2019 Second-Quarter Goals Review

Back in April, I set goals for the second quarter of the year after reviewing the first quarter. Because I knew the training program I had recently entered would demand the overwhelming majority of my time for at least the next ten weeks, I cut my plans back from what I had originally envisioned back in January even further. Now that the second quarter has come to an end (and I have a day off), here’s a look at how I’ve managed to do compared to those much-reduced goals, and some new goals for the third quarter.

Second Quarter Review

Here are the goals I tentatively set for the past few months in April. As usual, by “objective” I meant a long-term, broad goal that I wanted to reach (often one merely mentioned as a reminder to myself in future goal-setting), while by “goal” I meant a long-term goal against which my progress can be measured, that I thought I could meet in the time interval I was planning out, and I used the phrase “stretch goal” to mean a goal (in that sense) which I was doubtful I could accomplish in that period, but still felt was worth mentioning.

More areas than usual were left with merely “objectives” because I left nearly all of my books and papers behind when I moved here for this training program; I’ve omitted those objectives that are so impeded from this progress-checking review, but I’ll repeat them in my third-quarter goals below.

Uncluttering

The other objectives here, however, are ones I could make progress on.

  • 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 the present.

I got significantly closer—I’m now caught up through the end of April, while three months ago I was only caught up to last November—but didn’t quite reach this.

  • Goal: Bring the backlog of items in my blog reader down its current count of nearly 49,500 (and rising) down to 49,000.

Nowhere near, and it may have actually risen some more. But there was one somewhat mitigating factor that held me back on this: I had my blog reader lose all the saved items several times, leaving me to restore its state from backups, so I have tended to open it enough to check for new items in the feeds I follow, then close it again.

  • Objective: Get my collection of “links I want to do something about someday” is at least minimally organized to help that.
    • Goal: In my process of reconsidering and tagging links from my old (main) flat file of bookmarks, which should stand at about 300 by the time this post appears, finish that file off.

It’s currently down to 135.

Development

Most of my software-development efforts need to go towards my training program, but there are a few items I hope to get to in the near future.

  • Goal: Get my \LaTeX package for Scottish Country Dance ball programs, and the more-user-friendly editing program, to a state I consider sufficiently complete (mostly resolving all of the issues listed here and here, but also improving code quality and writing documentation)
  • Goal: For the e-commerce project I’ve decided to undertake after some friends described their dissatisfaction with their current provider, implement the first three “features” in the task tracker.
  • Goal: For the “task monger” project I’m undertaking (primarily for my own use, so I don’t have to fiddle with rearranging lines in a spreadsheet in future months!), implement the basic features in the command-line/pipe interface.

I’m still deep in the training program, so to keep things clear (as well as by necessity because I’ve had so little time and attention to spare) I haven’t done any outside development work.

Poetry Book

These tasks relate to my second poetry collection, Dreams and Prayers: Verses from a Wandering Mind, which has been in the works for a few years now.

  • Objective: Have Dreams and Prayers ready for publication.
    • Goal: Design a satisfactory cover. (I won’t invalidate this if, on advice of more graphic-design-inclined friends, I decide to make changes later.)
    • Goal: Write all necessary prose sections for Dreams and Prayers.

I haven’t touched this since before I left.

Writing and Blogging

  • Objective: Either finish or discard all “essay ideas,” fragmentary poems, and the like that are cluttering up my files.
    • Goal: Finish the second entry in my planned series on \LaTeX, on using it for poetry.
    • Goal: In my series of blank-verse Psalm settings, get through at least Psalm 20 (The last one I’ve finished as of this writing is still Psalm 17.)
    • Goal: Post, or schedule, at least three posts in my “Hymns” series.
    • Goal: Write (in content intended for this blog) a review of at least one “recently” read book.
  • Objective: Maintain my “presence” on this blog.
    • Goal: Write at least two “miscellaneous” blog posts, other than goal-checking and the “Hymns” series.

As you can see by the fact that the most recent post before this one was last quarter’s goals review, I haven’t written or posted a single post here between then and now.

Shine Cycle

  • Objective: Finish a presentable draft of The Invasion.
    • Goal: Get at least eight scenes into my new draft of The Invasion.

Not a single scene.

  • Objective: Have a biography, history, description, and “character logline” or “motivation summary” for every named character.
  • Objective: Create sufficiently-complete, sufficiently-detailed, maps of the worlds and areas with which the Shine Cycle is concerned.
  • Objective: Develop each race and culture that the Shine Cycle is concerned with sufficiently to portray it distinctly and excite potential readers’ interest.

Blogging

  • Objective: Regularly post substantive Shine Cycle-related content here, as an incentive to continued progress and to attract interested future readers.
  • Objective: Create blog posts using “worldbuilding” material created using the various “systems” and question sets.

Life and Miscellaneous

  • Objective: Meet the obligations of the training program and whatever employment I am bound to thereafter.
  • Objective: Keep up with what I have promised, or am otherwise morally bound, to write. (“Be prompt in keeping up with correspondence.”)
    • Goal: In my critique pass through Peter’s Angel, get through Page 270. (As of this writing, I’m on page 230.)

No progress, I’m afraid.

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

I haven’t gotten many letters, but my reply to the one I did get sat half-finished for most of a month. And I still have emails sitting in my Inbox waiting for me to reply to them. Maybe once I finish this post.

