Category Archives: monthly

Monthly review: May 2015

It always surprises me how each tiny step builds up. I remember May to be rather fuzzy, but it turns out that I managed to do a fair bit of sewing, thinking, coding, and planning anyway.

This was the month I realized that I can turn my temporary fuzziness into an advantage. I get to have sneak peeks of what I might deal with in the future, and I can plan and build systems accordingly.

I spent the first half of the month going on long walks every day, and that felt great. It turns out that Hacklab is within walking distance of my house, and quite a few libraries are as well. Whee! I look forward to re-establishing this habit at some point.

W- and I have been spending more time playing video games lately. He’s going through Borderlands, and I’m playing Ni no Kuni. Fun!

2015-06-02b May 2015 -- index card #monthly output

Blog posts


Daily: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31


Category Last month (%) This month (%) Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Business – Build 5.1 10.5 18 9.1
Discretionary – Play 6.1 10.8 18 7.9
Unpaid work 8.0 9.2 15 2.0
Discretionary – Social 1.7 1.6 3 -0.2
Personal 16.4 16.1 27 -0.5
Discretionary – Productive 9.0 8.4 14 -1.0
Discretionary – Family 3.6 3.0 5 -1.0
Business – Earn 5.5 3.9 7 -2.7
Sleep 37.5 35.1 59 -4.0
Business – Connect 7.1 1.3 2 -9.7

Lots more Quantified Awesome coding, drawing, and playing this month. A little more time cooking. Not as much time at Hacklab. Oddly, even less sleep. Or maybe I was fuzzier because I hadn’t been sleeping as much? This was still an average of 8.4 hours a day, though. Biking and long walks put on hold, but maybe I’ll be able to get back to them in the next few weeks.

Monthly review: April 2015

2015-05-04g April 2015 -- index card #monthly

Level up! I learned how to use Hacklab’s laser cutter this month. I’ve been giving it quite a workout with all these tops. It’s a lot of fun working with the laser cutter, since precisely-cut pieces are much easier to sew. Besides, it’s much better than cutting at home, where I often have to shoo the cats away from my fabric. =)

The weather has finally warmed up enough to start gardening and biking again. Whee! I’m not too positive about our chances of growing bitter melon – I think our garden has a disease – but maybe the other plants will be fine. The peas are starting to come up. The strawberry, basil, and tomato seedlings I planted seem to be doing fine too.

This month was a good opportunity to take a close look at my sub-optimal states. <laugh> Between squirrel-brain and fuzzy-brain, it’s a wonder I got anything done. Still, I managed to do the usual consulting bits, broaden my sewing experience, and collect ideas for things I might want to build someday and people I might want to work with. Anyway, the month provided plenty of practice in patience, persistence, and philosophizing, so I got some good out of it.

I’m not entirely sure what next month will be like. Still – onward!


Blog posts


Daily: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Category Last month (%) This month (%) Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Discretionary – Play 3.1 6.1 10 5.0
Business – Connect 6.2 7.1 12 1.5
Business – Build 4.5 5.1 9 1.0
Discretionary – Productive 8.8 9.0 15 0.3
Discretionary – Social 1.7 1.7 3 0.0
Discretionary – Family 3.7 3.6 6 -0.2
Business – Earn 5.8 5.5 9 -0.5
Sleep 38.5 37.5 63 -1.7
Unpaid work 9.3 8.0 13 -2.2
Personal 18.4 16.4 28 -3.4

That’s odd. Given all the fuzziness, I expected that I slept more this month, but it turns out that I slept less. Well, maybe some of that sleep got moved to playing Persona 3 (4.8% of the time, which is almost as much as I spent consulting!), since I was taking it easy. I spent a little more time at Hacklab, too. But yeah, interesting…

I expect May to be a little less sleepy. =) More biking (counted under Personal) and gardening (counted under Discretionary – Productive) too, I hope. And cooking, and sewing…

Monthly review: March 2015

Wow. That was actually a really full month. I hadn’t realized it day by day, but wow. I got deeper into making things, sewing enough tops so that I can wear something I made whenever I want. I cooked food that people enjoyed. I picked up yoga again, and I’m working on building habits for strength and flexibility. I learned a lot about people and about myself.

