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The Weekly Retrospective - Issue #4

Brock Herion
Brock Herion
Welcome to issue #4 of The Weekly Retrospective, the newsletter where we reflect on the week we just had! In issue #3, we started taking a look at what it means to be productive and successful. We learned about how success is different for everybody and the importance of having goals.
In this issue, we’re going to take the idea of goal setting even further. We are specifically going to be looking into breaking down goals into incredibly small action items and staying focused on them. Let’s dive right into it!

The Week of 9/26/2021 to 10/2/21
Happy beginning of October! October is my favorite month of the year for two huge reasons. First, it’s my birthday month and second, the month wraps up with Halloween! Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love all the spooky decorations, the scary movies, and the general atmosphere of fall. I have big plans for this month, so stay tuned until the end!
This week also saw the beginning of some of the action items I had discussed last week. My to-do list has shrunk drastically and my focus has gotten more precise. The small shifts I had talked about last week have, so far, paid off in ways I hadn’t fully grasped yet.
What went well this week?
There were a few major wins this week. First, I cleaned up my Trello boards for some of my various coding projects. I broke larger, more general tasks down into specific ones and labeled/prioritized them. This helped me get a clearer understanding of where I am with things and what my priorities need to be. I was then able to use these on my Analog cards, which I have limited to three to-dos at a time. This created a fantastic system for getting work done! My boards, to-dos, and Git branches are all cleaned up now that each larger feature was broken down into smaller tasks. That, combined with using the Pomodoro, technique, really has made a huge impact on my productivity.
The Pomodoro technique is relatively simple. You set a time for, say, fifty minutes, then work and concentrate for that entire time. After the fifty minutes is up, you take a ten-minute break. Repeat three more times, then take a much longer break. Doing this helps you to stay focused on your work by taking breaks. Being deeply focused on something for a long period of time isn’t really good for you and you will lose that focus on your task very quickly.
My second win this week came from reflecting on my September goals. I didn’t realize how far I had come with them. I had set goals for
  • 500 Twitter followers
  • 600 Instagram followers
  • 100 likes on my Facebook page
  • Starting a newsletter
I had accomplished three out of the four of these. As I write this, my Twitter is sitting at 755 followers and my Instagram at 608. I was able to start getting my weekly newsletter out! The only goal that I did not achieve for September was my Facebook goal, but I also put the least amount of effort into that.
I also had some wins for goals I hadn’t written down. I purchased my new domain name, brockherion.dev, and was successfully able to set it up with my NextJS app on Vercel. I then took it a step further and created a subdomain, which I then pointed to my HashNode blog at blog.brockherion.dev. DNS and networking is an area I’m less familiar with, so this was incredibly exciting to me.
What could have gone better?
Those changes I had done really did help me start getting a grasp on my goals and productivity. I feel good about how this week went and how much I was able to achieve this month. However, there still is a glaring problem with how I have my focus and my goals structured. Short term, I think I have them mostly figured out, but long term, I’m still in the dark.
I felt good about cleaning up my coding tasks this week in Trello. They helped me get a better grasp and focus on my work. What I have not done is that same process for goals I have in my personal life. My growth on Twitter I put the most time and energy into because I had studied it and learned. I talked to people who had grown and were starting on their journeys too. I didn’t have a formal plan for it though, I never laid out my long-term goals on the platform. It’s the same story with Instagram, except I didn’t even have a short-term plan going into that.
The issue, again, comes down to a failure on my part to improve my habits and systems effectively. What I mean by that is I made small changes to improve an immediate circumstance in my life (pushing myself too hard) but have not made changes to better reflect where I want to be in ten years.
What did I learn?
The big takeaway here for making a change in your life is to just start small. Make it so small it essentially becomes nothing. I created tasks in Trello for the smallest bugs just to have them visible to me and to not get pulled into doing something else on the project. Combined with the Pomodoro technique, this was one of the most productive weeks I have had in a long time.
It’s all useless without a goal though. I had a short-term goal of improving my focus and concentration. I broke it into action items of just breaking down all my tasks into smaller ones and then adding the Pomodoro in. Two very small changes had a tremendous impact. Or the goal of being on top of removing our cat dander more frequently to help keep allergens under control. Buying hair-catching lint drier sheets, washable furniture covers, and a humidifier, as well as making and covering my bed every day has helped reduce the amount of pet hair and dander on our surfaces and cloths. And these small action items didn’t completely interrupt the flow of life. They are small, tiny improvements that lead to huge wins.
My next step is to start doing that with my life goals. I do these things now to improve the life I’m currently living, but what if I did them for the life I want? That idea excited me, especially after seeing what a difference has been made in my current life.
This leads me to what I have planned for October. I plan to continue growing my Twitter and Instagram pages but also being more active on Twitch. I stream about once a week and plan on getting on a more consistent time to stream. I also am planning on creating YouTube videos and blog posts this month. The goal for them will be to try and write one article per week and produce one video per week. The to making these successful is by having a long-term plan and breaking it down to stick with it.
The other plan I have for October is to really focus on myself and my own learning. I want to improve my writing skills and have deeper reflections on the books I read. I have a few audiobooks and hard copies to work through. My plan is to actively read and listen to each book by highlighting/snipping quotes, then going back and transferring that knowledge to my notes. The goal is to create a system and habits of constant learning for myself.
With these, I can start moving towards my larger goals and creating the life I want.
Resources
Books I am or planning on reading
Follow me on Social Media
Twitch
BrockHerion (Brock Herion) · GitHub
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Brock Herion
Brock Herion @brockherion

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