2016 work and home goals – how it went


My big work goals for 2016 were to read more papers, look at and submit to conferences, and attend the extra monthly orthopaedics and spine lectures. Amazingly, I actually managed to accomplish all of these goals, through a mix of natural progression and focused attention.

  1. Reading more papers – I read 259 papers, a bit under my (arbitrary and slightly unrealistic) goal of 300 papers. Although I don’t think the precise number really mattered, it was motivating to have a goal, and helped push me to read more consistently and to keep more careful track of what I was reading. I started off strong, had a bit of a gap thanks to a full week of vacation (yay!), got back on track,  and then fell off a bit in the late Fall when a big conference came around.

So many PDFs 

2. Keep better track of and submit to relevant conferences – realistically, I didn’t actually become much more proactive about bringing up conference submission deadlines or asking whether I could attend conferences. However, I got lucky and was able to attend one local conference to scope things out for my department, and then had the amazing opportunity to attend and present at the largest conference in my field along with my other research-engineer coworker and my boss. I’m now in the process of submitting a budget request (crosses fingers) to cover travel to present at another conference this coming March, which would mean starting 2017 off with some cool orthopaedic research conferencing. As a benefit of submitting to more conferences I now get the reminder emails and newsletters from those conferences, which will be helpful for pursuing conference submission/attendance more proactively going forward.

3. Attend the ortho/spine lectures – I’m not sure why attending these was intimidating. They are a bit more clinical (heavily attended by the local physical therapists), but the research assistants all go so it isn’t as though I’d stick out as the lone non-HCP. I ended up going to all but one this year and really enjoyed the talks…and the amazing free food! TI learned about everything from biological treatment of orthopaedic injury to diagnosis and treatment of spine injury, and got to have a laugh at the persistence of free-food appreciation over the years while observing very similar (and copious) free-food consumption by one of the med student RA’s and an attending ~40 years his senior. Free food, free knowledge – so glad I finally decided to attend!


My main goals for home time were to read more books, create more art, and keep up the Duolingo Spanish practice I’d started shortly before the new year.

  1. Read more books – this went pretty well. I’ve been getting more e-books so that I can conveniently read on my phone rather than remembering to carry a book around all the time. I’ve also grabbed a few physical books from the clinic/research institute library and have enjoyed taking a look back at some historical sports medicine. I’m currently reading James Fixx’s The Complete Book of Running, courtesy of our foot and ankle surgeon, and am getting a good picture of what running was like in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. So far I’m seeing SO MUCH cotton, a total lack of sports watches except for one that actual *takes your pulse* (this seems a little ahead of its time!), lots of skinny folks, and a surprising (for the era) acceptance of and encouragement towards female runners.

2. Art – I did ok with this, no major projects but a steady dose of little sketches. I participated in Inktober again, which meant more consistent ink sketches during October. I’ve been enjoying melding anatomic art with stylized portraits/figure art, and hope to cement my anatomy-learning from work by continuing to draw project-related anatomy during my off-time. Going into this next year I may follow one of my Oiselle teammates suggestions to draw my runner friends as well – this would actually give me a reason to create art, and hopefully won’t lead to a bunch of awful drawings and subsequently very un-flattered runners.

3. Duolingo/Spanish practice – I am now “44 percent fluent in Spanish”, which seems just a *teensy* bit high considering I only understand about 1/100 of the words spoken in Spanish in conversations around the hospital. But at least my reading comprehension is improving a bit. And, most fun/aggravating, I am in constant competition with MountainMan, who is always trying to get more practice points than me (such a stinker…).

That took far too long to write, so “Goals for 2017” is going to have to wait until another post…

2 thoughts on “2016 work and home goals – how it went

    • I keep a simple Excel sheet and just note the title, author, and journal so I can find the PDF again later, and then have also been noting the date I read it, though that’s mainly for my ability to plot papers/time than anything truly useful.

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