A Mostly Unrestrained List of 2019 Goals

Posted January 26, 2019 in Personal, Projects


I’d like to start a more structured approach to goal setting for easier reflection next year – I like how CSS-Tricks does it at the bottom of their annual Thank You post with emojis. With that in mind, here is an extremely comprehensive list of what I want to do in 2019 (which is already well underway…) along with a “Definition of Done” for each, a very useful practice we use in JIRA tickets at work. I’ll try to update this post throughout the year.

Also… this is a lot of stuff, thus the title of this post. Likely, too much stuff. I will consider the year a great success if I get to 50% of it. Priorities change and new projects arise all the time! That said…I’m really excited about everything on this list, but I have marked extra important items with this, nice sunflower emoji: 🌻.

Side note: I am writing from a coffee shop, of course, this time in Echo Park at Woodcat Coffee. I had a “lavender chocolate” scone that was way too sweet and a poor choice on my part. For coffee, I had a Guatemalan pour over from Flat Track, an Austin roaster I have heard good things about. It was quite tasty. The ambience is great for working and people seem friendly. Would come again.

Professional / Career Oriented

🌻 Release a research questionnaire about the value of HTML/CSS. This is a big one, and I’ve committed to it by asking others to put in time to help. Definition of done: A questionnaire lives at a link and is accepting responses, ready to be shared far and wide. If you are reading this and want to be involved, send me a message!

🌻 Rock the stage in Amsterdam at CSS Day. This is a major, major, milestone…I was invited to speak at an international conference! I will be speaking at CSS Day in Amsterdam in June about CSS as a programming language. Definition of done: Gave a great talk that helps others understand CSS as a programming language, and how to communicate that to people who might not see it that way.

Finish the Algorithms of CSS blog posts, i.e. the written version of my talk. Definition of done: Posts are published on this site as a series including the following posts (probably):

🌻 Continue with monthly-ish installments of the Designgineering Chronicles. These are the lengthy recap posts about my design systems work at PMC. Definition of done: 10 blog posts, and the series is about ready to be parsed and proposed as a conference talk.

🌻 Mentorship. Definition of done: be mentored and mentor someone.

🌻 Learn more about product/project management. Definition of done: I made roadmap for the PMC design system, I understand more of what product folks do at PMC, and can use these skills to manage my own projects.

Contribute to KSS-node documentation. I’ve been using kss-node for PMC’s design system and have a lot to contribute to the documentation. Definition of done: A PR merged into the kss-node Github repo.

Contribute to WordPress Core design systems effort. I think this will finally be something I can for real contribute to for WordPress, and it’s possible I can have some PMC hours to put towards the work. Definition of done: I am part of the design system conversation in the WordPress Slack and writing code for it.

Start a newsletter for sharing links and blog posts via RSS. Definition of done: Subscribers to my Mailchimp list receive monthly digests of blog posts and, potentially, things I want to share.

Updates to notlaura.com. That’s this site, yes! There are lots of updates I want to make, and the more I work on it the more excited I am to write on it. Definition of done: Well…I’ll just list some specific updates and whatever I get to will be awesome (great project management, Lara…):

  • A section for my talks and videos of talks
  • Refactor the story panels on the homepage to be Gutenberg blocks (and update the first photo of me…)
  • Featured/curated blog posts, or “Best of”
  • Simpler portfolio section that is easier to update
  • A “status update” feature
  • An “Art of The Pick” / “curation” section of books, art, articles, and other media I’m excited about
  • A useful sidebar including a “Currently Reading” section
  • Make some typography and styling and performance updates (read: a baby notlaura.com design system!!!! Easy now…)

Personal Goals

🌻 Create a roadmap and quarterly check-ins for these 2019 goals. Definition of done: I have a “product roadmap” in some form, dates for quarterly check-ins, and a plan for how to run each check-in. I want to actually do these things…sheesh!

🌻 Run the NYC marathon. Definition of done: I finished the marathon and raised money for one of the participating charities.

🌻 Educate myself about race in America and how to talk about race. Definition of done: I am confident in the words I use to talk about race because I fully understand their meaning and history.

Read two books about art and write posts summarizing them. These should be non-fiction and about a either a specific type of art or the practice of art-marking. This is part of an ongoing initiative to reconnect with my artist self. Definition of done: Read two books and wrote blog post summaries of them.

🌻 75% of the books I read are by women or people of color. When reviewing the books I read last year, I realized all except one were by men…that’s not okay! Definition of done: When I recap my reading next year, that requirement is met.

🌻 Move to Pittsburgh, and don’t throw away anything I can donate or sell. That’s right…I haven’t officially announced this yet, but I am not moving to NYC, I’m moving back to Pittsburgh in mid-April and very excited about it!!! Part of the move is a goal to be mindful of how I handle all of my crap. Definition of done: Did a purge of all my stuff and got rid of whatever I need to responsibly.

Airbnb my apartment (once in Pgh) while traveling. I’ve been traveling a lot and plan to do more once I move, and it’s a wise use of space and energy to Airbnb my apartment while I’m gone. Plus, my new landlord in Pittsburgh (who happens to be my mom) is totally cool with it. Definition of done: I am a host on Airbnb and have organized my belongings such that they can be safely tucked away while I am gone.

Try to make a budget. As a salaried person my income is now predictable, and I could definitely be more organized about it. While I do save a lot, I don’t really keep tabs on anything, and I feel like I should. This goal is 100% inspired by Robin Rendle’s blog post about the You Need A Budget app. Definition of done: I set up the app, pruned unnecessary monthly expenses, and tried to stick to it for a month or so.

🌻 Next level monsters. What does that even mean? Well, I like to draw monsters. In 2018 they went from sketchbooks entries, to paintings, to participants in my Keynote presentations, to stickers, and to a page on this website. What’s next for the monsters? Definition of done: monsters have names, personalities, and things to say.

Figure out a medium for NODOI. NODOI is an art project that took up the majority of my time and brain power during art school (about 2008-2011). It was/is a strange, humorous, spiritual satire game-thing, similar in aesthetic to the monsters. It’s still a project I want to work on, but the thing is, it’s really weird, and not something I want right next to my public “CSS enthusiast” Internet persona…yet. Definition of done: figure out a medium for working on NODOI that is not on the computer and does not need to be publicly shared.

Plan a challenging international trip. This might end up being in conjunction with a conference, but I want at least a week of it to be non-work, and in a challenging place to travel. By “challenging trip”, I mean a place where I don’t speak the language and where the culture is very different from what I am used to in the US, and I’m possibly flying solo. Definition of done: Planned and booked a trip.

Is that all?!

I told you it was an “unrestrained” list! I am slightly concerned that I enjoy planning what I am going to do more than actually doing it – thus my interest in learning about project/product management – but, in either case, this year will be a test. How much of this will I actually get to?

For the sake of being fully comprehensive in this post, I’ll include a picture of my sticky note planning session and the list of my values that I used to validate each of these items

Maybe I do have a future in project management! I did this on a Friday night while sipping some delicious mezcal I brought back from Mexico City which is officially one of my favorite places to visit. Perhaps there will be another blog post about that 🙃.

Also worth mentioning, a lot of this life planning is a result of working with a life coach I learned about through the Designing Your Life book – her name is Liz and she’s excellent! Another future blog post could be “Working with a Life Coach: Should you do it and how to make the most of it, in my experience,” or something like that. I think 90% of it is work you do on your own, and it’s definitely not for everyone.

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