Groundhog Day Resolutions 2022: Kickoff!

Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2022 by Sri.Tagged PROJECT, GHDR

Welcome to Groundhog Day Resolutions 2022! I'm developing this year's Groundhog Day Resolutions 2022 series here on dsriseah.com site to force me to add website features as I need them. While everything is pretty rough right now, ultimately the new system should be pretty flexible and an improvement over what I have on davidseah.com.

What is a Groundhog Day Resolution, you ask? It's just a way for me to remember when to conduct monthly reviews by following the pattern of the month number matching the day number. For example, February 2nd is 02/02. The first review report is on March 3rd 03/03, followed by 04/04, etc, on through 12/12. If you're curious about its history, you can read the original description of the system.

SECTIONS

Reviewing Goals from 2021

Last year's theme was about transition, which I divided into three broad areas:

  1. Gender Identity and Presentation
  2. Committing to Professional Development
  3. Expressing my Inner World to the Outside World

I didn't "complete" any of these in 2021, but that is totally OK! I tend to make strategic goals that do not have clear methodology to follow in the way that "taking guitar lessons" would. Instead, I collected a number of working insights and and hypotheses about life directions that seemed to point the right way. In that sense, it was a typical successful GHDR year. However, there were no game-winning metrics like "made $100,000 selling notebooks" or "wrote a book draft" and other such signs of foundational success. This used to bug me a lot, but I think it's just going to be the way it's going to work for me so long as I remain a solo act. Today I am feeling OK about that.

That said, I have felt a growing discomfort with the second thematic goal, which was expressed as "getting good" at Javascript interactive software development.

A bit of background: I started doing Javascript stuff in 2014 but didn't think of myself as a "real programmer"; in my mind, I just happened to have loads of relevant experience in design, user interface, and system design from the perspective of video game development. I could do the work, the client was someone I liked working with, and I could work freelance for quite reasonable pay. However, there are three issues that keep popping up:

  • I don't find programming fun or interesting without a group of other creative programmers and artists next to me working on the same problem. I worked solo and remotely, so interaction levels were very low most of the time.
  • Programming taxes my cognitive abilities past their limit. I have a poor working memory and a limited mental capacity for abstraction and indirection. I spend a lot of time writing design docs (which is great) but I am often completely drained of creative energy that could have gone to a fun personal project.
  • Getting into the zone to program comes at the expense of regular social interaction. Try as I might, I can not do difficult programming work and also have any kind of face-to-face scheduled event of any kind. I have to tune out the entire world to be able to do the work, desynchronizing with the day and society. While I can do both programming and have social interactions on the same day, the quality and progression of my programming suffers.

Don't get me wrong: the projects themselves were great and are for academic learning sciences research that will be in the public domain...yay science! However, working around the issues I mention above has been exhausting. Out of necessity I accepted them as a necessary sacrifice to "get good" at Javascript software development, and it has largely worked while also helping me financially. However, there has been a very high social and creative opportunity cost, and I have also been flitting back-and-forth over the edge of burnout for the past year. I don't want this to be my final bow.

I have found myself reminiscing about earlier days of blogging when I wanted to be an "independent and self-sustaining designer-writer". I had called this The Pursuit of Creative Independence, trying to chase it into reality. Having printed retail versions of the Emergent Task Planner was the closest I got to making it happen, but I found it really difficult to stay on task doing things I found boring like "marketing" and "e-commerce operations". A lot of things I had to do seemed poorly-designed and shoddily implemented, and this is the kind of thing that drives me bonkers with anger. Maybe with what I know now, I can get past this and make it work!

However...I don't know if I really have the desire to pursue creative independence to a successful end. I might just be fantasizing about having it, but lack the will to follow-through. I can think of plenty of times in my life when I have failed to follow-through. So finding out is this year's theme and I'm a little scared at what I will find.

Operating Insights from 2021

There were several insights from 2021 that I want to keep top-of-mind this year.

