Category Archives: review

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

Weekly review: Week ending September 5, 2014

Lots of work and helping out at Hacklab. =) Oh, and Canadian citizenship, yay! It didn’t feel like I got that much sleep this week, but my numbers say I did. Hmm.

Blog posts

Sketches

Link round-up

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (54.4h – 32%)
    • Earn (39.4h – 72% of Business)
      • Doublecheck setInterval vs setTimeout, whoops
      • E1: Demo
      • E1: Work on polls
      • Earn: E1: 2.5-3.5 days of consulting
    • Build (4.4h – 8% of Business)
      • Drawing (2.0h)
      • Delegation (0.0h)
      • Packaging (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (2.4h)
        • Check on Brock Health claim
        • Order TurboTax
        • File payroll return
      • Upgrade webserver
    • Connect (10.5h – 19% of Business)
      • Send Helpouts messages
      • Help with Helpouts
  • Relationships (10.7h – 6%)
    • Cook at Hacklab?
    • Follow up with Eric re cleaning, kitchen
    • Help with Hacklab kitchen
    • Pick up dishwasher and drop it off at Hacklab
    • Talk to my mom regarding dividends
    • Work on project K
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.2h – 3%)
    • Emacs (2.0h – 1% of all)
      • Review Emacs Chat transcript
    • Apply for Ontario photo ID
    • Prepare papers for citizenship ceremony
    • Attend citizenship ceremony
    • Apply for cultural access pass
    • Back up phone
    • Clean up phone apps
    • Reflash phone
    • Sort out credit cards
    • Tidy up dying plants
    • Arrange for cheque
    • Ask two guarantors for passport
    • Get passport pictures
    • Pay Mastercard
    • Pick up cultural access pass from Front and Parliament
    • Writing (1.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.7h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (22.0h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (11.4h – 6%)
  • Sleep (60.7h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 29, 2014

Great week for wrapping things up and planning next steps. =) Next week: citizenship ceremony and more coding, yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Link round-up

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (54.6h – 32%)
    • Earn (41.3h – 75% of Business)
      • E1: Demo
      • E1: Work on second video draft
      • E1: Work on polls
      • Earn: E1: 2.5-3.5 days of consulting
    • Build (12.0h – 21% of Business)
      • Drawing (11.1h)
        • Practise drawing faces
      • Delegation (0.0h)
      • Packaging (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.9h)
        • Check on Brock Health claim
    • Connect (1.3h – 2% of Business)
  • Relationships (8.3h – 4%)
    • Go to Emma’s party
    • Go to Hacklab’s party
    • Investigate dishwasher options
    • Pick up dishwasher and drop it off at Hacklab
    • Update Brock Health claim
    • Contact more places that offer slipcovers
    • Cook at Hacklab?
    • Follow up with Eric re cleaning, kitchen
    • Talk to my mom regarding dividends
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.4h – 1%)
    • Emacs (0.0h – 0% of all)
      • Review Emacs Chat transcript
    • Apply for Ontario photo ID
    • Reread Latin textbook chapter now that I’ve picked up more vocabulary
    • Call R to adjust billing
    • Prepare papers for citizenship ceremony
    • Attend citizenship ceremony
    • Apply for passport
    • Tidy up dying plants
    • Go to R for test
    • Writing (1.9h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (24.1h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (14.4h – 8%)
  • Sleep (59.6h – 35% – average of 8.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 22, 2014

A week of finishing stuff. =) Neat!

