GHDR Weekly Review 8.3 – The Average Week

An Average Week, like this sad garlic hummus Starting with the question How did the week feel: I declare that the week of October 22-28 felt average, which to me means mediocre and unexciting, and therefore is something of a let down. Nothing big was achieved. I don’t have a sense of closure or victory or achievement. In that sense, it was sort of a sucky week. though I do know that I made progress on work. It was about as satisfying as the extremely average garlic hummus I had from a local Greek Gyro place.

For this GHDR weekly review, I’m using the process I made-up last week:

October Review Checklist

WARNING: This is a very long and overly-detailed report and I think it will be hard to follow. However, I’m keeping it as-is as an example of my process experimentation; I would like to simplify my self assessment but I have to do BAD ONES so I can appreciate the good ones!

1. Gather Activity Data

A. How did the week feel?

It didn’t feel good or bad. It was just there. I logged 14.75 hours of directly-billable work, which meets expectations. I think I could have done MORE work, but the rest of this review will help me evaluate whether that is a realistic expectation or not.

B. Review #Accountability

Here’s what I got done (and didn’t get done) by Sunday evening:

Week starting **MON OCT 22**
...
[X] Do NaNoWriMo Calendar Stream early in week
[~] Get Electron+React+Webpack framework running.
[ ] Get a handle on how to make a good library.
[ ] Design MEME look and feel
[X] Finish Stationery Biz Task List for Brenda
[X] Post GHDR Review from last week
[ ] Look into SHIPSTATION
...
[ ] Call: Sid to see what's going on
[X] MON 1100 Therapist Visit
[X] TUE 1400 Checkin with Jakob
[X] TUE 1700 Electrolysis
[X] WED Drop-off USB Mic for Mason
[X] WED 1200 Music Lunch with Larry D
[X] Call: Doris to schedule (NOV 1)
[>] Call: Doctor for prescription (dep Jen)
[ ] Call: Possible new accountant
[ ] Schedule: Global Entry Interview in Vermont
[ ] Schedule: Vet appointment
[ ] Reconstruct Don, Robert's websites
[1] Cardio 3X + Watch JS Vids
...
/// air conditioning? airbag? win/stuck in #accountability?
/// Jen letter in 2 weeks

LEGEND: [ ]=planned [X]=planned+done [+]=added+done [~]=in-progress !!!=late ///=remember
LEGEND: { }=optional [-]=cancelled [?]=stalled [.]=paused [:]=blocked [>]=pushed [/]=fail

A lot of speculative “would be nice” tasks didn’t get done, but I think that’s OK.

C. Review Calendar, Texts/Posts/Chats, Pics

I reviewed my various messaging and posting platforms to see what I had read and said. Here’s the distilled list:

JAVASCRIPT WORK

  • designed runtime directory structure
  • review electron, node, webpack architecture
  • try several approaches to building new dev framework
  • untangle conflicting implementation and documentation
  • add new standards for eslint, prettier to project
  • write proposed design and create reference wiki pages
  • itemize development workflow stages
  • create new framework prototype, third time’s the charm?

STATIONERY and BLOG WORK

  • Accountant stuff
  • Finished ecommerce homework for consultant
  • Bought replacement microphone cabling
  • Bought smaller paper cutting tool (below left)
  • New Nanowrimo calendars and promotion (below middle)
  • Did second livestream making the Nanowrimo 2018 calendars (below)
  • Update virtual coworking page
  • Hosting duties in chat room
  • Restored missing design.davidseah.com website from backup

A new paper cutterReleased the Nanowrimo Calendars for 2018


PERSONAL – SELF-CARE

  • Monthly therapist meeting
  • Electrolysis
  • Researched boot styles
  • Scheduled wig fitting
  • Plank Challenge 3X 2 minutes
  • Bought new gym shoes (below right)
  • Start 18/8 fasting
  • Korean food rice fix (below left, middle)
  • Compared gyros from Arbys and a local place (bottom bottom left)
  • Watched 4 episodes of THE GOOD PLACE
  • Watched VALERIAN
  • Watched 6 episodes of THE DRAGON PRINCE

Korean Food NightKorean Food NightNew gym shoes to replace 20+ year old ones

Gyro week: Arby'sGyro week: Local


PERSONAL – NOTEWORTHY

  • Strange dreams about upsetting people
  • Waking up early happening a lot, and I like it
  • Acquired new shoe horn and hooks to hang it up
  • Tidied office area, rearranged tables and storage
  • Improved microphone placement and portability

PERSONAL – COMMUNITY

  • Visit friend to loan microphone.
  • Experimental music-making lunch hour
  • Took experimental pineapple cake samples to Joy at the Asian Market
  • Bought mystery sugar (maltose) at Asian Market (below, right)

PERSONAL – HOBBY

  • Adjusted grip of training pistol (below left BEFORE, middle AFTER)
  • Made more pineapple cake filling, adding maltose (below right).

