Last year, in January (2009) I decided to put forth what I codenamed “Operation: Focus”. Basically, I decided to focus my attention in the few areas I wish to dedicate more time. Also meant toning down the attention I gave some of my chronic distractions.
This was 2009…
Here’s a quick run-down of my draft list I wrote back then and dug out of my Moleskine today (which I didn’t number/prioritize back then, but it will help me reference items later in this post):
- Take more notes
- Read more (and better)
- Focus RSS on blogs with quality articles (drop news-only RSS feeds)
- Use Twitter + 3-4 main sites for news
- Budget + Save money
- Stick to budget
- New blog design/orientation (no comments)
- Clean OSX install
- Less app tryout
- Better cataloguing of inspiration sources (eg. LittleSnapper)
- Learn Rails
- Release 1-2 projects to the public (non-work)
- Incorporate version control into normal workflow
- Commit to using a GTD™ app *religiously*
- Study more guitar
- Do more music production and composing/arranging
- *WRITE MORE*
- Enjoy the things of life more (eg. ice cream, coffee, time with people, etc…)
I definitely did a few of those. #3 and #4 were really taken from theory into practice without much effort; I did read more and better (#2); I started taking more notes than ever before, especially while reading books (#1); I did 2 clean OSX installs (once against my will—blame Bootcamp and having to do a stupid defrag to resize my partition to install it—#8); I started using Rails and even developed half an app totally on it (#11).
I mostly failed at remaining constant at others. I started a new blog design, but haven’t finished it (I hope to release in Q1 2010) (#7), I began cleaning my “Applications” folder and kept it somewhat clean (including moving all my apps to ~/Applications) but failed at not installing and trying out several random apps throughout the year (that is an old addiction of mine, along with signing up for every beta program under the sun—even though I am a good beta tester, that provides plenty of feedback); I started cataloguing inspiration sources and mostly kept it going, but I still have room for improvement there (#10); I still need to work on integrating version control into more projects and using it right (according to the “commit often” philosophy, #13); I bought and began using Things.app but still have a long way to go before I totally consider myself effective at it, but I owe that to my lack of “action” thus not needing much “action tracking” (basic premise of any GTD™ system, #14); I did start enjoying the little things of life more but failed to keep that mindset throughout the year… Sad… and something to work on in 2010, once again. :)
I totally failed at studying more guitar and doing more music production. I bought a guitar and a firewire audio interface early on and was committed to using them a lot, but other priorities and sheer laziness most of the time kept me from doing something I love and I’m good at… I can hear the voices of some teachers/mentors I had, mad at me for wasting talent with laziness. :( (#15 & #16).
As to writing more (which I emphasized with capital letters and asterisks), I consider it failed as well. Because I feel the need to make emends with my writing, I decided to join the Project52, a challenge to write (at least) a full blog post once a week (52 weeks) throughout 2010. Hopefully, having the added pressure of a deadline and timeframe will help me be a bit more conscious of writing.
Overall, looking back through my 2009, I think I managed to “focus” things a bit. I reckon I still have a long way to go but, interestingly, that desire for focus ended up stirring in me something else: ideas. For me personally, 2009 was the year of ideas: a lot of bad ones, a few good ones and a couple of really interesting ones.
Here’s to 2010!
I always struggled with the “action” part of any idea. I love having the idea(s) and working it into something feasible (and possibly profitable), but I always struggled either when starting or later on when the hurdles got bigger and bigger. I’ll call that the “blank page syndrome”. It happens to writers, developers, designers, and all sorts of creative people. It’s when you’re facing a blank page and can’t get around expressing your ideas in words, code, design, etc… Writers call it “Writer’s Block” but those same symptoms can be seen in all sorts of development and creative jobs as well. I need to address that by planning better and being more disciplined with my time. I think that in the year I turn 28 (good grief!) I am supposed to finally dump some of that “adolescent” remnant in me and move full-fledgedly into adulthood.
I love you, baby…
I couldn’t wrap up 2009 without mentioning that 2009 was definitely the perfect year in my love life. After 2 years, with lots of ups and downs (mostly downs TBH), I started dating the girl who I expect to spend the rest of my life with. Being currently in Portugal (2010 should see me back in the US, or so I hope) and her in the US, things weren’t easy (we weren’t together for most of the year) but those things definitely help solidify true love, getting past the initial feelings and growing in commitment and true love.
Okay. So that was 2009 and a few quick thoughts of what will continue in 2010. Thank you for reading all this way and so here’s a toast to a great 2010 for you, both personally and professionally.
And yes, I’m code-naming 2010 “Operation: Action”. :)
PS: If you plan on providing me some (appreciated!) feedback to this post, please do so here (Twitter account needed… but you should have one anyway). Thank you.