GHDR Weekly Review 9.1 – Ready to Advance

Boots for Walking Hiya everyone! The Groundhog Day Resolutions Weekly Review for last week went pretty well; I feel like I’m starting to get some traction on my development tasks, and maybe I’m starting to developm a FEEL for work-life balance.

I’ve decided to modify my review format yet again, simplifying it to the following three steps:

  1. The Week Grade: How I Rank It after reviewing what happened.
  2. Review of Goal Activity and Achievements: – What specifically advanced my declared goals in both work and personal activity areas. This is the more qualitative section.
  3. Choose Next Targets: What the coming week’s goal-fulfilling activities will be, with specific metrics.

The major change is removing the extensive “data reporting” part of the weekly review to instead focus on the highlights and the goal setting. After doing the detailed dump for a few weeks, my impression is that it’s not necessary for the report itself. I’m still doing it, but it’s primarily useful for REMEMBERING the week so I can write the highlights. This might be easier for readers to digest…if not, please let me know in the comments!

With that, let’s get into it!

1. Week Assessment: B+

This was a notable week in that MONDAY-THURSDAY were COMPLETELY UNSCHEDULED. I made good progress on my two main “work” initiatives (described below) and got quite a few major personal chores out of the way:

  • WIN: Working Stand Alone Electron App, Development and Production Modes
  • WIN: 1st draft of ABOUT and SIMPLE HOOK, starting thinking on greater mission, on track for a December push on the ecommerce business.
  • WIN: New format for daily focus activities in the #work_doing channel in the [Virtual Coworking Discord][discord].
  • WIN: Snow tire chore completed.

It felt like a good week, hence the B+ grade. Not having any errands scheduled in the first half of the week was extremely good for my productivity. I still went to Starbucks every day, but apparently I don’t need a lot of personal interaction. Also, since I currently have a house guest I am getting a modicum of interesting-but-not-demanding daily conversation now. Something to keep in mind.

2. Review of Goal Activity and Achievements

October Checklist To create the detailed breakdown for the week I referred to my time sheets, chat logs, camera pictures, and calendar. I’ll try to keep the detail succinct and relevant to actionable takeaways and other insights.

There are two primary work tasks and a host of personal tasks, which are based on the template from October (RIGHT).


2A. JAVASCRIPT WORK

Being a software developer is not only my primary money-making activity, but a new personal goal. Prior to this, I regarded programming as something I did when I couldn’t avoid it or needed to ensure quality control.

The major challenge this past month has been learning how to use webpack and electron together. I felt really stupid and incompetent because “these tools are supposed to be great and everyone uses them, so why is it so hard for me? Shouldn’t I be able to pick this up in a few hours?” but my experienced developer colleagues confirmed that it just takes a long time to get one’s head around things like this. I felt a bit better and could move forward with less angst :-)

I finally cracked the challenge with a working prototype last week! While it doesn’t yet work perfectly, I think that I’ve overcome the major conceptual hurdles. Now I can work on the part I ACTUALLY want to work on, because I have a high degree of confidence in my understanding of the technical foundation. A huge pile of uncertainty has been eliminated! Still, my timesheets show that I spent 58 hours to get from HOW DOES THIS STUFF EVEN WORK? to IT WORKS WITHOUT THE FEELING OF SURPRISE, which seems to me like a long time but I will have to crack a few more big challenges (maybe IOS development) before I knwo for sure.

I do have two TAKEAWAYS from the experience:

Google search is a TERRIBLE way to learn something new because the quality of information it finds is generally poor. It is better to focus on primary sources and qualified curators of information.

For the work I’m doing, primary sources are the source code and the official documentation’s architectural description if it exists. The vast majority of information online written for people who teach and learn by localized pattern, which doesn’t work for me because I learn through metaphor and models of systematic communication between concepts.

I’ve had to accept a slower pace of development than I wanted so I would no longer feel so anxious about being slow.

As my friends said, these things take time. I’m fortunate to have started the project early enough to put that time in. It makes me a stronger and more capable developer.

2B. STATIONERY and BLOG WORK

My other revenue-generating activity is selling printed versions of my productivity tools through Amazon. This doesn’t make a huge amount of money but it’s significant enough that I think it could grow; as an experiment I’ve hired Brenda to keep me focused on that. My homework assignment this past week was to write first drafts About the Stationery and Simple Hooks to frame my products on Amazon as a first step in improving my marketing.

I made a misstep by first writing about ME, which was fruitful and will pay off later but wasn’t exactly what I needed to write. I delivered the writing a day late, but at least it’s in place for refinement. I am supposed to write the second draft for thiscoming Friday.

2C. PERSONAL MATTERS AND MAINTENANCE

In addition to the primary work above, I had to deal with a number unexpected challenges. I’m getting better at just accepting that this is always going to happen. Since I had most of the week to myself AND my work went well this week, I had enough good cheer in reserve to stay positive!

  • Dishwasher stopped working. Was able to clear it after several diagnostic tries. Fingers crossed that it holds!

  • Cat issuess. I have a long haired cat and he had a problem, er, pooping because he had become matted “under there”. This resulted in an emergency “sanitary cleaning” at the vet, an angry cat, and the need to sanitize the entire first floor of my house. It was pretty bad. On the plus side, the first floor is looking very clean as it’s been MOPPED THREE TIMES. Thank goodness I got rid of the carpet a few years ago.

  • Friends in need. One of my friends is having a tough time. I absorb other people’s stress very easily and I had to actively manage my energy levels to stay buoyant. On the plus side, I had the self-awareness to KNOW this and manage it. Whew.

  • First snow of the year. One of my least favorite chores is winterizing the deck and the car, because it involves considerable physical labor. However, I got it done before the snowstorm and before the tire place got swamped. I just put the regular tires into the basement for the winter, so I don’t have to worry about this for six months!

On the personal win side of things, I got the following done:

  • First Pork Loin. I had been buying inexpensive sandwich meats for an easy morning protein boost, but at $5.29/pound it isn’t as cheap. Pork loin is $1.59/pound. I followed a simple online recipe and it came out great, which opens a WHOLE WORLD of sandwiches to me. I am planning on trying the sous vide version next.

  • Transition-related Insights. I’ve decided to be open about being transgender across all communication channels. Being unapologetically enthusiastic and optimistic about myself is a life principle that I want to practice, and being trans is part of that. I had worried before that it would detract from the ideas I’m trying to communicate here, but I think I can manage it. There are a lot of interesting lessons I’m learning from going through the discovery process, after all. More importantly, I can’t let the fear of other people’s judgement keep me from following my own path with positivity and confidence. Rawr!

  • Boots. I’ve learned that I know nothing about boots and styles, so I put considerable time looking for boots that I think would work for my evolving fashion sense. I’m dressing non-binary these days, incorporating both masculine and feminine elements to achieve a sort of funky neutrality. After much deliberation, I think the footwear expression of that idea is a Chelsea boot with a slight heel. Someday I will be cool enough to wear the harness boot pictured at the top of this post, but until then I’m on the hunt to find some affordable options in my size that aren’t too masculine OR overly feminine.

  • Cleaning Up. Cleaning my bedroom and basement have been on my chore list for a long time. I’m going to convert my bedroom into a mini studio apartment, and reorganize the basement so I can sleep there too. Once this is done, I can clear out the living room next so I can host more events there in 2019. I made a nice big dent in the bedroom, disposing of a lot of worn-out bedding and preparing to throw out the ancient mattress and boxspring.

3. Choose New Targets

Now that the webpack+electron stuff has been somewhat settled, the coming week will be about refining the work and starting to lay-in the actual framework features we need to start developing the new codebase. Once that’s done, I can pass the environment on to the other devteam members and have them try working with it.

For the stationery business, I’m expecting to continue refining my about page and simple hooks writing with Brenda. The second draft is due Friday, so we can prepare for updating the Amazon website and other outlets. I also need to pay the printer for the last print job and pick up the extras.

I have a few appointments this week too, notably the monthly checkin with my gender therapist and the weekly electrolysis appointment. Oh, and this week is THANKSGIVING too! Yeep. It’s going to be a short and busy week. I will refrain from planning any more than that for my weekly goals.

Things seem to be going OK, overall.

Assigning concrete milestones to each target:

  • For ELECTRON+WEBPACK: a complete ready-to-document development environment to be shared with the devteam.
  • For STATIONERY BUSINESS: a refined about page and simple hooks list submitted by Friday.
  • For CLEANING UP THE HOUSE: a carload of stuff removed from my house and taken to the dump!

Goal Conclusion

I’ve adjusted my review process for the week; I think this format is a bit easier to write while still keeping focused on the TWO GOALS I’ve selected for the remainder of the year.

In general, I’m feeling positive and optimistic. It seems like I’m starting to find my stride.

I’m going to cut this review now, because I feel I’m done with it. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

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A message from Dave:

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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