Category Archives: monthly

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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:


  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

Monthly review: September 2014

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

  • Do more consulting (big milestone!)
  • Help with Hacklab move

It took lots of long days and late nights, but we did a great job on the major project I was working on in September. Woohoo! I got to use AutoHotkey, NodeJS, and AngularJS in interesting ways, and I helped out a different team too.

Hacklab is now at 1266 Queen Street West, and it’s shaping up nicely. I set aside some money to help with kitchen things and with the move. It was good to help with that and to get to know the other folks at Hacklab.

In October, I’m 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!

Blog posts


Monthly review: August 2014

I wrote last month that in August, I was probably going to:

  • Work more, since my clients need extra help: Yup, happened!
  • Work on project F3, too: Yup, wrapped up
  • Improve my writing techniques (outlines, snippets, etc.): Nope, focused on working
  • Celebrate another year, yay: Yup!

Next month, I’m going to:

  • Do more consulting (big milestone!)
  • Help with Hacklab move

Here’s what I wrote about last month:

Lots of drawing!

  1. 2014.08.12 Dealing with physical pain – #philosophy
  2. 2014.08.12 Exercise notes – #exercise
  3. 2014.08.12 How I program – #consulting #programming #geek
  4. 2014.08.12 When Neko meows – #cat
  5. 2014.08.13 Call no man happy until he is dead – #philosophy
  6. 2014.08.13 Discretionary work – #consulting
  7. 2014.08.13 Learning more about drawing – #drawing
  8. 2014.08.13 Leia traced from picture
  9. 2014.08.13 Nudging the balance toward work – #experiment #consulting
  10. 2014.08.13 To know something’s distinctiveness – #philosophy
  11. 2014.08.15 Luke
  12. 2014.08.17 Content marketing for Hacklab
  13. 2014.08.17 Neko
  14. 2014.08.18 So if I’m going on a consulting sprint for 2
  15. 2014.08.18 What am I really postponing or giving up – #experiment #business #consulting
  16. 2014.08.20 Evening routines
  17. 2014.08.20 Routines
  18. 2014.08.23 Closure
  19. 2014.08.23 So, what’s next
  20. 2014.08.24 Decision – sketchbook
  21. 2014.08.24 Easier way of tracking upgrade decisions and brand preferences for infrequent purchases
  22. 2014.08.26 Thinking about how I can build on my strengths
  23. 2014.08.27 Why do the extra consulting – #experiment #business #consulting
  24. 2014.08.28 Remembering things with my blog
  25. 2014.08.28 What to do during open days – #leisure #experiment
  26. 2014.08.29 Becoming a better reader
  27. 2014.08.29 Considering the time after the experiment
  28. 2014.08.29 Ends and extents – #my-learning
  29. 2014.08.29 Possible personal projects
  30. 2014.08.29 Re-planning my life – #experiment
  31. 2014.08.29 Tweaking my experiment
  32. 2014.08.29 What do I mean by owning more of my brain – #experiment
  33. 2014.08.30 On discipline, or alternatives to
  34. 2014.08.30 Open loops

Monthly review: July 2014

I wrote that in July, I’d like to:

  • E1: Update the documentation and help out in other ways: Yup! Worked on a video, too. Lots of good stuff.
  • Turn the beginner course into a convenient download: Didn’t happen because I’ve been more focused on philosophy than on Emacs.
  • Plan for project F3: Working on it!
  • Solidify my exercise habit: Running works well as a social activity, and I’ve been making gradual progress through the Hacker’s Diet Exercise Ladder too. Sometimes I skip a day, but most of the time I remember to work on this.

July was a great month for learning about philosophy, design, and other topics. I learned a lot by looking at what other people did and thinking about what resonated with me, and I’m slowly starting to experiment with those ideas at work and in life.

I also decided to help out more at Hacklab. It’s good to take some responsibility for a shared space. I’ve been cooking at the Tuesday open houses, chatting with visitors, and making the kitchen a more pleasant and functional space. (I finally got tired of smelly cloths, so I sewed a new set of dishtowels and made the Hacklab cloths part of my weekly routines.)

In August, I’m probably going to:

  • Work more, since my clients need extra help
  • Work on project F3, too
  • Improve my writing techniques (outlines, snippets, etc.)
  • Celebrate another year, yay!

Here’s what I blogged about in July:

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