  • Singular focus is what I call "having only one goal at a time" so that I stop thinking about all the things that I am NOT doing. I was skeptical that this would work but after tracking productivity for a year, it seems to be just as productive with a lot less mental anguish. The key to its effectiveness is recognizing that my ADHD brain will detour through other tasks anyway, so there is no need to waste energy trying to track them. Instead, singular focus is a recentering strategy because there is only one thing to remember at a time until it changes. It's kind of like the one new habit at a time approach to self-improvement, but applied in an ADHD-aware context.

  • Curiosity is the superpower that I have that helps me start projects with unknowns regarding the clarity of methodology and guarantee of a satisfying reward. By asking myself any question, even something as trivial as I wonder if I can find the file I need in less than 2 minutes, is often enough to get unstuck. My brain holds on to questions much more easily than checking off todos on an assignment sheet.

  • Being Done as a desirable state is a harmful binary thinking pattern. Because I was always thinking about how I wasn't done (which is, by the nature of any task, MOST OF THE TIME) I was setting myself up for constant frustration.

  • Conceptual Modeling is at the heart of everything I think, how I learn, and how I approach tasks. It's the fundamental way I look at the world.

  • Sri-ness is the underlying emotional core behind my heartfelt desires and urge to participate in society in a meaningful and connected way. It's different than "Dave-ness", which is the protective robot suit that I used to transact with unfamiliar beings in the world. Emerging Sri-ness is an act of transition that is ongoing.

General Directive: Maintain Well-being

There are some required MUST HAVES for financial and mental well-being. Not only is it a form of self-care (something I am bad at), but having these also helps with productivity and the ability to spread cheer to the people I'm interacting with (more on that later):

  • I have to generate income as I enter my senior years by creating a side business that will last beyond the contract programming work I'm doing now. I'd like to add "evergreen" products that continue to sell themselves year-after-year. I'd like to become known for making good information products that people can relate too, and through this also maybe have direct patron support to support my ongoing research.

  • My emotional well-being directly contributes to my ability to be productive and socially connected. In addition to ongoing gender identity counseling, the ADHD and Autism-related diagnostic from last year has given me a lot of new ways to tackle this, so I have to make time for this. It will be good to have professional partners in figuring this stuff out.

  • I have to figure out a way to balance social interaction with my productive working zone. Right now, they seem to be incompatible with the programming work I'm doing. If I can shift to more income-producing creative independence product development, that might give more opportunity to divide my time into "intense hermit programming mode" and "relaxed social creative sharing mode" on a regular basis.

Special Directive: Maintain Joy

When I am planning Groundhog Day Resolutions, I have to remind myself why I am doing them at all. Is it for success, fulfillment or independence? Is it to reduce anxiety and increase happiness? While those are all nice things, it's something personal and irrationally inexplicable: feel the joy of empowered creativity. I used to describe this as "being a catalyst to empower people" but I would like the identify MY FEELING as a reminder to have some fun with it.

Activity Ideas for GHDR 2022

I'm not sure exactly how GHDR 2022 will run daily, but here are some ideas:

  • Bring back the Challenge-a-Day format from 2013 and 2014! This really felt good at the time, though it was very time consuming. Rather than produce something new every single day, I think this could work if I allocate 15 minutes in the morning to make progress; this worked pretty well with morning accountability partners; in fact, the dsriseah website skeleton was born out of this process! (keywords: motivational action, sowing information, sharing joy of making/experimenting)

  • Get back to creating as part of a group of people who---like me---are interested in guiding themselves and others toward their own truth because it simply feels like the right way to live. (keywords: cultivating community to cultivate ourselves, )

  • Tracking+Reporting activities will look forward to what the heart desires rather than dwell on undersanding the past (keywords: heartfelt goals, desire vs understanding)

  • Commit to the new dsriseah.com site and static site generation to replace Wordpress on davidseah.com I will gather notes information and organize it as an ongoing experiment that will improve over the next several years (keywords: open notebook, digital gardening)

Platform Development Goals for 2022

A major goal for this year is to develop dsriseah.com as the new online presence for my future sharing activities. Here are some thoughts on where it might go.

