Groundhog Day Resolutions are my daily self-improvement resolutions. They’re like New Year Resolutions except they start on February 2nd! I designate “doublet-dates” March 3 (3/3), April 4 (4/4), and so on as Report Days up to December 12, at which I take a break for the holidays.
This is the 13th year of doing GHDRs. If you’d like to follow along, you are invited to join the Virtual Coworking Chat to see how I’m handling my day-to-day management of the process. Over the years we’ve collected a friendly and encouraging group of diverse people from around the world.
Strategic Initiatives for 2019
Current “Disciplined” GHDR Goals
There are three strategic goals for 2019 that I consider “hard” because they require tasks I find boring, uncomfortable, and/or beyond my current abilities to execute quickly if at all. I measure progress on these goals by tallying what tangible goods and assets are produced:
(1) Providing income today, Software Mastery is the refinement my skills in creating software, which enables me to currently earn a living while building expertise to develop my own software products. Writing software that didn’t exist before is proof of progress. Using skills and applying knowledge I didn’t have before is progress. Billing hours for work completed is progress.
(2) My “Functional Stationery” Business provides a small monthly bonus, but I’d like it to replace freelancing as my main source of income since that would free up my time to do other things. Seeing revenue increase and more market engagement would count as progress.
(3) My aspirational goal is to develop Toolkits, Seeds, and Primers. These would be the kind of knowledge product that empowers people to create, providing all the tools they need with whatever materials it takes to have a great learning experience. I think ultimately this is how I’d like to leave my mark on the universe.
Automatic “Emergent” Goals
In addition to the “hard” goals, there are existing processes that just run all the time. As they are embodied in daily actions, they do not require scheduled review. However, I do mention them from time-to-time in my reviews because they are the driving reason for having goals in the first place:
(4) As an “investigative designer”, I naturally spend a lot of time on my personal process development, practicing the Explore•Learn•Build•Share loop with an experimental attitude to uncover the HOW and WHY of people and things. Documenting this process is in my blood; learning to package it for greater ease of sharing is a compulsion.
(5) Community and culture development is the energy spent connecting and nurturing groups of people through the application of our mutual values. These are the self-empowered, positive-minded, conscientious, competent, open-hearted, generous, curious, and kind people that I want to be with.
Essentially, I see my disciplined strategic goals as a way to bring in revenue to fund my personal and community development activities, in a way that includes and empowers all of us. Also, I do like buying fancy laptops, and that money has to come from somewhere right? :-)
This system diagram is explained in 2019 Kickoff Part 1
The following process was added June 16, 2019.
Accepting and Managing Limitations
- Limit elective face-to-face interactions and commits to 2 a week. Every face-to-face interaction I have creates motivation, but it also scrambles my ability to focus for six-to-eight hours afterwards. Every interaction essentially causes me to lose a day of work because I can not focus.
- Accept My ADHD/Introverted Tendencies. I have conflicting needs: I need mental stimulation for me to not feel dead inside. I need interactions with people to give my work meaning, from which my desire to work comes. I need ample time and space to fall into a problem. These are challenging to balance, and it really is a full-time job. This is the Way of Sri.
- Accept My Reality without Guilt or Shame. As much as I wish I didn’t have the above limitations, they are my reality (so goes the working theory, anyway). I feel bad about not agreeing to meet immediately with friends, or when I work more slowly than I think a “competent” person might. These negative thoughts don’t help me. Let me be matter-of-fact with myself and with others as I explain how I work around them. This is the Way of Sri.
- Remember: My Strategic Goal is to Make New Works to Share With People. The justification is that with new works, I have value that can be used to find new friends and generate income. This is the Way of Sri. If I am not sharing my works with people on a weekly basis, then I am not being successful as defined by the Way of Sri.
- Remember: Creating My Effective Working Conditions is Time-Consuming. With my ADHD/Introverted nature, it’s hard for me to stay interested in a task that doesn’t naturally give me energy. Therefore, part of my working process is ensuring that my mental state is good, and this counts are work even if it looks like I’m playing around. This is the way it is, and I will try to accept this without guilt or shame. It is just the way I am, and it is what I have to work with.
The following process was added March 26, 2019.
Active Goal Setting
For GHDR 2019, I have established two main Disciplined Goals that I consider HARD, and are explicitly part of my Groundhog Day Resolutions push. This is where I attempt to get things done on purpose, because they have strategic importance to me.
