2016 Review, 2017 Goals

A new civil year begins tomorrow, and as in past years I’ll take this opportunity to take stock of the year that was and set goals for the year to come. I’ll focus on the my “magna opera” (the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series-in-preparation, and Strategic Primer) in additional posts early next week, but today, a look at “the rest,” starting with a review of the goals I set for myself a year ago.

Goals for 2016

I divided my goals for this past year into several categories.

Uncluttering

  • Goal: In the process of reading and triage of (deciding whether to keep) issues from my stack of magazines and journal issues, make a decision about every issue through at least the end of 2013.
  • Stretch Goal: Make a decision for every issue through at least July 2015.

I made some progress on this, but the issue I’m currently in is Fall 2012.

Done.

  • Goal: Finish reconsidering and tagging links from my old flat file of bookmarks that I’m currently working through.

I again made some progress, but the file is down to only about 1200 links left. At the end of last year, there were about two thousand.

  • Goal: In listening to recorded sermons that I download and store each week, catch up to at least February 2016.
  • Stretch Goal: In listening to recorded sermons, catch up to the present.

Not even close! I’m even further behind, now up to only April 2015.

  • Stretch Goal: Ensure that every file “under my control” (thus excluding non-configuration application and OS files) is either under version control of some sort (to protect against silent corruption, among other reasons) or deliberately not under version control.
  • Stretch Goal: (As part of that) Carefully reconsider all files’ organization.

I think a few more directories may be, but I didn’t even give any significant attention to this task this year.

  • Goal: Ensure that I have no software installed on any of my computers anymore “just because it looked interesting” that I haven’t actually tried out.

Nor this.

  • Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, consider and deal with all through packet #25.
  • Stretch Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, consider and deal with all that I’ve divided into packets as of today, packet #35.

I’m currently in the middle of packet #10.

  • Stretch Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, divide all miscellaneous papers, that I haven’t deliberately decided to keep in this pass, into numbered packets for consideration.

The most recently numbered packet is currently Packet #51, but there are still piles and piles of papers.

  • Goal: Read all books I have been given for Christmas or my birthday in the last few years, that I haven’t already.

I read a few that have been waiting for me for awhile, but not all.

  • Goal: Develop a specific plan for dealing with stacks of books (i.e. a specific order to read them, or enough of them to decide about them, in).
  • Goal: Develop a specific plan for dealing with “stacks” of electronic books.

Didn’t get to these either.

  • Goal: Create project plans for, or decide to give up on forever, at least four of the software ideas that I’ve had in my files for years.

Nor to this.

Writing and Blogging

  • Goal: Write and post at least twelve at least minimally substantive posts, not including retrospectives of the immediate past or posts related to Strategic Primer or the Shine Cycle.

I posted seven such.

  • Goal: Write and post at least six new poems.
  • Stretch Goal: Write and post at least twelve new poems.

With the Advent flurry of my settings of the “O Antiphons,” I count twenty-three.

  • Goal: Have at least the skeleton of a “static” personal website set up somewhere.

And I essentially forgot about this.

Life and Miscellaneous

  • Stretch Goal: Finish my critique pass through Peter’s Angel.

Nowhere near. I’m more than half-way, and currently making progress, but there’s still a long way to go.

  • Goal: be prompt in keeping up with correspondence.

I think that on the whole I was more prompt in writing to those I owed letters and emails, but that’s not saying much.

  • Goal: Read the Bible in its entirety at least once.

I’m even farther behind on this than I was last year.

  • Stretch Goal: Get at least a quarter of the way through the first volume of the Institutes.

I didn’t even crack the cover of this all year.

  • Stretch Goal: Find paying and meaningful employment.

I am redoubling my search, but have nothing to report on this front.

Goals for 2017

Now, for the year to come. In addition to the notions of specific, measurable, and ideally fairly granular “Goals” and “Stretch Goals” that I’ve used in the past, I’ll list “Objectives,” which are more general, quite probably not achievable within the year, and less measurable, but shape the goals.

Uncluttering

The first area is, again, trying to clear the physical and digital “clutter” that drains thought and emotions.

