Category Archives: monthly

Monthly review: July 2010

Last month, I said:

What will July be like? I want to polish my community toolkit and share it with more people. I want to explore sales and see what I can learn even in my current role. I want to invest more time into developing relationships. I want to build a few projects. I want to learn how to play at least one song on my ukulele. It’ll be busy and fun and amazing.

And it was busy and fun and amazing.

Lots of Idea Lab awesomeness: It’s always such a thrill to bring together so many engaged and insightful people to help our clients innovate. And we’re getting better at the process, too. We pulled the latest Idea Lab together in three weeks or so, and I prepared the summary of the results on the same day. We’ve got a number of Idea Labs on the go, and I even helped a client learn more about how they might do those Idea Labs internally.

I’ve been doing lots of other fun stuff at work, too. The expertise location pilot I’m working on is going well, and dozens of SMEs have filled out their profiles. I’ve been revising presentations, designing simple posters, preparing handouts, organizing information, and updating tracking spreadsheets. Thank goodness for to-do lists, organizational tools, I learned how to extend Lotus Notes with Java plugins. Added a bunch of features to the Community Toolkit plugin Luis Benitez had started, including the metrics tool that people had wanted for private communities. Also added a bucketload of metrics to the web-based tool. Fixed some bugs along the way, too. I’ve started seeing communities weave the output into their newsletters, and it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I’m checking out another fascinating career possibility – a new digital expertise position that’s just been created. It looks like a great fit, and we’ll see if things work out. It’s amazing how so many of my different passions come together. That position, for example, might take advantage of my master’s work in expertise location, my development using Drupal, my interest in marketing and communications, my passion for helping people connect and collaborate… Another position I’m interested in would make the most of my passion for helping people and organizations collaborate better, my interest in sales, my love of making quick prototypes. Passions can be like LEGO blocks, quickly reconfigured and combined.

Reflecting and mentoring: I’ve been thinking a lot about life, success, and happiness these days, prompted by what other people post or ask. Here are some of those reflections:

Relationships: I enjoyed having people over for tea, and I made a few new friends along the way, too. I’ve also been helping a friend settle into Toronto and learn how to cook. I’ve (slowly) been sending out bottles of jam, and really should set up some kind of packing center so that I can get more of these out the door. <laugh>

Also, moved wedding to October 2 because of delays related to my parents’ visas. I think everything’s sorted out now! =)

Ukulele: Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – can play it, but haven’t memorized it yet. It sounds very chipper on a ukulele. ;) Woodworking: Not as much as last month, but we did work on our chairs some more. Sewing: Stops and starts, but am definitely keen on sewing more.

What will August look like? I’m turning 27, so it’ll be a great excuse to do that yearly review (and what a year!). Work: Organize lots of Idea Labs, support workshops, attend training, improve our community toolkit, come up with a way for other people to organize Idea Labs easily, explore opportunities, and prepare presentations. Relationships: Sort everything out for wedding, reorganize space, meet up with W-’s family, have a tea party, meet up with friends, mentor and be mentored. Life: Get back into sewing pouches and other organizers. Draw and write more vividly. Have fun. =)

Other blog posts from this month:

Cool mornings
Electronic ears: Using Performous to learn how to sing
Living an awesome life: Not a Greek tragedy
Getting the hang of leading small things
Giving myself permission to delegate again
Troubleshooting my Lotus Notes 8.5.2, Expeditor 6.2, and Eclipse 3.4 setup
Using org2blog to publish Org-mode subtrees
This is a test post from org2blog
Garden riches
Keeping track of multiple projects
Playing the long game: writing, raw material, and backups
Delegation and thinking about what I want to do
CookOrDie: Passing it on with lemon-rosemary chicken
Sooner or later? Expertise and the new
Yogurt, change, and growing oldness
Get-together ideas for Toronto
Career growth in a large company
Blueberry jam, apricot syrup, and kiwi jam
Thinking about dinner parties
Tools, big companies, and collaboration

Weekly reviews:

Last month’s review: Monthly review: June 2010

Monthly review: August 2010

Last month, I wrote:

What will August look like? I’m turning 27, so it’ll be a great excuse to do that yearly review (and what a year!). Work: Organize lots of Idea Labs, support workshops, attend training, improve our community toolkit, come up with a way for other people to organize Idea Labs easily, explore opportunities, and prepare presentations. Relationships: Sort everything out for wedding, reorganize space, meet up with W-’s family, have a tea party, meet up with friends, mentor and be mentored. Life: Get back into sewing pouches and other organizers. Draw and write more vividly. Have fun. =)

It’s been quite a month. As promised, a yearly review, with a PDF of my favourite blog posts from life as a 26-year-old. Lots of work: organizing Idea Labs, attending training, creating training material, tweaking the community toolkit. Lots of changes – things that rippled into changes in lifestyle: a blender for healthy breakfast shakes, a television and a PS3 for family gaming (but be careful with the timesuck!), a tablet PC for drawing and presentations. We helped a friend solve a temporary housing problem. And the wedding preparations – mostly okay, but a fair bit of drama. The licence has been obtained, the bed-and-breakfast for my family has been reserved, the dress has arrived, the photographer has been booked. Some differences. Fortunately, W- is amazing, and we’re going to get through this. I’ve got a little bit more clarity around the career front regarding what I want to do, so I only need to focus on resolving one thing at a time.

September: more Idea Labs, preparations, keeping things sane. October: a whirlwind. And then a new normal, I hope.

