Category Archives: monthly

On this page:
  • Monthly review: May 2013
  • Monthly review: April 2013
  • Monthly review: March 2013
  • Monthly review: February 2013
  • Monthly review: January 2013
  • Monthly review: December 2012

Monthly review: May 2013

Last month, I wrote:

It’s almost a third of the way through May already! I’m looking
forward to more consulting, sketchnoting, and illustrating. The
weather’s warmed up, so friends are starting to organize more
get-togethers. Then there’s planting the front and back garden,
studying Japanese (my goal for May: 500 lines in my spaced-repetition
deck), and drawing some more… May’s shaping up to be terrific.

Consulting/sketchnoting/illustrating: Lots of this for work, and some personal projects too. The one-page guide I drew for learning Emacs turned out to be a big hit. I want to put together guides like that maybe once a quarter (or even once a month if I get the hang of doing things)… I also compiled my 2012 sketchnotes in a collection, complete with a table of contents. It was fun working on things of my own!

I found an accountant who could review my books and answer my questions, yay! I amended my tax returns again, and I hope this time it’s final.

Friends: Failed on this one – completely forgot about a party that I was invited to because I was caught up in doing house-related stuff instead. I did co-host a couple of meetups, so there’s that.

Garden: The peas are doing wonderfully. The bok choy is starting to bolt (already!), and the tomato plants are still pretty small. The bitter melon plants are hanging in there, and the bell peppers are too. The pansies in the front are doing okay, although we’ve had one casualty. The lavender is growing like crazy. Hooray!

Japanese: I ended up using the pre-made Japanese decks for AnkiDroid instead of making my own, at least in terms of starting out with the vocabulary. I like the way that the listening decks include clear audio recordings. I also loop over audio from some of the anime that I like, and I’m starting to understand more and more of it. Yay!

Coding: I spent some time updating Quantified Awesome to use a newer version of Rails (all these security updates!), and setting up a Vagrant VM for easier coding. I’m looking forward to spending some time working on my technical debt by writing tests and getting the old tests to pass.

June promises to involve a lot of consulting and professional sketchnoting, lots of gardening and biking, and some big personal decisions. Let’s see how it works out!

Monthly review: April 2013

Last month, I wrote:

April will be more about slowing down and following up, I think. But this is good.

It took me a while to sort out a good workflow for processing the videos from the Emacs Conference, but I was glad I did so, even though there were a few miscommunications along the way. I got back into the swing of consulting and sketchnoting too, so that was great. =)

It’s almost a third of the way through May already! I’m looking forward to more consulting, sketchnoting, and illustrating. The weather’s warmed up, so friends are starting to organize more get-togethers. Then there’s planting the front and back garden, studying Japanese (my goal for May: 500 lines in my spaced-repetition deck), and drawing some more… May’s shaping up to be terrific.

Monthly review: March 2013

Last month, I wrote:

March: Some graphic recording, a keynote for the Emacs conference on March 30, and more writing and drawing and thinking. More biking too, I hope. And more planning and experimenting…

It was an amazing month! Lots of Emacs and Quantified Self hacking (and finally getting to meet all these Emacs geeks!), lots of drawing, lots of writing, lots of learning… =D

April will be more about slowing down and following up, I think. But this is good.

Monthly review: February 2013

Last month, I wrote:

In February, I’d like to do a lot more coding and a lot more drawing.
We’ll see how it works out!

As it turned out, I did very little coding (aside from consulting), a decent amount of drawing, and a whole lot of writing. Which is good, because writing makes me happy too.

I’ve signed up for Hacklab, a coworking space in downtown Toronto. It still takes me some convincing to get myself out of the house, onto the subway/streetcar, and to Hacklab, but it’s nice hanging out with other geeks. It will be even better when I work up the courage to go biking again, I think. Many people have been biking recently. I have bike envy.

Lots of review and looking ahead now that I’ve reached the 1-year mark of my experiment. There’s something worth digging into here. Things aren’t quite lined up right, and it’s good to have the space to explore it.

Haven’t been to krav maga in a while. The classes are a bit intense. I might join W- for the yoga classes instead.

March: Some graphic recording, a keynote for the Emacs conference on March 30, and more writing and drawing and thinking. More biking too, I hope. And more planning and experimenting…

Monthly review: January 2013

Last month, I wrote:

What could January look like? I’d like to:

  • create lots of value for my consulting clients
  • start the marketing and sales process going for upcoming events – hope I’m not too late for the events in March!
  • delegate more: add a new person to my virtual team
  • maintain my twice-weekly fitness/self-defence class schedule

I hit the ground running with a couple of much-appreciated tweaks and tools for my consulting clients.

I’ve decided to scale back a little on selling sketchnoting services for conferences because I’m also curious about developing other business models. Still, it’s great to have a few events lined up! I’d like to practise graphic recording, and am looking forward to ordering some equipment.

Patricia has been a great addition to my virtual team. I should send them more work. I’ve been a little remiss.

Fitness class has been less regular as of late, but at least I keep going even though I sometimes get really anxious.

In February, I’d like to do a lot more coding and a lot more drawing. We’ll see how it works out!

Monthly review: December 2012

Last monthly review, I wrote:

What might December look like? I want December to be a time to:

  • celebrate and share the things I’ve learned in the past year
  • lay the groundwork for more awesomeness in 2013
  • reach out to people and help them out

To help my consulting clients prepare for the transition and also to help me ease into other kinds of businesses, I’d arranged to take all of December off from my consulting engagement much like I’d taken September off. During my regular consulting months, I kept 1-2 days a week free to nudge these other businesses along, but I wanted to experiment with full-time focus on building other businesses such as this conference sketchnoting idea. I’d still be available by bat signal in case they needed urgent help or questions answered, and I promised to check in every so often.

You’d figure that having three extra days to work on my business combined with the typical holiday slow-down would leave me with empty space to fill. I got tons more done than I expected. I sketchnoted the Lean Startup Day conference livestream hosted at MaRS (professionally!), to much delight and retweeting. I came up with a company name, designed my own logo, registered the domain and created a website, and worked on my marketing and sales plans. There’s something about focus, steady progress, and momentum. Despite the holiday closure of many of the events I regularly go to, I sketched a lot anyway.

W- took some time off work during the holidays. He usually works really hard, so I decided not to waste the opportunity. I blocked off time around my existing appointments and asked my assistant to postpone other arrangements until after the holidays. We spent our time trying new recipes, organizing the house, building a habit of exercise, and getting ready for the next year. I’ve been going to krav maga self-defence and fitness classes once a week for more than a month now, and I’m ratcheting it up to twice a week.

One of the other things I experimented with in terms of time was to use my mornings for coding and a little writing. It felt great to sit down and tweak my Emacs configuration for extra productivity, add small improvements to my Quantified Awesome, or tinker around with WordPress on my websites and blogs. I saved the afternoon for meetings, planning, and drawing. I’ll be back to a 3-day consulting schedule in January and February, so I’ll need to see if I can find the same balance on Mondays and Fridays or whether business-related work will take up all my brainspace. If so, then I’ll know that from March onwards, I should focus on building a flexible business instead of taking on full-time contracts that may distract me from what I want to learn and do.

What could January look like? I’d like to:

  • create lots of value for my consulting clients
  • start the marketing and sales process going for upcoming events – hope I’m not too late for the events in March!
  • delegate more: add a new person to my virtual team
  • maintain my twice-weekly fitness/self-defence class schedule

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