• Project Updates and Insights for July 2016

    July 25, 2016

    Lazy Cat I’ve been having a lazy few months, working through a depressive funk by taking a break from systematic, scheduled, productivity-oriented thinking. Quite a lot of time was devoted to family and household matters versus work and business. I think I’m coming out of the funk and regaining a sense of positivity. Here’s a hodge-podge of updates, with lots of pictures of food! (more…)

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  • Groundhog Resolutions Review #5 (July 2016)

    July 7, 2016

    I know I said that I was closing down the blog, but in the meantime it is where I am posting my Groundhog Day Resolutions, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t continue to do so. The eventual plan is to resurrect the website organized around projects, not blog posts. I am also planning to migrate away from WordPress to a “static site generator” called Metalsmith. WordPress just has not been very joyful to use for a long time, particularly with the number of hackers and spammers that try to break into the site every day. It’s also gotten quite slow, even on fast server hardware. I’m ready to get rid of it.

    Anyway, if you’ve been following my Groundhog Day Resolutions journey this year, you’ll know that it started with grand plans for daily progress but collapsed around April as I was preparing for my trip to Taiwan for four weeks. This does not mean I have given up on my resolutions completely, however. I’ve been taking the time to reflect upon what is really bothering me. In the meantime, I’ve chosen not to push myself too hard.

    What was on my plate for June

    The goals that I defined in my Goal Tracker V2 still stand. However, in my last review I felt that I had too much other stuff going on to really focus on them. Today, I think there are three main issues I’m dealing with.

    1. I am not satisfied with the quality of my creative output, which is frustrating.
    2. I am also frustrated with my current working environment and sense of creative isolation.
    3. I have a lot of intense programming work to do, which demands my full attention AND demands creative isolation

    I’ve decided to focus on completing the living room cafe project, which is about making my home office much more conducive to project collaboration and coworking. I’m not really sure if it will help, but finishing this project—it’s coming up on a year since I started this conversion—will bring a sense of closure. I am also hopeful that having a comfortable and inviting space will help break the creative isolation, as I will be able to host my own private events.

    That said, I’m still having trouble dealing with the third issue. I’m feeling isolated creatively from other people who like to do what I do. However, to do the programming work requires creative isolation for me to do the work. It’s very demanding and requires my full attention, and I don’t want to “go in the box” so to speak. It’s quite a conundrum. I have in the past used livestreamed coworking to break the feeling of isolation, but the current work is exceedingly boring and I don’t think is of interest to anyone. It’s not even that interesting to me. Plus, my living room is a mess again and streaming from this location creates more stress.

    New Unplanning System

    Since I was feeling overwhelmed with the number of projects, I tried creating a new tracking system that is loosely inspired by Mark Forster’s AutoFocus System.

    NotebookThe RulesSome recent entries

    I’ve been feeling very anti-planning these days, and thought that perhaps I could just focus on tracking just the things that were “necessary but boring”. That is the idea behind the notebook. Every day, I write down something that I didn’t want to do for one reason or another. It’s exactly the system I need for right now; I don’t have the energy to do anything more. And things do seem to be getting done, at least. As more unpleasant tasks are getting taken care of, I am feeling lighter in spirit. I’ve been doing this for about a month, and it’s providing me with the bare minimum of disciplined focus. It’s been still difficult to start these tasks.

    Plans for July

    In my original Groundhog Day Resolutions schedule, I make the month of July an OPTIONAL month. The summer is short in New England, and July is that time of year when one takes the greatest advantage of the sunny weather. I sort of took June off already, but I think I will continue on with it. There are three main goals:

    • Contract Work — getting at least 40 focused hours into the project would be great.
    • Living Room Cafe — Finish painting the walls, move the computer standing desk downstairs, clean up the downstairs and put a futon bed there, soft open with co-working event in August.
    • Take Care of Chores — accounting, continue to take junk to the dump and to Good Will, continue to organize and optimize all spaces in the house, get the home maintenance out of the way for the hot water heater, windows that need replacement, car detailing, doctor visits and tests, etc.

    Bonus goals would be releasing new ETP products on Amazon along with transitioning my WordPress site to Metalsmith and relaunching, but I am going to have to prioritize the above main goals. I don’t seem to have the energy to deal with all of it this month.

    About this Article Series

    For my 2016 Groundhog Day Resolutions, I'm challenging myself to make something goal-related every day from February 2nd through December 12. All the related posts (and more!) are gathered on the Challenge Page.

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  • Virtual Coworking Updates

    June 10, 2016

    Virtual Coworking I’ve just created a Virtual Coworking with Dave information page to describe the various ways that one can participate in this experimental community. Coworking, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is a kind of “intentional community” of people who are independent workers (freelancers, contractors, entrepreneurs) who work in the same physical space to have more interaction with like-minded individuals; read about it on Forbes and Harvard Business Review for the mainstream perspective on this trend.

    I haven’t found a coworking space that fits my needs and pocketbook, so I am trying to make a “virtual workspace”. There’s two main parts to the approach:

    • I’m livestreaming projects on my YouTube Channel, which is like “being in the room with me” as I blather on about my work. People seem to like having the video play in the background as they work, and can optionally interact with me via the YouTube chat window.

    • I made an open chatroom on the popular video game chat system Discord, which is free and has voice chat built-in (nice for audio-only hanging out). I’m in this room when I’m livestreaming too.

    I’m just getting this virtual coworking thing off the ground, but I am finding I do like livestreaming and will very likely stick with it. I think it could be a nice way for people to meet and talk about what they’re working on.

    Check out the Virtual Coworking with Dave page for more information. I know this is a somewhat weird project to many people, so feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I’ll try to explain it further.

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  • Changing Directions; Intellectual Nomadism

    June 7, 2016

    This is a revisitation of my June 6 Groundhog Day Resolutions Review post, restructured to clarify why I need to shut down the blog as it currently exists while embracing a seemingly less-responsible model of conducting my business.

    This post follows a number of insights I had on my recent trip to Taiwan. I start with the original goals and expectations I had for going on the trip in the first place, which didn’t quite go the way I imagined. By chance I happened to watch several television shows that put emphasis on “being weird” as a principled approach to life. After combining those new insights with past patterns of behavior, I come to the unexpected conclusion that I need to be less disciplined, less time aware, and less task oriented. (more…)

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  • Groundhog Resolutions Review #4 (June 2016)

    June 6, 2016

    Hong Kong International Airport I’m back in the United States after a month of visiting family in Taiwan, and it’s time to review my Groundhog Day Resolutions in the context of that trip! I had originally thought that I would be stretching my wings as a “digital nomad”, getting work done remotely and exploring the language and culture while spending time with my dad. To my surprise, the time spent abroad was far less about testing my mettle in exploration as it was about re-examining my priorities. A big takeaway is that I am going to close down the blog because it’s no longer working for me. Everything comes to an end, and I’m hoping that something else arises in its place. I have some ideas about this, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s review my Groundhog Day Resolution Goals, and then examine what I’ve learned from my Taiwan trip. (more…)

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