Reviews:

Work and tips:

Life:

Monthly review: September 2010

Last month, I wrote:

September: more Idea Labs, preparations, keeping things sane

We’re halfway through October already. As predicted, September was packed with preparations. The tools I had built made it easy to delegate my work, and the simplicity of our wedding plans meant fewer last-minute panics. We survived.

October, of course, was for the wedding and the family get-togethers. All three of us sisters married or will marry in October, making anniversaries easy to remember and group dictations easy to plan. We had also all partnered up with electrical engineers, in the kind of coincidence that’s usually reserved for identical twins. (And then there’s the unusual number of people named John in our family…)

The rest of October will be for recuperation, getting back into the patterns of everyday life after so many months of preparation. I look forward to returning to that rhythm of writing that helps me make sense of the days.

Book: How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic
Book: Thank You for Arguing
Book: Getting to Yes
Systematically eliminating choices
How to be dispensable, and why you should document and automate yourself out of a job
New note-taking workflow with Emacs Org-mode
Old notes on staffing a virtual conference booth
Rhetoric
Tips from remote workers
What can I do to help make the world more equitable?
Getting past generation-based conversations
Welcome, listeners of the Taking Notes podcast!
Tips for entrepreneurs
‘round the bend
Towards equity
Filipiniana
Getting the WordPress Lifestream plugin to work on my blog
Emacs Org mode and publishing a weekly review
Stuff is just stuff, and experiences are just experiences
Labour Day painting
Redoing things
Fit for You: Thinking about my priorities
Thinking of autumn
The value of constraints
Book: Leading Outside the Lines
It’s okay if you can’t remember or spell my name; being human

Reviews

Monthly review: October 2010

    W- and I got married in October. That pretty much took up the whole month between spending time with our wonderful families and recuperating from the celebration. When I got back to work, I started on a Drupal project. It’s good to be back in development.

    We’ve switched back to Eastern Standard Time. The sun sets earlier now. I’ve taken my winter mittens and scarves out of storage. We’re gearing up for what I’m resolutely calling "baking season" – a way of reminding myself that even winter has its benefits. To celebrate baking season, W- has been baking these absolutely scrumptious brownies.

    We’re halfway through November already. I need to write a yearly review. My work anniversary syncs well with our yearly performance review cycle. I’ve got pictures to organize and memories to write. And then theres’s the holiday season coming up. We’re working on being more social.

    Life is good.

    Reviews:

  • Weekly review: Week ending October 31, 2010
  • Weekly review: Week ending October 24, 2010
  • Weekly review: Week ending October 17, 2010
  • Week ending October 10, 2010
  • Monthly review: September 2010

Other stuff:

Monthly review: November 2010

In last month’s review, I wrote:

We’re halfway through November already. I need to write a yearly review. My work anniversary syncs well with our yearly performance review cycle. I’ve got pictures to organize and memories to write. And then there’s the holiday season coming up. We’re working on being more social.

November was great. We got back into the swing of work. I’ve been up to my ears in Drupal, and lovin’ it. We’ve also been tweaking our household routines, and have taken to cooking all of our dinners during the weekend. With lunch portions in the freezer and dinner portions in the fridge, we hardly have to do any cooking during the week – freeing up time to help with homework or take on personal projects. We’re going to keep up with that experiment in December, and then see if we can expand it to two weeks of dinners (some in the freezer) once we free up more freezer space.

It was fun working on my annual review together with my manager, and the notes that I kept helped me flesh things out in detail. He encouraged me to apply for the next level of professional qualifications, too, so I’m going to spend some time working on that.

I took lots of sketchnotes during a virtual conference I attended, and people liked the sketchnotes. =) It was fun drawing them!

I bought an Android phone and learned how to program for it, so I’m looking forward to all sorts of geeking around. I downloaded a few tracking apps, too, and have been experimenting with logging the time I spend on activities.

Social: Progress on this front! We sent out our first batch of Christmas cards as a married couple, yay. I’ve also been better at organizing or attending get-togethers with friends. =) I still haven’t sorted out the rest of the wedding pictures. I’m thinking of just burning a copy and mailing the disc home to my parents. <laugh>

Oh, and we watched Wicked again! =)

What will December look like? Lots of good work, more productivity experiments, maybe some Android hacking, a few social get-togethers, and onwards to another great year.

Reviews:

Writing and blogging:

Work

Sketches

Productivity:

Android:

Other stuff:

Monthly review: December 2010

Update: fixed year, thanks!

Forgot I hadn’t done one of these for December. Good thing I’ve been getting my to-do capture system sorted out again. In November’s review, I said:

What will December look like? Lots of good work, more productivity
experiments, maybe some Android hacking, a few social get-togethers,
and onwards to another great year.

We did most of the work on Project M and Project S, both Drupal projects for non-profits who had received grants from IBM. I experimented with changing what day my week starts on, making taho, illustrating cards, and Android use. Lots of Android hacking, too. Oh, and we disassembled and reassembled a new washing machine and dryer, and both worked! Boy, did we ever learn a lot from that. I posted more sketchnotes, networking tips, Emacs news, and career reflections, too.

  • Plans for January:
    • Work
      • [X] Finish Project M
      • [X] Finish Project S
      • [X] Start new project
    • Relationships
      • [X] Host get-together
      • [X] Send delayed holiday cards
      • [X] Get into the habit of meeting people
    • Life
      • [X] Improve my routines: set aside time for drawing, sewing, and making presentations
      • [X] Post goals