March Machinations? A New Monthly Review!

Pookabear, machinating

What went well this month

March was an odd month this year, it just kind of flew by. Overall, it was productive for me, not a lot skip days on my challenges. I think because of the colder than usual weather I just got into a daily regime.

At the beginning of the month I had a slip on some ice that left me limping for a week or so, and we had a pretty bad storm for a couple of days as well. I had an excellent cooking month, making a few quality suppers, and a couple of experiments which turned out well. Towards the end of the month I started getting the traditional spring contract inquiries, which I will be following up on. I discovered some excellent music, primarily a Swedish quintet named “Beseech”, who would be the soundtrack for the month. I did a fair amount of writing, social media interaction, and answered my first question on Quora. Going through my goal list, I finished up a lot of stuff, but overall the month was too-routine.

If I had to characterize the month in six words it would be “Too much input, not enough output”.

March Goals

✔️ Start one new challenge

I started one new daily challenge, and two new weekly challenges. I didn’t complete any challenges this month, as the ones I am working on are longer-term. One major change I made this month was to create weekly challenges — these are longer-term activities or habits I want to track like 10,000 step days and a commitment to one epicurean meal a week.

✔️ Read two books

I overachieved for another month with three books finished. This month was a variety with more Orwell, Coming Up for Air, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

✔️ Think of one new challenge ideas

I recorded one new challenge idea, working through Todoist tutorials, but I’m not sure I’m going to work on this anytime soon.

✔️ Daily journal writing

Journal writing was again a big win with an entry a day this month.

✔️ Edit at least one journal post

This one is a completion, but I found out my editing skills are a bit lacking. More effort required.

✔️ Create a non-daily challenge worksheet in my LifeLog

I created a sheet and system for weekly challenges.

✔️ One up-scale cooking night

I prepared another successful surf & turf meal this month!

✔️ Start preparing a “What I learned this Year” (WILTY) quarterly post

I have done a fair amount of work on this mini-project and will be pushing it out in the next week.

Overall, March was a very successful month for getting my listed things done!

March’s Foci

Journal Writing Summary:

I am at 147 consecutive days of writing as of the end of the month. The daily low word count was 228, the high 1625. I had five sessions of over 1000 words, but many of these were editing rather than original writing. My daily word average has hit the grind stage, increasing from 509.6 to 547.7 words-per-day, an overall gain of about 38 words per day. Not too bad considering that it is an overall average, but its going to take a while to get to my goal of 750. This month I created statistics tracking for tags, and found that I have created 60 unique tags (which I am trying to keep to a minimum), with an average of 1.52 tags per post. My most common tag is self-examination with 21 posts, which is why I started writing to begin with.

Books Read:

Coming up for Air, George Orwell, 4/5 on GoodReads

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 4/5 on GoodReads

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, 3/5 on GoodReads

Coming up for Air was an easy read. It was written in 1938, just before the war, and has an interesting embedded sub-story about people knowing that the war was inevitable. Fahrenheit 451 is an interesting view of the future. It fits in well with Brave New World and 1984. The copy that I read had supplementary articles about how the book was written, and some of the impact it had on society at the time of its release. The story length and book name went through many interesting iterations before it finally was published. Meditations was a grind for me to read. I found it unstructured and a bit too preachy. As a classic, it did have some gems of insight, but I found too few of them to keep my interest. I enjoyed some of the history as well, but overall, I was disappointed.

LifeLog Spreadsheet:

I did considerable work to this document over the month. As noted previously, I created a weekly challenge log which I created in conjunction with my week-over-week Exist data. I have also moved from a day-based paradigm for daily challenges to allow more than one of entry per day, with notes. I was finding some gaps when recording GitHub descriptions, and I will probably use this format on all future challenges. I will continue to track skipped days, as they are used to calculate the challenge end date and other statistics.

Additionally, I have added a statistic or two to each page, and did a complete overhaul to the worksheet where I track my reading plan. I have reduced the time to enter data, and increased the value of the information on each page. I’m pleased with all the modifications this month.

Update on March’s Focus Habit

The best I can say is that the March focus on my development project was unremarkable. There were some positives — I did some design and fiction writing, setup syntax templates, and did selected technical research and design. On the middling side, I spent a fair amount of time learning some different technologies. However, for negatives, I lost some focus, didn’t put as much time in as I wanted, and my creativity waned near the end of the month.

Goals for April

Start one new challenge

Read two books

Think of two new challenge ideas

Daily journal writing

Edit at least one journal post

One up-scale cooking night

Post “What I learned this Year” (WILTY) quarterly post

Answer one Quora question a week

Focus Habit for April

Similar to last month, I am going to continue to work on my development project, but the focus this month will be on getting a local web prototype, or proof-of-concept built using the knowledge I gained last month. I learn by doing. I’m not expecting anything overwhelming, but if I don’t put the skills to work, I will lose them.

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