Groundhog Day Resolution Review 7/7/2009

Yes, it’s July 7th, the official mid-year Groundhog Day Resolutions review day. It is also Tanabata, the Japanese Star Festival, when you get to write down your wishes on streamers of paper and hang them on bamboo trees. It’s time for some wish review.

Progress for the past month

Last month I had distilled my goals down to two basic activities:

  • Assemble a Collective
  • Create Something Every Day

These activities spawned a set of tasks:

  • Continue to hold Collective meetings for local energizing.
  • Get involved in other people’s projects by knowing what they are doing
  • Resurrect the stalled freelancer network project, but this time I will apply the criteria I describe to create a dossier of freelancers based on my own assessments and personal interviews.
  • Chip away at the description of what I do, but from a connection-making perspective.

Looking back at the last month, I can’t say that I made a lot of progress, but then again I didn’t create dates and deliverables for them either. I trusted instead that natural energy would flow. This was generally successful, given the number of meetings and shower thinking sessions I’ve had. However, it doesn’t feel entirely successful because I can’t point to anything that is finished. That violates the principle of create and show stuff that is the unofficial bedrock of my personal philosophy. This is the natural enemy of talk and hand wave, an approach I despise, but have apparently sunken into. Damn.

The Immediate Road Ahead

"Cards" I’ve continued to test the Task Cards as a project memory device, and I’ve noticed that they tend to fall into the following categories.

  • “Would be Cool” Projects
  • Collective-Collaboration Projects
  • Active Projects and Deliverables
  • Business Infrastructure and Collateral Creation
  • Habits and Household Maintenance
  • To-dos, Errands, and Schedulables
  • Collaboration Seeking / Networking / Social engagements

I’ll split these up into different groups while refactoring:

The Creative Group

  • “Would be Cool” Projects –> these are the innovative revenue-generating projects
  • Collective-Collaboration Projects –> these are the ones that involve other people
  • Active Projects and Deliverables –> these are the ones that pay the bills

The Business Group

  • Business Infrastructure and Collateral Creation –> these would increase the flow of new business and project opportunities, as one major bottleneck is
  • Collaboration Seeking / Networking / Social engagements –> these use the items created to create reasons for people to get together

The Maintenance Group

  • Habits –> the development of efficient patterns to make better use of my time and energy
  • Household Maintenance –> the minimum level of maintenance to ensure that the house is presentable
  • Accounting –> keeping track of not just money, but of time and effort so I know what my position is
  • To-dos, Errands, and Scheduled Events –> the sundry chores that require my direct interaction

The Fun Group?

I have purposefully left out all the “fun” things that I do, such as meeting with friends, riding the scooter, and writing this blog. Perhaps it is a mistake to leave these out, not because I should “make sure I have fun”, but because they exist outside the system and are above the law. That creates problems for the rest of the system.

"Carburetor" I’ve been starting to delve into the inner workings of my scooter’s 2-stroke engine. Unlike its 4-stroke cousin, the 2-stroke engine hacks four distinct phases of combustion into a couple of blurry states of exploding more or exploding less. That it works at all is kind of amazing, and by analogy I identify with this more. 4 stroke engines are quieter, more consistent in power delivery, and pollute far less in the process despite their added mechanical overhead. Part of me aspires to that kind of orderly efficiency, but it could be that I’m a buzzy oil-burning 2-stroke by nature. 2-strokes seem more impatient about the process of generating power, so they get it done in a hurry, without apology to the environment. But I digress.

A Matter of Simplification and Willpower

As impatient as I am, I need to make some progress. Now that I have my tasks sorted into index card form, there’s no reason not to apply some focus to get them done. CricketB noted in a comment on yesterday’s post that adrenaline is required for generating focus, which was news to me. And here I was trying to calm myself down so I would be in a state of peacefulness before I start. I wonder if the calm approach works for other people.

I’m also thinking that I can apply some of that crunch time methodology from yesterday’s post. Here it is again:

  1. Clear my schedule. Make warning calls. Nothing else matters.
  2. Provision the office with plenty of refreshing beverages.
  3. Throw everything on my desk in a box.
  4. Set up my development environment with shortcuts. Back up everything else.
  5. Get the music, crank it up, and start pushing.
  6. When tired, drink water, go for a walk.
  7. When tired again, take a shower, go for a walk and maybe eat something light.
  8. When tired again, go to the hot caffeinated beverages.
  9. If necessary, take a 2-3 hour nap. Do not exceed 4 hours.
  10. Repeat cycle once from step 5.
  11. At 48 hour mark, make detailed description of next steps, then go into deeper sleep. That way, it’s easier to remember where I left off after having slept.
  12. If I have to, repeat the cycle again.

Combining this with the generation of adrenaline might be very effective. At least it will be fun to try.

Additionally, for the 8/8 review I’ll want to be able to point to things that definitely got done and are generating energy by themselves, without my direct intervention. The idea has always been to create generators and concentrators of energy. Blog posts count, because anyone can read them at any time without me having to get out of bed. Software counts. Downloads count. Online stores count. Websites for my friends count. Those are all tangible and visible, and they create energy in the form of connecting great people with (1) other great people or (2) great ideas; here I define greatness as that which inspires passion-driven acts of creation.

Although I grow tired of constantly reporting a lack of major progress, I am certainly getting to explore a lot of different approaches to wasting time :-)