It’s been almost four months since I last wrote something. I’ve been pretty busy over the last little while completely overhauling this site, and there are a few changes that I’d like to point out.
Tell me if any of this sounds familiar: Why am I having such a hard time with this? What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m not smart enough to do this. People hired me to do this work, but I’m never going to figure this out. I’m a fraud. There are at least a couple of common threads with these statements, but I think the most interesting one is that each of these statements is an implicit comparison that I’m making between myself and someone that’s, y’know, good at what they do.
I’ve got some iOS apps as side projects (they’re in dire need of updates, but that’s neither here nor there). To keep things organized, I use a Manuscript (née FogBugz) account that I opened six years ago for planning work and, more relevant to this post, to capture (almost) all customer feedback. There’s a custom mailbox set up with an email address in my business domain, to which customers can send questions and comments about the apps.
A couple of weeks ago, Julia Evans wrote a retrospective on what it’s been like working remotely that resonated with me, given that today is my one-year anniversary since taking a remote position. Since this is my first fully-remote job, taking some time to reflect on how things have gone seems like a good idea. Julia answered some great questions about working remotely, so I’ll do the same here.
I’ve slowly been moving over to Things 3 for task management, but more than that, I’ve been re-thinking just how my system needs to be fleshed out so that it works best for me. As part of that move, I’ve been re-evaluating the way I think about capture. Typically, you’ve got an inbox, where you log all the incoming stuff in your life, and which you process periodically. That’s fine for the usual do-delegate-delete-defer type tasks, but if I want to use Things (or whatever task management system) to capture everything, I’ve found that I need a place for things that live somewhere between the inbox and a project.
I mentioned the other day that I’m feeling a little bit discouraged with how January was going. While I started the year looking forward to taking on a list of goals, here we are, almost halfway into February, and I’m not really feeling like I’ve made real progress against any of them. I took some time to think about why this is the case, and a couple of things stand out.
Okay, so I’m a bit late to the party, but: rather than try to create a bunch of resolutions, I’ve decided that I’d prefer to take on twelve projects this year. Why twelve? Well, largely because it breaks down to one project per month (not that I intend these to be month-long projects, it just works out that way). In no particular order of importance, they are: Learn a new language: My wife and I have been talking about doing this together.
The last thing I wrote here was a retrospective on 2016, written one year and one day ago. That’s… quite a while ago. You’d think I’d have written more, given how much happened this year. Off the top of my head: I changed jobs, and am now working with the thoughtful geniuses at Fog Creek. I got pretty serious about personal fitness, making great progress, right up until… …I severed a tendon in my left pinky, which left me in a splint for most of the summer after surgery to reattach it (occupational and physical therapy are still ongoing, six months later) we lost our wonderful fluffy companion of 15 years Aside from the fitness bit, none of these were events that I expected or planned for.
At the beginning of the year, I wrote down some goals for 2016. The year has come and gone, so it’s not a bad idea to have a bit of a look at how things went. Review 1. Post something here every Friday I did pretty well at this for a while, up until late August. But as the year wore on it felt more and more that I was writing just for the sake of checking off a repeating to-do item, rather than writing a goal in and of itself.
As I write this, I’m sitting at a Starbucks in a mall, two days before Christmas. I’m sipping a large black coffee distractedly, watching folks noodle on by, caught up in whatever last few errands they may need to run before hosting or visiting friends and family for the holidays. The mall’s background music is calm, barely-audible, and shoppers don’t seem particularly stressed out, or rushed, or frustrated. It’s possible that I’m projecting my mood on this scene, too.