April 2020

New workspace configuration

I was reading over the update from the previous month. As Singapore approaches 20,000 cases, I couldn't help but chuckle at this line that I wrote. Might as well paste it again for this post.

Looking back at my update from the previous month, I can tell that I didn't expect that things would reach anywhere close to this scale.

This month has been one of introspection. I've spent a lot more time thinking about my place in this world, and who I want to be going forward, my identity. I started doing weekly reviews early in the month, and they have been really effective in helping me measure my progress through this lockdown period. Again, I'm super grateful that my lifestyle allows me to thrive (in relative terms) during this period of isolation.

It has also been my most consistent month of journalling since I started the practice. Although most of the time I can't even remember what I wrote the day before, it has helped me look inward more regularly, and think more about what really matters to me. In fact, I'll be slightly modifying how I do my monthly updates later down the post to reflect these new ideas.

A look back at the previous month,

  • Start up and follow-through on a useful side project. I've been really frustrated the lack of polish and bloated nature of tools like Evernote and LINER and I have some ideas to improve them. I did start a side project called Chop, which is a link shortener intended for me to practice designing and prototyping. However, I soon realised that even that was overly ambitious in terms of its scope — I tried too hard to make it perfect in all aspects.
  • Catch up with more friends through video calls. I figured I might as well take advantage of the normalisation of video calling and use that as an excuse to "meet" my friends again. And this I did! I got on many more video calls with different people this month, including onboarding a new member and setting up regular team calls at Cyber Youth Singapore and onboarding new teammates at Taskade. We also managed to get my whole clique from secondary school into one Zoom call!

In other news,

  • Published my book review of Hello World.
  • Shipped bookshelves.ravern.co within a few hours which got some attention!
  • Experimented with Urbit but eventually gave up on it. Still too early on.
  • Good progress on another project I'm working with some friends.
  • Started reading Creativity Inc. Haven't been reading as much as I want to.
  • Managed to do three pull-ups in succession! It's all uphill from here.
  • Reorganised my workspace (pictured above).

So here comes the change from this month onwards. I've decided to take my daily journals, weekly reviews and monthly updates (of which I only publish the latter) and make them more goal-oriented. This means setting monthly goals, breaking them down into weekly goals and further down into daily goals.

I'm going to borrow Malcolm Ocean's definition of a goal: a recognisable desired state in the future, that causes you to act differently in the present so as to realise it. By this definition, a goal doesn't have to have a due date, numerical metric or some state of finality. The key here is that the goal-setting during each journalling session isn't just for it to be achieved, but more to set a direction and reflect on my desires for that particular time span.

If the above doesn't make sense to you, same here. I'm still trying to figure this out as well, and since COVID has created the perfect sandbox for this, I shall try it out for the next few months.

With that said, here are my three main goals — recognisable desired states — for this month,

  • I want to have shipped a digital garden for myself by the end of this month. This is including the content that would go into the garden. It would have to be easily explorable and easy to publish to, i.e. no having to edit Markdown files and push to GitHub.
  • I want to read more books this month. Fiction books won't count. This means doing more research on exactly which books I want to read, and also figuring out a better system for note-taking since Kindle notes really suck.
  • I will ship Import to Taskade by the end of the month, and will also have wrote out the specifications for the next big feature I'll be working on at Taskade.

During each week, I will break down the goals into smaller chunks so as not to overwhelm myself with the enormity of such tasks.

That's all for this month I think. Today's update was written much more quickly thanks to the weekly reviews, which are effectively summaries of my daily journals. It's kind of similar to progressive summarisation... but yeah okay thanks for reading!