Some Resolutions for 2020

I’ve been on holidays and after the airport delays, the chaos of Christmas with my family and some downtime at the beach for New Years I’ve finally had a chance to reflect on what I want to do in 2020.

There’s definitely a theme of reflection in the goals I’ve set, and it’s probably because 2019 was a bit of a blur. I’ve also included some tangible goals to verify how I achieve a resolution (a habit from the new team I’ve been working with).

Re-evaluate my relationship with social media

Twitter has been my primary social network for many years, and I felt that 2019 was a point where I started to noticeably feel that I didn’t get value from the platform relative to the time spent there.

I thought about just burning my account to the ground a couple of time last year, but without an alternative way to keep in touch with friends I’ve accumlated there I paused that idea.

I disabled notifications on my phone for most of my apps a few years ago (that’s a rant for another time) to reduce distractions, which helped greatly back then, but I’m going to experiment with two changes to how I use Twitter to see how it affects my habits:

  • email notification for DM and notification only
  • remove the Twitter app from my phone

I’m also on Facebook and Instagram but those are not my primary hangouts. I keep them around to keep in contact with specific people. If they were easily accessible elsewhere, my need to use them would be significantly reduced.

Success criteria: a better understanding of whether I need Twitter/Facebook/Instagram at all, whether I can move to alternatives and keep in touch with those I care about, or clarity over how much time I can waste there.

Write More Often

Related to the previous point, I often use Twitter as an ephermeral channel for things that could be blog posts. I’ve also set my Twitter account to delete old messages, so I really shouldn’t put anything important up there.

I did make a start on some new posts in 2019 around side projects, a couple of which were published, but most of them sit in the drafts because they were too long and needed editing work.

I think by breaking big posts down into series and publishing early work (even if it’s a bit rough) should help with getting into the habit. I switched this site over to use Hugo and have barely scratched the surface of what it’s capable of, so I should try and bend it to my will here about authoring and publishing content.

Success criteria: 20 new posts somewhere on this site (does this count as the first one?)

Maintain the Bullet Journal habit

I wasn’t happy with how I was organizing myself last year, and felt there was a gap between calendars, emails and notes that could be used. I’d heard about the Bullet Journal project years ago and have been craving some excuses for pen-and-paper work, so I pored over the material to understand more.

In July I’d setup a new book for BuJo (as the cool kids say) and stuck to journalling for a couple of months, but I had troubles keeping disciplined as I’d leave it in my bag or forget to keep it up-to-date. One attempt to “backfill” in September to catch up helped a bit, but then I fell away again a couple of weeks after and didn’t bother again.

I’ve definitely missed having it around to fill in regularly and refer back to later, especially with the end of year being busier. I think declaring “bankruptcy”, finding some new pens to use and restarting with a bit more discipline will help.

Success criteria: a completed Moleskine book or 12 months of Bullet Journal activity, whichever comes first.

Re-evaluate my relationship with open source

My work situation suddenly changed in the middle of the year in a way that affected my time available for open source contributons. I moved away from being active in the Electron ecosystem to focus on some internal engineering projects at GitHub, which was a lot of fun but many days full of meetings meant that evenings were not spent on anything computer-related, which was great to keep that work-life balance healthy.

The downside of this is that several open source projects - that are either solely maintained by me, or I’m a significant contributor to - have been neglected.

I’ve been involved with open source in various forms for years, so the ebbs and flows of things are familiar to me, but this situation feels different because I don’t miss the grunt work of maintaining projects, and my day work involves different technologies - so I don’t have bandwidth with.

Success criteria: clarity about my relationship with open source, and leaving the current projects in a better state than they were at the start of the year.

Build some silly things

Having said all that, with learning Ruby on Rails I have enjoyed building some silly things along the way to show I understand the concepts and tackle some real-life problems I have. An example of this is shiftkey/webhooks which consumes webhook events from GitHub and does some work that I would previously do manually.

Success criteria: two new projects live on Heroku and in use that leverage Ruby and do something useful to me.