Last month, I wrote that I expected March to focus even more on personal projects:

  • finish a few more tops in this season’s colours. Done!
  • bake a few pies for Pi Day. Didn’t do, but I brought egg tarts instead.
  • work on a few personal projects. Yup!

Following up on my reflection on otium: that was an excellent use of discretionary time, and I can’t wait to see what April will be like. Next month, I look forward to:

  • collecting more ideas and skills
  • working on some personal projects
  • and building biking + yoga habits, yay!


2015-04-05c March 2015 -- index card #monthly #review

Blog posts


Daily: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31


Category Last month (%) This month (%) Avg h per week Delta
Personal 14.7 18.4 31 3.7
Business – Connect 2.8 6.2 10 3.4
Sleep 35.3 38.5 65 3.2
Discretionary – Social 1.2 1.7 3 0.5
Discretionary – Play 2.8 3.1 5 0.3
Unpaid work 9.9 9.3 16 -0.6
Discretionary – Family 5.1 3.7 6 -1.4
Business – Earn 7.8 5.8 10 -2.0
Business – Build 7.8 4.5 8 -3.3
Discretionary – Productive 12.6 8.8 15 -3.8

Monthly review: February 2015

Last month, I wrote that in February, I was looking forward to:

  • Preparing for some projects: Done!
  • Hosting another Emacs Hangout: Done!
  • Learning more about Helm (in Emacs): Customized!

What a month for cooking, drawing, writing, sewing, and tweaking Emacs. Somehow I managed to make more progress on personal projects and do lots of consulting.

2015-03-08a Monthly review - February 2015 -- index card #monthly output


Category Last month (%) This month (%) Avg h per week Delta
Business – Earn 4.1 7.8 13 3.7
Unpaid work 8.5 9.9 17 1.4
Discretionary – Productive 11.9 12.6 21 0.7
Discretionary – Social 0.5 1.2 2 0.7
Discretionary – Family 4.4 5.1 9 0.7
Sleep 35.3 35.3 59 0.0
Personal 15.1 14.7 25 -0.4
Discretionary – Play 3.8 2.8 5 -1.0
Business – Connect 5.4 2.8 5 -2.6
Business – Build 11.1 7.8 13 -3.3

As an experiment, I tried treating consulting as a “dessert” task to encourage me to work on my personal projects. I also stayed late at the office when I happened to have evening get-togethers scheduled downtown. I made decent progress on my other projects, I got more consulting in, and my clients were happy for the help. Still, my personal projects and interests are starting to be more motivating for me, so I think I might be able to rely on their intrinsic motivation soon. =)

This month, I spent some time thinking about clothes, shopping, sewing, and how I can make this experience better. It was a little stressful trying to find clothes for a family event (I ended up going in my office clothes), so I’ve resolved to try:

  • shopping more frequently
  • giving myself permission to spend more money
  • investing in learning how to sew

So far, so good. I’ve found a simple pattern for tops and am working on filling my wardrobe with them. Some people like variety. I think I get a kick out of consistency.

I’ve been cooking a lot too, yay!

I expect next month to focus even more on personal projects. I’d like to:

  • finish a few more tops in this season’s colours
  • bake a few pies for Pi Day
  • work on a few personal projects

Blog posts


Monthly review: January 2015

2015-02-01 January 2015 -- index card #monthly #review
2015-02-01 January 2015 – index card #monthly #review

Last month, I wrote that in January, I planned to:

  • Set up a rhythm of monthly Emacs hangouts and Emacs chats: Scheduled a few more
  • Shift my finances around a bit so that I’m more relaxed: Refilled, yay!
  • Sort out some small snags with consulting: Smoothed out
  • Get the exercise ladder habit going again: Associating microwaving with exercising is a small start.
  • Make little improvements around the house, so it doesn’t end up waiting for vacations: W- has been doing most of this, so I’ve been focusing on cooking instead.

