Warning: Productivity Wankery Below
Resolutions are a pretty bad way to change things to be sure.
For me however, the start of the year has provided me with an ideal opportunity to sit down and re-group: Start re-thinking how I'm tackling the challenges ahead; Make some fresh starts and modest changes.
Here's a couple that are already paying off in my mind.
I'm starting to actively police my email subscriptions. Life on the internet means that without trying, you'll end up on 20 marketing lists and 10 newsletters every year.
Years back, I decided that rather than police them, judicious use of filters in Gmail would get them out of sight, out of mind.
It turns out, that this doesn't work terribly well for me: I feel the need to process the email eventually anyhow. As a result, I'm going through and hitting unsubscribe on every list that I would previously filter-away.
I'm tackling a huge project right now: My Master's thesis. If I'm brutally honest it got away from me between October and December of 2013. I have excuses, but essentially, I broke every organizational habit that had worked for me, and came into January looking at a mess of notes, sundry todo-lists, and a draft thesis peppered with notes and outlines.
To get back on track, I spent a large chunk of time on Monday regrouping. I've had a lot of success with Trello before, so I'm getting back on that wagon.
'Right Tool for the Right Job' — We all know it, but we all fail sometimes. The worst is when you become painfully aware you've been using the wrong tool at a point where switching is infeasible— in the middle of a project let's say.
I experienced this on my last project,where I discovered that my data analysis tools— custom built Python and Numpy scripts— were very painful to use and too slow to adapt to new questions.
To rectify this for my thesis, I'm putting aside my distaste for R's craziness (There's a guide to R which has as its abstract "If you are using R and you think you’re in hell, this is a map for you.") in order to leverage its power for data analysis, and dumping data into SQLite for management.
One benefit to this is that I get to use
ggplot2, which is phenomenal.