- [DISCIPLINED GOAL] Increase the viability of my Online Stationery Business
I also have two auxiliary personal goals that aren’t part of GHDR. These are my so-called Emergent Goals and I don’t worry about them because they “just happen” without me having to think about them. In other words, they are already getting done
- [EMERGENT GOAL] Increase my expression of “me”, including matters of gender transition.
- [EMERGENT GOAL] Take care of myself and the communities that matter to me, including posting on social media, blogging and running the virtual coworking chat server.
Categorizing Goal Progress
In mid-March I realized that making progress on disciplined goals comes in at least two forms:
- Making 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.
- Making FUTURE opportunities by creating new packages! Talking about my completed projects can create new collaboration opportunities, and the assets produced by these projects bring the possibility of revenue.
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.
Estimating and Managing Work
Continuing from 2019, I am continuing to model myself as a thinking machine with three attention slots that are loaded weekly. This model has come about from years of self observation, balancing the limits of my working memory with the constant need for variety in my activities. The model applies not just to the number of projects I can handle during the week, but also to prioritizing what will get done, which helps me stay focused.
In practical use, two of these attention slots are used for meeting a specific GHDR goal for the week, while the third slot is used for everything else. I called this the Two Slot+Aux model (2S+A). I can also assign all three slots to a single task in times of great need (crunch mode). Also, the “size” of the slots themselves are not equal; it might be more accurate to model the three slots as how I partition the available “mental resources” I have during the week.
At the beginning of the week, I write a week plan that takes projects related to the two GHDR contexts into account and personal desires/goals that I use to fill in whatever space is left. This roughly corresponds to 2S+A. This list is written publicly in the #accountability room on my coworking chat server, and updated regularly.
For daily work, I post multiple 2- or 3-item todo lists that are much more specific. The tasks on this list are posted to the #work_doing room on my coworking chat server. I will start with one 2-3 item list and try to get that done. If I finish everything, then I make another list to push on. I try to make the tasks on this list something that either (1) asks a question that can be answered, (2) is something that can be gathered, or (3) is something I think can be completed in the next hour.
Every Monday I write a weekly review to assess how well I am sticking to my GHDR goals. There is also the regular monthly review that gathers and shares insights learned during the month. Having the daily, weekly, and monthly timescales is helpful in reflecting on how well I’m doing. It’s sometimes hard to remember the reasons why I am doing anything, so these reviews help keep that straight in my head.
I decided not to worry about a lot of things and not be so hard on myself. I’ve started to see that I really am doing a lot of work as far as my own “personal mission” goes. I used to think other people’s work was more important, but as I commit to my own path it is easier to value my desires equally as I value other people’s opinions.
My Groundhog Day Resolutions Posts for 2019
|2018||2018||Last Year’s GHDR|
|2019 FEB 02||Kickoff||Warmup|
|2019 FEB 04||Kickoff||Part I: System Modeling|
|2019 FEB 06||Kickoff||Part II: Goal Setting|
|2019 FEB 18||Weekly||“A Rough but Promising Start”|
|2019 FEB 25||Weekly||“Keeping an Eye on My Slots”|
|2019 MAR 04||March Review||“The Hard Path”|
|2019 MAR 12||Weekly||“Giant Pong and Magical Pants”|
|2019 MAR 19||Weekly||“A Community-Driven Personal Unified Theory”|
|2019 MAR 26||Weekly||“My Mental Sarcophagus”|
|2019 APR 02||Weekly||“One Project Closes, Five Begin”|
|2019 APR 04||April Review||Part I Overview|
|2019 APR 08||April Review||Part II|
|2019 APR 15||Weekly||“Autopilot Engaged for Vacation + Recap”|
|2019 MAY 05||May Review||“Reacquiring Focus”|
|2019 JUN 06||June Review||“Diagnosis: Chill Out”|
|2019 JUL 07||July Review||“Bad at Goal Setting”|
|2019 AUG 08||August Review||“No More Tracking!”|
|2019 SEP 09||September Review||“A Month of Reduced Tracking”|
|2019 OCT 10||October Review||“Still Liking the Trackerless Approach”|
|2019 NOV 11||November Review||“Winding Down GHDR / One Thing”|
|2019 DEC 12||December Review||“Series Finale!”|