Groundhog Day Resolutions 2024 Kickoff: Building The Colony

Posted Friday, February 2, 2024 by Sri. Tagged GHDR
The text 'Groundhog Day Resolutions 2024: Never Work Alone' are projected on a dark wall.The text 'Groundhog Day Resolutions 2024: Never Work Alone' are projected on a dark wall. (full size image)

Welcome to my 2024 Groundhog Day Resolutions (GHDR)GHDR is the memory system I use to remember when to do monthly reviews, starting on Feb 2nd and going on through December 12. The general idea since 2007 has been to achieve self-sustaining creative independence as I learn surprising things about myself. One of the biggest of them was being diagnosed as having Autism Level 1 traits as well as ADHD and General Anxiety Disorder, which took 2022 and 2023 to work through to see what that was about.

In 2024, I have a good-enough handle on how my particular blend of neurodivergent traits have impacted my life, and I have mitigations in place. The plan this year is to address them more directly. That means addressing one critical path that remains blocked for a long time.

A Review of 2023 Strategic Goals

Last year, I had set four main strategic horizons, which are like exploratory strategic goals. They are directions that I investigate because I think they might answer a question or teach me something unexpected.

  • The creation of a "colony" - a place where neurodivergent creative people like myself could prosper creatively AND economically.
  • The "articulation of Sri" - working with my neurodivergent and transgender traits to find ways of expressing myself more in the world, and also becoming more comfortable existing in it.
  • Writing software to automate my PDF form design - I was tired of making two yearly forms with archaic Creative Cloud tools.
  • Continuing to run the DS|CAFE - this is my coworking Discord, which grew out of my blog at davidseah.com back in 2016.

I've made progress toward each strategic horizon, and now am sure of their importance. However, there still is one huge problem: lack of motivation due to a lack of interaction with other people that are on the same wavelength as meIn the past I've thought of this as the Find a Great Team problem. I wrote about the early high school experience that serves as the benchmark for what I think it should feel like and spent many years reverse-engineering how to build it again as an adult. Today, I think it is the neurodiverent lens that can shed more light on the problem..

With that thought cached in the back of my brain, I considered what insights from 2023 stood out the most to me:

  1. My neurodivergent traits are much stronger than I realized. I'm constantly in conflict with the world due to differences in mental processing and communication preferencesFor example, I am incredibly oversensitive to "bad" documentation and design; I can not let it go without a ton of effort. This rapidly drains my limited reserve of "focus".. I can mitigate the worst traits with some success, but they will always be a drain as I hold it all in to avoid upsetting the social order around me. I don't think I need to actively track these concerns for 2024.

  2. I have reached a new level of comfort with my programming expertise. For the past 10 years now I've been doing Javascript programming for learning science researchers, and feel confident that I have an adequate level of skill for the kinds of programming I likeThis is especially good for making tools for my own use, such as the "make my own PDF design software" goal for GHDR 2023.. A key change I made in the 2023 Strategic Horizons was to allow myself the time to design and think despite the lack of interest shown by othersThis lack of interest from others not only impacts my motivation, but triggers distracting concerns about doing something wrong.. I think this has helped my ability to visualize system operationsaside: it's possible that the ability to visualize system operations is both a superpower and a need for my autism-patterned brain., which is great for the kind of programming I like doing. I feel I've achieved the "Software Mastery" Strategic Horizon from 2022, so I don't think I need to track it anymore.

  3. I have decided how to navigate society as a transgender non-binary person, based on my own needs and comfort level rather than trying to "fit in". I now have a systematic understanding of my identity and am increasingly comfortable expressing it in public. Again, for 2024 I don't think it's something I need to track for GHDR.

  4. I've spent a lot of time in the DS|CAFE Coworking Discord, thinking about how I could shape it further to attract people I'd like to collaborate with. I've been paying attention to helping people feel "seen" and creating opportunities for people to experiment in our space. I think it's been great for providing beneficial interaction for my neurodivergent brain, but I've come to realize that I'm still missing that sense of camaraderie through shared interests and applied effort.

