Wookey Hole SkullsWell Christmas has been and gone. I had a lovely time surrounded by family and received lots of wonderful gifts. I couldn’t have asked for more…

Now it is time to look forward to the year ahead. With the celebrations tonight we see in the start of another year. What are your plans for 2011?

First off lets look at how I did against last months goals. Luckily I didn’t set myself too much this month…

I have done some work on the product specifications for my first real project. I didn’t manage to finish the spec though! As for the experiments with working hours then I am getting experience all the time but I decided that it was more important to keep plugging away for now.

Time to go into a bit more detail and plan out my goals for the coming month…

Progress

Finish Product Specifications

As you may know by now I am working on a project to help you set up a budget but also to track how you are doing against all areas of the budget at once.

I have been setting budgets for quite a while and have had issues tracking everything so I have tended to track one or two areas at any one time. This seemed to lead to the other areas of the budget going off track without noticing and so it seems to be an endless cycle trying to get all of the areas of the budget on target.

The main problem I have been having recently is with credit card bills. I have been budgeting pretty confidently recently and then all of a sudden there isn’t enough money to cover the credit card bills without dipping into the emergency fund!

I can see what happened as there was money already on the credit card from last months budget and with Christmas, and some car troubles, the cards were used heavily at the start of the month and so the bills came in with more than the amount set aside!

This was a silly mistake, on my part, and this is exactly why I need to get this program sorted out so I can avoid this sort of thing in the future.

I have been designing the actual screen layouts and the interactions between all of the screens but I need to be sure my method of budgeting is completely foolproof before I am happy with the specifications. So to sum up I have made some good progress on the specifications but I need to make sure I am happy with the budgeting system before I can finalise the plans.

Experiment With Working Hours

I have been very busy this month and so I haven’t really been able to waste too much time trying out different methods. I have been trying to take advantage of shorter periods of time rather than thinking in half days like the 9–5 mentality enforces, and I have been enjoying the flexibility of leaving my desk whenever the need arises.

This is still a very interesting area for me and so I still plan to look into this in more detail but right now I just need to keep my head down and put the hours in. As the vast majority of my income is from my contracting work it is more important to get the work done then to be as productive as possible. I know I get much more done in a 7 hour day than I used to in the office.

Weight Loss

I weighed myself yesterday and I have put on 2 pounds over the Christmas period. Not too bad I suppose and now it is really time to start losing a few pounds…

Goals

Blogging

This is something I have been trying to get sorted for a while now. I really need to get ahead of the game a bit and start writing posts in advance. This will allow me to improve on the content and also give me a bit of leeway if I have a few posts ready to be released if I am too busy to write anything new.

Begin Development

I really need to finish off the specifications for my first product. This isn’t actually too far off, I just need to tie down a few loose ends, make sure the functionality is sound, and then finish off the actual document.

So I plan on finishing off the specifications and begin development before the end of January. This will force me to make a quick decision on the development environment. This is something that will need a little bit of thought but I don’t want to waste too much time on this decision. The main thing is that I get started as I need the program to help keep track of my own budget…

Yearly Review

I find these monthly reviews very useful but they only cover a short period of time. I need to look at the larger view of things occasionally. What better time to take a look back and the set some bigger goals than at the start of a New Year.

The plan is to try something similar to this monthly review but scale it up and take a look back over the whole of 2010. See where I went wrong and what I did right. Then I can look forward to 2011 and see what I want to achieve in the coming year.

What are your plans for the upcoming year? Let me know in the comments below and let’s get a conversation going…

Image: Pete O’Shea

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