Category Archives: monthly

Monthly review: June 2014

I wrote that in June, I’d like to:

  • Deliver a chunk of functionality for project E1
  • Polish and publish the Emacs Lisp beginner course, possibly on a self-serve platform
  • Take it easy because of project F2

E1: Yeah, big milestone! Now working on related changes. And testing things, of course; there’s always more to test.

Emacs Lisp beginner course: I haven’t created a full course, but I’ll probably convert the beginner course into a downloadable PDF, EPUB, and MOBI this month.

As planned, I took it easier this month. Here’s a subset of my time changes:

Activity Percent of time vs previous month
Family 5.10% +4.8h / week
Sleep 37.6% +4.4h / week
Learning 1.7% +2.7h / week
Reading fiction 1% +1.5h / week
Quantified Awesome 1.2% -1.8h / week
Business 17.1% -3.2h / week
Emacs 2.1% -6.7h / week

In July, I’d like to:

  • E1: Update the documentation and help out in other ways
  • Turn the beginner course into a convenient download
  • Plan for project F3
  • Solidify my exercise habit

I’ve been rereading a lot about philosophy: Epictetus and Aristotle, mostly. This month, I’d like to dig into Emerson and Thoreau. Next week, probably what Bertrand Russell says about happiness and people. Hmm…

Blog posts

Monthly review: May 2014

I wrote that in May, I’d like to:

  • ☑ Learn how to write extensions for E1
  • ☑ Develop “How to Read Emacs Lisp” into a proper course, with objectives, modules, exercises and other useful things
  • ☑ Add compost and herbs to our garden

I hadn’t realized how busy May was in terms of Emacs chats and other good things until I put this review together. That’s one of the advantages of reviews. You get to see the accumulation of little things. Oh, and I paid myself too.

Thanks to some help from the vendor, I made a lot of progress on my consulting project for E1. I’m rusty at J2EE, but I’m doing okay.

The weather was nice and warm in May, so I did a lot of biking and gardening. I added tire liners and patched a few holes in my tires, so that should result in fewer flats. We planted herbs and vegetables, added lots of compost (both free and purchased from Home Depot), and started turning our compost heap regularly. I discovered that yes, I do actually enjoy watching grass grow. Learning slowly, but getting there.

This month, I focused on helping the Emacs community. I’ve been experimenting with delivering an e-mail-based course on reading Emacs Lisp, and that’s going well. I’ve also been paying Emacs geeks to help me with transcripts of chats, videos, and other resources. I’d like to eventually build into a useful resource that complements the Emacs Wiki and Emacs-related blogs.

I also dusted off Quantified Awesome’s unit tests and brought it back up to 100% coverage, at least as reported by simplecov. Eventually I want to upgrade it to Rails 4. I’ve been learning Clojure too. I’ve completed all the elementary problems on and am now working my way through the easy ones. Lots of things to try out!

In June, I’d like to:

  • Deliver a chunk of functionality for project E1
  • Polish and publish the Emacs Lisp beginner course, possibly on a self-serve platform
  • Take it easy because of project F2

Here’s what I blogged about:


Monthly review: April 2014

Last month, I wrote:

In April, I want to:

  • Record and set up more Emacs chats
  • Make open source contribution part of my routine (mailing lists, patches, sharing)

And I did! I moved my Emacs writing workflow online and committed lots of code for different things I was working on. Here’s my Github heatmap as of May-ish:

2014-05-07 21_33_48-sachac (Sacha Chua).png

I’ve been experimenting with focusing more on Emacs. is coming along nicely, and I’ve started fleshing it out as . The guide on how to read Emacs Lisp is now more than 8,000 words, and it has greatly benefited from people’s feedback. =)

I completed my 10-episode goal for Emacs Chats and am starting on another “season”, now that inviting people is less intimidating. It’s fun, and I’ve been hearing from people who find the chats interesting as well. I wonder how I can make this more useful…

The weather has finally warmed up, so I’m back to gardening and biking. (Yay biking! =D) At first I thought our soil was doing okay. Once the rains lightened up, I found that the soil was still pretty sandy. I’ll need to add lots of compost. Still, a number of seedlings are on their way up. Yay!

On my consulting gig, I learned a lot about Tableau and reporting. Looks interesting. On a personal note, we’ve been tracking litter box use, and I now have more than seven hundred rows of data. Still haven’t automated the analysis, though. =)

I’m working on writing based on outlines and getting better at creating e-learning resources. I also need to prepare for a possible talk at the International Lisp Conference in August, too.

