Setting goals

Posted on 2022-06-15
Tags: personal

I have been a little disorganized lately when it comes to putting my short-term and long-term goals in order. I tend to get very ambitious about one thing, just to drop it for the next exciting topic. I said I would write more here, and just for myself, I’ll put down some goals I want to put progress towards. As a reference point, so I can look back later and remind myself where I started. Some of these goals will be more ambitious than others, plus I’m sort of freestyling this post.

Getting better at typing

Embarrassingly, I’m a pretty sloppy typer. Given my profession, I should be better at this. My typing is sort of like a mix of touch typing and “picking”, which is pretty abysmal for productivity and ergonomics. Plus it hurts my hands after a while.

Aside on keyboards

I’m motivated more by this by my recent interest in mechanical keyboards. I’ve used a “RGB” gaming keyboard by Razer for the past year or so, which was pretty clicky. Now not knowing anything about mechanical keyboards, I figured I might as well learn.

After much research, I started to figure out some of the terminology and options (there are many). Getting into mechanical keyboards is daunting. My first keyboard was the Keychron Q1 with Gateron Red switches. These are linear, so it was really awkward to type with as I kept making mistakes without the familiar tactile bump. However, they were nice for playing games and the keyboard as a whole was a great upgrade. One of the main reasons I started getting into mechanical keyboards was for a smaller form factor. The full numpad-and-friends was unnecessary for me and just took up mouse space. I’m enjoying the small and compact form factors (<= 75%).

After I received my board, I wanted to try other form factors and switches. As of right now, I’m still a novice with essentially no deep knowledge of all the special switches, keycaps, etc. beyond the basics. However, a special kind of board caught my attention: ortholinear keyboards. These keyboards differ from standard keyboards in that the keys are aligned, well, ortholinearly, in rows and columns like a matrix. This is in contrast to the staggered layout inherited from typewriters. There is a lot of conversation about the supposed benefits of these types of boards, but I figure I’ll see how they treat me. It definitely hits a design soft spot.

The more surprising aspect of the ortholinear layout is the tendency for very compact form factors. I did a ton of research and debating before pulling the plug on the Boardsource 4x12 coupled with Gateron Browns. With only 48 keys, you have to use “layers” to access hidden keys. The advantage is the QMK firmware, which allows you to program almost any key layout or macros you want. I’m still just experimenting with the layout I like. It’s definitely a hurdle getting used to the new layout and figuring out where things are. I also soldered it (my first solder job) which was fun and a bit stressful. Since this is already getting long-winded and off-topic, I might make another post on my experience building it and how I like it when I have more time spent using it.

That ended up being a lot. Point is, I’ll be working to improve my typing ability by forcing myself to type correctly when I can. I’ll probably be mostly using my new ortholinear layout keyboard, or any future ortholinear designs (I’ve taken a liking to them, despite my low proficiency). When possible, I’ll try to do some practice on A benefit of this is I can track my progress. Maybe I’ll post that someday. It’ll be pretty embarrassing to see the initial results, I hope. Maybe I can blame it on learning a new layout :).

Improving my setup

I’ll keep this one shorter. In general, I want to improve my desktop environment, my travel setup, and everything I use on a daily basis.

What I’ve done so far:

  • Bought a high quality standing desk. This is really something I put a lot of research into. Step 2: use the standing feature… more often. Regardless, the ability to microadjust the height is a great bonus.
  • Better mouse & mousepad. Invested in a G Pro Superlight and Artisan mousepad. Not the cheapest, but I wanted something nice to last.
  • A nice but affordable fountain pen.
  • A 144hz 1080p monitor. Not state of the art by any means, but better than what I was using. It would be nice to get an upgrade, but it’s not a priority given my PC specs.
  • Sennheiser HD 6XX’s. A huge upgrade from whatever cheap headset I had been using for years. Unfortunately, the audio keeps cutting out in the left ear, which I hope is just a cable issue. I also should get an amp/DAC, admittedly something I know little about.

What I want to get/improve:

  • A better chair. My current chair isn’t horrible, but I think a good long-term investment would be a high-quality chair to avoid back problems.
  • A good arm rest for my keyboard. I have one from my Razer keyboard, but I might want to get a better one for ergonomics.
  • A monitor arm. My monitors are not in ideal positions and their stands don’t help much. I need do to research into monitor arms.
  • More keyboards? Probably shouldn’t… but it’s fun.
  • Amp/DAC/headset as above. Possibly a better microphone than my cheap USB mic.
  • Monitor and general PC specs? More likely gradual upgrades when (if ever) some components are more affordable.
  • A nice laptop bag, carrying case for a travel keyboard. I’d like a cleaner on-the-go setup instead of my haphazard backpack mess.
  • Perhaps some more classy clothing. Might be good to change up the wardrobe.
  • A somewhat good coffee/espresso contraption. I’m no coffee expert or connoisseur by any means, but this is something I’d prefer than always going out when I want coffee.

Probably missing a few things, but c’est la vie.

Being healthy

I want to be healthier. That includes better food and more exercise. Very cliché, but it’s true. I haven’t put enough thought into my plan for this, but perhaps some kind of meal prep plan and tracking daily walks/runs. I’d like to learn how to be a better cook, so I’d be two birds + stoning that. Now to motivate routine cooking and working myself up to daily walks or runs… that’s more difficult. I don’t like how I’ve treated my health over the pandemic era, and it’s not something I want to last any longer than it has to.

Working more on hobbies & projects

Kind of an umbrella here, but I want to make progress on some projects and have fun with hobbies. Picking up cubing again would be fun. Reading more books, maybe about history or philosophy. And some fiction. Get back into drawing/sketching again, or even some digital painting. Learning how to tinker with cars. Working on my toy programming language. Maybe develop some more serious applications?

Learning a new language

This one is pretty ambitious. I know some Spanish, but I regret that I didn’t take it further/keep up with it. I want to become proficient in French and maybe rekindle some of that latent Spanish. Learning another language is not easy, but I feel pretty motivated to take it on. My goal is to get to B1 within a year if I can, and then beyond. I’ve bought some books in French to read and practice as I go. I’ll also utilize Anki for learning vocabulary, along with a lot of immersion in the form of video/auditory media. Hopefully I can have some fun with this, as it’s an endeavor I’m nervous about but also pretty excited.


Well that was a lot of rambling to myself. It was nice to get it out (somewhat) and for me to reference. I most likely missed some important goals or details. I’ll try to post more about progress if I have the time. Maybe doing that is a goal in itself! :)