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My Other List for 2005

January 5, 2005

A few days ago, I posted a list of code related items I want to explore in 2005. Now, I’m taking a different path and looking at things that I want to do in 2005 – some are truly personal goals, some are more like notes to myself, and some are business objectives I’ve laid out for this year.

Here we go…


My friend Andy is going to learn Russian this year. That, in part, has inspired me to head back to school to take at least one French course so that I can get more practice using my French – hopefully in a business type setting.

Despite that fact that I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, I still don’t consider myself fully bilingual. I am functionally bilingual – I can speak French, though it is rather slow. I can understand people that speak French to me, and I can read French just fine. The problem is that I don’t get the opportunity to practice my French enough – it has been almost 15 years since I used my French, and that was in school. And as they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Focus on Balance

A few days before New Year’s Eve, I divided a piece of paper into quarters, each representing one of the quarters of the calendar year. I wanted to do some short and long range planning so I set out to distribute various projects and activities across the quarters. My intent was to do this at a “big picture” level now, and then revist each quarter as I progress through the year. It seemed simple enough.

When I had finished my first draft and placed things in the quarters where I thought they should/could go, I realized I had done it again. Roughly 70% of the items were listed in Q1 (and they were all things that were confirmed work or ideas), about 20% in Q2 (most of which were items that I had to plan to do in Q2), 10% in Q3 (which were very sketchy indeed) and none in Q4.

I have a terrible time with balance it seems, and it is something that I need to address. Perhaps I’m just over-ambitious and want to keep doing things, so everything gets added to the short-term plate instead of deferred to the long-term plates. Is that human nature, or is it just me?

Fitness and Health

I know most people say this, but I really do need to get in better shape. I play rugby at a pretty high level, and for the past 4 years, I haven’t really done proper off-season training. Which means at the beginning of the season, it takes me a lot longer to get into form than my teammates. This could be my last year playing, so I’d really like to have a go…

I also want to have a healthier lifestyle in general. I don’t mean that I drink all the time or anything like that, but I do want to get more regular sleep, eat healthier and certainly improve my physical and cardio-vascular fitness.

Regular writing

Part of the reason I created this blog was so that I had a place to write. I was already writing articles on accessibility, and prior to that, as a teacher, I wrote a lot more. In June of 2004, I found that I had more things that I wanted to say on topics other than accessibility that didn’t really fit at So, this blog was born. I realize now, however, that I don’t really write as often or as much as I’d like, for various reasons.

In 2005, I’d really like to start writing more regularly here and elsewhere. (Part of those plans I made for each quarter of 2005 includes writing for a few different places – hopefully I can spread it across the entire year rather than loading it all into Q1.)


Along with writing more frequently, I’d also like to get back to teaching courses more regularly — courses on web development techniques (front and back end), web standards, and of course, web accessibility and usability. I’d also like to do more work on strategy, User Experience and Information Architecture — it fits well with the work I’m already doing in terms of training and accessibility, so it is a logical extension.

Looking Outside

This is the single biggest goal for me this year. I’m going to make a concerted effort to try and follow blogs and other media for things that are outside what I’m already doing. Its not that I’m not inspired by the blogs and sites I currently read — there is a lot of good stuff out there. Its just that, well, I feel like I need to get a different perspective on things.

I want to start following blogs that focus on marketing, branding, and education.
I want to look for design inspiration from the physical world.
I want to build something – I don’t know, furniture maybe, or a built in bookcase.
I want to read for pleasure again.
I want to take in more cultural events and places – I need to take my children to the museums and to live performances.

So, lots to do for 2005 that have nothing to do with code. If any of you have any great ideas on getting the right balance in life or if anyone has any good recommendations for some fiction, then I’d be very interested to hear about it… What other things are you planning for 2005?

7 Responses

Comment by Nicole Simon — Jan 05 2005 @ 10:22 am

You could make a french podcast to get your speaking in usage.

That is one of the main reasons why I do an english one, because since I have been out of school I have not really had conversations in english in the last 13 years. Perhaps one short tourist chat with someone asking for the direction a year.

Making a podcast about things you are interested in a different language let’s you get interested in brushing up your french – because you want to talk about it. :o)

Think about it. It’s not that complicated. And because you are functional bilingual it should be even easier for you than it is for me. ;)

Comment by AmyBeth — Jan 05 2005 @ 2:50 pm

You’ve inspired me.

Comment by Matthew Pennell — Jan 05 2005 @ 4:02 pm

I want to start following blogs that focus on marketing, branding, and education.

I often find blogs on a variety of non-design subjects that I consider subscribing to, but the potential for time-suckage always puts me off. I can barely find the time to read all the blogs I subscribe to at the moment, without expanding my reading subject matter to cover all the other things I’m interested in!

Comment by Dustin — Jan 05 2005 @ 4:34 pm

We can start up a list of all blogs about webstandards. That way it will be nice to pick and choose. Although it’s real simple just to hop from blog to blog since we’re all practically linking to each other.

Other than that, it looks like you’ve got your calendar marked up pretty nicely.

I’ll continue to live day to day until I have a good reason not to.

Happy New Year.

Comment by Dustin — Jan 13 2005 @ 11:39 am

2 weeks into the new year, how are things coming?

Comment by Derek Featherstone — Jan 13 2005 @ 10:30 pm

2 weeks into the new year, how are things coming?

Well, I’d like to say that things are coming along, though not on all fronts… Here’s what’s been happening so far:

Language: I had my “assessment” of my French last night at our local college and they’ve placed me at level Intermediate I (3rd of 6 levels they offer). The gentleman who did the oral exam was a pleasure to talk to, and was surprised that my only French was in school – he complimented me, and I was certainly pleased. Classes start next week I believe…

Balance: Not so sure at this point. I’m working on a lot of things right now, and the first quarter of the year still seems overloaded. I’m planning on re-assessing that quartered paper every few weeks, as I’m sure things will need to be moved around…

Fitness/Health: Been to the gym once with my wife for a great workout, had an indoor rugby training session the next day. Was feeling really good, then the work week hit, and I’ve been out of balance (see above) and haven’t been back… I’m also not sleeping well, so that part isn’t exactly stellar…

Regular writing: You can’t really tell from the lack of postings here, or over at, but things are going well. I’m actually working on a few things right now. This will sort itself out over the next two weeks.

Looking outside: Not much motion here, though I have started following a few new blogs. I’m still looking for recommendations for some great fiction…

Comment by Mcgill — Aug 29 2005 @ 6:49 am

The year is almost over now. how are things coming for 2006?