In May, I want to:

  • Learn how to write extensions for E1
  • Develop “How to Read Emacs Lisp” into a proper course, with objectives, modules, exercises and other useful things
  • Add compost and herbs to our garden

Blog posts

Time use

Label Hours Percent Notes
Business 160.0 22% Earn: 73.1, E1: 64.5, Connect: 28.0, Build: 58.9; average 37h/week
Discretionary 149.6 21% Social: 13.3, Productive: 90.8 (Writing: 29.2, Emacs: 39.7), Play: 28.8
Personal 97.6 14% Routines: 50.7
Sleep 264.0 37% Average of 8.8 hours per day
Unpaid work 48.8 7% Commuting: 21.5, Cook: 10.8, Tidy: 1.6

Monthly review: March 2014

Last month, I:

  • had fun with Emacs
    • coded numerous little Emacs conveniences
    • learned how to make graphs in Org Mode: see
    • integrated Emacs Org Mode with Quantified Awesome
    • helped lots of people with Emacs
    • started the Emacs Basics video series
    • set up more Emacs chats
  • and geeked around with other things
    • started playing around with the Raspberry Pi, motion detection, and image processing with simplecv
    • learned more about NodeJS
    • upgraded to Ubuntu Precise, Ruby 2.0
    • went to Gamfternoon at Hacklab
  • drew a little
    • finally updated my Twitter background
    • lined up another sketchnoting gig
    • put together the print version of Sketchnotes 2013, yay LaTeX!
  • and took care of other stuff
    • filed our taxes
    • delegated more writing

In other news, I really like the new monthly review code I’ve added to Emacs:

Here’s the snippet:

(defun sacha/org-review-month (start-date)
  "Review the month's clocked tasks and time."
  (interactive (list (org-read-date)))
  ;; Set to the beginning of the month
  (setq start-date (concat (substring start-date 0 8) "01"))
  (let ((org-agenda-show-log t)
        (org-agenda-start-with-log-mode t)
        (org-agenda-start-with-clockreport-mode t)
        (org-agenda-clockreport-parameter-plist '(:link t :maxlevel 3)))
    (org-agenda-list nil start-date 'month)))

In April, I want to:

  • Record and set up more Emacs chats
  • Make open source contribution part of my routine (mailing lists, patches, sharing)

Blog posts

Monthly review: February 2014

Experiment/plan updates

2014-03-05 experiment outcomes

2014-03-05 experiment outcomes

Experiment update: Focusing on more packaging/publishing this year. Also ramping up experiments with delegation.

2014-03-05 Goals for 31

2014-03-05 Goals for 31

Life as a 31-year-old: Need to work on more exercise. Maybe take my bike out again, despite the snow and ice?

Blog posts

Monthly review: January 2014

January – back in Canada after December’s trip. Lots of reflection on how I want the next few years to go. I’m writing this halfway through February, which is shaping up to be a month of packaging and delegation. Learning lots. =)


