2017 New Year’s Resolutions and Where to Find Them

Another year has passed and I consider it one of the hardest I had to go through in my lifetime. Quite a few things happened and despite it not being all bad, it still was a rough trek.

I’d rather not call them “resolutions”, but instead I will refer to them as “tasks” because that is what I’m used to and when I call it that, it usually (but not always) gets done.

In order of priority:

Get a full-time job or something stable

I actually work as an assistant language teacher as my main job and work part-time on weekday evenings but I would like to someday (this year) just have one job, where I don’t have to worry about income.

One thing that I have is noticed is that I have gotten better in teaching and have more confidence in teaching, I also feel I’ve learned and honed techniques that I could possibly use in other professions/jobs such as speaking in front of people, giving presentations and working with a computer. Of course, as long as the job I find is stable, I could still continue teaching.

Even if I say I want to get a new job, I actually enjoy what I do in my current job, the people I work with are really easy to get along with and I have had no problems in the workplace. The students are some of the smartest I have taught and most of them have very interesting personalities.

Well finding a full-time job has been a difficult task, I’ve been joining career fairs and sending resumes here and there since last year. I even managed to get a few interviews, which I am thankful for but feel bad since I didn’t manage to pass them. Only thing I can think of at the moment is push forward and step up my game. Maximum Effort!

Improve my Japanese even more

My Japanese has definitely improved since I first got here in 2010 but the goal is to be able to speak legit business level Japanese, so that I can use it in my (future) full-time job, personal satisfaction, so I can fit in more, and communicate with my wife better.

Most of my Japanese learning has been from my wife, JLPT books, Japanese TV, daily life interactions and listening to other Japanese people speak. While these things have helped tremendously, I still feel I’m not at the level I should be. Learning a language is a continuous process so I’ll be steadily improving my Japanese throughout the year.

Be more organized

I’ve slowly made different systems for organizing things like clothes, files, data, cables, the refrigerator, trash and various other things thanks to the internet, books, and experience. I’ve always wanted to be an organized person, someone who knows exactly what to do, knows where to get things, keeps things in order, and isn’t a mess. Again, even though I feel I’m more organized than I was before, there’s still things to improve, systems to refine and habits to change.

The other things…
There’s actually quite a few more tasks I want to get done this year such as playing the guitar more, finishing more video games, exercise more, eat healthy and some others but these are of less priority or things that I have some control over. Writing about them would just make this longer that it should. Anyway, 2017, here we go!

I’m Steven Cayco and This is How I Work (2016)

I read Lifehacker a lot, and one of my favorite parts to read are the How I Work sections. Although we’re halfway done through the year, I thought I’d give it a shot myself.

Location: Osaka, Japan
Current Gig: ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) at a Japanese High School
One word that best describes how you work: Systematic
Current mobile device: iPhone 6S Plus and an iPad Air 2
Current computer: NEC Windows 7 laptop that my school let’s me use. It’s actually not bad. At home, I use a custom PC I built in early 2014 (code-named “Phantom Vengeance”) which I sometimes use for work-related things.

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?

iOS Calendar, Reminders, and Notes – I like the fact that they sync between devices.
Evernote – If I’m not connected to Internet, I use Notes first then move to Evernote (yes, I’m still using Free version).
Dropbox – Great for accessing files quickly.

Microsoft Office – I mainly use Word, Excel and Power Point and I’m trying to get to Intermediate level in terms of using them.

Post-it notes – Good for leaving messages for other people and adding notes to books.
Small notebook – Despite having a smartphone, I still like writing stuff down.

What’s your workspace setup like?

At work, I have my own desk, which I try to keep as clean as possible by not leaving anything unnecessary on top. There are times where it does get pretty messy though, especially during busy days.

At home, I have a small computer desk in the living room where I use my custom-built PC.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Along with using to-do lists and calendars for schedules, I make use of the Pomodoro method along with a Pomodoro app called Be Focused when I do tasks I need to do. This method is basically where you work on a task for 25 minutes without doing anything else, and do your best to get it done in time. After 25 minutes, you take a 5 minute break, then repeat the process again until the task is finished.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

Reminders (iOS)
I use this app for tasks that need to be done. When I finish a task, I just cross it off. When I make tasks, I try to make them as specific as possible and make it so that it’s easy enough to complete. If it’s one big task I usually list tasks as steps I need to do to finish it.

I use Evernote of as more of a checklist for things I need to bring, for example on a trip. I make use of checkboxes and just tick the boxes of the items I have prepared.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

Portable Scanner
I’ve been using a Doxie but have been having problems with them suddenly not working for some reason. When it was working, I used it a LOT. I’ve been trying to go paperless when I can.

Portable battery with a charging cable
I own 2 Anker chargers, one high-capacity one and a smaller one. I bring one depending on how long I’ll be outside or how much I think I’ll be using my mobile devices.

Nintendo 3DS LL
This I usually bring for train rides if I’m bored. I’m currently playing Super Mario 3D Land.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I’m not sure if I’d say I’m better than anyone else but I feel like I’m pretty good at sorting things. I also think I’m pretty good at planning and making schedules. Lastly, I make an effort to remember the people I meet.

What do you listen to while you work?

I don’t really listen to any music at work since I feel that it would make me look unproductive. I do sometimes listen to music during the commute to work. It’s usually Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Linkin Park or Incubus.

What are you currently reading?

I’m not much of a reader, but I do try to read as much news articles in Japanese.
I will mention a book I actually read last year called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, which I felt has influenced me a lot in terms of being a more organized person. Basically, it’s message is to get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy.

How do you recharge?

Video games! Not at work, but usually once I get home. If I’m at work, power naps and coffee usually help me get through the day.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Although I’ve been trying to be an early bird, I guess I’m a night owl. I usually play a video game before sleeping and fall asleep around midnight. I have an alarm set up across my bed for 6:00 which I usually turn off as soon as it starts alarming and head back to bed. I then wake up for real from anytime between 6:30 to 7:00. I then leave home for work around 7:25.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

My siblings.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A penny saved is a penny earned, something my Dad used to tell me.