in Personal Management

Resolutions

For many, the beginning of a new year heralds an opportunity for improvement in our life through the creation of new year’s resolutions. Even though January 1 is an arbitrary date (and we are able to make change anytime we see fit), the roundness of a new year’s start brings about the will to initiate change for many. For me, I appreciate the start of a new year as a benchmark, a demarcation point between old and new, and I like to make resolutions of my own.

Of course, only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. I’m not immune from this failure, as I made several resolutions in 2013 that I was unable to keep. But this has been the exception, not the rule, and I have kept resolutions in the past.

So what are my resolutions this year?

Read more.

I’m committing to reading for an hour a day on subjects varied from technical to fiction. I strongly believe that I can improve my life and my effectiveness as an employee and a technologist by reading, studying and learning. Though my book collection has grown over the years through various purchases, gifts and loans, I have not kept pace with the growth, and so I have approximately 40 books to read in the queue. I hope to make that number smaller in 2018.

Write more.

I am, first and foremost, a writer. I probably write thousands of words per day, between emails, chat messages and notes in Evernote. But the kind of writing that I am committing to is writing like this – long form, to educate, to share, to inform. And so I am committing myself to writing for an hour each day.

An hour a day is actually a significant commitment. Writing this blog post to this point (296 words) took less than 15 minutes; writing 1,000 words can take approximately a half hour to 45 minutes. Thus I am committing to going above and beyond what most people commit to writing (500 – 1,000 words a day) and instead setting a time restriction on my writing. Plus, writing is more than word counts – you’re writing when you edit, or when you refactor, or when you rewrite. Writing is about more than just the word count you produce.

Why commit to writing every single day? Because when you do something every single day you get better at it. Plus, with 365 days in the year, how much writing could I possibly produce? Some of it will be trash, but others of it will be useful, to me or to others, as reference, entertainment, or knowledge. Averaging 1,000 words a day means writing 365,000 words – 3 and 1/2 novels.

So what I do I plan to do with this writing?

Write another book.

I haven’t settled on a topic, but I want to take the time to write another book. It’s been several years now since I published Practical Design Patterns in PHP, and I really need to take an opportunity to continue writing and sharing knowledge with the PHP community at large.

I expect that the time it will take me to write and edit a book puts it in line for a summer launch, and I expect to choose a topic in the next few weeks (suggestions appreciated!).

What are your new year’s resolutions?

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