This is my long-delayed November Groundhog Day Resolutions Report, posted on December 5. After Thanksgiving it quieted down enough so I could do some THINKING about November, capturing a bit of it in this Procreate drawing (above) I made in-between chores.
So let’s recap up to November 11, even though it’s almost time to do the December 12 report!
Recap of the Past Month
I’ve been preoccupied with my programming work for a learning sciences grant for much of the year, and the past few months were especially intense as we scrambled to get everything ready for the first round of trials. Right afterwards, we went to visit the research team for the NEXT research grant at Vanderbilt University and formally kick-off the project. It was great to meet the principal investigators we’ve been working with for several years now, and meet some of the new people we’re helping support. I also got to try NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN for the first time and sampled some super-fresh ginger varieties at a farmer’s market, so I was quite pleased.
Anyway, the main takeaway from all this programming and greeting-meeting was that programming has become a more rewarding activity than I originally imagined. While I’ve always dabbled in code as a means to getting the exact control I desired over a project, I had really considered myself more of an interactive designer working on personal projects such as the stationery business and now the creative virtual coworking space. I was really quite conflicted about having to choose between the programming work (which pays well now) or less profitable personal projects that might pay well in the future. Realistically, I need the personal projects to be in motion because they will help stabilize my income when I hit my 60s…that’s less than ten years from now! Yikes!
So…how to solve the conflict? Do I need to get better at work-life balance? My feeling is, having tried several times before over the past ten years, is that I’m not wired for balance. I really crave one thing to focus on. The complementary insight is that that one thing can produce varied benefits, if you pick the RIGHT thing. My first hint this year was that the realization that I really liked working on community to the exclusion of almost everything else; the work I do and the artifacts I create are not the end goal as I thought they were. I really want the artifacts so I can bring them to the community and trigger fun interactions that bring me the warmth of shared human caring and endeavor.
So I’m considering the following changes for 2020:
- The focused work will continued to be the programming I’m doing for these learning sciences grants. They have immediate use and bring immediate income.
- The one thing is programming as a means to create empowering tools and build community around them. The multiple benefits from this include building my own tools, creating a shared learning environment, and establishing supporting satellite groups. I’ve already created or joined 4 or 5 such groups this year, all of them with an emphasis on making and community building. Programming is the “easy explanation” to explain to people what I do, and the artifacts created by my programming activities create the “easy example” that others can experience in-person.
- The main purpose is to create a conversational community of like-minded folks that like sharing and caring about making cool stuff. The joy isn’t solely about having the artifact, but the building/sharing of the experience so we learn or are empowered. Self-interest and mutual curiosity bring us together; the joy of making and learning together elevate our life experience.
- The leadership opportunity is to continue creating communities and helping members connect with each other. For me, leadership is the ability to demonstrate what I find interesting and pursuit-worthy: basically just being my nerdy self and continuing to emphasize personal productivity as a joyful pursuit.
That’s pretty much what I’m thinking. I’m doing very minimal tracking, continuing from last month. All I’m keeping track of is a list of tasks that I need to be on top of while limiting the number of “scheduled tasks” to no more than two days a week. The practical benefit of adhering to this regimen is that it prevents me from overloading myself with tasks that actually take a long time to do; having too many such tasks in my queue makes me impatient and irritable.
The Month Ahead
December 12 is just around the corner, and I’m focused on closing out the year. Next year I am strongly considering not continuing with Groundhog Day Resolutions, and replacing it with the focus I described above. I’m not sure what to call it, but I have a strong sense it might work and is worth trying. Of course, I’ve said something like this EVERY YEAR I’ve been doing the Groundhog Day Resolutions…so who knows?
Also on my mind is balance and continuing to reframe time management as something more organic than punitive. And big on my list of personal projects is the new blog format, which I’m dragging my feet on because of my toxic attitude to large todo lists and time. These issues are all wrapped up in each other, you can see! I’m very interested in running an open design agency and open programming and productivity tools publishing platform. Just need to get my ass in gear.
This was a short and scattered report, but overall I’m feeling pretty positive about the next step. I’m not going to fret too much about the specifics because that just seems to trigger the toxic time management reaction I have. What I want to think about instead is continuously and openly sharing what I’m working on in an informative and empowering fashion. I’ve always done this on the blog, but I just want to do it ON PURPOSE now :-D
Thanks for reading! More thoughts in a few days!
|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.|