Weekly Review 03.2 – A Community-Driven “Personal Unified Theory” in the Making

Closing Event for Ralph Baer Day at Jupiter Hall To provide the context for the review of last week, let me restate my STRATEGIC GOALS FOR 2019 as follows:

  • [DISCIPLINED GOAL] Increase my mastery of Javascript Development
  • [DISCIPLINED GOAL] Increase the viability of my Online Stationery Business
  • [EMERGENT GOAL] Increase my expression of “me”
  • [EMERGENT GOAL]Take care of myself and the communities that matter to me

Disciplined goals (the top two) are what I consider HARD, and are explicitly part of my Groundhog Day Resolutions push. The emergent goals “just happen” without me having to think about them because I am magical that way, and are NOT officially part of my Groundhog Day Resolutions task lists.

It was only last week that I realized there were two ways to handle the HARD DISCIPLINED goals, and that I had to take this into account:

  1. Make regular progress on CURRENT initiatives that are GHDR-relevant! This is the ongoing daily work for billables and immediate responsibilities to keep the machinery running.
  2. Make FUTURE opportunities by creating new packages! This is the future projects that bring opportunities, revenue by producing new assets.

Most of the time I’ll be working on maintaining longer-term projects and not the shiny new stuff in (2). Getting OK with that was a major insight. Also, I decided NOT TO WORRY about a lot of things and not be so hard on myself. The culmination of the Ralph Baer Celebration last week also has helped me see that being an active contributor in a creative community is legitimate work, and I no longer have to feel like I’m not spending the bulk of my time doing “real work”. I AM DOING A LOT OF WORK, though not everyone will think it as such. But as far as MY PERSONAL MISSION AND CALLING goes, I think I’m doing it.

But I’m jumping ahead…let’s get to evaluating the week!

QUICK GRADING OF THE PAST WEEK: Feels like a “B”

Doing weekly reviews forces me to remember what happened. If I can’t remember, I can’t make corrections to my actions to keep my “disciplined goals” tasks on track. I see that last week was a very social week, which ordinarily is a red flag. However, it was excellent for building community ties, which warrants a solid A grade. However, my main disciplined focus was to bill as many hours as I could and finish packaging design. I got the packaging design done, but didn’t bill to my hour target, so I’m giving the week an overall “B” grade.

Let’s look at the specifics of what got done, using my “three slots of attention” model of managing task load:

SLOT 1 “Javascript Development Mastery” Achievements

  • MEME – 9 billable hours, 1.25 unbillable hours: infrastructure work for supporting arbitrary drawing modules, directed graph representation

SLOT 2 “Online Stationery Business” Achievements

  • Finalized ETP StickyPad Card Copy and Design
  • Started basic “Toolfinder” landing page for website, referenced to by the card
  • Got my accounting information to the accountant; taxes are done!

SLOT 3 “Personal” Achievements

  • Personal Unified theory of Community, Excellence, Work
  • Sorted into Hufflepuff, started buying lots of Hufflestuff!
  • Tried Turkish Restaurant

The big achievement is a developing theory of how all my strongest interests and desires combine together to form (the top item). Is it my core sense of self? My place in the universe? I’m not sure, but it feels like it’s something like that. I’ll be working on describing it better because it’s super-important, but for now I’ll leave you with three thoughts:

  • It’s not “excellence” or even “the pursuit of excellence” that matters to me. It’s something else.
  • Maybe it’s learning to empower ourselves to overcome barriers stopping us from becoming our bestest and true selves.
  • I think when we practice the habits that overcome fears and uncertainties and expressing our ideals in demonstrable tangible form, excellence is the natural byproduct.
  • This is very much made possible only within the context of a supporting positive community where individual achievement is indistinguishable with group achievement

TARGETS FOR WEEK (WITH CONCRETE TARGETS)

For next week, my goals are:

