What's With the Monthly Reviews?

Ten years ago, when blogging was in vogue and fashionable, a person could see trends begin and grow like ripples in a pool of water. A single person or small clique would do something, which would encourage others, which would encourage more still, and from there a handful of people would stand out like examples for others. These trends would come and go within six to eighteen months depending on how many comments people might receive on the subject, and new trends would replace the old. This changed when social media caught on, but there does seem to be a new trend making its way across a number of the blogs that I read: the monthly review.

To Do

Back in June of this year, Lukas Rosenstock got the ball rolling — in my RSS reader, anyway — with his review of May's accomplishments, highlights, and other details. These posts would often strike up a little bit of conversation on Nice.Social and it was a good way of encouraging people to see what went well last month and what might be accomplished in the new one. Then last month Jeremy Cherfas wrote a post where he discussed managing time and distractions and, at the end, he says this about monthly reviews:

This is something I actually do, as part of my Bullet Journal and GTD, although I have never thought of making it public. Maybe I should ...

The idea of setting goals for each month and sharing the results on a blog is certainly an interesting one. We all have our goals and expectations for a given day or week, but how often do we look back and see what went well and where we could stand some improvement? In my case, I have an A5-sized notepad that I keep on my desk at work and another at home to track the things I aim to accomplish. The typical item at work is marked complete within six hours, but the notepad at home is for "bigger" things that often require a long list of sub-steps. While the day-to-day objectives at the day job may not make sense to share, some of the others would certainly be good to get out in the open and share ... so long as I make the time to actually sit down and write a blog post.

This is obviously something I've been failing to do over the last few months despite the numerous attempts to set writing goals.

So let's see what can be done about this.

Accomplishments

November 2017 was quite productive. As I've mentioned a few times on this site, the family and I are in the midst of buying a house. Earlier this summer we found and bought a 228.3m² plot of land that is very close to a large park, kindergarten, elementary school, and junior high school. The neighbourhood appears to be decent and there are a lot of young families around that should have kids around the same age as my son. Last month Reiko and I finalised the floor plan for the house, decided on 95% of the interior, worked out the yard layout, and a number of other factors. We've also been (pretty much) approved for the mortgage amount we're asking, and have found a way to save about $9,000 in interest payments over the first decade.

That money will likely go right into feeding the boy, who has an incredible appetite.

In addition to this, the LMS1 project at the day job continues to get better with each revision, and a solid amount of work has gone into the Digital Textbook elements that should give teachers access to resources that — as far as I know — do not currently exist elsewhere. There is still quite a bit to be done before the v4.2 deadline hits, but the system is coming together very nicely.

Highlights

I'm not sure if this would count as a highlight, as it's not related to me, but the boy is just a few weeks away from being able to walk without holding onto anything for balance support. It's been interesting to watch him interact with the world and become more competent with each passing day. He's yet to figure out how to use language or hold a bottle, but these skills are also developing. For me this is a highlight as it's something that's both exciting and intellectually stimulating.

Daily Routine

In late October my daily routine changed to allow for an extra half hour of sleep per day, and it was pretty stable for all of November. I wake up at 5:50am to feed the boy, then stay awake to read the news until 7:00am when Nozomi gets some attention and a walk. By 8:30 I'm on the way to work and I arrive at the office an hour later, having used the commute to listen to a technical podcast about databases, development, or similar topics. Lunch is at 1:30pm, and I leave for home by 7:00pm. The commute home has more podcasts, but usually a comedy or interview show, then dinner's at 8:00pm. The boy gets his last bottle of the day around 9:30pm, and I'm back in front of the computer doing either work or skills training from 10:00pm to midnight.

A busy schedule, but one that keeps me active enough to remain interested.

Goals

So for December, I'm going to set a few goals ... to be reviewed in the new year:

Creativity & Hobbies

  • write 10 blog posts
  • publish 5 podcasts (probably Doubtfully Daily Matigo shows)
  • read 2 technical books and 1 fiction novel

Family

  • spend 8 days this month "computer free"
  • get Christmas stuff sent to family in Canada by the 6th

Work

  • finish development of v4.2 updates
  • begin work on documentation of v4.2

Maybe this is too specific? I'm not sure, but time will tell. If these don't pan out by January 1, then I'll consider using the SMART structure to set better goals for the next month.


  1. Learning Management System