It was a good month for thinking about questions and goals. Eric’s update on his Quest of Awesome at the Quantified Self Toronto meetup inspired me to list accomplishments, goals, and questions, and I’m gradually making sense of those things.

I’ve been relaxing my self-imposed one-post-a-day limit, since there’s so much I want to write about and I’ve built up quite a backlog. I need to think about how to keep this manageable. Sometimes I really like having posts scheduled but not posted, since that allows me to update them when I find little bugs in the code or opportunities to improve. On the other hand, there’s something to be said about faster feedback cycles. Hmm.

At work, I’ve learned a lot about using Tableau for recursive queries, dashboard actions, and filters. Level up! Speaking of data and analytics, my self-tracking got mentioned in the Toronto Star.

Focusing on Emacs microhabits has been paying off nicely. I’m still not as fluent as I’d like to be in terms of abbreviations and window-switching, but I’m better at them than before. I’ll continue working on those habits in February, and maybe I’ll delve into Helm too. I’ve also been writing little Node and Emacs Lisp scripts to automate parts of my workflow, which makes me happy.

In February, I’m looking forward to:

  • Preparing for some projects
  • Hosting another Emacs Hangout
  • Learning more about Helm (in Emacs)

I’m experimenting with a combined outline that includes my blog posts and sketches so that things are logically grouped. Since I have lots of sketches, I’ve skipped the ones that have already been included in blog posts. Sketches are the ones that start with the date, and blog posts have regular titles. Might be useful, might be noisy, but I won’t know until I try. =) Here’s what I wrote and drew this month:

Monthly review: December 2014

I wrote that in December, I planned to:

  • Continue helping my consulting client with prototyping and analytics: I updated our Tableau reports, and I’ve been turning over more prototyping to the new developer. Yay!
  • Dive into Emacs improvement: Didn’t get to do as much of this as I liked, but I was happy to see that @rubikitch has started a daily Emacs tip series. It’s in Japanese, but Google Translate will get you most of the way there.
  • Help out with family projects: This is mostly what our vacation’s been like. Awesome!
  • Do a calendar-year annual review: Yup, done. Although I really should put this in January’s plan anyway, since I like waiting for the numbers from Quantified Awesome…

I’m mostly normal again in terms of sleep and energy, but I’d like to get back into exercise.

In January, I plan to:

  • Set up a rhythm of monthly Emacs hangouts and Emacs chats
  • Shift my finances around a bit so that I’m more relaxed
  • Sort out some small snags with consulting
  • Get the exercise ladder habit going again. Sure, I know it might get disrupted, but the important part is to keep starting.
  • Make little improvements around the house, so it doesn’t end up waiting for vacations

Blog posts


  1. 2014.12.01 Colouring inspiration guide – drawingBlogged
  2. 2014.12.01 The Inner Game of Work – W Timothy GallweyBlogged
  3. 2014.12.04 Sketchnote Army Interview – Sacha ChuaBlogged
  4. 2014.12.10 Sketched Book – The Stoic Art of Living – Inner Resilience and Outer Results – Tom MorrisBlogged
  5. 2014.12.11 What is good for me to do whenBlogged
  6. 2014.12.12 Sketched Book – Just Fucking Ship – Amy Hoy and Alex HillmanBlogged
  7. 2014.12.13 Sketched Book – Start With Why – Simon Sinek
  8. 2014.12.14 Sketched Book – Write Faster Write Better – David A FryxellBlogged
  9. 2014.12.25 Sketched Book – Take Charge of Your Talent – Three Keys to Thriving in Your Career, Organization, and Life – Don Maruska and Jay PerryBlogged
  10. 2014.12.31 Sketched Book – The Checklist Manifesto – How to Get Things Right – Atul GawandeBlogged