Thoughts of a geek

7 January 2012

Objectives and Key Results

Filed under: Christianity, Me, Travel — Tags: , , , — qwandor @ 8:23 am

At work we plan each quarter by writing Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs for short. The idea is that there are a number of broad objectives, then specific quantifiable and measurable key results that achieve them. So I thought I would try writing some personal OKRs here, though for the year rather than just a quarter. These are more a draft than anything fixed, so I would much appreciate any advice about how to achieve them, what else I should try to do, or anything else.

It is a bit late, this already being 2012, but that is like work too. The top level points are the objectives, the second level are the key results.

  • See some more of the world.
    • Visit the east coast of the US / Canada, and see at least 3 of the 5 friends I know over that way.
    • Visit at least 2 more European countries.
    • Visit Scotland.
    • Visit 2 more places in the UK
  • Improve my dancing (and enjoy it)
    • Learn at least one new dance this year (probably Balboa)
    • Go out for social swing (Lindy Hop) dancing regularly
    • Take some classes / workshops to improve my blues
    • Do some swing and/or blues with friends while I am back in NZ visiting
    • Go to the London Swing Festival again
  • Work out where I stand with God, and what that means.
    • Discuss more with some friends. Not sure exactly what.
    • Finish reading some of the books that are on my shelf, and write up some responses to them.
    • Any other advice?
  • Improve my social life, and build and maintain a good group of friends with whom I regularly do things
    • Host at least 3 social gatherings (parties / dinners / whatever) at my flat
    • Hmm, not sure what else to do towards this, any suggestions?
  • Improve how I dress
    • Buy a suit, or at least something a bit more formal, for the odd occasion when that might be necessary
    • Hmm, not sure about this one either, any advice?
  • Maintain other hobbies
    • Bake something for other people at least once a month, preferably more often.
    • Do some work on my existing programming projects such as theQuotebook and Fridge.
    • Do some work on electronics projects, such as the paper keyboard I started on last year, some kind of floor instrument, or something else based on the Teensy.

Well, does anyone have any suggestions about how to achieve some of these, or other things I should aim for?



  1. On the hobbies front did you still intend to build a robot with the cheap Android phone you bought?

    Comment by Neil Walbran — 7 January 2012 @ 11:02 am

    • I never had any concrete plans for that, so I think the chances of it actually happening are pretty low unfortunately. It has however proven very handy as a phone to lend to guests visiting London so they can keep in contact and find their way around the place while they are here, so it was certainly a £20 well spent.

      Comment by qwandor — 7 January 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  2. Andrew, visit Lindisfarne on your way to Scotland. It’s an island on the border with Northumbria and it’s the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been. he monks there wrote and illustrated an amazing gospel manuscript.

    Can’t wait to dance with you when you visit! You will come dance with me in Wellington, right?

    I don’t know how to manufacture a social life, but I can tell you two things I’ve done before – it’s how I cheat my way into having friends (oy vey!) when I move to a new place. The first is to join a group of friends in which everyone knows each otehr, once you’ve made friends with a few the rest get to know you and you’re in, my friend. The other thing is to join something at which everyone else is also new and looking to make friends. Like an ex-pat grop maybe? Joining the international club at the beginning of term when everyone was a new arrival and looking for amtes was a Very Good Idea for me. These may or nmay not work for you but probably the best advice is: be your lovely self.


    Comment by Frith — 7 January 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    • Thanks for the recommendation! I am planning to visit Scotland with my parents when they come to visit in September, and my dad already has an itinerary planned out, so I will tell hi to add Lindisfarne. (-:

      Of course I will dance with you! I am particularly looking to that, you and the others who have been learning to Lindy in my absence. You should totally try blues too, if you get the opportunity and have not yet. I do not suppose I can convince you to come over for the London Swing Festival this year? I guess it is a bit far to come.

      Joining a group of friends who all know each other certainly sounds like a good strategy, but I have not had too much luck so far. It seems to be difficult to get in, and there is still the perennial problem over here of everyone being too busy all the time. This kind of thing does seem to be a lot easier when you are at university, from what I have seen. I did join a walking group, which to some extent fit your second suggestion, and made one friend through that who has since moved back to America. But even then, I found it hard to move from people whom I see every now and then and chat to a bit to friends with whom I can do other stuff outside of the initial context. And I have not been for ages, due to a mixture of being busy with other things and the group growing too big so that all the available places are already taken by the time I see that there is a walk on. Ah well. London. Love it and hate it.