Blog posts

Sketches

Link round-up

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (58.1h – 34%)
    • Earn (40.8h – 70% of Business)
      • E1: Go to work every day
      • E1: Meet up with Harold Jarche
      • E1: Work on second video draft
      • E1: Demo
      • Earn: E1: 2.5-3.5 days of consulting
    • Build (11.1h – 19% of Business)
      • Drawing (6.4h)
        • Practise drawing faces
      • Delegation (2.1h)
        • Review proofread transcript
        • Review Emacs Chat transcript
      • Packaging (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (2.6h)
    • Connect (6.2h – 10% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.7h – 3%)
    • Call R to adjust billing
    • Go to Emma’s party
    • Go to Hacklab’s party
    • Investigate dishwasher options
    • Call R to adjust billing
    • Cook at Hacklab?
    • Update Brock Health claim
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.7h – 2%)
    • Emacs (0.0h – 0% of all)
      • Help with Emacs
    • Draw and shade in picture of Neko
    • File health claims
    • Reread Latin textbook chapter now that I’ve picked up more vocabulary
    • Apply for Ontario photo ID
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (27.9h – 16%)
  • Unpaid work (14.1h – 8%)
  • Sleep (56.5h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 15, 2014

A week for working and drawing. Learned a lot, yay! Downsides: less sleep, less reading. Will experiment with balance…

Blog posts

Sketches

Woohoo! Back.

Link round-up

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (56.4h – 33%)
    • Earn (39.6h – 70% of Business)
      • E1: Go to work every day
      • E1: Meet up with Harold Jarche
    • Build (8.5h – 15% of Business)
      • Try new features in Dragon Naturally Speaking 13
      • Upgrade WordPress
      • Drawing (4.8h)
        • Try new features in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 7
      • Delegation (1.2h)
        • Review proofread transcript
      • Packaging (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (2.5h)
        • File health claims
        • Investigate separation of accounts for personal delegation
    • Connect (8.3h – 14% of Business)
      • Chat with Scott Torrance regarding publishing
  • Relationships (8.3h – 4%)
    • Attend Hacklab meeting
    • Meet up with Ian Garmaise and people he knows
    • Watch Guardians of the Galaxy, yay!
    • Work on F3
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Emacs (0.6h – 0% of all)
      • Chat with masteringemacs
      • Help with Emacs
    • Draw and shade in picture of Neko
    • Practise drawing faces
    • [#C] Tracking: Update the number of tasks
    • Writing (5.1h)
      • Back to drawing digitally, thanks to Wacom drivers
      • Becoming comfortable with simplicity and even discomfort
      • Get back into drawing things I’m learning about
      • Turning 31
  • Discretionary – Play (7.7h – 4%)
  • Personal routines (23.1h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (9.9h – 5%)
  • Sleep (54.5h – 32% – average of 7.8 per day)

Turning 31

What a year! Life just keeps getting better and better.

2013-09-26 Goals for 31 #plans #year

2013-09-26 Goals for 31 #plans #year

I like looking forward by looking back: imagining myself in the future and seeing what changed. Last August, I wrote: “When I look back at this year on the eve of turning 31, I’d like to say…” So here’s how all that worked out.

I’ve learned and shared a lot. This next year will probably be a year of intense learning in terms of life and work and Making Things Happen. As tempting as it always is to go full speed ahead, I think the result will be even better if I slow down and take notes along the way.

I slowed down in terms of work, scaling back my consulting hours to about two days a week and using the freed-up time for reading, cooking, spending time with family, and working on other projects/experiments like Emacs and sketchnoting. That worked out really well.

I’ve gotten very good at making decisions under lots of uncertainty. The outcomes might not always be good, but at least the processes will be well-reasoned and I’ll have notes to help me (and other people) learn more.

I’m comfortable taking on bigger and bigger challenges. I’m comfortable with research and can generally find some background information quickly. I have fun sketching out different scenarios and finding my way. This is working nicely too.

I’ve expanded my freedom and abilities in this 5-year experiment. I’ve focused on building up skills, knowledge, and relationships out of curiosity (“What if?” “How can we make this better?”) instead of fear (“Will I be able to hit the ground running if I decide to go back to the workforce?”). I find creative ways to deal with constraints, and those ideas help others. Writing, drawing, and coding continue to be a large part of my life.

I added a few useful business-related skills and improved a number of my existing skills. Yay! This is definitely fun, and I’m looking forward to figuring out what the next year will bring.

I’ve gotten better at asking questions. This is tough, because I tend to want to dig into things myself, Google+books+experiments give me so much information, and advice can get a little weird if you don’t take it. Maybe if I start asking people questions through this blog, I might elicit interesting perspectives or encourage people to teach something (especially if they don’t have blogs of their own).