  • I'd like the dsriseah.com website to open up the thinking and research process to the public. My first blog at davidseah.com started as a place to post pictures of things that caught my eye for one reason or another, and in time it turned into a lab journal where I shared observations on personal experiments and productivity. There is a heavy emphasis on detailed analysis and hypothetical approaches. New to dsriseah.com is the notion to use conceptual modeling as the organizational principle of everything I write about and share. It's how I see the world, after all, and it's good hook for someone like me.

  • I've used Wordpress since 2004, and while it is a capable blog publishing platform it does not serve my needs to have a lab notebook / project showcase / knowledge repository that also functions as a knowledge management system. The new site on dsriseah.com is being built on Hugo for the main site, with blogging provide by Ghost if it looks like liveblogging + subscriber content + comment integration becomes important. However, I'd like the new site to have more in common with open notebooks, citizen science, content curration, and digital gardening.

  • Direct community interaction on blogs began to plunge in 2008, when social media aggregators like Facebook and Huffington Post started rehoming other content on the Internet as their own for mainstream consumers. However, I started the experimental DS|CAFE Discord Server as a way to have "office hours" for readers, and it now is a virtual coworking space with community values that evolved from the desire to be around curious, conscientious, self-empowered, positive-minded and generous people. The Discord server has become extremely important because it is the energizing creative sanctuary that I had thought to be years away from existing, and surprise here it is!

Personal Development Goals for 2022

I am working through these personal issues:

  • I get needlessly angry at willful mediocrity and carelessly-written documentation. I fixate on the anger and this use of my mental resources is not productive. Instead of getting mad I want to get even by putting better works into the world, but this is going to be a big challenge. The flash of anger can be searingly hot, and it must be redirected so that people don't get hurt.

  • I still have thoughts about being unnecessary and unwanted, and this undermines my courage in taking public risks. This is not a lack of confidence, however. Instead, it is a lack of conviction that I am the person to put my personal values into the world despite my inadequacies. The feeling will probably never go away, but I can believe that overcoming them with action is better for the communites that are close to my heart.

  • The preliminary confirmation of having ADHD last year included the posibility of being on the autistic spectrum, which was very surprising at the time but now explains a lot of things I didn't like about myself. Not only is it not my fault, but there are other people who share those same experiences and it's not just me. This removes the burden I felt that I was constantly failing to "fix" myself. The mental tricks I have been applying for years as workaround for my "defects" are no longer a source of embarrassment and guilt, but are instead the alternative means through which someone like me can fulfill their goals.

  • Expressing myself in any way that drew personal attention has always been really hard, and expressing my transgender identity in public. The thought of being non-conforming in society triggers all the fears of being rejected and unwanted with an extra splash of fear, and this is enormously draining. I really do want to be seen on the outside the way I am on the inside, but I also have to manage the fear and anxiety to be able to present more femme than masculine. Intuitively, it feels like if I can overcome the fear I can be anything and do anything.

That concludes my initial thinking for Groundhog Day Resolutions 2022. I still have a lot of organizational work to do for this kickoff, so stay tuned as I figure out how to make it work on this new website.


GHDR 2022 REPORT INDEX

February 2

Kickoff - Defining the goals for 2022.

March 3

Focus Level Up! - Initial goals cleared. Added "daily making" criteria.

April 4

May 5

Much Mental Processing - Thinking through mental health issues.

June 6

Too Much Work - Burned out on work. No report.

July 7

Back to Meeee! - Work commitments ending, looking forward to focus on my own work.

August 8

Setting Strategic Horizons - Need for "singular focus" stronger than ever. Hypothesizing goal-less strategic planning strategy based on structured procrastination.

also see

Related journal entries Defining Archetypes, Defining Goals, and Defining Operational Goals dig into the conditions for setting strategic horizons. Reboot Complete is the summary of progress made.

September 9

Progress in Four Phases - Warming up to meet my strategic horizon goals took time, but the systems of the past are proving useful in the present!

October 10

TBD

November 11

TBD

December 12

TBD