Lessons learned from the past week

  • I'm very finicky when it comes to organizing. None of the popular
    organizing forms quite fit the weekly schedule + TODO list that I
    want to use. Custom letter-size forms are easy to make. I'm not sure
    how well I can translate to a smaller size; maybe if I do one week
    per page and then have the TODO list on the next page…
  • Last week was find-a-group week. I tried Toast IT, Zero Gravity
    Circus and JCSA. Toast IT was the best in terms of social
    interaction, self-improvement and networking. That's something
    that's earned a fixed place on my calendar. I can join the other two
    groups maybe once a month.
  • I'm pretty good at impromptu speeches and networking, but not really
    social small talk. I work best when the context is well-established
    and I feel I have something to offer people. That's why Toast I.T.
    works very well for me, but social chats like JCSA language
    exchanges don't really do the trick.
  • Keeping track of my expenses is a breeze with Gnucash, a free and
    open source program that makes record-keeping fun and easy. I just
    sent my mom a summary of my credit card transactions and a detailed
    transaction report for everything involving a credit card. Whee!
  • Working out my finances is scarily fun. I've just finished drawing
    up yearly and monthly spending plans based on a general guide for
    international students and my expenses for the past two weeks. I
    used OpenOffice.org Calc to recalculate remaining monthly
    budget automatically as I put in my initial estimates and then
    adjusted them based on my spending goal. I've decided to allocate
    more money to groceries and books than I had previously spent, and
    I've built in a small splurge allowance for little things I want.
    I'll test that spending plan this month and post additional
    reflections in September.
  • The calendar I'm using right now really works for me. I should look
    into making an electronic version of it so that people reading my
    website can get a better feel of how I like to plan my day. I also
    need to work on a good contact management system to keep track of
    all the people I meet (and it turns out that I meet quite a number
    of new people each week)…
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