Philosophy turned out to be a good addition to the things I’m learning and thinking about. By immersing myself in the conversations of book authors throughout the ages, I can learn from all these very smart people who have thought about things. =)

I live a simple and frugal life. Lifestyle inflation is the enemy. If I can keep my wants and needs the same–-or even reduce them–-then that helps us be even more free.

My base expenses were actually a little bit lower than they were the previous year. Neat! The stock market has been doing pretty well (aside from the current dip), and I’ve been saving most of the income from consulting too. I’m going to figure out dividends next year, so then I’ll be able to move more money from savings into investments.

Where did the year go?

August 2013 Lots of drawing, making sketchnote lessons
September Emacs, writing, sketchnotes, learning tips
October More drawing, reflecting on my experiment
November Google Helpouts, Emacs chats
December Trip to the Philippines!
January Lots of learning tips
February Writing about blogging; making that no-excuses guide to blogging
March Frugal Fire podcast experiment
April More Emacs Chats and Frugal Fire podcasts; Raspberry Pi
May Even more Emacs Chats
June Read Lisp, Tweak Emacs
July Philosophy

So, how am I different from the person I was last year?

  • I’m healthier. I like these new exercise habits (running to build up endurance, the Hacker’s Diet exercise ladder for very gradually building up strength). We’ve been eating even better too.
  • I did a lot of cool front-end work on my consulting engagement. I picked up new skill: Jive app/add-on development. Improved existing skills, too: Javascript, analytics, etc.
  • I spent a lot less time working, networking, and socializing (reduced by 263, 333, and 324 hours respectively!), and more time working on Emacs, gardening, reading, and sleeping. I spent about as much time writing as I did last year. I shifted most of my socialization to Hacklab, since I like the way it fits me.
  • I had good experiments with self-publishing. I published my 2013 collection of sketchnotes, a no-excuses guide to blogging and a beginner’s guide to learning Emacs Lisp. I checked out Createspace for making a print version of my sketchnotes collection, and that actually worked out nicely. I did the Emacs Lisp guide as an e-mail course, too.
  • I drew more. I thought I drew less, but actually, my time records and my files say that I drew a lot more. It just didn’t feel that way because I’ve been writing so many text-based blog posts lately. (Hah! Recency bias.)
  • I learned more about podcasting by doing short series of shows with live sketchnotes, followed up with transcripts (Emacs Chats, Helpers Help Out, Frugal Fire Show). I might not get into it long-term, but it was interesting to try out.
  • I’m more comfortable with talking to people and helping them online. I experimented with the Google Helpouts platform, helping people learn more about note-taking, learning, building on introvert strengths, and Emacs. That worked out well (tons of 5-star reviews!), although I scaled my availability down so that I could focus on other things.
  • I’m more comfortable with philosophy, and with the humanities in general. I’ve been reading a lot lately, and I find philosophy to be useful and interesting. I’m getting better at not worrying about things and at writing about what I’m thinking. Yay!
  • I’m more involved in family life. I spend more time on family-related things, and I’ve been helping W- more too.
  • I’ve learned a little more about gardening. Watering regularly makes a difference, but I’m still constrained by environmental factors.

Next year, I’ll turn 32. (Nice round number!) When I do my annual review then, what would I like to be able to say about life as a 31-year-old?

  • I have excellent health-related habits I have the strength, flexibility, and endurance to do what I want to do.
  • Our home life is wonderful. We enjoy yummy food, good projects, a tidy house, simple lives, great relationships, and other things.
  • I helped my consulting client make successful transitions. Upgrades, training, time away… I did my work well, and they’re in a great position to continue doing awesome things in the future.
  • I’ve broadened my business a little bit more. I might go deeper into writing/drawing/publishing, or I might look into product development. This reduces the risk of being classified as a personal services business, and it may lead to other interesting skills and opportunities. In terms of development, I like web-based stuff more than mobile, so maybe I’ll focus on that.

Life is good. Looking forward to seeing how this year turns out!