2009 New Year’s Day!

January 1st, 2009

Although it is a strictly arbitrary and totally cultural concept, New Year’s Day is deeply ingrained in our (specifically, US) society and one that has at least some mental impact on most people.

A time for starting over, of new possibilities, and an opportunity to evaluate one’s current situation and determine how to improve it going forward, it’s a unique opportunity.

I have a number if improvements in mind for myself. I also have a number in mind for those around me. I could expound at great length on ways just about everybody I know could do things better. Strangely, very few exhibit an aura of receptivity when I do so… In light if such attitudes, I will do my best to focus my energies on self improvements.

One of which, the most notable to readers of this website (all four of them- Hi, Dad!) will (hopefully) be the implementation of my perennial decree to actually write in a timely manner. I think part of that will b
e made easier by what will probably turn out to be the most important, beneficial, and powerful change I intend to make.

For me, 2009 will be ‘The Year of Time and Task Management’. This is one of my biggest problems and if I can get it licked, or at least improve my approach to planning what to do when (and following through with the plan), I’m confident I’ll find myself getting over some humps that have been slow going.

Actually, I guess I’ll amplify that a bit. 2009 will be ‘The Year of Time, Task, and budget Management’. It’s reather embarrassing to admit that for a person like me, with an analytical, technical, engineering-approach mindset my attitudes and behavior toward money is pathetically reactive and sloppy. I am even more confident that in this area a methodical, planned approach applied rigorously will yield amazing results. Of course, the danger in that area for me (the way my mind works) is to go so far that I have every bite of food calculated to the penny so that I can know, say, “I just had a snack- a glass of Coke and a bag of potato chips which cost 97¢ and has depleted our weekly provisions by .32% but that’s right on schedule for today and I can do that once more before I go to bed”.

My challenge in this area will be finding the right balance that gets the results we need without driving my family (or me) insane. I can get very “these aren’t K-Mart underwear” when I get into the implementation phase of a new plan. I have already created a set of linked spreadsheets to account for all budgetary items for this month and the next. I also am working figuring out how to incorporate mind maps into the budgetary system– or more specifically FreeMind mind maps since to me mind mapping == using FreeMind. I have never got much out of mind mapping on paper and have never found another mind mapping program that I liked (which I could afford).

In mentioning FreeMind, I’ll also note that using it is one of the ways I am going to improve not only budgetary endeavors, but especially but in time/task planning. I have already been using it for that purpose at work for a year or two now with good success. Now I’m going to incorporate it fully into planning my activities in all areas of my life. They say, and I agree, that there is great value in simply writing something down in a list to help you order it in your mind and remember it. I am going take that wisdom and apply it computerically since I am more of a typing guy than a writing down, guy. One of the reasons I love using FreeMind so much is that it makes creating complicated, ordered lists and then rearranging, removing, or adding items in the list very easy. So another area– on the implementation level, at least– where I am going to improve myself is in increasing my use of FreeMind both in extent and sophistication.

NOTE: I guess I’m doing pretty good on my first day of 2009 here at r-l-w.net– I just checked the text statistics for this document and I’ve written over 700 words (including this note) in about half an hour! I also guess that, though I don’t necessarily think of myself as ‘a geek’ I probably qualify strongly in the minds of most folks since not only am I talking about one of my main New Year’s resolutions as instead of ‘eating less’ or ‘excersizing more’ to be increasing my use of a program that helps me do something most people have never heard of and barely grasp when they do, but I am judging my success at creating this website in characters-per-second.

I have a number of other things knocking around in my head (which is safe because there is nothing for them to bump into) which you’ll probably be bored by in following days here, but right now I am going to demonstrate that my attitude and behaviors are changing by terminating this transmission to move on to the next phase of this morning’s activities- which are all planned out in a mind map, of course– five levels deep, in fact!

This afternoon we’re going to Edwardsville, IL (about a 20 minute drive) where the closest Borders bookstore is located– where the boys and I all have gift cards from different gift events birthday, xmas, etc. that we need to spend before they start shrinking and Ruth has a good email club coupon to use. After that we’ll have an inexpensive treat somewhere along the lines of Culver’s or Wendy’s which actually is a treat around here since almost all of the Wendy’s around here closed and only a few have reopened in our area. After that, if all goes well, we might even take in a movie at the theater where we have discount club cards.

So there, you go- Roger’s New Year’s Day 2009. A good day planned– a good year planned. All that’s is to make it so…