Resolution Recap

Like Tantek, I found I didn’t seem to make any public resolutions in 2006, so because of my awful memory I don’t have any idea what I hoped to accomplish last year. Anyway I thought it would be interesting to make a progress report on the resolutions I made two years ago.

  • Build up piano chops — This pretty much tanked. I got an upright piano for my living room and started taking piano lessons from someone I found on Craig’s List. However right before I left CNET I got this awful pain in my hand, particularly my thumb, that was pretty crippling and I ended up with my left hand in a cast for a bit. The only thing that had changed in my routine was that I was practicing a lot of piano at the time (probably too much) and the doctor recommended I stop. I lost touch with my teacher, and basically haven’t done much with it since. Mainly I use the piano these days to keep my ear up by transcribing parts of music I enjoy. (Did you know Timberlake’s Lovestoned is all pentatonic?)
  • Read more — I’ve done pretty well on this one, mostly thanks to travelling about 20x more than I used to. I’m a little bit addicted to computers, so I rarely read at home, but when forced offline I tend to tear through books. I usually carry a book in my bag to grab moments for cafes/parks, which doesn’t happen very often, but is worth having the book for the once every month or so it does.
  • Release more — This has been yes and no. WordPress.com is the epitome of release more, with pushes sometimes dozens of times a day, but the space between WordPress 2.0 and 2.1 is way, way too long. (2.0 is over 1.5 million downloads now.) We’re trying an experiment after 2.1 to encourage more frequent release, since the codebase is pretty much “stable” all the time since it runs live on WP.com. I’ve heard about book writers who have to stop blogging to work on their book, so similarly maybe I should take a break to get some of my unreleased software out the door. On the bright side, I feel like everything currently released, from bbPress to Akismet, is getting all the tender loving care it needs, so nothing is really neglected. (Which is a bad feeling.)
  • No more mental roadblocks — This is a little ambiguous. I still procrastinate sometimes. I think what I was referring to was assuming certain resources were needed before doing something and a fear of failure. One thing I’ve certainly learned in the two years since making that resolution is that there is no causation between resources, especially money, and success. I really believe with committment and elbow grease, you can make almost anything happen.

Now to start thinking about resolutions for 2007, hopefully things a little more measurable.

10 thoughts on “Resolution Recap

  1. One of the most important things when making resolutions is picking stuff “not to do” — obviously if you had time to do all the things you want to do, then you’d already be doing them.

    I agree completely on the book thing. The internet has really killed reading… I’m happy if I can get to around 20 books a year (yet my feed reader is empty!… er). There’s been a couple of times when I’ve contemplated switching to public transportation for the commute just so that I’d have the forced offline time.

    re: procrastination. You might like these tips I wrote a while back: http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/07/14/getting-to-deadline-programmer-productivity-tips-at-work-getting-to-done/

    I don’t follow them at all, though. :)

  2. I know exactly what you mean by the mental roadblocks thing! For me, a frequent procrastinating method is to say “I’ll go meet with X or email Y or do Z *after* I’ve done A, B, or C or (even more insidiously) changed the resources at my disposal or changed myself in this way” and it just causes a collapse of sorts because you never get around to doing A/B/C and now X/Y/Z is getting pushed off.

  3. I know those feelings, all too well. The last two points, Release More and No more mental roadblocks, are things that plagued me earlier in life. Once I found a total system that worked for me, basically a Franklin Planner, an electronic planner on the computer, and a pocket full of 3″x5″ cards at-the-ready, things changed. I suddenly became a lot more productive.

    Good luck, Matt, especially on getting WP and bbPress releases out the door in a more timely manner in 2007. Maybe by the time 2008 rolls around, we will be seeing the release of WP2.8.

    Cheers and Happy New Year!

  4. Like everyone said above, Mental Roadblocks suck. I’ve been having them for the past few months and havent finished a lot of online projects that I started due to this.

    I’ll tack that on my new years resolution also.

    This is late but Happy Newyears

  5. I’m concerned about the pain in your hand from playing piano. You’re probably stretching for chords and passages that your current finger strength and flexibility is unable to support. Try sticking with scales to re-strengthen your fingers. By the way, I enjoyed your post.

  6. I had that same pain in my left thumb joint – I put it down to carpal tunnel symdrome but it turned out to be a form of repetitive strain injury caused by over-practising.
    I’ve now resorted to teach-yourself methods that contain exercises which seem to have relieved my symptoms.

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