Groundhog Day Resolutions - May 2020

April wasn't a complete disaster, but goal-wise it has been the worst month of the year for me.

April's Primary Goals

1. Make some art

I originally planned to create one or two sketches, but inspiration did not strike. It's been a long time since I drew anything, and I'm still hesitant to try again. I find it frustrating that the art in my head never matches what ends up on the paper.

2. Read something

I re-read "Personal Development for Smart People". It's still worth a read, although I would have liked some more practical tips.

3. Release Bee Button

Total failure here. I got things ready for release and then promptly ignored the project to do other stuff. Right now it's 80% complete, which means there's another 80% to go.

Primary Goals for May

1. Read another book

I bought "Mastering Software Technique: Conscious Practice for Writing Software" but haven't got around to reading it yet.

2. Make some art

For real this time.

3. Release the initial version of The Book

My original plan was to release everything last week, but the more I read through the book the more I disliked it. I know trying to get things perfect before release is a terrible idea, but I insist on doing it anyway.

My new plan is to release a chapter in the next week or so. After that I'll release updates at least twice a month. I'll be Beeminding the release process for good measure.

4. Run more

I ran over 100 miles in February. My total for April was less than 25% of that.

Local parks are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, so I'm limited to running laps around my street. It works in small doses, but running 4 times a week around the same 600 yards of scenery gets old fast.

It looks like restrictions will be lifting in my area this month, so for May I'd like to get back to running more often. I don't particularly enjoy running, but it's good exercise and it gets me outside and away from the computer screen.

Writing PHP with Emacs - The Book

One of my goals for 2019 was to write a small book. That book now has a name: "Writing PHP with Emacs".

Book Cover for "Writing PHP with Emacs"

Emacs has been my primary editor for over a decade. I've used it to build all kinds of projects, and the majority of my work involves building or maintaining PHP applications. Over the years I've learned a lot about tuning Emacs into an editor that works for me. This book contains that knowledge (the useful parts anyway).

The first version will be released via Leanpub on April 30th, 2020. All updates will be free of charge after the initial purchase.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - April 2020

Things have certainly changed a lot since March's GHD post.

March's Primary Goals

1. Run a marathon

The race was canceled the Thursday beforehand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I was disappointed to hear the news, but given how quickly things have escalated it was for the best.

I decided to run the race solo seeing as I was already trained and tapered. I finished in just under 5:40. Not the time I was aiming for, but I'll take it for a first attempt.

2. Research zettelkasten products

I've been using zetteldeft for the last week with some success. I'm still not 100% sold on this setup and I'd like to evaluate some other products in more detail. But for now it works.

3. Set up detail pages for my minor goals

All minor goals now have detail pages, unless they're too small to really need one.

4. Start a bodyweight exercise routine

I've been using bodyweight exercises for the last two weeks. It's been a couple of months since I last had a routine, but I got back into the groove fairly easily.

It makes a nice change from running.

Primary Goals for April

1. Make some art

I have two art-related goals this year. Now seems like as good a time to work on them.

2. Read something

I may not finish an entire book, but I'd like to make a start on my reading goal.

3. Release Bee Button

It's a small project that I'd like to get finished up and released.

Choosing goals for this month was tougher than usual given everything that's going on.

Zettelkasten tools

Since I started back on GTD I've been looking for a way to organize my notes, and zettelkasten seems like it might be a good fit. Zettelkasten is a method of taking and organizing notes in a linked way. has a great overview of the system and how it works (and can explain it far better than I can).

There are a lot of different tools available for implementing the system, and all are slightly different in their approach. Before I get too far into things I'd like to try out a couple of different ones to see what feels right.

Ideally I'd like it to use text files and integrate into Emacs, but during this research phase I'm happy to try other setups.

These are the tools that are currently on my list to try:

Emacs tools

A fairly recent tool that is still under development.
I currently use (and enjoy) deft for taking notes, so this might be the easiest upgrade path.
"An opinionated setup for managing large collections of interlinked org files."
"Org-mode wiki + concept-mapping"
A cross between deft and the notmuch email client.

Other tools

Looks really slick, but is Mac/iPhone only. If I used Things for GTD I would probably love this.
Open source and uses Markdown to store notes.
The Archive
Mac only, but uses plaintext for storing notes.
Roam Research
An online app that is currently in beta.
Open source and can be set up either as a web app or desktop app.
A work-in-progress system built for use on the command line.

I could probably list a dozen different wiki's as well. I've used MediaWiki and LionWiki with some success, but I'd prefer to use a dedicated system if I go the online route.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - March 2020

Even with the extra day, February still felt far too short. Here's how my primary goals went:

February's Primary Goals

1. Create a system to track my bodyweight workouts

I'm sticking with text-based + Emacs for this one. It's not glamorous or exciting, but it works. I wrote a couple of small scripts to extract data so I can (eventually) make graphs to track my progress.

2. Get blitzmax-mode on Melpa

blitzmax-mode was submitted to Melpa on February 11th. There's a fairly hefty backlog of packages, but aside from some minor fixes it looks good to go.

Update: It was accepted into Melpa on March 8th.

3. Create a project plan for bee button

I've split the remaining tasks into a bunch of smaller milestones. I'd estimate it will take maybe 20 hours to finish.

4. Create detail pages for all my major goals

All major goals for 2020 now have detail pages.

Primary goals for March

1. Run a marathon

Training for this started back in November. I'm currently tapering before the actual race which is a nice change of pace. Right now I'm feeling a mix of nerves and excitement, although I'm looking forward to not having to run so much.

I've also been feeling unmotivated for my other goals, so I'm hoping that getting my first win of the year will give me a boost.

2. Research Zettelkasten products

So far I've found a few Emacs packages but haven't really used them properly. I'd like to try out a few different solutions before settling on anything.

3. Set up detail pages for my minor goals

I'd like to have detail pages set up for the most important ones.

4. Start a bodyweight exercise routine

Once the marathon is done and I've had some time to recover, I'd like to start working out every week.

I'm expecting a week of recovery time after the marathon, so I'm keeping things a little lighter this month.