GHDR 2019 April Review Part I: Looking Back to Look Forward

Looking back to look forward (screenshot from 'The Division 2' Happy Groundhog Day Resolutions Review Day!!! This week I made a promise to myself to stop working by 630PM and so I’m splitting up the April 4 Monthly Review into multiple parts. I thought that I would take a moment to look back at my goals for 2019 to make them more understandable, so looking forward might be easier. There are a LOT of messy moving parts in my Groundhog Day Resolutions process, so starting with this review is a good way to get my head around it again.

So what am I doing this year again?

I’ve been trying to refine my approach to my goals. Last year went pretty well because I started introducing weekly reviews, and this provided me with weekly continuity. I deliberately incorporated feeling and reason into the reviews. As always, I used feeling as a guide for how to apply my reasoning skills to improving my life situation.

How do I feel about my life work so far?

Life is pretty good at the moment. I have interesting billable project work, an online stationery business, and belong to several communities of like-minded people. I’m working through gender identity issues and am finding my balance. However, when I turned 50 I asked myself whether I’d really accomplished anything of note. The answer seemed to be NO for a lot of projects, so I want to do something about it.

What is my life work?

My working theory is that I want to be producing tangible works of rare utility for people who are “off the beaten path” in the same was as me. I also want to be part of a creative community that share the values of being positive-minded, self-empowered, conscientious, competent, generous, curious, and kind.

How do I pursue my life work?

To create noteworthy works of rare utility, I believe that I have to revisit my productivity- and creativity-related processes. I have to learn to focus on a few hard goals at a time, because my mental capacity is not infinite. I want to find find compelling ways to use my work to connect with like-minded people.

The 2019 Groundhog Day Resolution Goals are about tackling what I consider “hard”. The specific project goals, improving my javascript and making cool stationery, are direct money makers.

Maintaining existing projects and responsibilities that add nothing new to my life, but are essential resources that I can build on.

  • Reason it’s hard: I find doing routine work with many systems rather boring.

  • Challenge: Finding ways to outsource these activities (and be able to pay for it).

Working with low-quality information sources to learn how to design and build high-quality goods.

  • Reason it’s hard: I hate bad documentation that is either presumes you already know the subject matter (e.g. it is a reference) or is so basic that it’s only useful to the absolute beginner (e.g. most ‘tutorials’ on the Internet). Most documentation is not very well written either, filled with typos and ambiguities. Google’s continuing decline in search quality does not help.

  • Challenge: Building high-quality references from low-quality documentation is time consuming, because I can’t predict how long it will take me to understand a new concept until the “eureka” moment.

Making incremental progress over many days before anything interesting happens.

  • Reason it’s hard: I thrive with immediate feedback, and wilt if there is no feedback. I like seeing things happen before my eyes with certainty, and if I can’t see a result for several days AND I’m dealing with other issues I start to go a little nutso inside.

  • Challenge: Learning to nurture and balance the pace of exploring, learning, building, and sharing.

I find working in a vacuum without a shared team goal extremely depressing.

  • Reason it’s hard: While I like spending time to myself, I really like sharing what I’ve learned with others and hearing back their thoughts. Shared group interest is one of my primary drivers for action.

  • Challenge: When I’m designing or developing something new, I work much better when I’m in the same room as interested parties.

These are the problems I want to solve as I pursue my major goals for the year. All my goals for increasing my ability to (1) fund projects and (2) find people who would love to work on them.

What’s next?

Tomorrow I’ll get into more detail about what actually happened this past month. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned!


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 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.

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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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