Happy new year!
It is January and just like last year, I want to decide some goals for the year. This year, the goals will be hopefully better because of the goal tracking and evaluation I did last year! Yes, I did not just set the goals and forget about it. You can read my goal evaluation for 2022 in this post: How did I do in 2022?
This is where I did not do a good job at setting goals last year. So, this year, I spent some time thinking about what could be a reasonable goal for my PhD. I did consider making a similar goal like last year of publishing 2 papers. But, that does not reflect everything I want to achieve.
So, I decided to make my goals about learning specific skills for research. Getting a PhD would require me to do independent research. I need to be able to find projects, work on them, talk about them in conferences, write papers, find journals to publish and publish them. I feel quite confident in the finding projects, working on them and presenting my work at conferences. But, the paper writing and publishing are my weak area. So, my goal for this year are more aligned towards improving those skills.
For my first project, the goal is to learn how to respond to a journal review. This is a better goal than just publishing the paper. For my second project, there are multiple goals. I need to apply the learnings about scientific writing to write the paper. I need to learn how to find journals and submit them for the publication. My advisors told me that finding a right journal is a hard task, but they will help me learn it.
For the other learning part, I have two minor goals. One is to read at least 10 papers this year. This is not an impressive target, but I need to start tracking the paper reading part. This will also force me to read about one paper each month. The other goal is to take a deep learning course online or offline. I feel that this might be useful in the future.
Preparations for post PhD life
According to my advisors, there is a reasonable chance that I will start writing my final thesis by the end of this year if everything goes according to plan. This basically means that I need to start preparing myself for post-PhD life.
At this point, I am strongly leaning towards going to academia. So, I want to get better at teaching. To achieve that, the actionable goal is to design a full course on either integer programming or machine learning and publish the recordings. The lecture content is the easiest part of this goal. The hard parts are designing the assignment and evaluation. They need to reflect the skills I want the students to have (which I also have to think about). This can take some time. In this process, I will learn some skills. I can also put this on my resume. I will also write blog(s) about the process of creating the course.
I also need to start looking at the job market. For that, the goal for this year is to look at some job opening posts and list down the requirements. This should give me a clear idea about what I have to do further and what kind of jobs and payments I can expect in academia.
I am still indecisive on whether to take up an internship this summer or not. It can make it easier to get an industry job in case I change my mind. But the main reason to take an internship should be related to learning. So, for now, this is in gray area. I am open to internships if they align with my learning goals.
Learning from the last year goal, I decided to reduce the number of games I need to play this year to 50. Also, I will count a game only if it is against a player whose rating is similar or higher to mine. Another goal is to master at least 20 endgames. I already have a book for learning endgames. Having this goal will ensure that I get better at chess.
This is easy. I increased the count for this year goal to 15. Out of these 15, I can count up to 5 rereading some of the books I already read in the past.
Last year, I did not have any goals about finances. But this year it changes. The goal for this year is to make at least 800 CAD per month in passive income. This is the income for which I am not trading my time for. For example, interests, dividends, online course sells etc. This requires me to get better at investing. To further help that, another goal is to learn about how government policies affect the market. I already have a course and some pointers on how to start learning this.
I want to avoid creating harsh goals that I can’t follow up. Last year, I tracked my exercise days and sugar eating days. The goal for this year is to just do better than that.
On one hand, I still want to treat this as a hobby and not have any goals for my blog. But if I don’t have any goals, I am afraid that I might entirely stop writing. I don’t want that to happen, given the benefits I got from writing last year. So, the goal is to write at least 20 posts this year. This is just to ensure that I don’t completely stop. It also removes the pressure of writing every week. Instead, I can now write when I feel like it. It can also help me improve the quality of my blogs.
So, that’s all. I have a lot of things to do this year. I am also aware about the fact that most people underestimate how much they can do in a year. So, probably some of my goals are just too small or weak. Frankly, I would be happy if I can do all of the above.
This year, the goals are more measurable and in alignment with the things I want to improve. Writing my goals in a public post also takes care of the accountability part. All that needs to be done is to track those goals throughout the year (like last year). Goes without saying that I will write a blog at the end of the year about evaluating these goals.
Video: Fat explained (TedED)
Quote: “Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.” ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN, retrieved from The millionaire fastlane by M. J. DeMarco