Category Archives: Reflection

Skills I Wish I’d Learned

I really like what I do, so I don’t spend a lot of time regretting my educational and professional choices. That said, there are two majorĀ things I wish I’d done earlier in my career that I think would make me more successful (read: effective) today:

  1. Spent a semester or summer abroad. I’ve always loved languages, and have dabbled in several. For a while in graduate school, I even neared fluency in Spanish, being able to read full-on novels in a reasonable time span. But because I never spent an extended period of time relying on and experimenting with a language, I didn’t cement my knowledge. Not only does being multilingual open direct opportunities to work in other cultures, it also makes your cognitive structure more flexible and enhances creativity.
  2. Learned to program a website or a mobile app. Computer science was still a bit outside of the mainstream when I was in college so I never ventured into a class. I did teach myself some basic HTML (so I could have a rockin’ homepage with pics of my cats and my ear piercings), and that small skill is actually still useful today. I feel like I’d be a much more effective program designer if I were able to do at least some of the coding myself, if only to experiment with possibilities and communicate with software developers in more informed terms. I’m not even sure the programming language matters as much as developing some basic proficiency with technology.

Fortunately it’s not too late to pursue these skills, although it’s harder now than it would have been when I was a full-time student. I’m not sure I’ll ever have an opportunity to spend an extended period of time in another country speaking the language, given my full-time job and my full-time employed spouse. That doesn’t mean I can’t consumeĀ media in other languages, talk to native speakers, and travel. I’ve also really enjoyed using Duolingo to refresh basic grammar and vocabulary knowledge and to begin working on new languages.

Ditto on learning to program–given that I don’t seem to have natural talents in the area, it would be great if I could just add a class to my courseload, but nowadays I don’t have a courseload. I’ve been flirting with online educational tools to try to bridge the gap, although I haven’t found quite the right one for me yet. I tend to get frustrated when I’m not good at something and so most of my autodidactic attempts at programming end with frustration. Any suggestions of tools I could use to learn more programming would be much appreciated.

Slogging through Blogging

Blogging is hard, you guys!

When I started this site, I wanted to update several times per week. My vision was (still is) posts that mix the personal and the professional. I want to talk about my professional passions of motivating people and helping them to be healthier and happier, but in a personal way that reflects my experience and hobbies. At work, I don’t have the opportunity to get nearly as real about stuff. But at the same time, I don’t want this space to become so completely personal that it doesn’t reflect my professional identity.

It’s a difficult line to walk.

So, I’ve struggled to come up with topics to write about as frequently as I want to. It’s very tempting to make this more of an old-school blog (diary), and get chatty. It’s also weirdly tempting to get all Professor-like. I’m working on striking the right balance, so bear with me. And if you have ideas for things to write about around motivation, health, and happiness, please let me know!

Welcome to my new website!

I decided it was time to create an Internet home of my very own. Although I’m active on lots of other platforms, including Twitter and the Wired Insights blog, I was looking for a place where I could talk about a broad range of topics within my professional expertise while also letting a little more of my personality come through. Hence, this site was born.

I’m hoping to update fairly regularly about topics like motivational design, workplace culture, national/regional/local culture, health behaviors, behavior change and habit formation, medication adherence, social relationships, and engagement with other people (whew!). I’ll also probably post occasionally about things in my personal life, like running or travel. I’d love to see this site become a way to connect with other people who share my interests and want to talk or work together.

So thanks for coming by, and welcome to amybucherphd.com!