Groundhog Day Resolutions 12/12/2012: Closing the Year

Groundhog Day Resolutions 12/12/2012: Closing the Year

Last month’s GHDRR post was much briefer than previous reports, merely listing what I got done based on my “What Got Done” Trello board. What I liked about this was that it didn’t end up taking all day to think through, and it gave me the sense that things did happen. And that’s good enough for me, now that I have been doing a daily 15-minute ritual in the mornings to help me maintain clear continuity in my activities.

Trello Got Done On a side note, this particular board is exclusively for finished weeks, which is why the 12/14 list isn’t showing on it. More details after the jump!

Here’s what I got done on the work-related front:

  • Sent out a biggish invoice
  • Handled a request for refund of an advance
  • Tried on behalf of another client (sourced in USA)
  • Managed freelance PHP programmer
  • Progress made on iPad ETP, then backburnered project
  • Started 15-minute-a-day co-hangout with friend in Campfire to unstick personal projects
  • Attended two board meetings for two non-profits
  • Finished video compositing/assembly for friend’s upcoming kickstarter, getting familiarized with AfterEffects + Premiere workflow again
  • Wrote URL scraping and filtering tools to automate a server move for friend
  • Ordered 1008 new ETP pads for Amazon
  • Set up dedicated photography shoot area in basement w/ off-camera studio lighting
  • Began review of past seven years of “blog->business” goal from 2005
  • Started taking photos of the productivity forms to make snazzier listings on Amazon
  • Started rewriting copy on the Productivity Page
  • Partially updated the page templates on so it is easier to install custom scripts
  • Familiarized myself with more jQuery-based fancy plugins
  • Snuck onto Dribbble
  • New Compact Calendar package for 2013 uploaded
  • Started new “Spellbook” programming reference, using InDesign

On the personal side:

  • Hung out with new friends
  • Attended New Hampshire Media Makers with a friend
  • Attended a mysterious craft fair
  • Wrote 58,000 words for NaNoWriMo in 30 days
  • Cooked a family Thanksgiving dinner
  • Hosted a Taiwanese Pai-gu Fan Cooking party after Thanksgiving
  • Hosted a Turkey Business Summit (Thanksgiving revisited!) as a milk-run for future dinner parties
  • Tried cooking Taiwanese-style sukiyake for first time with family
  • Reorganized kitchen and living room so they are slightly better
  • Created a Pai-gu Fan Pork Chop Assembly Line for daily use
  • Installed red WASD keys on my Filco Majestouch Cherry Blue MX keyboard
  • Installed a magnetic knife rack…woot!
  • Got a Christmas tree!
  • Leveled up three battleframes in Firefall, an MMO shooter my friend Mark has been working on for a few years. It’s wonderful to see it coming along.
  • Read Jordan Mechner’s hugely inspirational The Making of Prince of Persia journals.

Studio SetupLooking back on this, it hasn’t been a bad month. I bolded the items that seemed most significant above; here’s a few more details:

Using a freelance project service like is a big step for me learning how to better delegate and embrace management as necessary.

I finally set up the dedicated photography area in my basement, which will help me take better-quality pictures more quickly. This is necessary for taking better product photos for Amazon, and will help liven-up the blog itself. My good photographer friend Sid Ceaser told me how to set it up, and then I applied what I have been learning from his off-camera lighting workshops. Here’s a few test shots using the new setup (right):

Card Block TestPork Chop RiceLamy Al-Star Pen

Since deciding to embrace programming as a necessary evil magic, I’ve started doing more code projects. I actually do kind of like it if I give myself the time to put together my own programming spellbooks to make it more manageable.

One new programming task that I haven’t added is related to the iOS ETP App, which has been delayed indefinitely due to issues outside our control. However, with my renewed commitment to programming I may be diving into the development more directly with the help of my friend Al. This is a lot to take on, a new programming environment, but Al has a working code base and with a few weeks of study I might be able to get it moving again. We’ll see.

By far, the most exciting changes have come about from the 7-year review of the Dave Seah blogging-to-work experiment, finishing NaNoWriMo, and starting the new daily 15-minute habit hangout to set the tone of the day. With this, I have started to see some changes in the way I do my work that are quite promising. While I don’t know yet if the new habits will stick, I deeply feel that they are fundamental shifts in my perspective that help me maintain a better attitude and better engagement with my project work. Fingers crossed!

ADDED AFTER PUBLISHING – It’s interesting to me that the list seems more impressive to me today than it did during the month. Is it because during the month, I’m more aware of how much time I’m spending NOT being productive? At the end of the month, I’m looking BACK and seeing each accomplishment qualitatively, in the context of adding effort to my overall strategic goals; I have forgotten how much time I think I wasted, because it’s hard to remember specifically what I did every day for how long. While I keep timesheets in Excel, I only maintain them that for billable projects, which doesn’t account for everything.

Moving Forward to 2013

12/12 is the very last Groundhog Day Resolution Review of the year. I now take a break from them until February 2, 2013, so I can participate in the madness of the end-of-the-year. However, my next-step planning will continue in the ongoing A Quiet Reflection on Failure series. I’m looking forward to writing part IV; you can pick the thread up at part III if you somehow missed it.

The takeaway, in context with all the reflection I’m doing is that “stuff IS getting done”. Just a week ago, I wasn’t so sure, because it seemed to happen so slowly and I have a terrible memory for what I get done. Thanks to Trello, though, I have a low-drag accomplishment log that falls out of using it for visual project scheduling. It does seem like my goals, methods, and systems are starting to come together.

Groundhog Day Resolution Posts for 2012

Here are other posts about Groundhog Day Resolutions for the 2012 season.