2020H1 Personal OKRs

I’ve been tinkering with OKRs since before I joined Google, and there are aspects of it that I really like.  I’ve tried a few personal ones over 2019 but they have not been successfully tracked and/or completed.  I’m going to do this round publicly and see if that helps.

A few notes:

  1. I’m not including family things here because spending quality time with them is table stakes.
  2. These are all basically 100% goals, so they are not *too* aspirational, and I intend to hit them all.
  3. I wrote these up at the end of last year, and have been working on them, but haven’t gotten around to posting them!
  4. The target date on these is June 30, 2020 (hence the H1 – Half One).

OKR 2020A: Reclaim Technical Familiarity

I’ve spent the past few years exploring new areas (maps, networks, C++) and want to brush up on what I was doing prior to that.  I also want to do a better job staying better informed of new developments outside the comfy walls of Google.

KR1: Get a full stack project “running”

Running here means that someone (almost certainly not the public) can log in and do stuff, probably play a game although there are other candidates.

KR2: Publish 15 Technical Blog Posts

Media reviews and personal updates (like this post) don’t count, I’m unofficially shooting for about 15 of those too.

KR3: Learn (and do something useful with) a new language

Spoiler alert: this will probably be Go.

OKR 2020B: Finish More of What I Started

I like finishing things, but I love starting things.  If I’ve not finished something it’s rarely because I didn’t want to* and almost always because I’ve started something else.  I’d like to improve my discipline and wrap up a few things that will unlock starting lots of new things.

* Although I have gotten better in recent years about quitting some things earlier, like TV series that go downhill.

KR1: “Finish” my Woodshop

Like software, no workshop is ever really finished, there’s always room for improvement, but I’m pretty close to having no unfinished setup/projects in my shop. Some specific goals are:

  • Finish Painting – It’s an unfinished basement and the walls were mortared by not painted and the floor is concrete, none of which was painted.
  • Install New Wiring – The wiring is actually pretty easy, but a prerequisite is (an electrician) installing a new subpanel, which requires building a wall to put it on.
  • Install Dust Collection – I have a small unit now with a flex hose, but I’d like to get a larger unit with some fixed ductwork.

KR2: “Finish” my Home Office

We moved about 18 months ago and while all (or very close to it) of the moving boxes have been unpacked, my office has yet to really come together. This is in large part due to the fact that I don’t work from home much anymore, so it may be up to 2 or 3 weeks where I don’t even set foot in it, but I would like to maximize the time I do spend there by having it be a pleasant space.

OKR 2020C: Improve My Health

What personal improvement list would be complete without some health goals?  These are not easy but seem to strike a balance of achievability and meaningfulness.

KR1: Lose 20lbs

I’ve been doing intermittent fasting over the past 6 months and have slow but steady success with it and am on the verge of classifying it as a permanent thing. More to come on this later.

KR2: Hit 150 Move Goals in Apple Watch

That basically means hitting it slightly more than 5 times per week, which seems pretty doable. A perfect streak is pretty difficult considering my job is at a desk, with occasional travel, and the occasional cold my son has been bringing home now that he’s going to school.

I accept what The Algorithm decides my target is, it’s been as high as 1200 calories and as low as 800. It’s currently at 890 since I was slacking over the holidays.

KR3: Do 5,000 Pushups

That’s 25-30 per day averaged out, but that’s a little high right now, and I’m hoping by the end of this I’m doing 50-100 per day.

Addendum: Themes

I recently came across a video by CGP Grey about new years resolutions and I liked his idea of themes. I admit that having specific targets like these kind of goes against the whole idea of holistic themes, and I didn’t really have a theme in mind when drafting the OKRs, but I think they can actually work well together. It appears that there is a latent one here that is about laying the groundwork for future improvements. If all goes well:

  • I’ll have a little side project going, which always gives me a boost at my day job.
  • I’ll have two great workspaces from which to tackle new projects, software and otherwise.
  • I’ll be in better health and have more energy and drive to do those projects. Bonus: The onsite gym at work re-opens in May and I should be a much better position to use it well!

Therefore, I will declare the theme of 2020H1 to be Infrastructure.