GHDR Review 10: End of 2011 Review

This is the final Groundhog Day Resolution Review (GHDR) post for 2011, when Holiday Madness officially kicks in here at Dave Central. It’s been an oddly dissatisfying month after what was a very productive November.

Impressions

I steadfastly continue to refuse to establish a routine, even though I know that routines help maintain a steady pace. When left to my own devices, my days tend to go either really fast or really slow. The fast days are productively hyper-focused. The slow days are spent recovering. This exacts a heavy toll on my sleeping schedule, with the major casualty being my sense of connection to humanity.

If I assume that this is OK, then what I need is a some kind of landmark to point me in the right direction. It’s got to be lively and open 24 hours, a place that always has room for me at the counter and a menu guaranteed to please my palate.

I’m not sure what that landmark or hangout will be, but it doesn’t currently exist. I can possibly combine multiple informational sources into one destination. It probably would live in my web browser, since I am constantly online. This was one of the goals of developing a software application for task tracking, which is ongoing but not a priority at the moment.

Goal Review

I declared it to be becoming financially self-reliant through my own applied creativity. The conclusion I drew last month was that it has taken a long time to figure out and accept what that entails. This month, I am starting to accept how long it takes to build a self-sustaining system, when you are building something from one’s own personal store of knowledge. This doesn’t just apply to business, either. It applies to learning how to do anything for the first time. It is long and frustrating work.

It’s also important to remind myself of the following:

  • Business and Commerce are not the source of my joy. However, I see the mastery of business principles is necessary if I want to maintain freedom of creative and personal expression.

  • The process of figuring out how to apply these insights to my own peculiar set of values and hangups is part of the creative struggle. This is a good thing, because in the end, working through frustration breeds solutions that did not exist before.

There are multiple ways to overcome frustration, too. It’s worth writing down:

  • Pay someone to do it. Requires ample cash.
  • Follow a recipe that someone else has created, and accept the results. Requires a bit of luck to find a good recipe.
  • Explore and observe through trial and error, until you have found what you wanted to know. Requires perseverance and a discerning eye.
  • Give up, and come back to it later when you have something new to try.

What Got Done

My logs, which are usually copious, are stunningly sparse. A lot of what I did were not on the books. That’s because my sleeping schedule has gone crazy, and I have been sleeping very long hours. The rest of the time has gone to retainer-based client work and email. A reader pointed out that it might be Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome (SADS). I suppose it’s possible.

Revenue Related Activities

There have been more inquiries into work this month. Some of it is coming from ongoing client relationships. The rest of them break down into new web, graphic design that has come through the website. This requires me to be a bit more strict with my scheduling, as I’ve found that 7AM to 10AM is the best time for me to tackle the toughest problems, before I read email. It has been difficult to adhere to this schedule, though, because of my recent run of erratic and long sleeping hours. This is where the money is coming from to sustain. The personal projects are related to my goal of financial independence through application of creativity. Specifically, through product making and merchandising:
  • Continued tweaking of the e-commerce for selling ETP pads in Europe.
  • Moving the 4×6 StickyPad ETPs forward
  • Making blocks of my time available for consultation
There are also activities related to personal strategy and visibility on the Internet, which creates new connections with people I haven’t yet met. Those activities include:
  • Blogging / Writing / Website Improvement
  • Maintaining Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook postings
And lastly, there are the activities that give me some feedback throughout the day:
  • Web Analytics
  • Personal referrals and in-person meetings
  • Email with Readers
I think that covers everything that’s on my mind.

Blogging Highlights

This was a light blogging month, but what I did post was fairly useful stuff:
  • Announcements about the european store
  • Links to useful articles I found on the Internet
  • 2012 Compact Calendar release, with several new features
  • 4×6 StickyPad ETP design discussion
  • A new version of the Fast Book Outliner
That’s really it. Just 9 blog posts on the main blog, but web traffic overall has been a bit above average. The main blog on davidseah.com is increasingly about things that are of potential interest use to readers, and less about what I’m thinking and learning. That’s what the process journals are for, though:
  • A stab at compiling a Windows C# and WPF Application to understand how it works
  • An evening of figuring out music theory through critical listening and signal theory, by banging on piano keys and seeing how I react to them.
  • The “Limbo Brain” series in my stream-of-consciousness journal, which chronicles my low-energy state that may be due to SADS.
  • Some design notes on shrinking the ETP design
So I’ve done some interesting things this month, but nothing that will pay off any time soon. The great struggle right now is sleep schedule.