  • SLOT 1 (DISCIPLINED TRACK) SOFTWARE MASTERY (SWM) – MEME draw from database code (about 70% done)
  • SLOT 2 (DISCIPLINED TRACK) ECOMMERCE OPERATIONS (EOP) – Landing Page
  • AUX (DISCIPLINED) – 80+ billable hours for March (currently at 26 hours)
  • AUX (EMERGENT) – try to get some thing happening with the GHDR Subsite and related “PROCESS” post.
  • AUX (DISCIPLINED) – get closer to 180 lbs (currently at 189) on Thursday (net gain of 2 pounds)

The Week in Pictures

Sorted as Hufflepuff via Pottermore My PERSONAL UNIFIED THEORY OF COMMUNITY, EXCELLENCE, and WORK was partially triggered by a conversation with my house guest, who pointed out to me how awesome that Hufflepuff actually is because they are all there supporting each other. I was like WHAT? THAT IS AWESOME AND I AM ON BOARD even though I sorted previously as Ravenclaw. It makes sense now when I consider in MBTI sorting, I have an INTJ / INFP duality.

I retook the Pottermore test, and I am indeed sorting HUFFLEPUFF. Hooray!

Hufflepuff 14oz MugStickers for LaptopSmile in the Mind 2016 Edition Of course I need to show the colors, so I bought a bunch of hufflestuff (above left, middle). I also picked up some other cute stickers while on Etsy :3

In the world of design, I also recently learned that one of my favorite graphic design reference A Smile in the Mind, had been updated for 2016 (above, right). The original 2006 edition of the book is listed in my graphic design book list, so I naturally had to buy the new one to see the new examples. I find the captions to be somewhat shakily written, to be honest, but overall it’s nice to see examples of graphic design that are more than swooshes and the trendy color of the year.


Speaking of design, I finished updating the front and back cards for the ETP 4X6 StickyPad (above). These will be going out to Amazon by the end of the month, I hope. It’s a new design to make better use of the space, and corrects two issues that were present on the most recent production runs that I only caught last month. This is a draft; the final version doesn’t have my picture on the new inside-front cover.

Drafts for the new ETP StickyPad production run The inside-back cover is also new, and has a link to a new landing page (below) that I’m starting to work on.

Landing Page work-in-progress

In the world of local eating, I tried several new dishes from restaurants I’ve recently learned about. From GOLDEN KOI in Milford, I tried their braised pork over rice (below left), which is very much like a disk from Taiwan I love. Add a porkchop and some vegetables, and you have something that’s pretty close to a bien dang. I also have been on a Mediterranean food kick, and got to try out several dishes from MATBAH in Manchester (below middle and right). The first picture is of something called manti, which consists of dumplings in something like a bechamel sauce, and the second picture is just of some Turkish coffee which is hard to find in my area. The best dish though that I don’t have a picture of was these cabbage rolls stuffed with lamb. At $14, though, they were a bit pricey…lamb ain’t cheap!

Braised Pork over Rice from Golden KoiManti dumplings from MatbahTurkish coffee from Matbah


An interesting shared experience from the virtual coworking chat room last week was getting unstuck. I commented that one way I got unstuck was by freewriting in my digital notebook (in this example below left, a text editor). I write like a moron until I get all those bits out, and the thinking starts happening…it takes a few minutes.

[1] Freewriting to remember what I was doing[2] Cleaning-up ideas in two dimensions on paper[3] Rewriting freewriting into useful form for later reference Next, I start transcribing and drawing the good parts from my freewriting onto a piece of paper (above middle). The two-dimensional aspect of using paper helps me take the linear thoughts from the freewriting and group them into larger logical structures; patterns are sometimes more apparent, and the physical act of writing instead of typing jiggers my brain a bit differently. Finally, I take what I’ve scribbled and retranscribe it over the earlier freewriting into a form that will be useful to the future me (above right). I try to make it concise, clear, and to the point.

Conclusion

It was a better week than I thought. The overriding concern was that I did not bill as many hours as I wanted. I would like to get closer to 20-25 hours per week than 10, but given the number of activities I had going on it was not surprising. This week I hope to really get the billable hours flowing and finish my major deliverable.

So that’s it for now! Check in next week to see how it went!


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 2019 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 2019 Groundhog Day Resolutions page.