Category Archives: plans

Gardening plans for 2014

The weather has really cooled down. W- turned off the water outside so that the pipes and hoses don’t freeze, and we’re letting the plants ride out the rest of the season before putting everything to bed. I have some garlic that I want to plant, although last year’s batch didn’t do too well. Anyway, here are my plans for gardening next year:

Gardening notes

I’m going to focus on the center box. Irrigation will be more expensive than watering by hand, but it will let me be more consistent while I focus on building habits around weeding, planting, and harvesting. If things go well, I can branch out to other boxes. Doesn’t make sense to add more growing areas – even a box on our much sunnier deck – until I can get the basics sorted out.

The box that I’m planning to plant in gets about 3-4 hours of dappled afternoon sun, which isn’t much. Maybe some of the greens will work well. The eternal optimist in me will keep giving bitter melons a try, since W- really likes them and there was that one season where they nearly took over the garden.

I met with Alex of Young Urban Farmers recently. The company offers garden coaching, so we might go for that since the feedback cycle for growing is just sooooo long. Alternatively, anyone in Toronto up for getting together and swapping notes? The Internet is great, but it’s hard to troubleshoot things that you don’t recognize or have the words for, and I have a feeling I don’t even know what I’m missing. =)

Update 2013-11-08: More plans!

2013-11-08 More garden plans for 2014

Seeing the futures

I often imagine different futures, sketching them out on paper or in those moments right before or after dreaming. It’s a good way of testing an idea to see whether I’d like it, and then working backwards from there to figure out how to get there from here. I also explore mediocrity and failure so that I can get a sense of what I want to avoid and what I could do to lower the risks.

For example, how might this 5-year experiment of mine turn out?

  • Awesome: My blog has plenty of detailed, open notes about trying different things. I’ve found an idea or two (or a business, even!) that fits me well, and I have the financial foundation to continue with even more experiments.
  • So-so: I have a fairly conventional consulting / freelancing story. It’s okay, but I missed out on pushing myself to do a lot more because of my safety net.
  • Darn: I’ve misjudged skill growth and finances. I reach the 5-year mark with little to show for it, and need to work a lot with my social network to get back into the job market.
  • I can influence this by being more deliberate about my experiments.

How about my relationship with W-?

  • Awesome: We consciously cultivate the relationship, sailing into our later years with plenty of stories and shared experiences.
  • So-so: We settle down into normality.
  • Darn: We forget to pay attention and end up drifting apart.
  • I can influence this by investing time.

Family?

  • Awesome: I’m close to both my family and W’s – I know people’s stories and interests, and I help out with whatever I can. I visit every other year or so, or more frequently if finances allow. I keep in touch through Skype and letters.
  • So-so: We keep in touch occasionally, but tend to be peripheral to each other’s lives.
  • Darn: The distance leads to miscommunication and fights.
  • I can influence this by investing time and setting aside money.

Friends?

  • Awesome: I’ve gotten to know a bunch of people whose company I really enjoy. I think they’re great people. I learn a lot by hanging out with them, which I do one way or another every week. I have conspirators for ideas and projects, and work with other people to make their ideas happen.
  • So-so: I practise the skill of making friends with people as people drift in and out of life.
  • Darn: I forget to pay attention to this and let my introvert hibernation urge take over.
  • I can influence this by investing time and setting aside money.

Finances?

  • Awesome: W- and I live frugally, with roughly the same level of expenses that we’re at now. We have a great safety net, though, so we don’t have to worry. I resist the potential wonkiness of irregular income (both fear and overconfidence) by stabilizing it with savings. I’ve learned how to build businesses, so I can jump on opportunities when I see them.
  • So-so: I dip into my savings occasionally, replenishing it with income.
  • Darn: Tax or legal issues, prolonged sickness, disability, or death chew into our savings.
  • I can influence this by being deliberate about spending and earning.

Learning?

  • Awesome: My learning is aligned with my goals in terms of topic and depth. I learn a little bit about random things and go deeper on a few topics, but I push myself to try things instead of being lulled by “knowing” things from books. I seek out specific learning opportunities. I’ve learned how I learn best, although I keep working on learning other ways too. I map out what I’m learning so that I can review it easily and so that I can spot gaps.
  • So-so: I drift a little, but in a general direction. I back up learning by trying things out.
  • Darn: I confuse reading about something or listening to something with knowing something, and spend way more time doing more of the former two. I drift a lot.
  • I can influence this by examining how and what I learn.

Playing?

  • Awesome: I play with things that teach me more about life, give me a new way of looking at things, help me relate better to other people, or improve the way I live.
  • So-so: I play the occasionally distracting thing, and then get back to regular life.
  • Darn: I get sucked in by game mechanics. W- gets annoyed with me.
  • I can influence this by reflecting on what and how I play.

Good to get a sense of what good looks like.

Imagining the next five years and planning 2013

One of the assignments in the Rockstar Scribe course I’m taking through Alphachimp University (affiliate link) is to sketch where you want to be in five years. This is my sketch.

20121228 5 years vision

What does that mean for 2013?

