Only One New Year’s Resolution

Only One New Year’s Resolution

How I plan to double down on my biggest weakness.

My biggest weakness is writing. Oh, the irony is perfect.

For the last couple of years, I have been working for software companies as a product manager. I quickly realised that one of the most important skills is precise communications in all imaginable forms.

Every day I work on all sorts of documents. Mails, user stories, concept drafts etc. So writing is one of the tools that I have to use to do my job right. The problem is: I realised that I am simply not good at communicating with written words. Besides some basic issues like spelling, grammar and punctuation, I also tend to write down only half of the idea, that I try to communicate. Forcing the reader to guess the other half, to make sense of it. Especially in the context of software development, being imprecise and leaving space for interpretation is something you should try to avoid.

To get better at my job, I decided to double down on my biggest weakness. I created a little plan and tried to use implement some tactics I learned from being a product manager, to make this little project a success story.

Rules for my new year’s resolution:

  1. Make it a priority. Priority is singular. There is only one and it’s the most important. The years before, I often had many different priorities at the same time. I guess everyone is familiar with the result: Starting many things at the same time leads to accomplishing none of them. So this year writing is the only new year’s resolution I made.
  2. Check the resources. I did some basic calculations on all the things that I have to do every day to be able to live my life. I mean the most basic things. Sleeping, working, eating, laundry, groceries, cleaning, my family and friends and some hobbies I have. So the question is: How much time is left, that I can spend on writing? For me, it is realistic to invest about 2–3 hours every Sunday on my little project.
  3. Set realistic goals. How much output do I think I can generate within this 2–3 hours per week? The goal should be motivating, but still doable. I guess I can at least write one article per month. So I will have 8–12 hours per article. So for 2020, I should at least have published 12 articles.
  4. Create public pressure. By writing this down and clicking on the “publish” button I will create some additional motivation for myself. I tested this before and I know that I gain motivation from setting expectations and making them public. This might not work for everybody, so I only decided to do this, because I know how I react to public pressure.
  5. Measure results. To be honest, I didn’t figure out yet, how I can measure progress, but I got some ideas, to begin with. First of all, I will ask friends and dedicated tool to review my writing. I will make notes on the feedback to have an indication of progress. When it comes to the quality of content, I am glad to have the internet and platforms like medium to let me expose my writing to the public and probably get feedback.

So by following all the rules, I hope that at the end of 2020 there will be at least 12 articles published and I hope that the practice will help me to become better at writing. Maybe the rules I wrote down for my new year’s resolution can be used by others with their projects for 2020.