I am not a person who believes in New Year resolutions, because I’ve always felt that if I want to do something, I need to do it right away. Why wait for the New Year to resolve something? Being a book lover, I was upset last December that I didn’t find a lot of time to read. Since I had decided to make more time for reading at the start of this year, I thought why not make a resolution.
My company follows the Agile methodology for Software Development. I decided to apply this concept in my daily life, particularly about my reading habit. In Agile Methodology, we set a timeline for each deliverable and call it Sprint Duration. Within this time period, we take up Stories, which are tasks/features that need to be completed within the Sprint. Each story has a list of Acceptance Criteria and can be called Done only when all the items in the list are completed.
My 2015 New Year resolution was to read more books. With a Sprint Duration of one year and the Acceptance Criteria of the story as “Completed reading and relishing 15 non-technical books”, I began the year. I promptly signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge and have been using it for tracking my progress. No blockers in the story so far.
Then one fine day at work, our Scrum Master explained the concept of doing a Retrospective in the middle of a sprint. A Sprint Retrospective meeting is usually held at the end of each sprint, where the team discusses what went wrong, what went well and what can be improved. These improvement points are noted as action items for the next sprint. The concept of doing a retrospective within the sprint and fixing the problems immediately sounded good to me and I decided to apply it to my personal goal as well.
In my resolution based reading sprint, I have about a quarter of the duration left. So, I thought of doing a retrospective. My story’s progress is fine. I found that I have too many books in my Currently Reading stack (eight!) and I have actually forgotten about a few. This is because I am reading a few short stories and essay collection books that can be taken up and dropped anytime.
Another thing I discovered was I have been constantly buying more books when I haven’t read even a quarter of the books I own. I have always been prone to hoarding books. Ever since I got a Kindle, due to the free availability of amazing classics, I have been downloading like crazy. The problem is that I have not read a single one of these free books.
My Tsundoku tendencies became very apparent to me once I did this retrospection and called for the Action Item, “Do not procure any book till the end of this year”. So this is my Pre New Year Resolution. I will not buy any book till the New Year, even if a book from the series I love gets released, even if my favourite author decides to publish a book after a long break, even if the next hot book is on sale, even if I get unbelievable discounts. For the next three and a half months, I will read whatever I already have.
Do you have a New Year Resolution that you are not following up on? Maybe it’s time to do a retrospection to redefine the existing resolution, or like in my case, set up a Pre New Year Resolution.