Its been a year since I reduced my work schedule in order to pursue stuff I never get around to doing. Over the years I have been falling behind on just about everything – from house projects to learning about new technologies. When I first made the decision to reduce my weekly work commitments, I had a rough list of goals I wanted to achieve in my first year. So I thought I would take this opportunity to give myself a performance review in regards to how well I have spent my extra time away from work in pursuit of personal enlightenment.
Not too surprisingly, I didn’t make nearly the progress I had hoped to on my goals. A year ago, I would of stated I had three primary goals to achieve in my first year: Investigate/initiate robotics programming and other technologies, increase my writing, and focus on improving how I manage investments.
I didn’t make much progress on robotics, however I think I have a valid excuse. Right now there is no clear leader in what platform will be the leading platform in robotics. I am thinking Google will come out with the defacto standard, so I am holding off and delving into that until I see a more clear market leader. So I am altering that goal to focus on developing something for the ‘internet of things’ most likely delve into home automation. I just need to find something I want to automate.
I did not achieve my goal in increasing my writing. The more I think and research it, I realize the first thing I really need to establish is a writing regimen. I need to dedicate some time every week to focus on what I want to write. So my goal for my next year is to really build out a time ‘budget’ for writing, then build the rigor it takes to be a productive writer.
I did do pretty well in the investment goal area. Even though my stock picks are lagging the market this year (though I am blaming that on the poor performance of small stocks overall), I did do some work I feel good about in the area of asset allocation. I have become much more immersed in various investing categories, which is leading to reduced risk (hopefully). There is more to be done in this area, but I feel like I have met or exceeded my goal in this area.
So where else has all my spare time gone? As I sit here at my desk, I notice the piles of papers and todo items have shrunk considerably. I have taken care of personal and client projects that had been outstanding for many months, and enjoyed more work-free weekends. I also feel good about my level of fitness. Rather than spending my spare time browsing the refrigerator, I have actually increased my exercise and am probably eating better. I am confident I will continue to make strides in this area next year.
So now that I consider myself officially ‘decompressed’, I am hoping to make additional progress on the same goals as I had last year, and if a few more goals creep in that would be OK to.
As for a performance review grade, I give myself an ‘exceeds expectations’ grade. Maybe I am an easy grader – but even though I didn’t hit all my goals, I have kept productive, learned a lot about a lot of things, and have really enjoyed this last year.