• Springtime 2020 for NOT Groundhog Day Resolutions

    March 3, 2020

    I’m not doing [Groundhog Day Resolutions][ghdr] (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:

    1. figure out ecommerce and revenue
    2. learn and make cool stuff
    3. 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. (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • Experiment: Getting Unstuck Faster

    January 9, 2020

    A perennial challenge for me is starting new project tasks quickly. My attention is quite easily scattered when I’m working in isolation, and it’s made worse if I’m not sure exactly what I have to do and what I will get in return for my effort. The trick I use to get moving is “stream of consciousness”-style writing, which works because it creates a write-read-refine feedback loop that stitches my thoughts into a clean line of reasoning. And because it’s written down, I can refer back to it when my attention wanders again.

    The real trick is remembering that writing gets me unstuck. Rather than turn to it as a last resort, I should really make it a first habit. I don’t think that even occurred to me because I write SO MUCH already; by my last count, there are about two dozen places where I write on a weekly basis. I’d like to create a focused writing habit to serve as the trigger for a productive work sprint, and I think that means I need to develop some disciplined process in my writing.

    Over the past 10 years, I’ve implemented the “one location” as a continuity journal, using many different tools and approaches. None of them have lasted more than six months because inevitably they become overgrown with too much information, which becomes distracting.

    So, let’s try to fix that.


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    Dave Seah
  • December Groundhog Day Resolution Report – Series Finale!

    December 19, 2019

    Pineapple Cakes Hey everyone! This is my very last Groundhog Day Resolutions (GHDR) report, as I don’t plan on doing it in 2020. GHDR is primarily a way to remember WHEN to do yearly goal setting and periodic progress assessment, but over the past 13 years it seems that I’ve not made substantive PROGRESS. At least it FEELS that way, so I am thinking this might be a good time to try something new next year. Hopefully this will bring a fresh perspective as question everything anew!

    That said, it has been a pretty good year, filled with tasty personal insights and revelations that will help me figure out what to do next. I just wish that I had more sense of closure on achieving my goals. As I reviewed the past reports for the year, it occurred to me that maybe if I got the same sense of enjoyment I get from learning how to make pineapple cakes (picture above), then maybe I would feel better!

    Making pineapple cakes was rewarding in the following ways:

    • Friendship! I made these particular pineapple cakes for the office manager at my doctor’s office, which is closing permanently at the end of December.
    • Sharing Superlative Experiences! Professionally-baked pineapple cakes are a popular gift in my ethnic homeland of Taiwan, and sharing the story and taste with curious friends to experience for themselves is very enjoyable.
    • Expanding Skills! Most people buy their pineapple cakes, but they are hard to find good ones here in the USA so creating them myself is one way of empowering myself while also learning new skills. I’d never made a pastry before, and this experience is the foundation for future baking!
    • Practicing Creativity! Creativity is a kind of muscle that is developed, starting with an idea and progressing through stages of discovery through challenging uncertainty.
    • Iterative Refinement! Ultimately I want to make great pineapple cakes, and learning to critically experiment and taste my way through failures is my preferred style of learning.
    • Tangible, Tasty Rewards! Sweet, sweet victory is mine to share and enjoy with my friends and friends to be. In my ideal world, my experiments are part of a virtuous cycle that inspires all of us to explore, learn, build, and share their creative endeavors.

    In hindsight, the way I do Groundhog Day Resolutions is based on the idea that process and discipline are the central core of productivity; if I apply steady disciplined process to my goal-seeking activities, surely progress will follow. While each attempt has yielded a certain amount of productive work, it’s always felt somewhat artificial; despite the diligent tracking and regular assessment showing that I’ve been creating things, it seemed that my strategic goals were always over the next year’s horizon.

    I’m not sure what I’ll change in 2020, but I’m thinking the next approach will be more like making pineapple cakes and less about perfecting process. There was a time when I needed to prove to myself that I had process, but at this point in my life PROCESS FALLS OUT OF MY BUTT. I don’t have to think about it…it just happens. The real challenge has always been something else: MOTIVATION perhaps, or IDENTITY+MEANING, or remnants of FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, and DOUBT regarding my ability to keep a roof over my head while maintaining SOCIAL CONNECTION that makes life worth living. I’ve explored all of those issues for years and have learned to manage them, and my gut says that there’s something else I haven’t seen, tried, or simply ACCEPTED…

    But we’ll look into all that next year :-)

    For THIS report, I’ll look at How I Did on my GHDR Goals, and then get into Lessons Learned. I’ll follow that up with Notable Insights and that’ll be it. I’m taking the rest of the year off to do holiday things and clean house.


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    Dave Seah
  • November Groundhog Day Resolution Report – Winding Down GHDR / One Thing

    December 5, 2019

    Groundhog Day Resolutions Report for November 2019 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! (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • Nanowrimo 2019 Word Tracking Calendar for November!

    October 22, 2019

    2019 Word Counting Calendar for Tracking Nanowrimo Progress I’ve updated my Word Counting Calendar for Nanowrimo, the international Novel Writing Month where everyone tries to write 50,000 in 30 days! I did it in 2013 and discovered I could do it, but the real takeaway for me was this calendar design.

    Green Version

    More Versions! Many Colors!

    » Download the standard green edition.

    You can find instructions at You’ll also find links to the pretty color variations. There is also a 5000 word kid version that might be useful for kids participating in the Young Writers Program.

    All these calendars are free for people and organizations doing Nanowrimo! If you like the calendar, please let me know on Twitter or Instagram, and that will make my day. :-)


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    Dave Seah