The new year seems to come quicker every time and this year came so fast it caught me a little by surprise. Anyway, last year I set myself these 8 broad goals (bold is completed, italics started but not complete, plain is not started):
- Write more
- Beat Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Go full speed on a racehorse
- Make something as an April fools day joke
- Learn to meditate
- Learn to make jam
- Start writing a cookbook
- Travel some more
The plan had been to review these 8 goals every quarter but that never materialised. Why? Well time was definitely a big part of it. I started a PhD in April and that’s been eating up far more time than I expected. But more than that my approach may have just been fundamentally flawed.
I think the big mistake I’ve made in the past is in writing these lists as something to measure myself against later. I started putting out these lists online to bind myself to them in the hope it would provide some external motivation. Yet more often than not the things I’m most proud of at the end of the year were never even on my radar at the start.
At the same time I’ve been thinking about what I want to put into this site and what I want to get out of it. Now as a PhD student I don’t have much time, or money, or even energy at the end of most days - but I am accruing a lot of specialised knowledge. There is a lot I want to do, a lot I want to learn and, I believe, a lot I can teach.
What I want to do is to trade value for value. I will produce practical introductions to various technical topics that I have an excellent understanding of. I’ll also launch a ‘project’ page that lists projects I’d like help on, skills I’d like to learn, etc. The key here will be to attract a recurring audience and to work to direct them towards helping. The nice part about this is it incentivises good content, if I wrote a post that doesn’t add any value to someones life then they have no reason to want to help me in return.
At the time of writing the only ‘project’ I have running is a personal one and it’s not one that people can easily help with but I have hope that with some experimentation I can find an approach that benefits everyone.