New Year’s Resolutions

For the past few days I’ve found myself frazzled. My energies have soared and dipped and overall I’ve felt more restless than I have since I went to Coimbatore. In Coimbatore, I’d given up control. I was off the grid for a month and there wasn’t much to be done about it, except perhaps think of what to do when I got back on the grid.

I spent most of my time reading about history and politics of India, mostly focusing on the Freedom movement and some of its main orchestrators: Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. It was fascinating to say the least and I found myself hungering for more detail in several areas – primarily in the life of Vallabhbhai Patel, who I feel hasn’t been covered in much detail in most books on the topic. I’d like to research him some more. I digress as ever.

Now, back on the grid, I’ve got some immediate tasks to finish, but no real long term plan, which means that I work in bursts. When something comes to the fore of my mind, I jump at it. I juggle a few tasks, but again they’re all immediate, i.e. to be completed in a few days, or a week or two at best.

Looking back to my time at Microsoft, a good friend and mentor of mine, Patrick Beeharry once elaborated on the commitment writing exercise we undertook at the start of the fiscal. In actual practice, I rarely focused on it. Setting up SMART or SMARTER targets for the year one can ensure that the big rocks are in there. However, defining the big rocks remains a challenge. What’s important? What’s relevant? These are all deeply personal questions which, at first glace, appear unexplored.

Stephen Covey’s approach to it is to begin with the end in mind. In this case, it means to begin with death in mind and look backwards over what one would want to have left behind. And as he puts it, one rarely wishes that they’d spent more time at the office. What started as a simple idea has now exploded into something of an existential proportion. And here I feel I must take into mind Voltaire’s admonishment:  the perfect is the enemy of the good. In this case it means: let’s get started with a good idea and then perfect it as we go, otherwise, time flies while we wait for the perfect to come along.

So, what am I aiming for (in no particular order):

  • Wedding in India (big goal!)
  • More tech-geeky self-education
  • Better health
  • An even better relationship with Sarah
  • Connecting with family and friends
  • Community Service
  • Building a better life in Delhi

Ok, so these are the big buckets that I want to work on – the big rocks. I’ll formulate them better now!

  • Have a wonderful wedding in India (big goal!)
  • Educate myself in technical matters (specific targets to be outlined including writing!)
  • Become healthier: eat better, exercise regularly and sleep well
  • Develop an even better relationship with Sarah
  • Connect with family and friends
  • Serve the community in a fitting capacity
  • Build a better life in Delhi (home, family, friends,  and activities)

And as at Microsoft, these big commitments have specific objectives which I need to develop and these need to be SMART(ER). I had a conversation with Mr. Hassan El Mosallamy, Marketing Manager at Microsoft about how to work. He told me that I must think about my work before I get down to it. I think I understand what he meant better now. In some ways, it’s what programmers do; we think about the problem in depth and analyze what needs to be done, then break it down into manageable chunks or deliverables.

So today, I’ll get started on this plan, perhaps using Freeplane and Wikidpad, to get the ideas mapped out. It’s not enough to think things through, I find that writing and speaking it out fleshes the idea and pinpoints the areas that need work. And of course, as with SMART(ER) goals, I need to revisit them often so I may stay on track and ensure that I deliver on them. So, a post is due in December 2012/Jan 2013 where I evaluate how I’ve performed. Of course, any updates to the resolutions need to be noted along the way. Hmm… I’m thinking if I should have a resolutions tab. Must think on it. Now that’s a post. Should I have a resolution tab? And a poll too!

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