New Year's Resolutions 2016

I’ve heard that as you get older, time seems to fly by more quickly. I’ve certainly found that to be true recently, as 2015 seems to have vanished quite quickly. I’m writing this while sitting on my sofa, with a bowl of fruit and a cup of tea, my Christmas tree still lit up, reflecting on the past year and easing into my day. Before I get too comfy or distracted, here’s my annual post on my resolutions for the new year and how I fared in my resolutions for last year!

What happened in 2015?

Last year I wrote about aiming to find a balance between billable and non-billable time. In some respects, I did well there, and in others, not so well. The early part of 2015 was a little slow for me work wise, and my time was divided between a complete basement renovation and working on setting up my Azure environment. Truth be told, I worked more on my basement than I should have, perhaps focusing on finding new clients or projects might have been a better plan!  I found out the hard way how quickly your bank account drops when you combine not working much and a major renovation! The funny part is the flip side, when you are working solid on a project, you’re too tired to work on renovations so the money stays in the bank longer. Funny how that works. The basement isn’t complete yet but I’ve moved my office down there and it’s about 85% done. Progress!

The second half of 2015 has been a bit of a blur. I started on a new client project in my hometown and what started out as a commitment of 3 days a week on average quickly turned into nearly full time towards the end of this year. This project has been a lot of hard work and very enjoyable, but with it being so time-intensive, when it’s done I will definitely need some down time to unwind and start looking for the next set of clients or projects to work on. And perhaps finish the basement!

One of my biggest accomplishments this past year was sitting in on one of the first exam writing sessions for the Association of Dynamics Professionals. I joined the organization as a professional member (it turned out I was the first one!) and towards the latter half of this year, I’ve been sitting in on conference calls to get more involved in the organization behind the scenes. More of that to come in 2016…

Here are the resolutions for last year and how I did:

  1. Blog more

I wrote 30 blog posts this year which was a far cry better than previous years. Writing about my Azure experiences helped me out, as did the series of blogs on reImagine 2015 in Fargo. It’s easier for me to write a series of articles on a subject than one-off experiences. I have lots of subjects for future articles in my head, but it’s a matter of picking one or two and focusing on them throughout the year. I think if I could keep up with the that volume of blogging each year, I would be pleased.

  1. Schedule non billable business time

Other than working on my Azure environment, I didn’t do much here. Even the Azure stuff was a little ad-hoc, mostly evening or weekend work. My vision was to try to arrange my schedule such that I actually blocked off time in my calendar each week or month for non-billable activities. I didn’t do any of that. I’ve found when I am not busy, and know I have “empty” time, I procrastinate and enjoy the downtime; when I’m busy, I don’t want to take the time off when I can be billable, since you never know where your work will come from or end.

  1. Read more

I read through Lee Child’s series to the most recent Jack Reacher book (at the time, it was “Personal”) and had to find another series to binge-read. I moved on to Jo Nesbo and my favourite drunk detective, Harry Hole. I’ve now caught up to his most recent book. Damn! Now I have to find another series to start. I see there is a new Lee Child Jack Reacher book so I will start there and then do some searching. I read exactly one book a month last year but did little business reading. I have a pile of magazines to catch up on (business, personal finance, etc.), and that is part of this year’s plan.

What’s up for 2016?

Here are my resolutions for 2016, in no particular order:

  1. Get more involved in the Association of Dynamics Professionals

I’ve already started but I need to be more regular and active in helping writing exam questions. That will force me to schedule time for this task, as they would like us to write a question per week each! That brings me to resolution #2…

  1. Plan my non-billable time & activities

If I want to be more involved in the association, and want to do more work on my own demo and test environments and things, I have to plan what I want to tackle and schedule small amounts of time each week or month on those activities. When I am not working, I have to commit to it, and not be lured into finishing various incomplete renovations!

  1. Continue to read more

As I mentioned above, I not only have a pile of magazines I’d like to get through, I’d like to simply keep reading for pleasure or business. It’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day.

  1. Keep up the blogging volume

Blogging is always a resolution of mine. It’s something I enjoy and would like to keep up a certain volume at, to keep up with the community to a certain extent and to give back as I have learned so much from reading others’ contributions. Blogging takes time, which falls under #2 above. This post, which didn’t take a lot of research or testing, still has taken me nearly an hour to write. Technical posts often take 2-3 hours overall, as you find something to write about, gather information and test or document things to get the information correct and then actually write and edit it!  30 articles = 60-90 hours of time. Doesn’t seem like much but it is hard to find that time some months!

That’s it for this year. I’ve learned to keep the goals pretty simple so I have a chance at achieving them!

Here a toast to 2015 and looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings! Happy new year!

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