Projects

As I mentioned above, there were several new products made:
  • ETP 4×6″ StickyPad Design
  • 2012 Compact Calendar
  • WP-Ecommerce configuration
  • New version of the Fast Book Outliner
Two of these are related to money making, while the other two are examples of foundational design work that was on my mind. I also laid the groundwork for photography-related work, which will support the blogging and document writing:
  • Cut and painted various pieces of wood to serve as backdrops
  • Researched and ordered a Century Stand with Boom to help with the lighting setup

People

I have been a bit withdrawn compared to last month:
  • Did a podcast
  • Hosted a Geek Lunch
  • Attended a birthday party dinner
  • Skyped with a couple clients
  • Google Waved with Colleen Wainwright (weeks 98 to 102!)
  • Visited Diane Vautier to talk shop about selling goods and entrepreneurialism on a personally-achievable level
That’s pretty much it. Didn’t go anywhere or do anything. OH, I did renew Star Trek Online on December 8th to see what was new in Season 5. I’ve reconnected with a few people there. Oh, DUH:
  • Cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Had family and friends over for 5 days
That’s where a huge chunk of energy went. I was totally drained for the following three days.

Upcoming Chores

These are things that make improvements in my day-to-day operations. One big realization is that I don’t associate an effective working environment with working at home…I always escape to Starbucks to do the critical thinking work. I need to fix that.
  • Christmas shopping
  • Christmas decorating
  • Create a better work shrine or methodology for working focused at home
This doesn’t include things like doing the dishes, vacuuming the house, and so on. Those activities are good for clearing my head.

Qualitative Assessment

I guess I DID get stuff done this month, though my initial feeling was that I was slacking off. I’d completely forgotten about Thanksgiving, for example. I’d say there are three issues that have been coloring my impression:
  • The erratic sleeping and lack of energy
  • Not writing things down as accomplishments as they happen to maintain context
  • Frustration with lack of progress since last month on the software and design projects
I need to remember last month’s reminders:
  • POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE gives energy. It’s as easy as having gratitude for all the things that are wonderful in the world, and how lucky I am to be a part of it.

  • CONTROL MENTAL FATIGUE by getting up so early that you can see the sun rise. This does wonders for me, if I’m not exhausted from lack of sleep. I think I should make that a goal for the month.

Quantitative Assessment

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p>It’s time to do the numbers, starting with the financial side. Incomewise, they are holding steady from last month:

Product Projected Revenue Actual Revenue Notes
AdSense $70 $0 Last month was $170.
ETP pads $400 $519.26 Holding steady
PDF 12-pack Cals $5 $0 I took these off, since it’s almost 2012
PDF A5 7Task ETP $20 $10 4 orders. Up from 1.
PDF A5 5Task ETP $10 $10 3 orders. Up from 1.
Donation $10 $5 BUPKES.
Simple Websites II $100 $0 Haven’t been pushing it
ETP Pads EU ??? €0 No sales
Gun Safety 11×8.5 ??? 0 Haven’t taken the class yet that I could evaluate market for this

Looking over this, I’m reminded of things I haven’t thought about in a while. Simple Websites II…is it time to resurrect that? What about the Gun Safety Posters? They should be an easy make-and-sell. What’s holding me back? And then there’s the ideas for new products that I should have ready for January 1, based on the ETP and Compact Calendar.

This Month’s Web Traffic

Month Pages Uniques Notes
June 92K 26K From Mint
July 85K 25K From Mint
Aug 104K 30K From Mint
Sep 114K 34K From Mint
Oct 107K 33K From Mint
Nov 104K 35K From Mint

Holding steady. I am seeing a surge, though, this month from all the calendar traffic. And I have noticed that when I post, traffic does go up. There is quite a bit of organic search traffic coming through on any given day.

A thought I had earlier: I might take down traffic generating posts that add nothing to my online presence. For example, the Mac Decals page gets a lot of traffic for really no good reason. It badly skews my analytics. I should remove it and see what kind of effect it has. A dip back to August levels. Statistically significant? It’s a net difference of 7K pages. This might have been due to the spike from a Polish productivity site, or perhaps in September there were a LOT of people looking for new calendars for the school year.

The End of the Year

This concludes the 2012 Groundhog Day Resolutions Season. I’m going to change things up a bit, though, and do my year analysis on January 1st in preparation for Groundhog Day Resolutions 2012 on February 2nd.

I think I’ve started to get some momentum going for 2011, and I’ve laid down the groundwork for a better 2012. For now, though, I’ve got to focus on finishing client projects and preparing for holiday madness.

Whew.

UPDATE: Here are some other Groundhog Day Resoloution Wrapups! Posting them as I find them (tell me about yours if you have one:)

  • Stephen Smith – it’s interesting to see how someone else has broken down their goals. Stephen is more concrete than me in identifying specific tasks.

All 2011 Groundhog Day Resolution Posts