      Comment by qwandor — 7 January 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  3. Objectives/goals/results arrgh – I guess this means that google’s process works for you? I could probably do with practice at setting myself such objectives.

    I am no fashion messiah but I think the first step towards dressing differently, is to start paying more attention to what other people wear and what you think of it. Then you can start throwing around complements, spotting when friends are wearing something new etc. With Swing dancing you’ve certainly got a big social group that know how to look the part. With google, software developers, err I’m not sure. (Is there a key result there?)

    Comment by Simon Robinson — 8 January 2012 @ 4:16 am

    • Well, at work it can be helpful to have some idea what we are trying to achieve each quarter, though on the other hand sometimes plans change completely and the OKRs we wrote at the beginning end up being pretty much meaningless by the end as priorities changed and we ended up doing completely different things. Whether it will be a helpful exercise for my personal life I do not know, I guess this is something of a trial. But it could be.

      Heh, I tend to notice what girls are wearing more than I do for guys. (-; But you are right of course. The problem then though is working out where to buy said clothes of a good quality and fit and such but reasonable price. I guess there I could do with advice from people who are used to living in the UK.

      Comment by qwandor — 8 January 2012 @ 8:08 am

      • Hi Andrew,
        One thing I recommend for revolutionising the way you dress is to figure out what colours suit you best. Knowing about the different ‘seasons’ of clothing – palettes of different shades – is very helpful when buying clothes. For example, I am a ‘Spring’ as I am quite fair, whereas my fiance Daniel is an ‘Autumn’ because of his darker colouring. Here is a website link which you may find helpful:
        The great thing about it is that it is aimed at guys. I hope you find that useful.

        Comment by Sharon M — 15 January 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  4. In terms of your travel plans and visiting friends, I would suggest contacting them soon and making them aware of your visit. Even if you’re only considering it it’s good to let them know in advance so they can help you plan.

    Dancing – with practice you’re bound to improve so keep with it and you’ll get there. 😀

    In modern society it is hard to convince people to believe in God or religion. It’s become somewhat of a “superstition” to have faith so I cannot give you any real advice, but only offer to listen and see where you lie.

    Reading is a great activity during the night so why don’t you try putting in a few hours a night before bedtime to read a few books. Though, books are meant to be enjoyed it’s not supposed to be a duty, so spend some time to choose which ones you’d actually like to read before pulling one of the shelf.

    Suggestions for the social scene….well, I’m with Frith on this one. You have to find a regular first than you can expand your circle. How about the people at work? Talk to a few of them when you get a chance. I thought the new office would’ve made this easier. Though, Frith’s right just be yourself and let your personality shine. Don’t force it, people will appreciate you more that way. Also try and find single people to hang out with. They are the ones who have time. 😛

    Improving the way you dress, well if you have the patience I can help you shop for some when you get to NZ, but it depends on your timetable. Family commitments should come first so if you don’t have it it shouldn’t be a major concern. I can always post you references photos. 🙂

    Maintaining your hobby is easy. If you enjoy it you’ll do it. It’s that simple. It’s not something you should take a second thought to. Obviously, each of us have to prioritise, but I’m sure you’ll find a slot one of these days.

    Comment by May — 8 January 2012 @ 10:53 am

    • Yep, I have emailed the friends in the US and Canada whom I want to visit, though I am still waiting for replies from some of them. Some people are very difficult to get hold of. And some are just busy.

      I used to read a lot, but these last few years hardly at all, at least not books, it always seems like there are other things I would rather do. Or I just do not find the motivation.

      I do get on well with my workmates, but we do not do much at all outside of work. Some of them are older and have families, some live out of London so are not around in the weekends, some are just busy with other things or do not have the same interests. But you are right, I should invite them to more things.

      Hey, I might take you up on that offer if I have time when I am back in Wellington! We will see. Though the part of the problem is working out what shops over here to go to to find good quality but reasonably priced clothes.

      As for electronics and programming hobbies, I do enjoy it when I get things working, it is quite satisfying. But often I lack motivation, and get discouraged or stuck on problems. Working with other people or at least having external motivation of some sort might be helpful here.

      Comment by qwandor — 8 January 2012 @ 11:05 am

  5. I don’t believe you lack the motivation for books. My guess is the changes in HOW we read, is what has stopped you. I think we are too preoccupied with checking our gadgets these days we’ve lost the need to experience the sensory delights of printed books. If I am correct then I would suggest investing in a kindle to achieve your result. As I know I will be buying mine very soon. I still want to expand my mind and literature is the only way I can see to progress.

