2014 Resolutions Review 05: Limited Progress

Ah, it’s time for the 5th Groundhog Day Resolutions Review for 2014!

We’re right in the middle of the short New England summer. Because this time of year is so fleeting, I tend to want to spend my time outside. Not actually outside, mind you, but near it so I can enjoy feeling warm. Actual nature, with its plentiful swarms of mosquitoes and poison ivy lurking along every path, tends to leave me cold. Instead, I celebrate with ice cream and watermelon, wearing flip flops, and generally just enjoying the feeling that things are HAPPENING.

So what happened this past month? Let’s review my goals, and measure my accomplishments.

Last Month’s Goals

To recap, my general goals for the year fall into these four categories:

  1. Take more “first steps”, with less planning. I will trust in my ability to solve problems when I encounter them.
  2. Write and deploy software applications, of any kind.
  3. Share my interests with everyone to see where it goes. Who knows what doorways will be unlocked?
  4. Create better marketing materials for my website and related endeavors.

I also declared June as a month of producing, but it quickly turned into a month of measuring instead. I wanted to know just how much time I spent “taking in energy” versus “putting out energy”. In other words, how much time did I spend CONSUMING pre-packaged goods and services compared the time spend MAKING/PRODUCING useful stuff from scratch? This became an exploration of how I spend my time, and the simple “producing vs consuming” split I have envisioned was a bit more complicated, as I outlined in the post about visualizing how I spent my time. It broke down into these categories:

  • gathering / puttering / producing = net positive energy for the future
  • interact / maintain = maintain energy through maintenance activities so one is at the ready
  • reacting / consuming / chores = draining time or energy through loss of focus, dull tasks, or marching to someone else’s beat.

This was useful data. I discovered I spent about a third of my time during “energy generating / maintaining” tasks. The rest of my time involved tasks consuming, interacting with people, or taking care of other people’s emergencies. A whopping 2/3rds of the consuming time was spent playing WildStar, around 35 hours a week. That’s like a whole ‘nother full-time job! While I’m not very excited about sharing how much time I’ve spent playing this game, the upside is knowing that I have NO EXCUSES as far as time is concerned, to not get off my butt and do some work. While I enjoy playing WildStar, it’s good to be able to choose to do something else.

That insight aside, I haven’t spent time addressing the above four goals with any kind of style or speed. There have been two major projects in my immediate to-do list: software programming for the UCLA project, and getting the internal processes for a local non-profit organization’s website infrastructure in place. In the background, the major distractions were arranging for my health care coverage, handling an unexpected car repeat (dead starter motor), and continuing to oversee a massive paid cleaning effort by my friend Angela. It’s been very slow going on the work front, feeling very distracted. Progress has been CRAWLING, but a week ago I had a tremendous insight. I have been making decisions more reactively, based on feelings and values, and forgetting a whole other side to me which is based on principles and personal truths. The latter is a proactive force, and the former is a correcting action. I need both sides working to activate, which I’ll explain this in an upcoming blog post.

This Month’s Goals

There are a few things that I’d like to make progress on:

  • Software Development – Learn to work in 1 hour chunks, if possible.
  • Work on my website – continue to push it along
  • Work on a new magazine project – This is something I’m doing in the background
  • Add a new product / SKU, or replenish the existing Shipwire warehouse supply that’s stored in Pennsylvania.

Measuring my progress in each of these areas is something that I want to do. I’ll need to think about the visualization.

In Conclusion

This is a short update, as I am very sleepy (going off 3 hours sleep). I think the first order of business will be to try to create some kind of planning ritual that I can namelessly apply.