Resolutions Review #10: Shifting to Gathering Model of Productivity

Resolutions Review #10: Shifting to Gathering Model of Productivity

It’s the last Groundhog Day Resolutions Review of the year! Time to do a preliminary recap of the year’s progress toward my goals, then I’m taking a break until next year February 2.


If you recall from last month, I had two major realizations that I outlined in the November report that may have been related to the frustration I have been feeling:

  1. My desire for improved connection with people had a subtly poisonous aspect: I have been looking for reliable sources of quality interaction, but had subconsciously allowed it become a wish for affirmation and feedback.
  2. Childhood feelings of being an outsider still lingered in the form of an absolutist fallacy, in which I thought that people who were not “100% matches” in goals and focus could not connect meaningfully with me because they would not like what I was doing in a heartfelt way.

These are unproductive attitudes that put me into a holding pattern of “waiting for something good to happen” when it was EXTREMELY UNLIKELY that conditions would align themselves perfectly. Therefore, I made the following changes to my personality belief matrix.

  • I no longer expect that I’ll find the “right” people to be a catalyst for my own projects. While it would be great if I found such people, it’s unlikely to happen and “waiting for it” is therefore unproductive.
  • I no longer believe what I’m doing is so hard to connect with. Instead of looking for incredibly high matches in personality and values, I instead embrace what connections emerge.

I’m now seeing my connectedness with people less as a “source of energy” and more as a “network of shared excitation”. In such a network, every person shares a spark of connection and has the desire to stay in touch with the others. My role within the network is to be excited or to excite others, with my peculiar reactions/responses being the manifestation of my “Daveness”.

With these insights, I am feeling considerably less frustrated and am experiencing a kind of peace…woohoo! However, I’m still bedeviled by the challenge of getting hard project tasks done. Since the last review, I’ve only spent maybe a couple of days working directly on the website rebuilding project! Sure, my dad was visiting until two weeks ago, but my lack of progress on life-sustaining activities that generate income bothers me quite a lot. This is IMPORTANT! Why am I not more motivated to do something good for myself?


Since I’ve eliminated “people as energy” as a fix to the motivation problem, I’ve been working on another approach: defining my work by incorporating my natural proclivities into some kind of benchmark set of job-related tasks and roles.

I started writing about “job description” in this post, the gist of which is recognizing that I have always disliked working by myself and this is unlikely to change, so I had better figure out a way to convert my self-interested personal projects into something that has broad appeal. This is a major concession to admit that I don’t have enough willpower by myself to tackle those big projects solo. I suppose there is no shame in it.

Additionally, I’ve spent some time framing what I ALREADY do every day into part of the job description:

  • I spend quite a bit of my day working on my WHATS UP DAVE livestream and participating in our virtual coworking chat room. This creates daily continuity and a point of connection with people on the Internet.
  • I’ve decided to stop judging the quality of my work using goal- and time-based metrics. Instead, I am starting to commit more to “gathering-style” productivity as my system, trusting that my natural urge to improve my lot in life will keep me roughly on-track.
  • I’ve found my Happy Bubble Time mentality to be helpful, as this shifts my mind from “waiting for something to be done” to “puttering around and seeing what happens”.

The “Happy Bubble Time” mentality is the latest productivity mechanic that I’m testing with respect to my own work. It’s as easy as just ensuring that my body is in the right physical space with the right tools in front of me; I trust that my powers of analysis will kick in and the body will follow. We shall see if this works!


So I’ve finished the year with a bunch of new insights, but very little of the “hard” work on ecommerce and content management system building was completed. Here were the original three directives from February 2017:

  1. Doing fulfilling creative work that pays for household expenses and research interests.
  2. Have regular energizing connections and collaborations, so I don’t get bored or lonely.
  3. Share what I discover, learn and create with people who have compatible values, principles, and research interests.

I have actually done pretty well with (2) and (3), so it’s (1) where I’ve been underperforming. I think the success there is entirely bottlenecked by my inability work by myself on stuff like to “boring” marketing materials. If I make any significant dent in the website and other difficult technical projects, I’ll consider myself a fortunate person.

I’m going to end this draft here; I may add more detail as needed.

About this Article Series

For my 2017 Groundhog Day Resolutions, I'm challenging myself to pursue mindblowing productive synergy as a way to energize myself to do those boring (but necessary!) foundational projects like "making a living". All the related posts are gathered on the 2017 Groundhog Day Resolutions page.


  1. Mary 7 years ago

    My husband, daughter, and I all have moments (or days or weeks) where we are doing work because someone is paying us. We would NOT do it as an unpaid volunteer.

    It seems to help us push onward. Maybe you can adapt that for your paid work. “I’m doing this because someone is paying me. It’s not for fun. It’s for money. “


    • Author
      Dave Seah 7 years ago

      Hi Mary! Thanks for the food for thought! I think there are a couple other hurdles to overcome to get to that clarity for me, personally speaking. First of all, it’s not directly paid work, but work that may pay off (essentially, spec work) in creating and developing things to be sold by me. I find this a bit less attractive, but it’s a necessary step to achieving financial self-sufficiency without having to work for someone else. A second hurdle is not being part of a team (or family) with the same self-preservation goals and mutual interests as a social unit. You appear to have both a someone who pays and a team unit. I have neither and have to generate my own possible future pay day, so I need to find some alternative means of motivation!

      Money by itself doesn’t motivate me very much beyond the very minimum to survive. On one level it disgusts me that I can’t find the will to do so in myself, but having the insight that perhaps it’s that I just don’t like working by myself gives me some hope that I can find a workaround! I hope that makes more sense.

  2. Eric Beaty 7 years ago

    So is this blog post different from what you’ve listed in your official “GHD Resolutions in 2017” post, because I’m only seeing through November there?

    I also fall in this same category of working alone. I see my favorite YouTubers constantly collaborating in daily and weekly videos on various topics (the YA Wordnerds are a prime example). They live in different areas of the world, yet they can somehow manage to make videos and content consistently. These, in turn, help to promote their own work which, also in turn, increase sales and notoriety.

    Yet, in the back of my mind I think thoughts like: “But how could this possibly work in my situation?” “What would we even have in common?” “What if I have nothing meaningful or practical to say?” Bah humbug! It’s all resistance and it will only be overcome by diving in headfirst and taking a chance. Being and INFJ myself, I’m not very prone to taking risks at my own expense of pride.

    • Author
      Dave Seah 7 years ago

      Hey Eric!

      This blog post should be different, but I hadn’t updated the main index post to point to the December listing right away as I wanted to let the article sit for a bit.

      Regarding collaborating YouTubers: I’ve had the thought of making an old-fashion web ring based around the idea of “explore learn build share”, a mantra I had made-up for myself a number of years ago. It didn’t matter what we were doing topicwise, so long as there was a common thread of creating high-quality information with great transparency. I’ve also had the thought that maybe I should actually start reaching out to people to see if there’s common interest from others going down this route. The last time I was in a group like that was the old 9Rules blog network which was for a time the “content is king” exclusive network to be in. It was sold to some content farm group a while ago and is no longer a thing (neither are blog networks or web rings, for that matter).

      I think the way I overcome the resistance of not having anything meaningful to say is to think of every expression as an experiment, which has served me well in just getting things up and out there. However, I’m becoming increasingly aware that this attitude is keeping me from reaching a higher level of polish; for that, I need to have considerably more inspiration/motivation than I can muster by myself.

      If you want to brainstorm about it sometime, let me know and let’s see if anything bubbles up!