I think that "missing sense" is deeply connected to more than just "being motivated" or "being productive". I believe there are profound connections with staying emotionally regulated, fulfilled in my work, and avoiding health-destroying depressive cycles. It may not just be a "would be nice to have" thing...maybe it's actually a necessity if I want to not be angry and disappointed all the time?

I don't know...and not knowing makes for a great Strategic Horizon. Since it seems really critical (and I know I have trouble remembering more than one thing), this year there will be just one Stratgic Horizon:

Build "The Colony", a place for nurturing camaraderie through shared interest and effort.

Strategic Horizon for 2024

The Colony is a term I introduced in GHDR 2023, originally thought to be where The Tribe could hang out share "expeditions" which each other. The overall concept, though, has remained piecemeal and unpolished. The Colony is the "engineered social context" that I hope will provide the stabilizing camaraderie I crave. It's time to get serious about it.

A corrolary requirement is to attracting colonists, otherwise The Colony is just a big dumb empty idea. For that, I need to take on the mantle of public leadership to actively promote and explain the benefits of this idea.

Find every opportunity to explain the governance model for The Colony and its benefits.

Supporting Tactic

I think I can do this by explaining the connection between the intent behind The Colony's organizational design with the benefits provided by clearly-defined contracts and bounties that collaborators can choose to take on. The idea is sort of like an "Adventurers Guild", perhaps.

So that's my focus for the year, but historically I tend to screw up the execution of the plan, getting pulled-down by various emotional and executive function regulation issues that lead to a Cycle of Doom.The "Cycle of Doom" refers to the negative spiral I get when triggered by emotional disconnection and dysregulation, two neurodivegent traits that I identified in myself. Here's the Cycle of Doom entry for more details.

How am I going to plan and structure it and succeed? Typically, I start the year strong but then sputter motivationally around April/May. I hypothesize that mental starvation is the culprit, caused by the lack of "shared initiative with engaged collaborators" that this year's Strategic Horizon is supposed to address. In other words, I need the thing to do the thing! The solution to the formula requires having the solution to the formula, which makes it seem impossible to start. That kind of thinking, though, presumes that there is only ONE solution and there are likely dozens of ways to push into the unknown and make up solutions as I go, refitting old processes as they lose effectiveness with new insights gathered from ongoing operations.

Bootstrap GHDR by starting with hypotheses and adapt next step to findings.

Supporting Tactic

Because I'm getting a late start to this year's GHDR Goals, I've decided to declare The 12 Days of GHDR Planning from today February 2 through February 13.

Bootstrapping GHDR 2024 over 12 Days

Sri's GHDR 2024 System Summary

work in process

First draft of the GHDR Reminder Poster. Grab and print the PDF if you'd like to have it handy as a reference. Toot me on Mastodon if you have any questions!

PDF thumbnail

Like many of my best ideas, The 12 Days of GHDR Planning is rooted in self-amusement. For example, twelve is a pretty magical number, and it so happens that Valentines Day is right afterwards, which makes discount candy a reward for surviving all that planning.

I've started to flesh out this year's mini poster to remind me what's important this year; you can see the downloadable PDF in the right sidebar if you're on a desktop browser. I'll describe what it means in more detail tomorrow.

So that's it for now! See ya all on February 3!


INDEX of GHDR 2024 POSTS

This year's single goal is Building The Colony!

Made a simple "functional area" diagram using Whimsical to help gather my thoughts.

I converted the Whimsical doc from yesterday to Affinity Designer.

Created new subsite at /the-colony/

Wrote stream-of-consciousness "vision statement" for later cleanup

Convert stream-of-consciousness into a "phrase cloud" for further deconstruction

Artifacts of The Colony: Pebbles, Seeds, and Rings

Created a "refined phrase cloud" grouped into five categories, based on boot 05's work.

Extracted "foundational" statements from yesterday, but they didn't leave a strong impression. Punt "why" to tomorrow's post.

Created a "Selfishly Sri" printable assessment to gauge outside interest.

Reducing scope from Colony to Outpost.

Desired results are distilled down to two main ideas, which will cover the next couple of months.

Mar 3

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Apr 4

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May 5

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Jun 6

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Jul 7

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Aug 8

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Sep 9

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Oct 10

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Nov 11

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Dec 12

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