Release notes: January 2021

Date: 2021-02-04 | release-notes | reflections

See all reflections.

This month, I paid $250 in charitable System Tax, built an IG AR Filter, and improved my project management systems.

My name is Hamilton and these are my January 2021 release notes.


In January, I was really bad at executing my systems. Mostly in exerise and working on my projects. I created a new system of accountability at the beginning of the year to charge myself $10 everytime I missed but quickly had to increase the amount to $25 because I just kept missing.

At the end of the month, I paid $250 towards my Social Investing Fund for breaking my system. I'm changing around my systems to be a bit more streamlined and hoping that leads to more productivity.

I'm not sure if my system execution was really that bad or if I'm just noticing more because I'm tracking it. Regardless it's not where I want to be and at some point it comes down to just doing it.

On the bright side I've started reading again and picked up Notion as my primary note taking app. Both have been great sources of satisfaction.


In January, I learned a lot about 3D technologies like Unity and Blender and continued to iterate on my vision for my art and businesses. I think I want more of a hybrid investment than I started out the year with - moving to a 1 busines, 1 art / month paradigm.

I tried to participate in the daily Genuary 2021 art challenge but my poor system execution coupled with lack of 3D skills led to the production of just 2 pieces all month. Despite the dismal display, I really enjoyed the creation process which is one reason I'm rebalancing my effort investment towards art creation. Will probably revisit the prompts in the coming months.

My business for January was to start creating IG AR filters. I got my first - Cubize - published this week. More to come.

Separately I've been doing a lot of system improvement work. I picked up Code Complete to work on my software engineering foundations and have overhauled my systems of ideation and project execution. I think I spent too much time this month iterating on systems vs producing things, but I think they're in a much better place now so that's progress of a sort.

I won't go into these systems in detail here but one thing I've been thinking about is the necessity of a strong hypothesis before undertaking any non-trivial work. I think this can ensure you're working on the right problem, moving in the right direction, and ultimately not wasting your resources.


Work's actually been going really well - so well that I wonder if I'm spending more time on it and less in other parts of my life. Two things that I think have helped me a lot this half:

  • A prioritized, researched backlog of projects I'm both commiting to and considering taking on
  • A single source of truth (a project spec) for every project

Both are ways of better organizing disparate information in one place and I think they've decreased the amount of things I need to remember and increased my ability to scale across projects and communicate with other people.

I've started replicating some of these systems in my own life now that I've vetted them for some time.


It's still cold so I didn't do too much. But I am going on several trips in the next few months so I'm excited for that.


We're 1/12th of the way through 2021. What are you going to do with the rest?