Tony Pitale

January 2014, Recap

Like many people I took advantage of the New Year as a time to reflect. This year I took special care in my reflection because January marked my 30th birthday.

With refreshed goals in mind I set out to create the systems and, hopefully, habits that will help me to live each goal going forward.

The best way that I’ve found to grow is through deliberate practice. Review and feedback are critical components of this. What follows is my self-review so far for January 2014.


My first goal, to code more on OSS, lead me to attempt to build the habit of contributing daily. For the entire month I have done just that, by the standards of the Github contribution graph. I feel pretty amazing about this achievement.

I’ll soon be writing a post on the numerous benefits I’ve found when contributing daily and how I managed to keep it up for even one month.


I’ve always wanted to write more. And while I wasn’t as bold to say I would write every day, I did decide I wanted to make it easier to write. My system was to reduce my backlog of blog posts I’ve been collecting in Evernote. I plan to finish these regularly.

Also, I started GrowingDevs in 2013 with the help of a few friends. This month, I posted our fourth article. I’m hoping that the site as a whole will keep to a monthly posting schedule. So, if you have something you would like to share, please send me a message, or just a PR! I am excited to help anyone interested in getting started.

Lastly, my ideas for a book also continue to evolve, but that is not yet an active goal. The system is little work at a time to continue to develop these ideas, ask friends, and fill out outlines and research notes.

Helping Others

I haven’t done as much with this. But I believe I’ve developed some ideas for a system that I want. So far I have reached out to the team at I also plan to:

  1. Offer to help with new developers starting on their own OSS projects
  2. Publicize my availability as a mentor/speaking coach


My plan was to do at least one photowalk a month. While I did not do a photowalk in January, I did have a “product” photo shoot. I was able to help a friend take photos for a product review she’ll be posting on her own blog. I was able to get some practice in for my off-camera flash technique.

Finish What I Start

One of my biggest challenges in 2013 was finishing what I started. There’s no real system for doing this, other than to get feedback and do regular reviews.

The first week of this month, I finally finished a project that has been hanging around for 6+ months.

My OSS has also been brought back into a state of repair after my month of daily OSS coding. While not exactly finishing what I start, it is taking responsibility for the open issues and pull requests that I’ve been neglecting.

This all feels great, and helps to motivate me to finish more of what I start. It also frees me up to start new projects, which I’m pretty jazzed about!

Monthly Reviews

To wrap up this review, I wanted to point out again that one of my systems is to write a review at least monthly. Here you have it. Check!

Changes to the Systems

After one month, I already have some ideas for changes I’d like to make in my systems going forward.

I’m hoping to switch to doing shorter, biweekly reviews. Close feedback and introspection is important. Doing this after a whole month has felt too long.

Less coding. I’m going to try to keep an average above one OSS contribution per day. My count on Github should stay at or above 365. For now, I’ll keep contributing daily. My current count for OSS contributions, as of this writing, is 346.

I’d like to read and meditate more. Look for that in my next recap.

There you have it, my January 2014 Recap! I hope this helps you feel inspired to build systems for your own goals, and to write out regular reviews of the progress you’ve made.

Thanks for reading. It certainly helps to have all of you to keep me accountable and to really motivate me. So, thanks!

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