It’s 11/11, Veteran’s Day here in the United States. It’s also Groundhog Day Resolutions Review Day, the day in which I do what amounts to a monthly review of my year’s resolutions. The difference is that I set my resolutions on February 2nd, and review them on 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, etc.
I have been reflecting quite a bit on focus and determination these past few weeks, and this reminds me today of the men and women who get things done in wartime. I am not so bubble headed to compare my life, soft as it is, to what soldiers do for their countries, but I do draw inspiration from their dedication and action. There is a choice to do, and then there is commitment and follow through. A lot of what they do will never be fully appreciated by people like me, as I have no personal reference point to truly understand. It is also sobering to thing that I have the luxury of being a procrastinator—and even writing about it—because of the sacrifices others have made to keep our society free. And beyond our veterans, I think of the countless generations of people who uprooted their lives to emigrate, daring to dream big for themselves and their children, to build cities and families and ultimately create this place that is worth fighting and dying for. In the light of these reflections, as I am reflecting tonight, my to do list suddenly seems rather small and insignificant.
Still, I can accept that my to do list is my mission, and though it is a very small part of a very large world, I also know that it’s my role to play on the world stage. It’s a bit part, but I’m contributing to the greater cause just by continuing to do my thing, and to doing it as well as I can. Every task is part of the greater effort to move our collective lives forward, to maintain our personal liberties, and to keep our dreams alive. The trick, I find, is maintaining my momentum by keeping the energy supply lines flowing (logistics), and recognizing that every small step taken is a step toward the goal (morale).
I am a bit tired and weary of the time it’s taken to make progress on just my three goals for the year: I’d hoped to have the Pre-Printed Emergent Task Planner Pads shipped by now, but they have not. This is a project that is close, but not yet closed. There’s one final push to make, but my supply of energy is spread thin across many fronts, and therefore my movements must be cautious lest one of them gives way. But if I’m too cautious, my window of opportunity will close (and there are many other battles to engage, such as updating all my forms and getting the 2008-2009 calendars out) that are competing for time.
Reviewing Last Month’s Goals
Last month I was not happy with the progress I was making on the ETP pads. They are soooo close, but frankly they have been backburnered several times due to a couple major projects, one of which is just kicking off for the entire next year. The first project was actually a bit of UI design work for internal use by the United Nations Development Program Agency, which was quite an interesting project. The project I have going on right now is an interactive space exhibit design for a Holocaust museum, as a member of a small team. Because I greatly value the mission of both these clients, I don’t feel so bad about not making as much progress as I’d have liked, but I do need to remember that one project does not displace the others; it’s so easy to choose the “important” over the “would be nice to do” projects, because we essentially are choosing not to prioritize for ourselves. And that’s the same as not choosing at all. This is a dangerous, reactionary attitude…and it’s easy to fall into.
That said, let’s review my goals for the last time before final check-in on December 12:
- Making Something and Selling It — The Emergent Task Planner Pads. I did create the pack-in instruction sheet, but I don’t have it printed. Once printed, it’s a matter of sending out the final costs via email, getting the money in through PayPal, printing labels, having a packing party, and then mailing everything out. This is actually a pretty significant chunk of work. Our production is split into two locations at the moment, which is part of the challenge.
Building a Social Network — Looking back, I have not actually created a formal network, but I certainly do know more people, and I have a clearer idea of how to create one. I think I can safely close this resolution in spirit, and plan for next year’s goal of establishing more of a community infrastructure. Now that I’ve finally transitioned from WordPress to Expression Engine, I have the technical web underpinnings for adding the integrated forum, wiki, and topic-specific blogs to the mix here at davidseah.com. I’m looking forward to it.
p>There are a few new goals too for 2008, but I’m not going to even worry about them until next year.
So that’s it for the review. On January 1st, I’d like to have a tweaked version of Groundhogs Day Resolutions structured and ready to go. There were many things that worked about this, and a few things that didn’t. For example, the monthly review cycle has forced me to keep some continuity on my goals, and I’ve found that maintaining any continuity at all—that is, being able to follow the narrative of an activity—is a wonderful thing when it comes to being creative. What hasn’t work so well is the last few months of goals; real work has displaced some of them, and the original focus has also been lost. I would say a mid-season review-and-purge of goals is a necessary addition to the system. Or, perhaps a year is far too much time to allocate to your goals.
Check in on December 12 for the Groundhog Day Resolutions Final Review!