4 of Clubs: 2019, Theme Months, and Realistic Goals

It’s the final day of the year of 2018, a traditional time for some reflection and to make some plans for the future.

I tend not to make new year resolutions. Plans on the timescale of a year or longer tend to need to be broken up into a series of steps that I find easier to work on piece by piece, and any resolution that involves setting up some kind of regular routine, such as exercising or dedicating time to learning something, tends to break down because I don’t make suitable changes to the rest of my routine, or at some points in my life don’t have a routine at all for them to slot into.

In my personal and professional lives, I do actually have two things going on this year that would actually work fairly well as a resolution. The first is the long term plan type; I am entering my final year of my PhD study, and so I need to finish my project and hand it in before end of 2019. This is doable but it is going to be pretty difficult, and one of the major ways I am going to try and handle this is the second resolution. This is not really a new years resolution, rather it is a continuation of something I’ve been working on for a while now, which is to reconstruct my daily routine. Part of my current lack of one is my own fault but a large part due to mental illness (something I will almost certainly be commenting on) disrupting me, particularly my sleep cycle. I am hoping to fix this by trying to, one piece at a time, reconstruct my own daily routine, with regular sleeping times, exercising times and work times.

One of the things I often find helpful is accountability, so I will be posting my progress on this, or at least an edited version for internet consumption with important identifying details removed, in a weekly round up on this blog, which will also have links to that week’s posts, and if I do end up with a commentating community, possibly some discussion prompts or an open thread for people to talk in.

While my PhD is obviously going to take a fair amount of my time, it is important to have a separation between work and the rest of your life. I have really enjoyed writing my posts here so far, and I want to continue doing so. This will require some trade offs, obviously, but I think this, along with some other distractions, will serve as a good counterpoint to the life swallowing nature of a PhD; although as we get towards the deadline posts may slow down somewhat.

As I noted above, making long term plans, such as planning the future of this blog, usually requires them to be tackled as a series of smaller plans. At the same time, I would also like a framework for what I am going to write about; have something I can hang things off of and to focus down my range of choices from “anything and everything” to “something related to this topic”. I choose the theme of this blog, the idea of it being a deck of cards, because it allowed me to have a very wide range of topics to discuss, but the trade off there is that, when given infinite options, we tend to return to well worn paths of thought and creation. For me, the greatest weapon I have to focus thought and foster creativity is to give myself parameters that I must be contained in, both to active the problem solving parts of my brain and just to avoid being swamped by choice.

My idea for this is doing themed months, each with a series of posts roughly planned and laid out at the beginning of the month in a spade video. Similarly, I am going to focus my streaming each month on a particular game. I haven’t really linked my streaming to this blog yet, and honestly it is probably not going to directly crossover; I’m not going to be trying to do streaming based on what I am going to write here, although it will be nice when I can.

I have enough theme ideas to fill the year, but I don’t really want to put them out in an explicit order now since I’m not sure what the order will be, and whether I might want to change them, so I will announce the next month’s theme at the end of the previous month. Ideally I will be able to link the posts of one month to the next, to have a bridge, but again, I don’t want to make a promise I can’t keep.

So. That is the plan for this blog going forward, and the plan for my life going forward. With all that, in the short term, what are we going to be looking at in January 2019?

Well, in terms of streaming, I have long been curious about the Dark Souls series of games, so we are going to pick one up and start playing.

For the actual blog…well, I have just written a 3000 word discussion on the recent adaption of a work by her and still have plenty to say so…we’re doing an Agatha Christie month.

See you in the new year.

Mattilda.

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