Category Archives: monthly

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

Monthly review: November 2014

I wrote last month that in November, I planned to:

  • Get team members up to speed with prototype designs and reporting tips
  • Experiment with Emacs hangouts and learn more about functionality
  • File my corporate tax returns
  • Dust off my delegation processes

I’m glad I invested time in writing things down, building standardized reports, and coaching team members, since I ended up spending November mostly working from home (whenever I wasn’t asleep).

We experimented with casual Emacs Hangouts and those were awesome. I hosted the first one and Cameron Desautels hosted the second one. Great way to pick up tips and hang out with folks. I’m looking forward to doing more of them in December and in 2015.

I filed my corporate tax returns, yay! This year, I learned how to file HST using the quick method (which isn’t really all that quick), and I also found a bookkeeper who could help me answer some of my tax questions. Nice to get the paperwork out of the way.

Delegation-wise, I continue to be really bad at assigning tasks to my virtual assistants. On my consulting engagement, though, I’m getting better at asking team members to do stuff (providing notes and help along the way) instead of giving in to the temptation to have fun doing things myself.

I also learned more about building flexible reports using Tableau and PostgreSQL, wireframing before implementing, testing. I picked up Minna no Nihongo and started working my way through it. I learned how to make a really simple LEGO ball contraption. I mentored a young developer. I dealt with fuzzy brain, squirrel brain, and other challenges, and I figured out a few things that work well for me. (Getting things ready for good-brain time, for example.)

Also, having a process journal is great! I updated each entry by summarizing it in the headline, and now I can look at my date outline and get a quick sense of how the month went. =) Pretty well, actually, despite having lower energy than usual.

In December, I plan to:

  • Continue helping my consulting client with prototyping and analytics
  • Dive into Emacs improvement
  • Help out with family projects
  • Do a calendar-year annual review

Blog posts:



% Avg h per week Avg h per day
Sleep 41.3 69.4 9.9
Personal care 14.4 24.2 3.5
Business 14.3 24.0 3.4
Discretionary – Play 9.0 15.1 2.2
Discretionary – Productive 9.4 15.8 2.3
Discretionary – Family 6.5 10.9 1.6
Unpaid work 5.0 8.4 1.2

I’m trying a new thing in this review – I’m also using it to mark items for follow-up, like sketches that haven’t been blogged yet (0% this month, yay!) or actions to take. We’ll see if this helps me build momentum and connect the threads!


Monthly review: October 2014

I wrote last month that in October, I was planning to:

  • Help with the last big milestone for my consulting client
  • Turn over all of my responsibilities and document things I’ve learned
  • Cook at the new Hacklab and explore more recipes at home
  • Do my corporate books: this year, I added dividends and HST quick method!

Big milestone successfully passed, hooray! There are still a few minor hiccups that the team’s working through, but that’s normal. In other news, I signed a new contract, and we have a new team member too. That means I don’t actually have to disappear abruptly, and I can gradually document and transfer what I know.

I’ve been having a lot of fun cooking at the new Hacklab. We invested a lot in kitting out the new kitchen, and that’s really paid off. It’s more comfortable cooking with all those tools and all that counter space. Whee! You can check out our notes in the public wiki.

I’m waiting to hear back from the bookkeeper I hired through oDesk before submitting my corporate tax return and my HST return this year, but even if I have to do it on my own, I feel reasonably confident about my numbers.

In November, I plan to:

  • Get team members up to speed with prototype designs and reporting tips
  • Experiment with Emacs hangouts and learn more about functionality
  • File my corporate tax returns
  • Dust off my delegation processes

Blog posts:

  • Business
  • Tech
  • Learning
  • Blogging
  • Cooking
  • Life
  • Reviews
  • Sketches:

    1. 2014.10.06 Sometimes – often – I don’t feel like making conversation
    2. 2014.10.11 Considering winter coats
    3. 2014.10.21 Exploring my current motives
    4. 2014.10.21 Reflecting on my primary motives
    5. 2014.10.22 On Hell Yeah and other approaches
    6. 2014.10.22 People who follow similar motivations well
    7. 2014.10.22 What kinds of activities do I want to fully enjoy
    8. 2014.10.22 What would I like to be able to do with sustained motivation
    9. 2014.10.31 How do I want to become a better developer
    10. 2014.10.31 What do I want from this phase of my experiment
    11. 2014.10.31 What do I want the rhythm to feel like