Small Steps toward Music Goals (GHD007)

Small Steps toward Music Goals (GHD007)

"Podcast Setup" Monday was the first day of putting my fancy new TRACKER into action. I went down to the office at 7AM and printed out an Emergent Task Timer (ETT, not the ETP) to see how that worked out for the day along with my goal tracking; I wasn’t sure if it would be a productive day or not, but I was determined to give it a go. Got a few things done. Getting used to the idea of not trying to finish everything at once…a hard expectation to break myself from. What made it a bit easier was recognizing that the goal I selected, “compose a song”, was going to take a LOT of learning.

The Choice: Music Composition

One of my 2024 goals is to compose a piece of music. As I don’t play an instrument or have any formal music education, this feels like a real stretch goal. I’d tried taking piano lessons a few years ago, but hit the same rut that I had when I was a little kid: I wanted to know all the “why” behind everything before starting it. Lately I’ve decided that there’s probably no harm in applying an outsider art approach to see what happens. I have a relatively good sense of pitch, have been learning to sing at Piano Karaoke, and have a buttload of digital audio software and recording hardware from other projects. So let’s just see what happens, I say!

Of course, this is easier said than done…how do I start? I figured maybe the first thing to do would be just to gather all the stuff into a pile, which is something I needed to do anyway for recording the podcast I do with my photographer friend Sid now that I’ve moved all the gear back home before his upcoming studio move. The problem was that my recent decluttering had left me with 20 boxes of books to move out of the way, and I’d been too lazy to deal with it.

After making a bunch of excuses and puttering around, which became glaringly obvious as I plotted my hours on the ETT, I shot a “before” video and moved the boxes. Then I went and got all the microphones and gear from the basement, and did a test arrangement. This took about an hour and fifteen minutes, and none of it is hooked up yet, but I’m calling this a 10-point result under the “it helps me get to the next goal” categorization. I’m also awarding myself some points for “overcoming resistance” and “reducing the scope of work to get something done”. That’s like 15 points! Woo hoo! Not a bad day after all!

Unfortunately, I didn’t do any billable work today, and I think finding the balance between goals work and paying work will be a challenge. Perhaps I need to do an hour or two of billable work first, and save the goals work for the evening.

GHDR Process Additions

I used the Emergent Task Timer for time tracking today, using the 2013 variation that I was going to make as the next product on Amazon. I didn’t put it into production because I wasn’t 100% sure on the design, so this was a good chance to review it.

Tracking Forms

I had inadvertently printed the very first prototype, and quickly ran into some problems with the positioning of the hour markers and the difficulty in comparing columns of time. So I made an updated 2016 variation that I may put into production this year once I’m able to do a printed color proof…I really need to fix my printer or get a refurb one exchanged! Anyway, here’s the changes made:

Updated ETT

After I give this version a go I may release it to the ETT page, then get a print run priced by my commercial printer, Papergraphics. Before that I probably need to re-release the full-size ETP pads, which have been out-of-stock on Amazon for a while because they weren’t selling. And then there’s the full-size notebook design! So many things to do…but I have to remember that I can do them one at a time.

I also set up the informal GHDR Review Group Community on Google Plus and sent out invites to those who had expressed interest, so this is now in place! So far there’s no activity on it, but at least it’s there.

New Poster

Engineering Print

I was excited to learn that my color engineering print from Staples was ready for pickup a day earlier than I thought it would be, so I drove out in the snow to pick it up. The cost for a 24×36-inch print on 20lb paper was US$5.89, which was very cheap compared what FedEx Office wanted if they could even do it (it was an underwhelming retail experience). I also got a smaller 18×24-inch print for US$1.89, and it looks great too. These engineering prints aren’t great for photography, but they reproduce business graphics-type documents quite well. I’m going to have to do a lot more of these!

Next Steps

As first days go, this wasn’t bad! I did spend a lot of time in the morning puttering around with email, blog tweaks, and doing dumb things like adjusting the mail filters so they got rid of more newsletters. If I can spend tomorrow morning focused on some programming billable work, I think I would feel pretty good about that.

One question I have is whether posting these daily updates is too much for readers of the website; maybe I should tuck them away somewhere else. Or maybe I should post my daily reports in the informal group (which is private, though) and post only the results on the blog. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I’m curious to hear them! I’m leaning toward just continuing to write what I normally would do, though this flies in the face of accepted digital media wisdom. A more popular approach would be to write short articles with a free download or short takeaway. The long-form, non-topical manner in which I write is not optimal for gaining a lot of links or downloads, but that’s not what I am really looking for. However, there is also something to be said for not wasting readers time, but I also don’t want to shortchange my own process…

Anyway, it’s almost midnight! Gonna hit the sack and try to get an early start tomorrow!

About this Article Series

For my 2016 Groundhog Day Resolutions, I'm challenging myself to make something goal-related every day from February 2nd through December 12. All the related posts (and more!) are gathered on the Challenge Page.


  1. Mary 8 years ago

    “…adjusting the mail filters so they got rid of more newsletters. “

    Why not unsubscribe? I’ve been doing that more and more.

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Mary: I did unsubscribe from a lot of them! There are still about a dozen that I want to get, but not see right in my inbox. I set up the filters to route them to the “forum” category of the Gmail inbox. YAY!

  3. Nacho Jordi 8 years ago

    Hey Dave, answering your feedback request here are my 2 cents…

    I personally enjoy reading not only about the product, but also about the process that took to it. I’m an analytical kind of person, so it is never too ‘fine grain’ for me. Also, as a creative being, knowing about your trials and tribulations encourages my own efforts, it’s like a “fuel” learning about other people doing stuff out there…

    Otoh, to me length is not as important as frequency. I prefer small posts but often, rather than a mega-essay once a month (of course the more content the better, so megaessays are fine too :P).

  4. Shauna 8 years ago

    I love to read about the process, the bumps in the road, the frustrations, the success! I appreciate the daily short article I can read in the morning before I focus on the work stuff. If it were just a long weekly/monthly post, I might not get to it. Plus I am pretty sure that you would be compelled to update the early in the week stuff before you posted the final document so we might loose some of the flow. I enjoy the daily ride.

  5. Helen Clement 8 years ago

    Adding my vote for your continuing the daily updates. Your examination of process has always been interesting and one of the attractions of your blog for me over the years. Also, why complicate matters for yourself (“tuck them away somewhere else”) or exclude part of your audience (everybody not in the private informal group)?

    And the New ETT Prototype looks good.

  6. Mila 8 years ago

    Keep writing these! They are interesting to me, hopefully to more people. The reason I started reading your blog so many years ago, and keep being here is your ability to analyze and expose your process.

  7. Penny 8 years ago

    Another vote here for continuing to share the details of your process. One of the main reasons that I find your blog helpful is that you show us not just success and finished products but also how you develop ideas, expand on them, and even discard some. After I read your posts I feel ready to work. After I read posts by others who only show us their polished results, sometimes I just feel overwhelmed and want to give up. You strike a wonderful balance between quality results and process sharing. That is what makes your blog unique.