Practice blue training gun with sharp molded detailPractice blue training gun with molded detail shaved awayMystery sugar 'Maltose'


MAINTENANCE

  • Took recycling, large trash items to city dump
  • Started taking apart tomato planter
  • Winterized upstairs windows
  • Cleaned out upstairs closet and shelf

D. Summarize Findings

A lot of things happened. I only remember two things specifically:

  • Answering business-related questions for consultant I’m working with to try to get my ecommerce business moving.
  • Making very slow and unsatisfying progress on programming work, but I do recall making some breakthroughs and writing some notes on my discoveries as late as Saturday.

Everything else I had to look up to be reminded of what happened. It’s a lot. I’m thinking maybe that this week was OK after all. However, there are tasks related to scheduling stuff that I didn’t do, probably because I don’t like scheduling my time when I already feel busy.

2. Assess Activity Data

The two main concerns were JAVASCRIPT WORK and STATIONERY BIZ WORK. I made progress. I didn’t finish anything, but I can’t really complain. I wish I was doing it faster. It’s going to be slow going as I figure out how to build the stuff I need to build.

For my personal stuff, it looks like I averages 3 or 4 different mini projects a day. What I am not seeing getting done are major multi-step projects that require daily concerted effort. I’m seeing a lot of tasks that can be done in an hour or two and be largely finished, or can be set aside.

WEEK GRADE: B

While I don’t REMEMBER the week being particularly great or good, I can see that a lot of things happened. Before I started this review, my impression was that I only worked a small handful of hours and WHERE DID THE TIME GO? Apparently I’ve been more busy than I thought, so I’d say this was a B week.

I wish I’d gotten the programming stuff done, but it’s been more difficult than I thought it would be because I keep thinking that the documentation should make sense. I think I’ve finally disavowed this belief,and have a hypothetical new process:

  1. For a system, look for the best practices, ask around. CAVEAT There are only a small handful of people who can write and design in this way. Don’t assume that the practices you find are going to be good. YOU WILL BE CONFUSED.
  2. Install any tutorial source code and documentation and see if they work. CAVEAT Don’t waste a lot of time on these. Just confirm that they run and go to step 3.
  3. Trace the source code to construct your own SYSTEM MAP of how it is configured, starts-up, and runs. PRO TIP Go to the source code because the documentation is often misleading and out-of-date. In many cases, the tool doesn’t implement workflow in the way I desire.
  4. Write my own system integration guide. This will ensure that I understand what the code does and works as expected. The vast majority of examples I’ve found are useful only AFTER you know what they’re supposed to do and ALREADY understand their idiosyncracies.
  5. Publish the integration guides to the dev team and share on the Internet in case others might benefit.

I’d sort of hoped that things would be better by now in the Javascript world (and they actually are better), but when it comes to me just doing basic learning I need to go this way. I’m not sure if it’s my cognitive limits or bad docs.

I didn’t have a tremendous number of social engagements, and in fact I avoided the optional ones because I wasn’t in a social mood. Limiting social engagements is generally good for me, so I’m glad I am protecting that time.

What would have made the week better? An epic win of some kind, maybe having the entire framework in place. If I can get that done next week, that would be great.

BONUS ASSESSMENT: TIME SPENT ON REPORT

It still took me about 3.5 hours to process all this stuff, and I am skimping on proofreading and editing. IS ALL THIS WORK REALLY NECESSARY?

  • I’m starting to think that it’s not necessary forever.
  • Perhaps once I gain confidence that AM being productive enough, I will stop logging activity at this level of detail.

3. Choose New Targets

CHOOSE ACTIVE PROJECTS BASED ON DESIRE

I really want to get this stupid webpack development setup done. It’s taken me two weeks of flailing to get a working understanding of this and related dev tools. This seems much too long. If I can get these tools resolved by the end of the week, I can then get into other development work.

The business stuff will be pushed by Brenda, the consultant I am working with, so I don’t have to worry as much about being in the driver’s seat. I’ll focus primarily on finishing the development work this week…that is my main desire for closure!

I am too burned-out to do much community stuff, so I will just try to keep moving on whatever personal projects pop up. I may try to schedule some important maintenance trips next week.

CHECK FOR MEASURABLE MILESTONES

  • JAVASCRIPT MILESTONE: npm run dev and npm run electron should be working, with a minimal REACT-based application shell.
  • JAVASCRIPT MILESTONE: npm run package should also start to work
  • JAVASCRIPT BONUS: look into making a library package, but this is not critical
  • BUSINESS MILESTONE: confirm with Brenda that I’ve provided all materials by deadline of Friday Nov 2

In Conclusions

This week’s report didn’t really take any less time. If anything, the new process provides too much detail, and I want to figure out how to scale it back to the essentials. But what ARE the essentials? I don’t know, but I think I want the following feeling:

  • I know the minimum I need to do to get to a good quality result that feels done
  • I want to see that what I got done is paying off in some kind of dividend, be it community-oriented, creative, or financial.

With that, it’s time to get back to work and update my #accountability list for the week. We’ll do the same report structure for another week before changing or discarding it.

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I believe we all benefit when we respectfully share our perspectives on common experiences. My house rules are "please be respectful of divergent views" and "enjoy the flow of ideas!"

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