    I used to feel that way. I was the youngest in our office and everyone was much older than me. I wondered how I could get along. I had no children, marriage or life experience for other things, but overtime realised we all shared the same sense of humour and interests on the rare occasion. There were many wonderful conversations to be had. With age came wisdom and experience and youth came ideas and hobbies, a great diversity to be had.
    Now, we get along well and we are slowly inviting each other to things.

    You don’t have to have the same interests to enjoy each other’s company. I had a workmate who used to be adventurous and I am not daring at all, but I found her stories amusing and that’s how we connected.

    Friendships aren’t an overnight success they do take time and attention. But for precautionary measures I wouldn’t suggest being too friendly to strangers. Colleagues are fine, but talking to strangers on your travel you can’t be too trusting. Just speaking from experience. There are some shady people out there.

    If you intend to get your dress wear in London, Google might help. There are heaps of sites you could visit. Go to ones which have customer feedback.

    Hmmm….external motivation…that’s tricky. I think you just need to change your mindset and look for your inner motivation. I’m sure it’s dormant somewhere, just ignite it….heehee

    Though, who knows, people change and so does their hobbies. Are you sure they are still your hobbies? It doesn’t matter if they aren’t. I know when I was younger I used to build websites and write reviews, but I grew out of it and found a new passion, which were art, photography and video editing. But I know I have abandoned my interest for art. Rather than a passion to create art, I have replaced it to a mere admiration for it, but it works.

    Comment by May — 8 January 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  6. Hi Andrew, I’m impressed that you’ve made such a detailed list!! I’m envious of the travel plans! On the clothes front, the guy who was our best man (Paul Sutton) always used to ask Janet McQueen to help him get styled out. (If you dont know who Janet is – ask your parents- !!) She may have time to go with you when you are back in NZ and give you some pointers on what might suit you, even if its just window shopping to give you some ideas.

    Comment by Sarah Jones — 8 January 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  7. If you intend your suit to last you more than a year or so, it’s worth getting one tailored. It will fit you better and last longer than one bought off the rack, and you’ll enjoy wearing it more. Being a big commercial centre, London is home to numerous tailors; the best are most likely in the City.

    Comment by Gael — 15 January 2012 @ 10:09 am

    • I guess it is a question of how much it is worth spending, given that it is really only something I would wear once or twice a year.

      Comment by qwandor — 15 January 2012 @ 11:59 am

  8. On with your deconversion already!

    Comment by Zac — 8 February 2012 @ 11:51 am

  9. How is this going? 🙂

    Comment by Mel — 12 June 2012 @ 6:38 pm

    • Wow, time flies! It seems like rather less than 5 months since I wrote this. I am heading off on my US / Canada trip on Friday, and will be visiting Scotland with my parents in September (both of which I had in mind when I was writing this post in the first place). I have not yet visited any more of the Europe nor do I have any definite plans to do so. Well, I did go on a walk down near Eastbourne with some people from church if that counts, it was just a daytrip though.

      I have taken a few classes in Balboa but keep forgetting most of what I learn. I cannot really remember much more than the basic, which is rather limiting. I have been doing more social dancing (one night each of TUX in Toronto, LLX in London, NZX in Auckland, Red Rhythm a few times, London Lindy Lunches and a few other bits and pieces). I went to LSF over the Jubilee weekend which was good. I could not find much in the way of blues back in NZ, but did go along to Tuesday Night Speakeasy 3 times while I was back in Wellington. Only got a couple of others to come along though. I have done a few blues classes and a workshop along with social stuff, and I think I have been improving.

      No progress with God.

      Not much progress with social stuff. I have tried to organise a couple of things but nobody was available, as usual.

      I bought a suit for Daniel & Sharon’s wedding but have not otherwise had any advice or inspiration on how to improve how I dress.

      I made a cake last week but have not done much other baking. Not as much as once a month I do not think. I have not done anything on theQuotebook, Fridge or any other programming projects. I have not worked on any electronics projects.

      Any advice or suggestions?

      Comment by qwandor — 13 June 2012 @ 8:35 am

  10. […] the start of last year I wrote out some objectives for the year. This is a bit late being February already, but now that it is 2013 it is time to […]

    Pingback by 2012 in review « Thoughts of a geek — 9 February 2013 @ 10:47 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: