As part of my preparation for February 2nd’s Groundhog Day Resolutions Kickoff for 2019, I’ve prepared an archive of the 2018 posts in one omnibus PDF.
The collection is not a step-by-step guide that you can follow. Instead, it is a candid record of my struggle through the year to achieve a handful of abstract goals. I uncover and test hypothetical approaches to improving my productivity, identify personal principles that I think relate to my personal happiness, and take stock of what actually got done. It’s not edited at all, and is probably hard to follow in places, but if you’re a personal journal process nerd like me, it might be fun to flip through!
As an experiment in publishing, I’m making the 2018 GHDR Omnibus available as a $1 PDF you can peruse (or even print) at your leisure. Or just read the posts online. I’ll be using the PDF sales to evaluate whether there is actual interest in a short guide that people can use to structure their own yearly goals. That said, I’m a highly distractible and soft-hearted freelancer that doesn’t conform to the expectations of everyday society, so my approach to life may not resonate with yours!
The remainder of this post is copied from my 2018 Groundhog Day Resolutions Challenge Page, with some rewriting to make it more suitable as an introduction to the omnibus. Links are underlined, but if you want to click them you will have to go to the corresponding post on my website. Each page has the URL on it so it should be easy to find!
DaveNote: text from this point onward is copied from https://davidseah.com/challenge/ghdr2018
THE GROUNDHOG DAY CHALLENGE
Groundhog Day Resolutions are like New Year Resolutions except they start on February 2nd because frankly I’M JUST NOT READY TO MAKE ANY PROMISES ON JANUARY 1? I’m tired and still catching up on all the stuff leftover from last year! Also, I just really love Groundhog Day as a holiday and the themes from the namesake Bill Murray/Andie McDowell movie. And because regular reflection is an important part of maintaining resolutions, I designate “doublet-dates” March 3 (3/3), April 4 (4/4), and so on as Report Days up to December 12, at which I take a break for the holidays. There is also an optional break in July, since the summer here in New England is so short and I want to be outside.
This year’s kickoff post will give you an overview of how I’m approaching GHDRs, though really it’s up to you how you do them. I tend to pick broad strategic goals and run experiments through the year, but that’s just me trying to narrow the gap between what I think I want and what I discover I actually need. The universal part of the system is to remember to do your reviews monthly; the use of “doublet dates” makes that easy to remember.
This is the 12th year of doing GHDRs. If you’d like to follow along with me, you are all invited to join the virtual coworking chat room where I am every day. We are a friendly and encouraging group! This year I’m also going to try to collect links to as many GHDR posters that I come across, because I’ve found it really interesting to compare approaches.
Starting Strategic Initiatives for 2018
DaveNote: This list was made at the start of GHDR 2018, but changed over time. The changes are noted in the next section
I am constantly testing new approaches that work with the peculiarities of being me (“The Way of Dave”). Publishing the productivity-enhancing methods, tools, experiences, and insights helps create obvious value to prospective community members. Whenever I post an article on my website or talk about what I’m doing on YouTube or Discord, I am fulfilling my overall mission.
Continuing to publish and discuss my works on social platforms will maintain and tangibly increase my ability to draw people to the community. Designing, marketing, and selling stationery and digital works brings income through online sales of works that reflect my mission.
Increase the number of products for sale across all channels. Improve presentation and consolidate non-performing channels to make the ecommerce operation better to increase sales without compromising values. Skill mastery gives me opportunities to work on projects that are aligned with my mission values. This also brings additional income.
Keep an eye open for opportunities to use my skills in design, writing, and creative strategy that might give me interesting experiences. Blogging, livestreaming, podcasting, and community hosting put my mission message out there. I want to ensure that each experience helps people understand and practice the values I am promoting so they can retransmit their interest. I want to also make sure that I provide tangible ways for people to participate at their current comfort level while also providing moral support that encourages growth.
Maintain a steady flow of good content and community events where I can make contact with people both online and in-person. Create sharepieces and provide takeaways points in every interaction. Make sure I exude the joy of these activities as part of my personality, so people might want to join our group.
DaveNote: This was a list of projects that I thought either contributed to achieving my self-sufficiency goals or made me feel good about what I was doing.
Happy Bubble Time (HBT) Definition – HBT is an approach that has stand-alone value; it’s a way to procrastinate productively by learning to ignore negativity and anxiety for a short time and seeing what happens. It works for highly curious people who are naturally drawn to answer questions. Tangible result desired: A good reference page on davidseah.com
Gathering Style Productivity (GS-PROD) – Rather than adhere to task lists and time management in a futile attempt to make the unpredictable predictable, GS-PROD acknowledges that utility can also be collected as well. Instead of attempting to make specific results happen on a predictable timetable, GS-PROD shifts the expectation of predictability to gathering items that have intrinsic market value. These items are natural byproducts of the curious investigator or creative going about their distracted day.
Stationery Business – Expanding the line of products and increasing sales volume is my major goal, as is increasing operational efficiency and product quality. A distant goal is growing the business to the point were it not only makes a million dollars a year, but also is able to employ people to create good jobs.
Coworking Communities – Creating the opportunity for people to meet and discuss their personal dreams then get to work in a supportive environment. We have the Virtual Coworking Discord (DSCAFE). I would like to expand to offering regular Coffee Meetups and Project Days in the Living Room Cafe.
Alterations to the Strategic Initiatives
DaveNote: When I failed to achieve the results I wanted, I would assess what seemed to go wrong, adjust my underlying expectations, then alter my tactics. This meant that my starting “strategic initiatives” changed, so I noted that here.
Mission Changes August 8 to September 8
Injecting Excitement through Non-toxic Crunch Mode. I liked the singular focus of working only on one project at a time, pushing all thoughts out of my head. While “Slow and Steady” works for maintenance-level or otherwise undemanding work, but it is not effective when I am trying to do the difficult/boring work that leads to epic achievement. Crunch mode has the “epic adventure” aspect to it as well as the “brutal focus” that comes from eliminating most projects, social elements, and other responsibilities for a set period of time.
Themed Work Blocks. Proposed a modification of “themed work weeks” to work with the crunch mode insights. They will be 9-10 days, interspersed with recovery time for doing social things or relaxing. This failed and was amended to Core Hours as a more maintainable form of discipline.
Living the Goals. This is just as valid as than Counting Hard Achievements. RELAX and carry on.
I Already Have Enough Ability and Freedom. While I don’t have world class resources and abilities, I certainly have enough to continue to “live the goals” and continue my pursuit of mastery.
Don’t Discount Shallow Work. It is just as valuable and necessary as Deep Work. Not every hour of work needs to produce “tangible results” or “hard achievement” to be part of the fulfillment cycle.
Mission Changes July 7 to August 7
Reduction, Simplification, and Letting Tasks Pace Themselves. Rather than worry about making progress on every item on the 2018 project list, I’m only going to worry about two main tasks: billing more hours as a dev and making progress on new writing/research/lab journal website. Everything else is backburnered, or will take care of themselves. The key realization is that I am capable of doing even less than I thought, but I am intellectually OK with that. Emotionally it’s another story and I feel like I’m falling short, but this is not a helpful attitude in ANY way so I will push past it.
Mission Changes in June 6 to July 6
Mission Focus: I want to create practical ways to empower ourselves with the competencies that fulfill our desire for making the world an interesting place to be. I want to generate positive energy that draws its power from the power of sharing, coalescing a like-minded community of creative architects, seeking mastery of their own fate. I need to be competent, acquiring skills and discovering practical approaches to make this magic happen.
Mission Support: I want a self-sustaining business operation that provides me with operating cashflow. I can create tools and provide materials that that help people who are on the same mission. I can acquire high-value skills that either help me build the mission infrastructure or bring in money through contracting.
Sharing the Joy: For people to find the community, the message has to be put out in the world so it is discoverable. The message is something like, “We are practical dreamers that want to empower ourselves to do interesting things. We are creating a hub for other conscientious, kind, competent, self-empowered and generous people that are doing the same. Please come see what we are doing!” It feels good.
Creating Gifts for Gift Experiences: The catalyst that bridges the desire of “sharing the joy” to “productive operations” is to harness my love of designing/making things for specific individuals that I think will make them happy. I have studied this for years in my pursuit of design education, and I know exactly what I am doing even when I can’t predict what will happen. There are multiple opportunities to give, so just keep at it and the world (and my business/media operations) will be in better place than it is now!
Heartfelt Connections: The true measure of the mission is whether people who come to the community find a real connection that tangibly improves their lives. It is my desire that people can be their authentic selves in this community, and become empowered to be whoever they want to be to achieve what it is they imagine. The kind of people who I want to be with are naturally those who encourage others and share their wisdom freely, and perhaps one day enjoy sharing bigger challenges together.
Replication: An important aspect of the work is to provide a useful template that others can reference when establishing their own community. Making the template as compact and intuitive as possible, particularly for introverted people who don’t think of themselves as leaders, is a key initiative. Seeding the template is a moral imperative.
JUN 06 update – I want to be in a pragmatic creative community that has the values of being positive-minded, self-empowered, conscientious, kind, generous people. I believe that developing this community will make our lives less boring and pointless, and that it’s also an “implicit good” that has positive ramifications for our society. We are a community that believes in learning to make our own luck. We strive to master our unique individual abilities so we can produce works that shine.
JUN 17 update – Documented an experimental shift in my frame of reference about the GHDR work. Rather than trying to perfect a “disciplined project engineering approach”, I am going to try using “gift experiences that generate a spark in the recipient”. This is outlined in my June 17 post. The goals are still largely the same as described below, but using the “gift” metaphor speaks much more to my emotional core. It is worth a try to see what happens.
July 1 update – Made a list of rituals to help me “know what to do every day” without thinking too much. Essentially, it’s a start ritual that is backed by referring to a master todo list in the #accountability room. There are also rituals for getting unstuck and closing the day.
All Groundhog Day Resolutions Posts for 2018
DaveNote: This list was updated every month
|2018 FEB 02||Kickoff||Kickoff|
|2018 MAR 03||Report 01||“Gathering Style Productivity Report”|
|2018 APR 04||Report 02||“Defining Mission Centered Goals and Bigger Dreams”|
|2018 MAY 05||Report 03||“Overcoming Stress and Resistance”|
|2018 JUN 06||Report 04||“The Gift of Gifting / Reframing Projects”|
|2018 JUN 17||Weekly||“New Weekly Reviews / Process Tweaking”|
|2018 JUN 24||Weekly||“Slow Ramp-Up”|
|2018 JUL 01||Weekly||“Good Work Week, but Little Else”|
|2018 JUL 07||Report 05||“Narrowing Choices”|
|2018 JUL 08||Weekly||“Unexpected Events and New Processes”|
|2018 JUL 22||Weekly||“Working through Malaise” (2 weeks)|
|2018 AUG 08||Report 06 Pt 1||“Brutal Focus and Crunch Mode”|
|2018 AUG 08||Report 06 Pt 2||“Staying on Target w/ Themed Work Blocks”|
|2018 AUG 20||Weekly||“Conan and the Common Good”|
|2018 AUG 27||Weekly||“Compensating for External Motivation”|
|2018 SEP 04||Weekly||“Constructive Insight”|
|2018 SEP 09||Report 07||“Winning in Hindsight” (posted Sep 16)|
|2018 SEP 25||Weekly||“Remixing Life Principles”|
|2018 OCT 03||Weekly||“Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is Fast”|
|2018 OCT 10||Report 08||“Acceptance and Advancement”|
|2018 OCT 15||Weekly||“New Standards and Practices”|
|2018 OCT 22||Weekly||“Standardizing My Review Process” (C)|
|2018 OCT 29||Weekly||“The Average Week” (B)|
|2018 NOV 05||Weekly||“Pushing Toward Tomorrow” (B-)|
|2018 NOV 11||Report 09||“Frustration Gives Way to Acceptance”|
|2018 NOV 12||Weekly||“Another Frustrating Week and a Crash” (C)|
|2018 NOV 19||Weekly||“Ready to Advance” (B+)|
|2018 NOV 26||Weekly||“Two Tastes of Mastery” (B+)|
|2018 DEC 03||Weekly||“Getting Better at Hat Management” (A)|
|2018 DEC 12||Weekly||“Shifting Perspective” (A)|
|2018 DEC 13||Report 10||“A Great Close to the Year”|
|2018 DEC 16||Weekly||“BONUS REPORT: Uninvited Stresses” (C-)|
|2018 DEC 31||Weekly||“BONUS REPORT: Welcome Season of Slothfulness” (B+)|
See the end of the document for a list of different procedures I made to maintain clarity.
See the end of the document for the Accrual Bucket that lists the noteworthy achievements and ideas I thought were worth saving.