2017 | Progress Report | February–May

We're nearly halfway through 2017. By now, most people's new year's resolutions have completely faded from their lives, or at least have been integrated in less enthusiastic ways. I'm not completely different. This is a progress report reflecting on how my new year's resolutions are going, and what I'm going to do to try and increase my dedication to them in the months to come.

My resolutions are as follows:

🚂 Keep up my momentum with work
🎨 Be more creative
📝 Be more reflective
🎮 Keep a record of all the games I play
🏆 Finish things (or be rid of them)
🏃 Exercise more
👂 Communicate better (and listen more)

I've discussed previously that they're deliberately vague. It was important to me that I had room for these resolutions to grow and evolve as the year went on. In some cases, this is working quite well. In others, not so much.


🚂 Keep up my momentum with work

I have definitely kept up the momentum here. At times, perhaps too much. I've previously talked about needing to prioritise relaxation as well as work, so that my work can be more productive and so that I don't burn out. This semester has been really busy and it's taken it out of me. Between 13 hour work days on Tuesdays, followed by classes to teach on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I've been too tired to work on non-teaching (and yet have so much non-teaching to do).

I've made some smarter decisions recently about my priorities. I'm trying to focus on my doctorate next semester so that I can get that submitted and off my mind (at least until I receive examiner feedback). This means limiting my regular work commitments to the doctorate, teaching and marking, writing for Hyper online (which is a job I picked up in April), and working on my projects / organisations like Queerly Represent Me, Horned Llama / other game development, and Experience Play. Most of these projects have been put on the backburner, with some tough choices being made about what I need to prioritise.

I have two deadlines to get past before that (DiGRA in early July and the Writing and Games TEXT special edition at the end of July) plus a few other, smaller commitments (like editorial duties for TEXT and also for USCJAB), but this feels like a much more manageable workload than what I was taking on earlier in the year.

Fingers crossed that in my Year in Review reflection at the end of 2017, I'll have good news regarding my doctorate.


🎨 Be more creative

Alright, this has been neglected somewhat as semester pressed on, but I'm doing my best to keep it going. My Wreck this Journal has been added to occasionally, but not with the enthusiasm that I had at the beginning of the year. I need to get back into it.

I've made a couple of new, small, creative games / animations and put them on itch.io (including the aquarium that was a work-in-progress last time I reflected). I've also been working on making a custom controller once a week on Thursday afternoons, which has been a nice opportunity to learn new skills. I've been soldering, drilling things, modelling stuff, 3d-printing, and otherwise just learning and creating.


📝 Be more reflective

I've been really struggling with this one. By the time I get out of bed in the morning, I typically have somewhere to be. By the time I'm going to bed, I just want to sleep. Factoring in time to reflect through meditation or through journalling just hasn't been consistent. I think it's been actual months since I wrote anything in my reflections journal. I don't think it's helping that a number of questions in that journal are too specific about when they need to be completed—I picked it up a moment ago, but cannot complete today's page yet because it's a reflection about today specifically, not life generally.

I guess the question here has to be: what am I reflecting for? Am I trying to reflect daily for some particular reason? Because in some ways, I have been reflecting, just not through the methods I put aside for myself at the beginning of the year. For example, I have been tweeting openly and honestly this year about my personal and professional troubles. I've been tweeting my to-do lists (with pins and checkmarks, as well as other symbols, to indicate successes and not-quite-successes). I've also been tweeting threads about many personal topics, and trying to make my social media bubble seem a little less idealistic this year. These sorts of reflections come naturally to me and are achieving something, so is there any point being upset with myself that the specific types of reflections that I intended to use aren't working?

I guess I need to reflect on this resolution more.


🎮 Keep a record of all the games I play

This one has been going quite well! I have been inputting all the titles so I don't forget any, and then, when I have time, I've been going back through and adding the details about each game (because that's the time consuming bit). I'm currently up to 71 games for the year, plus two new mobile games that I haven't added yet.


🏆 Finish things (or be rid of them)

This one has been going quite well too. I have done a lot of cleaning and decluttering in response to it, getting rid of half-finished things or things I have kept because I thought I might need them some time. The spare room looks tidier now than it has possibly since I moved into this unit several years ago.

Despite doing a lot of tidying in my physical space, I think my digital space needs a declutter again. There are a lot of unfinished projects and pieces of writing lurking around that I need to investigate now that my life has drastically shifted from the types of work I was completing back then. I also really want to do things like reorganise my iTunes library now that my music is being accessed via Bluetooth by my car—it's making me realise that I always half-finished the organisation process but never got anywhere with it. That's a huge job.

There are also a lot of books I need to finish reading, and—the crowning glory—this doctorate that is on the home stretch.


🏃 Exercise more

This has been on and off, but more recently, I've been failing at this one. I started the year with regular once- or twice-a-week jogs with Dakoda and my dad, but they faded away once semester started because Dakoda was teaching three nights a week, and we had our regular ThursJam on Thursday nights, leaving on Wednesday nights free.

Instead of jogging, we decided to fill this Wednesday night with Quidditch. Quidditch was awesome fun for the first few weeks we had a chance to play, but a combination of factors (including how ridiculously tired I've been after my 13 hour Tuesday + teaching commitments Wednesday) have made it hard for me to motivate myself on that particular night to do anything, let alone run around (and speak to more people—ugh, hard).

This semester we also played volleyball every Monday lunchtime with a staff team, which wasn't hugely strenuous, but was reasonably fun. I'm hoping that staff netball will be on the cards again next semester, and we'll see how Quidditch goes in relation to our schedules. Not sure if it'll work out, unfortunately.

I need to try doing some more things myself. I've been trying to make better body choices—parking the car further away, using the stairs, etc—but more conscious attempts to go on walks or use the stationary bike in the house would help. Also, other exercise—adjacent health—related tasks need to be prioritised, like drinking more water.

I also really miss having a FitBit or some other exercise tracker. It was nice to have something keeping on top of my steps, heart rate, and sleep cycles. If JawBone and FitBit trackers didn't break constantly, I'd buy another one. I've considered an Apple Watch, but they're super expensive and it's hard to justify that expense for something that I intend to wear every day and while doing physical activity—I don't want to break or damage something that costs so much.

I'll revisit the metrics that I took in January soon. I want to get back into more regular physical activity first.


👂 Communicate better (and listen more)

I've been trying. I don't know if I've been succeeding. To be honest, I never really know if I'm succeeding. But I'm doing my best and feel like I'm getting better at noticing when I've been shit at communicating and listening, even if I don't always notice ahead of time. This one is probably the most important goal on this list, and it's also the hardest, but I'll keep doing my best.


Overall, despite some of my new year's resolutions falling over a little, I haven't completely neglected any of them. Seeing the ways that they have been evolving throughout the year is comforting for me—prior to writing this reflection, I did feel like a bit of a failure in regards to some of these, but actually I have been succeeding! Sometimes we just need to change our understanding of what 'success' looks like.


Published
May 2017