  • Goal: Write keeping-in-touch emails to my short list of particular correspondents on their birthdays and anniversaries and the most important holidays. In addition to two such friends with dates on which to remember them already past, there are five yet to come this quarter, as well as the most important holiday of the year, which is also one of the two I take as a excuse for keeping in touch.

This I managed to meet.

  • Goal: Finish the poem for a friend’s birthday, preferably well before the “deadline”

I did finish the poem, though with far less time before the day than I’d intended.

  • Objective: Revive my 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: (Re)read at least through the first half of each of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

I made progress, but I’d estimate I’m more like a third of the way through each than half-way.

  • Objective: Keep up with my goals.
    • Goal: At the end of the quarter, assess my performance in light of these goals and set new ones for the third quarter.

And here we are.

Third Quarter Goals

Now, for the next quarter. I’m in the final stage of the training program (it having been extended somewhat), but I expect to be interviewing with clients for placement soon (half of my training cohort has already been placed), God willing. As such, God alone knows what my free time is going to be like for the next three months, so I’ve basically copied my goals for the last quarter for this quarter.

Uncluttering

I again leave several of these objectives here as reminders to my future self but set no goals for them because essentially all my papers, all but about ten of my books, my old Bible, and all my magazine and journal issues are still five hundred miles away.

  • Objective: Get rid of as much paper clutter as possible without throwing away any information that I will later wish I had kept.
  • Objective: Reduce my book collection to those I want to keep, and preferably a size I have shelf space for.
  • Objective: Get all notes I made in the margins of my Bible, which I recently replaced, into a more accessible format.
  • Objective: Ensure that my collection of magazine and journal issues doesn’t contain any I don’t affirmatively want to keep.

These other objectives, however, are I should be able to make progress on.

  • 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 the present.
    • Goal: Bring the backlog of items in my blog reader down its current count of nearly 50,400 (and rising) down to 50,000.
  • Objective: Get my collection of “links I want to do something about someday” is at least minimally organized to help that.
    • Goal: In my process of reconsidering and tagging links from my old (main) flat file of bookmarks, which stood at 135 as of this writing, finish that file off.

Development

Most of my software-development efforts need to go towards my training program, but there are a few items I hope to get to in the near future, provided my eventual employer does not claim ownership of any code I produce while working there.

  • Goal: Get my \LaTeX package for Scottish Country Dance ball programs, and the more-user-friendly editing program, to a state I consider sufficiently complete (mostly resolving all of the issues listed here and here, but also improving code quality and writing documentation)
  • Goal: For the e-commerce project I’ve decided to undertake, implement the first three “features” in the task tracker.
  • Goal: For the “task monger” project I’m undertaking (primarily for my own use, so I don’t have to fiddle with rearranging lines in a spreadsheet in future months!), implement the basic features in the command-line/pipe interface.

Poetry Book

These tasks relate to my second poetry collection, Dreams and Prayers: Verses from a Wandering Mind, which has been in the works for a few years now.

  • Objective: Have Dreams and Prayers ready for publication.
    • Goal: Design a satisfactory cover. (I won’t invalidate this if, on advice of more graphic-design-inclined friends, I decide to make changes later.)
    • Goal: Write all necessary prose sections for Dreams and Prayers.

Writing and Blogging

  • Objective: Either finish or discard all “essay ideas,” fragmentary poems, and the like that are cluttering up my files.
    • Goal: Finish the second entry in my planned series on \LaTeX, on using it for poetry.
    • Goal: In my series of blank-verse Psalm settings, get through at least Psalm 20 (The last one I’ve finished as of this writing is still Psalm 17.)
    • Goal: Post, or schedule, at least three posts in my “Hymns” series.
    • Goal: Write (in content intended for this blog) a review of at least one “recently” read book.
  • Objective: Maintain my “presence” on this blog.
    • Goal: Write at least two “miscellaneous” blog posts, other than goal-checking and the “Hymns” series.

Shine Cycle

  • Objective: Finish a presentable draft of The Invasion.
    • Goal: Get at least eight scenes into my new draft of The Invasion.
  • Objective: Have a biography, history, description, and “character logline” or “motivation summary” for every named character.
  • Objective: Create sufficiently-complete, sufficiently-detailed, maps of the worlds and areas with which the Shine Cycle is concerned.
  • Objective: Develop each race and culture that the Shine Cycle is concerned with sufficiently to portray it distinctly and excite potential readers’ interest.

Blogging

  • Objective: Regularly post substantive Shine Cycle-related content here, as an incentive to continued progress and to attract interested future readers.
  • Objective: Create blog posts using “worldbuilding” material created using the various “systems” and question sets.

Life and Miscellaneous

  • Objective: Meet the obligations of the training program and whatever employment I am bound to thereafter.
  • Objective: Keep up with what I have promised, or am otherwise morally bound, to write. (“Be prompt in keeping up with correspondence.”)
    • Goal: In my critique pass through Peter’s Angel, get through Page 270. (As of this writing, I’m on page 230.)
    • Goal: Respond to each letter or email that needs a response within two weeks.
    • Goal: Write keeping-in-touch emails to my short list of particular correspondents on their birthdays and anniversaries and the most important holidays. In addition to two such friends with dates on which to remember them already past, there are five yet to come this quarter.
  • Objective: Revive my 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: (Re)read at least through the first three quarters of each of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
  • Objective: Keep up with my goals.
    • Goal: At the end of the quarter, assess my performance in light of these goals and set new ones for the fourth quarter.

And, as I said three months ago, I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

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