGHHHHH @#$^&!@#!@% No one to blame but myself. 
  • Sort financial notes as a couple (4/5): I’ve been slightly frustrated that my partner agree to share notes on Evernote and now doesn’t want to use it. I decided to choose a system that worked best for him – papers in a 3-ring binder. Then we can review our notes of our ‘money dates’.


  • Learn to knit functional items (0.5/5): I bought a large pile of acrylic yarn during the long weekend in Rouyn, QC, but still haven’t been able to find time to dedicate to this. The suggested pattern listed on the label isn’t available …. ARGH! Why would you put a broken URL on your product?!?!?! However, I can still hunt around on for other ideas. Just not a high priority right now, which is completely reasonable, so I am proud that at least I am choosing the correct things to deprioritize on my list. Revisiting this goal in November as I do want some offline activities while I am podcasting.
  • Practice make-up (5/5): I haven’t worn much makeup while teaching, because I really don’t like the kids pointing it out. I did wear it to the teaching workshop I ran last Friday, and it turned out pretty well! Even my brows were okay (although one side was a bit darker than the other … oops).

*This has been partly because Evernote changed the structure of the free accounts and I can no longer check my notes on every single mobile device