2012 Lessons Learned

This year I was somewhat more deliberate in my personal goals than I had been in past years. I tried to consciously apply what I learned last year.

  • Lesson #1: Focus allows you to make outsized gains in the area you focus on.
  • Lesson #2: A goal centered around a purpose is easier to achieve.
  • Lesson #3: Be willing to change tactics quickly if they aren’t working.

As the end of the year approaches, I am starting my post-mortem to plan for next year — here’s what I learned.

Lesson #1: Remove friction

I very rarely updated this site in 2012. I finally decided to bite the bullet and get everything into WordPress so that I could update from any machine, not just the one I had RapidWeaver installed on. I immediately got a bunch of benefits (1) the site has a mobile theme (2) I can update from my phone or iPad using WordPress apps (3) dealing with images and other media is a lot easier and (4) publishing is automatic and fast. Since the migration, I have maintained about a weekly update schedule.

Lesson #2: Just ship

I have a bias towards shipping, but sometimes I forget to apply that to my personal projects. I didn’t make my goal of three new apps, but I did ship PaleoViz after deciding it was good enough.

Lesson #3: Live the dream

I drove a 1992 Honda Civic and was often asked what my next car was going to be. My reply was “I don’t have a dream car — the dream is no car”. Well, after an unfortunate incident with a Jeep Cherokee, I decided to let the Civic get totaled and started living my dream. It’s been five months, and I don’t see going back. Now, I commute with a fifteen minute bus ride or five mile run or bike on a bike path.

It makes it easier that I have access to my wife’s car, but I’ve mostly lived without that. I’ve looked at zipcar for occasional needs, but cabs are cheaper for the ad-hoc ride not covered by our bus system. I haven’t taken a cab yet, though. My typical response to not having a car at my disposal has been to simplify my life, so that I just don’t need one.

In 2010, I cut out cable and went to Apple TV. It was a lot cheaper, and I watched less and better TV. Like that change, I also have less expense, and I prefer the result. The rides back and forth are fifteen minutes and give me a chance to prepare for the work day on the way in and decompress on the way home. On warmer days, I get extra exercise.

Like last year, I hope to apply these more consciously.