2017 Goals Second Quarter Report

It’s now the third quarter of 2017, so since I set a goal to “After each quarter, assess progress and note any necessary amendments to goals in a blog post,” it’s time to consider how the year has gone in comparison to the goals I set. I looked at the Shine Cycle on Monday and Strategic Primer on Wednesday; today, all my other goals.

As I’ve mentioned earlier this week, this quarter has gone far better than the disaster that was the first quarter, and I’ve also basically gotten back to “the usual” by clearing the stack of important-and-urgent seasonal tasks.

Now, on to my goals.

Uncluttering

  • 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.

I’m slowly making progress on this objective, but I doubt I’ll be anywhere near caught up with The City (let alone the other magazines, though at least those aren’t increasing twice or three times a year) by next year.

  • 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.

I had made some progress, and then I combined that file with its counterpart on another system, so it’s back up to almost 1150 links. So let’s say this, too, is an overambitious goal that I am nonetheless making some progress toward.

  • 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.

As of this writing, I’m still in April 2015. But, with the seasonally-urgent tasks cleared out, I should make good progress on these. I don’t know if I’ll get caught up to last May, and I strongly doubt I’ll get caught up entirely, but I’m finally moving forward here.

  • 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.

Haven’t gotten to this yet, and, since I had set it as two “stretch goals,” doubt that I will 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.
  • 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.

No progress on any of these either.

  • 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.

I’m up through packet #13; whether I get through packet #20 depends on how those tasks and other tasks are intermingled in the task queue.

  • 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.

I’ve made some progress on this, but I strongly doubt I’ll get to this point by the end of the year.

  • 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.

I’ve made a very little progress on this in the last couple of months, but I’m still farther behind than this time last year.

  • 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).

Still haven’t gotten to this.

  • 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.

Nor to this.

Writing and Blogging

  • 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.

I’ve made significant progress on this, but haven’t finished writing the first post yet.

  • 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.

I’m only one poem closer to my goal than I was in December.

  • 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.

I’ve started writing a multi-review post, but it’s sitting and waiting for more tasks related to this to come up in my task queue.

  • Objective: Prepare a second collection of my poetry for publication.
    • Goal: Come up with a title for the collection.

No progress on this point.

  • Goal: Decide on an organizing principle or principles for the collection.

I’ll call this a success: I’ve decided on organizing principles, and tentative titles, for three sections that together are enough material for the collection.

  • Goal: Have a list of poems, at least sixty of them, in an order that makes sense for the collection.

I’ve made significant progress here; I’ve been putting poems into the collection in an order that makes at least some sense, so that I can have something concrete to send to reviewers, and have only about twenty-five poems left to add in.

  • Goal: Find at least one suitable illustration for each page of the collection.

No progress on this yet, but I wasn’t expecting to start on it until I had the poems laid out.

  • Stretch Goal: Write all necessary prose (introduction, acknowledgements, blurb, etc.) for the collection.

Haven’t started on this either, of course.

  • Stretch Goal: Have the collection formatted and proofread for each of the platforms on which it will be published.

Preliminary typesetting has started, since I”m reusing the packages I put together for A Year in Verse, but proofreading and careful checking of the formatting will come later.

  • 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.

Twelve “minimally substantive,” non-retrospective, posts seems an increasingly unlikely goal. But we’ll see.

  • Goal: Write and post at least twelve new poems.
  • Stretch Goal: Write and post at least twenty-four new poems.

Similarly, it feels like a stretch to think I’ll finish and post six poems this year, let alone twelve.

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

No progress on this in this quarter either.

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.

This is ever-more-increasingly urgent, but I’ve finally gotten back to it and am currently making some, but slow, progress.

  • Goal: Respond to each letter or email that needs a response within two weeks.

As I mentioned in April, this was a “resounding failure” by January, but I’m managing to keep more or less on top of correspondence more recently.

  • 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.

I’m falling further and further behind. (Sigh.) Maybe, though …

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

One of these days …

  • Objective: Find paying and meaningful employment.
    • Goal: Unless success at the objective renders this unnecessary, complete at least eighteen free skills-training courses.

My original plan was to be starting this about a month ago. But the way the first quarter went, it may be a good while before I really get down to this.

  • Goal: Apply for at least six positions.

In progress. We’ll see. (I don’t want to share too many details about my job search in public.)

  • Objective: Keep up with my goals.
    • Goal: After each quarter, assess progress and note any necessary amendments to goals in a blog post.

So far so good; with this post, I’m caught up on this goal until October.

God willing, I will have more substantial progress to report after the third quarter.

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