  • Objective: Ensure that my collection of magazine and journal issues doesn’t contain any I don’t affirmatively want to keep.
    • Goal: In the process of reading and triage of (deciding whether to keep) issues from my stack of magazines and journal issues, make a decision about every issue of The City to date.
    • Stretch Goal: Make a decision about every issue of The City, all the computer-science journals I saved from the departmental library’s purge in 2009, and all the Dialogue issues.
  • Objective: Get my collection of “links I want to do something about someday” is at least minimally organized to help that.
    • Goal: Finish reconsidering and tagging links from my old flat file of bookmarks, which currently stands at about 1200 links.
  • Objective: Clear out, without a “mass discard-unread,” my “digital backlog.”
    • Goal: In listening to recorded sermons that I download and store each week, catch up to at least May 2016. (At this writing, I’m to April 2015.)
    • Stretch Goal: In listening to recorded sermons, catch up to the present.
  • Objective: Have my computer systems be optimized to my actual “requirements,” clear of “digital clutter,” and safe from silent data corruption.
    • Stretch Goal: Ensure that every file “under my control” (thus excluding non-configuration application and OS files) is either under version control of some sort (to protect against silent corruption, among other reasons) or deliberately not under version control.
    • Stretch Goal: (As part of that) Carefully reconsider all files’ organization.
    • Goal: Ensure that I have no software installed on any of my computers anymore “just because it looked interesting” that I haven’t actually tried out.
    • Goal: Develop a specific plan for dealing with “stacks” of electronic books.
    • Goal: Create project plans for, or decide to give up on forever, at least four of the software ideas that I’ve had in my files for years.
  • Objective: Get rid of as much paper clutter as possible without throwing away any information that I will later wish I had kept.
    • Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, consider and deal with all through packet #20. (As of this writing I’m in packet #10.)
    • Stretch Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, consider and deal with all that I’ve divided into packets as of today, packet #51.
    • Stretch Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, divide all miscellaneous papers, that I haven’t deliberately decided to keep in this pass, into numbered packets for consideration.
  • Objective: Reduce my book collection to those I want to keep, and preferably a size I have shelf space for.
    • Goal: Read all books I have been given for Christmas or my birthday in the last few years, that I haven’t already.
    • Goal: Develop a specific plan for dealing with stacks of books (i.e. a specific order to read them, or enough of them to decide about them, in).
  • Objective: Have all my (physical) photographs filed in albums in some sensible arrangement.
    • Goal: Have all my (physical) photographs placed in albums, rather than left in their original envelopes.

Writing and Blogging

As I mentioned, I’ll explain my plans for the Shine Cycle and Strategic Primer early next week. Here are my goals for writing and blogging outside those areas.

  • Objective: Either finish or discard all “essay ideas,” fragmentary poems, and the like that are cluttering up my files.
    • Goal: Finish and post at least three posts in my planned series on \LaTeX.
    • Stretch Goal: Finish and post (or schedule to appear on the blog) the entire \LaTeX series.
    • Goal: In my series of blank-verse Psalm settings, get through at least Psalm 42. (The last one I’ve finished as of the end of 2016 is Psalm 14.)
    • Stretch Goal: Finish Psalm settings through at least Psalm 70.
    • Goal: Write reviews of at least six “recently” read books.
    • Stretch Goal: Write reviews of all books I’ve read recently that I haven’t already reviewed.
  • Objective: Prepare a second collection of my poetry for publication.
    • Goal: Come up with a title for the collection.
    • Goal: Decide on an organizing principle or principles for the collection.
    • Goal: Have a list of poems, at least sixty of them, in an order that makes sense for the collection.
    • Goal: Find at least one suitable illustration for each page of the collection.
    • Stretch Goal: Write all necessary prose (introduction, acknowledgements, blurb, etc.) for the collection.
    • Stretch Goal: Have the collection formatted and proofread for each of the platforms on which it will be published.
  • Objective: Maintain this blog, as more than merely a platform for saying how little I’ve accomplished.
    • Goal: Write and post at least twelve minimally substantive posts, not including retrospectives of the immediate past or posts related to Strategic Primer or the Shine Cycle.
    • Goal: Write and post at least twelve new poems.
    • Stretch Goal: Write and post at least twenty-four new poems.
    • Goal: Have at least the skeleton of a “static” personal website set up somewhere.

Life and Miscellaneous

  • Objective: Keep up with what I have promised, or am otherwise morally bound, to write. (“Be prompt in keeping up with correspondence.”)
    • Stretch Goal: Finish my critique pass through Peter’s Angel.
    • Goal: Respond to each letter or email that needs a response within two weeks.
  • Objective: Revive my somewhat-flagging spiritual life. (Which, like everything else, does not depend on me … but if I don’t state goals I’ll fall yet further behind.)
    • Goal: Read the Bible in its entirety at least once.
    • Stretch Goal: Get at least a quarter of the way through the first volume of the Institutes.
  • Objective: Find paying and meaningful employment.
    • Goal: Unless success at the objective renders this unnecessary, complete at least eighteen free skills-training courses.
    • Goal: Apply for at least six positions.
  • Objective: Keep up with my goals.
    • Goal: After each quarter, assess progress and note any necessary amendments to goals in a blog post.

Now, to try to live them.

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