  1. 2014.01.01 2013 in review
  2. 2014.01.01 Cats
  3. 2014.01.01 How can I simplify life further
  4. 2014.01.01 More thoughts on delegation
  5. 2014.01.01 Routines I put away for the trip and which ones I want to put back
  6. 2014.01.01 Shoes
  7. 2014.01.02 Google Helpouts – 15 minutes or longer
  8. 2014.01.02 Google Helpouts – Imagining an ideal session
  9. 2014.01.02 Making things happen
  10. 2014.01.02 What would it take to make colour part of my workflow
  11. 2014.01.03 Easy ways to track time
  12. 2014.01.03 Exploring colours
  13. 2014.01.03 Learning in spirals
  14. 2014.01.03 Staying on the time-tracking wagon
  15. 2014.01.03 What are my current learning areas
  16. 2014.01.05 Asking myself better questions
  17. 2014.01.05 How can I keep better track of experiments to try
  18. 2014.01.05 How can I learn to bring people together
  19. 2014.01.05 How can we improve our cooking
  20. 2014.01.05 How do I use my time
  21. 2014.01.06 Building a reputation as a speaker
  22. 2014.01.06 Canadian winter tips
  23. 2014.01.06 Extrapolating my futures
  24. 2014.01.06 Learn how you learn
  25. 2014.01.06 Learning how to think in sentences
  26. 2014.01.06 Time-tracking and multi-tasking
  27. 2014.01.06 Tracking time with Org mode
  28. 2014.01.06 Transforming timestamps and dates
  29. 2014.01.06 Why am I happier with selling my time at $5 for 15min vs 200+ per hour
  30. 2014.01.07 Map for learning Org Mode for Emacs
  31. 2014.01.08 Dealing with impostor syndrome
  32. 2014.01.08 Sharing what you’re learning
  33. 2014.01.09 Ambition
  34. 2014.01.09 Blog ideas
  35. 2014.01.09 Building a review habit
  36. 2014.01.09 Organizing my sketches into collections
  37. 2014.01.09 Tips for organizing your Org-mode files
  38. 2014.01.09 What do I find challenging with podcasting
  39. 2014.01.10 Helpers Help Out 05 – Make Your Listing Better
  40. 2014.01.10 Post-production notes – HHO5 Make Your Listing Better
  41. 2014.01.12 Being my own client – part 1 of 4
  42. 2014.01.12 Being my own client part 2 – Projects
  43. 2014.01.12 Being my own client part 3 – Emacs, blog
  44. 2014.01.12 Being my own client part 4 – buying back time
  45. 2014.01.13 Stuff I’ve tracked
  46. 2014.01.13 What kind of a good life do I want
  47. 2014.01.14 Increasing my delta – part 2
  48. 2014.01.14 Reflecting on semi-retirement
  49. 2014.01.14 Ways to increase my delegation-fu
  50. 2014.01.15 General questions for coaches, role models, and mentors
  51. 2014.01.15 Getting started with professional sketchnoting
  52. 2014.01.15 Google Helpouts – Would I consider setting aside more time
  53. 2014.01.15 How I free up time
  54. 2014.01.15 How do I feel about interactive sketchnotes
  55. 2014.01.15 My current strategies for personal and professional growth
  56. 2014.01.15 My why, goals, and vision
  57. 2014.01.15 Paying myself first with time
  58. 2014.01.15 The balance that works for me
  59. 2014.01.15 Thoughts on getting paid vs giving things away
  60. 2014.01.15 What’s my 20 percent – Where are my moments of truth
  61. 2014.01.15 Where I am and where I want to be
  62. 2014.01.17 How can I assign 30 hours of work a week
  63. 2014.01.17 How can I hack podcasting
  64. 2014.01.17 Mapping a strategy for outsourcing podcast work
  65. 2014.01.17 Planning my post-podcast process
  66. 2014.01.17 Thinking about delegation goals
  67. 2014.01.18 Reflecting on the Helpouts experiment so far
  68. 2014.01.20 How could I get more out of my sharing v2
  69. 2014.01.20 If I were a master of delegation
  70. 2014.01.20 What do I want to be more intentional about learning
  71. 2014.01.21 Breadth and depth in reading
  72. 2014.01.21 Understanding more about how I learn and share
  73. 2014.01.22 Mapping what I’m learning – update
  74. 2014.01.22 Quantified Self Toronto – Sugar, Black Box, Photo Metadata, QS Sandbox, Data Theatre
  75. 2014.01.22 Recognizing potential fears
  76. 2014.01.22 Taking a closer look at the impostor syndrome
  77. 2014.01.22 Then what is blogging’s place in my life
  78. 2014.01.22 What do I look for when I read – What are my goals
  79. 2014.01.22 What kinds of books suit me well
  80. 2014.01.22 Work and its place in my life
  81. 2014.01.23 Exploring negative feelings
  82. 2014.01.23 Mapping a path to understanding Stoicism
  83. 2014.01.23 What’s challenging or different about self-directed learning
  84. 2014.01.24 A conversation about writing
  85. 2014.01.24 A path toward improving my writing and sharing
  86. 2014.01.24 A path toward learning from people
  87. 2014.01.24 Being my own editor
  88. 2014.01.24 How can I do work that’s more useful to myself and others
  89. 2014.01.24 Not about swapping one master for another
  90. 2014.01.24 What do I look for in blog posts
  91. 2014.01.24 Which parts of my writing process have I thought a lot about
  92. 2014.01.24 Why are we so attached to deadlines
  93. 2014.01.27 Current curiosities
  94. 2014.01.27 Finding tasks to delegate
  95. 2014.01.27 How can I improve my animation workflow
  96. 2014.01.27 How can I improve my book-reading workflow
  97. 2014.01.27 More thoughts on drawing on paper versus computer
  98. 2014.01.27 Self-directed learning flow
  99. 2014.01.28 Book – Decode and Conquer – Lewis Lin
  100. 2014.01.28 Delegation and helping people build their skills
  101. 2014.01.28 Delegation and helping people learn
  102. 2014.01.28 Helpers Help Out plans
  103. 2014.01.28 Moving past learning
  104. 2014.01.28 Reflective learning
  105. 2014.01.28 Translating my curiosity into actions and experiments TODO
  106. 2014.01.28 Understanding coaching in my life
  107. 2014.01.28 What do I get out of delegation
  108. 2014.01.29 Building people’s capacities
  109. 2014.01.29 Calibrating the right level of reach or obscurity
  110. 2014.01.29 Reflecting on visual book notes
  111. 2014.01.29 Spice combinations
  112. 2014.01.29 Translating what I learn
  113. 2014.01.30 Confederates
  114. 2014.01.30 Inspiring people to learn Emacs
  115. 2014.01.30 On packaging and publishing
  116. 2014.01.30 Publishing – what’s in my way, and how do I get past it
  117. 2014.01.30 Small steps towards publishing
  118. 2014.01.30 Thinking about my path to packaging and publishing
  119. 2014.01.30 Time to upgrade our Internet plan
  120. 2014.01.31 Getting good ideas out of your head – a path to publishing