I’m not doing Groundhog Day Resolutions (GHDR) this year, because last year it occurred to me that I wasn’t any closer to a final resolution of my resolutions than I was thirteen years ago. While I’ve amassed a formidable collection of tips, tools, and insights that have made wiser and arguably more productive, I’m not sure if anything has changed for me. In fact, the aspirational goals I picked every year were always a variation of the following three:
- figure out ecommerce and revenue
- learn and make cool stuff
- find like-minded people in communities around me
And so, I decided to toss out GHDR for 2020 and see if I could come up with a different process. I think I’ve started to figure it out, and I’d like to share my early thinking on a replacement system I’m calling Groundhog Day Do-Over.
Trapped in a 13-year Time Loop
This year has been remarkably productive and stress free despite the additional work burden from being involved in so many projects. In past years I would have tried to jump right into task planning to try to keep it all under control, but this would have been very frustrating. This year, I’ve given up on keeping everything under control, because I’ve had the following insights:
- I don’t have to plan or schedule a lot of things anymore. I work best when I have just a couple scheduled days of meetings, and have the rest of the week to ease into complicated projects. Establishing these limits help me a lot. I don’t put limits on UNSCHEDULED things that come up, because unscheduled events can be spontaneous. That’s good for me.
- I have learned to trust in my own abilities, average as they are. They are usually enough to get me through any problem that comes my way. Before I used to worry that I wasn’t smart enough or probably not doing it right, and this would derail my train of thought.
- I only declare myself working on one task a day, and tell myself that everything just takes some time. I trust that other tasks will naturally come about in the pursuit of this singular task.
Prior to this year, I was trying to conduct Groundhog Day Resolutions much in the way that Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day behaved in the first two thirds of the movie, trying to find ways to predict and control the world he was stuck in. When one way didn’t work, he tried another one. This got him to a certain level of mastery of the town, but he didn’t get to fulfill his ultimate desire to be with Andie MacDowell’s character. The movie takes a turn when Murray’s character has the encounter that affects him emotionally as he realizes that this is one thing he can’t predict or outsmart. From that point forward, Murray’s character seem to “adopt” the town as his own, and he starts to live inside it rather than control it. I think I’ve hit a similar inflection point, realizing that all the productivity tips, tools, knowledge, and process I have come up with does not deliver what I really crave. I’ve declared many goals and pursued them many ways over the years, and I’ve reaped some rewards from them. It seemed to work. But I think what I had failed to do was, as I perceived Murray’s character as failing to do in Groundhog Day, choose to CONNECT to the world that matters. This is an emotional connection to people, not a mastery of process. I’m finding that when I structure my days around people that bring me energy and joy that this tends to translate into more productive days. That said, I suspect that some of my additional productivity is a result of previous year’s GHDR inquiry; I wouldn’t be so productive now if I hadn’t put the time in to understand my own productivity triggers. It may just be that NOW I am in a good place to put it all into practice.
GHDR2020 as “Groundhog Day Do-Over”
One thing I liked about GHDR is remembering what days were the review days. I’d like to maintain that pattern so I can revisit my accomplishments every month and see where they might be leading. I’m calling 2020 a Do-Over year, starting from scratch but retaining all the knowledge from previous years.
It occurred to me also that as much as I like the February 2nd / Groundhog Day holiday concept, it is also a dire sort of holiday. It’s a holiday that tells us that there’s 6 weeks more winter in store for us. This is a good time to plan ahead. What I’m experience on March 3rd is more joyful, the anticipation of Spring. This is really a time of renewal, and I am really feeling it this year.
Not sure exactly what to call it, I tried approaching the problem by creating a logo based on the 2009 Agenceum logo I made for my “Fake digital agency”. The idea behind Agenceum was that it showed an idea growing into a plant, and so I fixed the logo so it looked just a bit nicer. Here’s an image showing its progression from the 2009 edition all the way on the left to the current draft on the right.
Rebirth. Renewal. Growth. Seeds. The warmth of the sun. These are all things I crave and want to share. For the past two years I’d been approaching these goals as an exercise in community building. I started the Coworking Discord Chat and started participating in local social groups again. I started to take an active leadership role in some groups just to see if I could…how bad could it be? The feeling I have is like watching a plant grow, hence my repurposing of the Agenceum logo. Not sure it will be THE ONE, but just putting it out into the world is a good first step. It’s nothing to worry about, really.
Wrapping up for Now
At some point I want to document the workflow that’s currently keeping me focused and even-tempered, but I’m sleepy and want to just get this point up to mark the beginning of a new GHDR-like approach that may be helpful to others. I’ll mark this post also as a “draft” because I’m probably going to reread and refine later. But for right now, UGLY BUT DONE is my mantra :-)