(last edited on February 15, 2023 at 12:26 pm)
“Got more done than I thought I had, thanks to the obsessive journaling I do. I am so weird, but somehow I seem to be managing…fingers crossed!”
This month I have more of the same positive feeling, though I’ve also been feeling burned out by the daily grind of trying to do something every day. However, I’ve found livestreaming myself on YouTube to have a surprisingly productive effect on me and my energy levels. I would have thought that livestreaming my bloated face on YouTube would be an invitation to the demons of Anxiety and Uncertainty and possibly being Called Fat. So far these fears have not materialized. I really like streaming; it reminds me of the days when I started blogging, way back in 2005. It’s like I’m dancing like no one’s watching…a good feeling!
But I digress! Read onward for a high-level recap of progress made on my various 2024 goals, and see what I’m looking forward to! I’d say the past month went pretty darn well!
WHAT I’M DOING
For those of you who are new to Groundhog Day Resolutions, I set goals on February 2nd and follow up every “month plus 1 day” (e.g. March 3, April 4, May 5, etc.) to review progress.
This year’s goals are:
- To have a neat side business like a magic wand shop, but selling stationery and cool productivity tools. It’s also my long-term retirement plan! Passive income!
- To push forward on personal development goals such as making a video game, composing music, creating a personal illustration style, and so on. These are described on my 2024 goals page.
- To expressing what I love and share what I discover, connecting with like-minded people.
So how did it go?
I also discovered that I really like video streaming live as I’m working on my projects. In fact, I’m livestreaming writing this blog post as I’m pushing through it, because I’ve found that talking while I stream helps me focus! And this afternoon…I really didn’t feel like doing any writing. BUT HERE I AM.
WHAT I DID IN MARCH
I did a mix of contract work, daily blogging, and energy management. It was quite tiring toward the end. Here’s a distillation of what got done; the GHDR challenge page has a listing of all the related posts if you’re looking for more detail.
- I visited events and places I usually wouldn’t go to: a psychic fair and a fabric shop. Mind was expanded in unexpected ways!
- I spent a ton of time figuring out how to set up live streaming software on both Mac and PC. I set up Camtasia Studio on Windows, Screenflow on the Mac for regular screen recording, but then I discovered the free open source Open Broadcaster, which is what I’m now using for livestreaming. It hooks into the popular TwitchTV game streaming website, YouTube, and more. Mostly I’ve been using YouTube because Twitch has a lot of ad pre-rolls and it’s a bit annoying.
- Livestreaming has made virtual coworking possible too, though it’s mostly a one-way conversation. Nevertheless, it’s been AMAZING for kicking my butt into gear. Because I seem to like talking about what I’m doing in realtime, livestreaming triggers a positive response in me. This extra boost helps me start hairy projects that I otherwise would procrastinate on for much longer.
- I created a Patreon page as a way to ask for support from people who like what I’m doing. This was a big deal personally because I don’t like asking people for anything, but learning to ask is essential for running one’s niche business/goodies store. At least that’s the way I’d like to do it. LEARNING TO ASK FOR MONEY is a skill I have historically been very bad at.
In the support role, I made a bunch of graphics related to these activities, such as making livestreaming channel graphics that reuse the old DAVE SEAH logo I’ve been sitting on for years. I also produced one form update of the GHDR Goal Tracker I’m using for this year’s Groundhog Day Resolution’s Challenge; I’m particularly happy with this V2 update, which looks like this:
I feel the new design (right) is more exciting! I’d like to see my future form design move more in this direction. This could then lead into new product launches I’m hoping to make this year for sale on Amazon. I still need to collect the funding to make new production runs possible; I did add a Patreon goal unlock at the “$100 reached” level to fund future design work. In general I haven’t charged for modifications that often because it’s too expensive at my regular freelance rates, and I don’t feel good about doing this level of work for a reduced rate.
Another big improvement was made to my office workspace. I replaced an ancient 20″ monitor with a 23″ 1920×1080 HD display that cost only $129 at Best Buy AND included higher-end features like HDMI+DVI+VGA inputs and VESA 75mm mountability. Usually, cheap monitors have only one input and are not mountable. BEHOLD THE SPACE!
What this has allowed me to do is move the Macbook Pro 15 to the left side from the center. The new screen is more usable than I thought as a main monitor, and I actually don’t find its resolution to be too low. A nice bonus is that it’s opened up more space in front of me, which makes it possible to use more notebooks at the same time. The entire desk feels more open too.
I’ve had some really good insights about my working process this month. They roughly fall into three groups:
I like maintaining a positive tone, and I like projecting positivity even more! I feel more empowered and more connected whenever I do this. I had thought of myself as a “shrinking flower grump” before, but letting myself smile more to extend my sense of optimism and well-being has had a transformative effect on myself and I hope others. Having that positive feeling makes it easier to start unpleasant/daunting projects. In hindsight, the positive tone I am actively trying to express now was likely part of the success in past work. I think it’s a larger part than I have previously realized, possibly the MOST IMPORTANT part.
I am easily exhausted by daily process and routine, but I am capable of doing more than I thought. I did a 15-minutes per challenge session last week, hitting six different projects in an afternoon. It was mentally exhausting, but I found I was able to keep going. The livestreaming nature of it seemed to make it bearable, but it was also a novel experience so it may not count; novelty goes a long way toward making any experience bearable (or at least somewhat interesting because it is new to you).
I get energy from seeing what other people are doing, and from sharing what I’m doing in realtime. The livestreaming experiment has (so far) been really eye-opening as I didn’t think I would be comfortable doing it, but my initial interest in the streaming technology got me to test how it worked. When I tried streaming as a way to virtual cowork, something clicked!
There are a lot of other small things I’ve done this month, such as obsessing over the various interconnect adapters for camera and microphone stands (1/4-20, 5/8-27, etc) and researching USB3/Bluetooth interference. I think I’ll put those comments into other blog posts so they don’t clutter up this blog post.
For next month, I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing since it seems to be working. I also am going to try remembering to not think of project goals in huge “that’s gonna take 100 hours” terms. Instead, think “I’m going to work on that project for 15 minutes and see how far that gets me”. This reframing of the same work seems to sit much better with me, and it appeals to my sense of discovery and exploration.
The most stressful upcoming task is planning another trip to Taiwan to finish some dental work my Uncle Ezra started and get some family time in as well. Dad lives Taichung City in central Taiwan, and I’ve been trying to get over my childhood fear of getting around by myself in a country where I can’t converse or read the local language BUT LOOK LIKE I SHOULD. I realized I feel a deep sense of shame about it, so changing that mentality is a deep river of old fears to dredge up.
Wish me luck! See you next month!