Work: I’m focusing on business idea validation, sales, and marketing this year. It’ll mean scaling down my consulting income, but I think the opportunity cost will be worth it. To keep building other market-valued skills, I may still do a little web development – primarily for my own projects, but possibly for others as well.

Relationships: I’m focusing on spending time with W- and friends, especially through exercise and cooking. I’d also like to organize things more at home, and to learn more kitchen skills.

Life: Regular exercise supports my goals here as well, and so does organization and decluttering. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into Emacs for planning and organization, too.

Learn: I’ll research and go to interesting events to sketchnote. I’ll also keep an eye out for good books to review.

Share: I’ve sketched out an editorial outline of things I want to write about, which may help me write with more deliberation.

Scale: I’m documenting many of my ideas and processes in a public manual, and I’ll add more as I learn how to scale up.

Onward and upward!

Sketching twelve business ideas

In Running Lean, Ash Maurya recommends that you document your “Plan A”s – sketch out many possible businesses and business models so that you can rank them. I spent some time on January 1 sketching different business ideas, which I’ve shared on my experiment blog. Here they are as a quick gallery.

I’m planning to print these out, prioritize them, and figure out how to derisk the most promising ones. Do any of them stand out to you as particularly interesting?

See my sketchnotes of Running Lean for more tips from the book, or check out my experiment/business blog for other business-related thoughts.

Books to write

My mom celebrated her 65th birthday this week. One of her goals for her 70th birthday is to put together a book.

It made me think of the books I want to write. If you take away the intimidation of a book–final drafts, agents, publishing, marketing–and see it instead as a coherent, clear, worthwhile collection that helps people get from point A to point B, then writing a book (or a book-wiki) is a wonderful thing. It’s about organizing knowledge in a way that many other people can use.

Here I’m reminded of Joseph Sestito’s “Write for Your Lives: Inspire Your Creative Writing with Buddhist Wisdom”:

p112. With this motivation, you can develop what I call “the lifeline
of books” concept. Mortimer J Adler developed a list called Great
Books of the Western World. If you examine these books, you will find
that most of them begin with extensive outlines. For example, if you
read Aristotle’s Ethics, you will see that the outline is five or ten
pages long, depending upon the translation – it is extremely detailed.
As a creative individual, you will generate more ideas for writing
beneficial books than you could have time to even begin in this
lifetime; yet, you may have just enough time to write their outlines.
Therefore, when you leave this life, in addition to leaving behind
your body, possessions, friends, family, and everything else, you can
also leave your own lifeline of books. These are the outlines for the
beneficial books that you did not have the time to write in this
lifetime, so that others can put their minds to work on the creation
of these books.

What are the books and book ideas I want to leave behind?

  • Livin’ la Vida Emacs: More than a Text Editor
  • Work Better Together: an Individual’s Guide to Collaboration Tools
  • The Shy Connector’s Guide to Social Networking
  • Sketch Notes: Visual Notetaking
  • The Bright Side of Life
  • Photography with a Difference
  • Take the First Circus
  • Bookworm: Making the Most of Reading
  • Sharing What You Know
  • With My Own Hands: Adventures in Cooking, Gardening, Sewing, and other Domestic Arts
  • Sharing to Learn: How to Write, Draw, and Speak Your Way to Understanding
  • Lunch is in the Freezer: Batch-cooking Tips and Recipes
  • The Happiness Habit
  • Remote Presentations That Rock
  • May and December
  • The Written Life
  • More than a Number: Creating a Happy Career in a Big Company
  • Being Real Online: How to be a Person, Not Just a Brand
  • Worth It or Not: Analyzing Your Decisions and Improving Your Plans
  • The Elephant and the Bee
  • Persuasion: Using Rhetoric, Argument, and Negotiation in Everyday Life
  • How Wonderful Can It Be?: A Life of Continuous Improvement
  • On Fire: Bringing Passion to Work and Life
  • Still Life with Cats
  • Geek in Love
  • A Classic Education
  • Life, Limited: Freedom, Creativity, and Happiness through Limits
  • It’s All Part of the Story
  • Ineluctable: A Life of Words
  • Living by the Numbers
  • Most Things Right
  • In Between Worlds: Stories of Immigration
  • A Few Pages Ahead
  • Becoming Sisters
  • In Your Back Pocket: The Benefits of Plan B to Z
  • Stoic Optimism
  • The Abundance of Time

2011-02-11 Fri 06:10

What do I want to learn? Making a map

It’s a good idea to plan what you want to learn. One of the good things we do at IBM each year is to put together an individual development plan, which combines formal learning, informal learning, and on-the-job experience.

I’ve written about some of the things I want to learn at work, such as facilitation skills. I’ve also written about some of the things I wanted to learn in life: getting better at storytelling, helping new hires connect, sharing what I’m learning, helping people change, nurturing relationships over a distance, and being more practical. What I hadn’t really done before was to make a map. (Or if I did, I forgot about it, and what use is that? ;) )

So here is what I want to learn, and now I can take that and translate the work parts into an individual development plan, and add next actions for work and life learning to my to-do list. =D I definitely recommend going through the process of thinking about what you want to learn and sharing that with other people. I’m sure that I’ll add or remove things from this, but it’s a good start!

Thanks to TerriAnne Novak for the nudge to think about this.