2018 Goals Review 09: Frustration Gives Way to Acceptance

Green Screen Possibilities Happy Veterans Day, US Citizens! It also happens to be my 9th Groundhog Resolutions Monthly Review Day for 2018. Since I’ve been doing weekly reviews, I’ve been able to condense this report somewhat.

In summary: it’s been a busy and frustrating month, but the big picture takeaway is that it was actually a pretty decent month. I was frustrated for much of it, but in hindsight I think I know what went wrong:

  • I didn’t give myself the time to learn difficult new things. I assumed they should take me a week at most, not 4 weeks.
  • I scheduled too many long-distant errands in the middle of the week, and didn’t account for the recovery time I needed to get my head back in the game.

I think my main takeaway is similar to last month’s GHDR report: I am doing OK if I allow myself the time and space to believe it. Currently I have the luxury of time without hard deadlines, and it is good to take the time to do things well the first time.

Let’s see how the month went!

Review of the Month’s Goals

In the last monthly review for October 10th, I had come to the conclusion that I’m actually LIVING MY GOALS so that’s great. I also accepted that I’m easily distracted and there is a correspondingly lower level of performance associated with that. That said, I can still produce high quality work; I just need easy-to-recall simple focus, some good assistive tools, and good comrades to keep me company.

I picked my simple focus from the larger pool of projects I had established on February 2. They are broken into two groups:

GROUP 1: WORKING GOALS

  • Javascript Development Mastery – For billable work in my current contracts. Specifically, these are two learning science grants: the “Net Create” digital humanities prototype and “MEME” systems thinking prototype.
  • Stationery Business – My “side hustle/retirement plan” that I need to establish before I’m too old to do anything about it

GROUP 2: SUPPORT GOALS

  • Personal Care – feeding my sense of “being me”, so I feel happy and balanced. This involves the Blogging/Streaming and various Creative food projects. It also includes managing gender identity issues and household chores.
  • Self Monitoring – noting what I’m doing and how it’s going so I make a modicum of progress every week. I have to also keep a limit to social commitments and travel, otherwise my limited ability to focus will be severely disrupted.

I also said that it was important not to feel trapped by work, so I set a maximum hours-per-week of 15 hours.

Evaluation of Working Goals

In terms of WORK: JAVASCRIPT DEVELOPMENT, here’s how each full week broke down in terms of hours.

  • Week 1: 7.50 hours
  • Week 2: 14.75 hours
  • Week 3: 8.50 hours
  • Week 4: 8.00 hours

I would have liked to get closer to 10 hours a week of billable hours, but what isn’t shown are the number of hours spent reading and struggling with the material. I would work for an hour trying to understand something, then spend two hours doing something else to restore my brain energy. This month has been a good example of hitting the limits of my cognitive ability to absorb new material efficiently. I’m going to try to be OK with that because after I “get it”, I should be more efficient AND better informed because I didn’t take any shortcuts. At least I hope so.

In terms of WORK: STATIONERY BUSINESS, I met with Brenda of Bittenby Studios a couple of times, working off the parameters we had set in October to get the stationery business moving again. It’s the begining of the collaboration but so far I have been impressed by Brenda’s ability to listen and concisely summarize direction. She’s worked as a product leader in tech, and also is a writer/maker/community builder herself, so she has the mix of hard and soft skills that I think fit my business well. She had me start by writing some notes on the following:

  • What are my consumer profiles (people who buy my products?)
  • What SIMPLE marketing stats can I follow?
  • Who are the influencers/influenced with regards to my stationery products?

The next step is to write a first draft for an “ABOUT” paragraph and a “SIMPLE HOOK” for the general consumer. This will help figure out how to market and pitch the products on my current Amazon.com listings. The goal is to have this in place by December 1.

Evaluation of Supporting Goals

There are four areas under SUPPORT: PERSONAL CARE, which consist of activities that are always on my mind. I can’t ignore them, otherwise I will lose my sense of balance. Here’s what I worked on in each of the major areas I selected last month:

  • Blogging/Streaming – While I haven’t been actively blogging or streaming, I have been hosting the Virtual Coworking Chat Room every day. This is a prime source of camaraderie.
  • Personal Appearance – This is related to gender identity journey, figuring out how to adopt a more gender-neutral appearance through clothing. This is quite thought provoking and is therefore quite time consuming. Lately it’s been about finding winter clothing that will fit my parameters.
  • KM/SSG – This is my knowledge management software. While I haven’t had time to work on the programming side of things, I have been using the document folder religiously to store my weekly Groundhog Day Resolution (GHDR) Review notes. This helps me see the patterns of use before I write software to manage it, which is a good thing.
  • GHDR – My Groundhog Day Resolutions are being maintained in KM/SSG, which along with my accrual log are the two main ways for me to maintain oversight on my week. I’m trying to streamline the process so it doesn’t take so much time to do.

Under SUPPORT: SELF MONITORING are all the activities from my weekly reviews, which are of course part of the overall Groundhog Day Resolutions process. It also includes maintaining my Weekly Accountability Task List (maintained in the #accountability channel in the Virtual Coworking Chat). I think I have a pretty good sense of how I’m doing on a week-by-week basis. Here’s how it broke down:

  • Week 1 Review: My first baseline work week. Started billable projects with optimism. Made cool stuff for Nanowrimo.
  • Week 2 Review: A pretty good week, better than previous week. Made progress on billable work, had monthly therapist session, social music-making lunch.
  • Week 3 Review: A difficult work week, not much progress. Did a Nanowrimo calendar for my local library. Saw eye doctor. Visited clothing boutique. Wig fitting session. Weekend commitments.
  • Week 4 Review: Another difficult work week because of having to take a big step backwards. Too many commitments. Election night volunteering. Drove for haircut, lunch with friends.

