Summary of the first quarter of 2015

Motivated kid

2014 wasn’t a bad year. I could say it was a reasonably ok year for me in some aspects, althought I didn’t make, by any means, as much progress as I wanted in many of my side projects. To say that I got a bit stagnated would be in fact to say too much, though, because while I didn’t progress as much as wanted in some things, I did progress on other things not initially planned.

That raised for me an obvious thing (or two) to address as soon as possible: planning and focus. Planning, so that I have a clear path to follow in order to achieve what I want to achieve, and by the time I want to get it done. Focus, so that I can successfully push out of my plate anything that is not related to the things I want to do or the things I want to learn. Or, seeing it from a different perspective, so that I can avoid one of the endemic ills most software developers out there suffer: (not) finishing things.  While I don’t consider myself a non-finisher, I truly believe I can become a much better finisher.

A better route for 2015

While I didn’t set very specific targets at the beginning of the year, I was pretty sure about some things I wanted to start doing more, and about some general goals that had been on my list for quite some time:

  • Make reading a habit again: Not that I ever stopped doing it, but 2014 -except final months-  and even part of 2013 were not good examples of the amount of time I’d like to spend reading (technical and non-technical literature), and I was getting uncomfortable about it.
  • Blogging: Reasons explained here.
  • Horizontal expansion: Nope, I’m not talking about crashing on bed for most part of the day. I’m talking about expanding my horizons as a software developer, and learn to write in new languages and platforms.
  • Vertical expansion: At the end of the day I’m a Drupal developer, and I consider myself a good one. Yet there’s so much stuff I need to improve on, and so much stuff to learn, both Drupal-wise, and Web Dev-wise…
  • Side projects: While I’ve had some ideas translated into code, and contributed to the Drupal community, I’ve found myself too hesitant at times about the side projects I want to work on (Drupal and non-Drupal). Changing this was a goal for this year.
  • Getting better at time management: This relates to every other aspect mentioned above, since it’s essential to make all that possible, while still allowing me to have a life out of the cave.

Reaching goals and a better plan for 2nd quarter of 2015

So how am I doing so far?

  • Make reading a habit again: Don’t want to make this a review of every book I’ve read on the first quarter of 2015, so I’ll just list what I’ve read so far here:
  • Blogging: It took a couple months to get on it, but it’s happening. Mission accomplished.
  • Horizontal expansion: I’m currently finishing an Android course, which will translate into building at least one application that I can use for myself, and hopefully, another one that I can publish on Google’s Play Store. I even made it back to C#, as I had the chance (in my daily job) to spend a couple of days writing a desktop application to automate some tasks related to data migrations into Drupal (from MS SQL Server databases). Swift programming, and more in-depth programming in Symphony 2 is in the pipeline too.
  • Vertical growth: Still need to take action on this, which is going to be among the priorities for the 2nd quarter of 2015.
  • Side projects: Slowly but surely happening, but need to focus more on this for the next quarter.
  • Getting better at time management: Making it, but still something I can improve on.

Long story short: Progress is certainly happening in many areas, but for the second quarter of 2015, and the rest of the year, planning needs to be better. For the first quarter, it was focused on general aspects of the software development career. Now it’s time to set more precise, specific goals, while keeping the work up with the general ones.

Some times it’s important to stop, look at what you’ve achieved, see how much you’ve progressed towards your objectives, and adapt your plan as needed. That’s why I wanted to write this post: it’s not until you stop to think about things, that you realise of all the progress done. Just seeing a summary of that progress, is often a good push to keep working towards the “big picture”.

How are you planning your year?  Are you even planning your year?

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