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Personal Development: To Do - Revisited

It's been almost a year since I posted an entry titled Personal Development: To Do, in which I talked about being disorganised (because I am) and wanting to get my house in order. To that end, I wrote up a list of things I wanted to get done.

A year on, I wanted to revist this and update it as required. To start with, here is the list from August 2008:

  • Keep on blogging!
  • Keep on making cheat sheets!
  • Move AddedBytes (set up server).
  • Thin out project folder and pick 2 to work on until finished.
  • Write a web service.
  • Write SVN Statistics app in Python (learn Python).
  • Rewrite site management VB app in Python (learn Python).
  • Learn Objective-C and Cocoa by writing a Useful Small Mac App (decide on what app!).
  • Learn a new PHP framework.
  • Get involved in an open source project.
  • Update and release more code from under open source license.

Looking at it, I am glad that I've managed to tick a few items off. Moving Added Bytes is almost done, but for a couple of small issues and some indecision. I've thinned out my projects and am working on one or two things at a time, which is good. I've made a few new cheat sheets - not as many as I would have liked, but a few.

About a year ago, I started work at a local agency, which gave me opportunities to develop and work on several systems I had wanted to spend time with. I've written a couple of small-traffic web services. I've learned my way around the Zend framework, MODx, Joomla and a variety of other CMSes and systems. I've released more code under open source licenses (not much though, and mostly for MODx).

The rest of the list has not gone quite so well. I've not written a great deal this last year (partly due to not having much in the way of topics - anything I have started writing about, or considered writing about, seems to have been done in exhaustive depth already). My plans to learn Python, Objective-C and Cocoa have made little progress. And although I've been playing with MODx, I've not really got involved with the project itself, or any other open source project.

I'd say I've managed about 50% of the list this year, which I'm ok with. Certainly, my "unfinished project guilt" has been reduced, which was one of the main aims. I'm more motivated that beforeand finding it easier to spend time on specific things.

I also took on a couple of extra items that weren't there. The largest of those, in terms both of time and how valuable I feel it's been, is that I've started working towards a physics degree with the Open University. I've completed two courses so far, with a few weeks left on my third course, which means I'm about a third of the way through according to the OU's points system.

The OU work is a major time commitment, and has that's left less time for me to dedicate to working on other projects. On the other hand, it's been really good for my brain. I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone considering something similar - returning to academic learning after 10 years of dissolving my brain with beer was among the best decisions I made last year.

I'm glad I made the list last year - it helped me to focus my energies better. So I'm going to update it for the next year. This time, I'm going to break it into two parts. One is ongoing things I want to do - things that will be on the list for the forseeable future and that, more importantly, aren't ever really finished. The second is specific things I want to do in the next year. Some items from the original list, though not done, are on the back burner or now fall under the umbrella of a different item.

Ongoing To-Dos

  • Keep on blogging!
  • Keep on making cheat sheets!
  • Keep projects list to two at a time.
  • Release more code under open source licenses.
  • Improve server administration skills.
  • Continue learning with Open University.

Specific To-Dos

  • Move AddedBytes.
  • Move projects from Google Code over to GitHub.
  • Use Drizzle in a project.
  • Master database version control.
  • Write site management app in Python (oh yeah ... learn Python).
  • Get involved in an open source project.