By this weekend, I suffered a deep crash in my productivity; too many weeks of difficult and frustrating work combined with too many social commitments and mid-week drives to distant places because my eye doctor and hair salon are an hour away. On top of that was the stress of volunteering for an election night activity on a live news show for our local cable station, plus the stress of watching the election results later that night. However, I was able to recover over a few days this weekend by recognizing what happened and just resting. I think Monday will be good.

Meta Assessments – Am I Doing Good Things?

Last month I designated monthly meta assessments to help me identify tangible good I have done:

Did I Contribute to “The Common Good”?

Yes! I ran the Discord coworking chat room and I saw that people were happy to be there because they are there for each other. Which is amazing! I also volunteered for the election night coverage at the local community cable station to help them try something big and exciting though I was scared of screwing up. I contributed a Nanowrimo calendar, and also made a special version for my local publich library! I shared my weekly process for Groundhog Day Resolutions every week because I thought someone out there might appreciate seeing how someone else is dealing with their productivity goals. I made connections with people locally and tried to do things together to bring new experiences. I contributed my thoughts to an emerging private community that might be a great resource in the future.

Did I Improve My Fiscal Position?

I paid down a good chunk of credit card debt, hopefully to eliminate it by the begining of 2019. I did a reorder of inventory for Amazon. I am making an effort to improve my ecommerce operation so it generates more revenue in the future. I have been more mindful of spending.

However, I can improve my financial tracking; I need to talk to a possible local accountant about keeping my bookkeeping up to date, and also tracking sales revenue on my Amazon projects.

Did the Universe Respond to Me in Unexpected Ways?

Not yet, but I am starting to come-out to people about being transgender. So far the universe has not punched me in the face for it. In fact, I’m finding that people and businesses I’ve been dealing with have been supportive. This actually makes me a bit uneasy because there is so much news that doesn’t seem to be in my favor, but I think also that it’s important to put on a brave face and forge ahead with living and be a kind of beacon that stands for my principles. My gender identity is independent of that, though it is a part of me. I guess we’ll see how that goes.

Did I Produce and Share Tangible Things on my Website?

People continue to be delighted with my Nanowrimo Calendar, and I’m glad I made it again this year. I also write weekly review blog posts. Other than that, I didn’t do much in this area. I do feel good about maintaining the habit of doing the weekly reviews, though I feel that they could be more succinct.

Did I Create or Maintain Social Bonds?

As much as I complain about having too many social commitments during the past three weeks, every interaction was delightful. My frustration comes from the lack of progress on my billable work, but this is temporary. Thiscoming week is almost completely devoid of social contact, and maybe this is what I need! We shall see!

Overall Assessment

Looking back, it’s been a pretty good month. It felt terrible for the past few weeks because progress felt SOOO SLOW and I felt SOOO STUPID trying to figure out stuff for work, and I was STRESSED by all the election-related activities and long-distance drives for personal health services. I’m a bit stressed about health insurance and scheduling some travel-related interviews too with the looming winter, as I am about money and my long-term revenue outlook. And then there’s all the gender identity stuff that continues to throw a wrench into my sense of calm. SO WEIRD.

Overall though? I guess I can’t complain! I feel like I’m making progress on all fronts, and even more importantly I think I have a methodology for telling me so that is improving every week.

Goals for November 11 to December 11

Same thing as this month:

  • Make progress on Javascript Development work
  • Make progress on Stationery Business work for December 1, and update Amazon listings
  • Continue to get comfortable with gender identity, and develop a compatible winter wardrobe
  • Run the Discord Coworking Chat
  • Keep Writing and Making Stuff to Share
  • Stay Open to Possibilities and Act on Them when I Can

That’s it! See ya next month!


Groundhog by Pearson Scott Foreman Here’s this year’s calendar:

DATE HOLIDAY DESCRIPTION
MON 1/1 New Year’s Day Start thinking about resolutions
FRI 2/2 Groundhog Day Make your resolutions. Assemble your peer group.
SAT 3/3 March 3 Review w/ group.
WED 4/4 April 4 Review w/ group.
SAT 5/5 Cinco de Mayo Review w/ group. Think celebratory, spring-like thoughts!
WED 6/6 June 6 Mid-Year Review w/ group. Optional break for summer.
SAT 7/7 Tanabata Star Festival Private Review. Make Wishes. Rededicate.
WED 8/8 Chinese Father’s Day Private Review. Plan for future completion.
SUN 9/9 September 9 Review w/ group. Three months left.
WED 10/10 October 10 Review w/ group. Two months left.
SUN 11/11 Veteran’s Day Review w/ group. A Day to be Grateful.
WED 12/12 December 12 End-of-year Review. Break for Holiday Madness.



About this Article Series

For my 2018 Groundhog Day Resolutions, I'm challenging myself to develop "gathering-style productivity" as I pursue the year's goals. You'll find the related posts on the 2018 Groundhog Day Resolutions page.