Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Small Year Progress Report

It's halfway through the year. I read a blog about email yesterday that discussed an analytical tool for Gmail. (Here's how you get it.) The author of the blog has a HUGE email volume compared to mine. I thought Gmail Meter might be a good way to summarize how my small year is going. So I loaded it up last night about 10pm and told it to generate a report from January 1 to June 30. It emailed me a report at 3:15am. That seems like a long time, but it's fine considering it's not running on my computer.

So this is my whole year so far. The guy in the blog had 7005 conversations just last MONTH. Most of the email I get is sale ads. I have it filtered, labeled, and archived so it skips my inbox. My top email senders are Sierra Trading Post (every day with a coupon), a daily comic email, Victoria's Secret, Fine Homebuilding, and a computer programmer in Melbourne that I've never met but we've been swapping complaints on email for over a decade.

Most of my email skips my inbox automatically. This is a fantastic strategy I learned from my friend Jonah in Austin. He also knows how to make his own cheese.

What do you know! The shortest month has the lowest % of email! In March I helped a friend get rid of a lot of stuff on Craigslist when he was moving. Swamped with email.
Over 1000 messages in one thread? That's probably using it like IM for my friend that was moving. He really needs to learn to use IM. Also the guy that made this data analysis tool, what is he using to set up that bottom axis? Those are some weird values.

I'm like Quick-draw McGraw on the email aren't I? This is the best indicator of a small year. I am NEVER too busy to answer an email. Although sometimes I'm doing some project where I can't stop right then or it will ruin my paint brush. The busy guy on the blog answers 25% of his email after more than 1 day.

He also answers 35% of his email in less than 10 words. OK, he seriously needs to get on IM. He's using email wrong. I do try to not be too wordy in email since everybody else is so damn busy. If I have a lot to say I write a blog.

Most people don't answer my email. But apparently when they do they tell all. I only reply to 8% of my incoming mail because it's mostly sale ads. The guy in the blog replies to 30% of his. I initiate 22% of my email threads where he starts 9% of his. So people are reaching out to him all day every day, wanting something, demanding his attention. 

This is what a Small Year is about. Taking time off from people demanding something of you all the time. I get a lot of requests from my mother and aunt for stuff -- bring me calamondin juice, pressure wash my deck, get me a computer and email address, show me how to make a database of pictures of trees, hook up plumbing to my bathtub in the yard, turn my truck into a convertible. I actually prefer those to "make a woman-owned company and get on the GSA Schedule so I can get a contract to modify a database for the Veterans Administration." That last request is not compatible with a small year. The only year that fits in might be one that ends with a bullet in the brain pan. Federal contracting is not my idea of a good use of my time.

I meant for the small year to include spending as little money as possible. Unfortunately I've already spent almost $14,000 this year according to my bank's online money map. That stops now though, because I have no more income. My unemployment benefits stopped a month ago.

At least every month in the small year is below my 12 month spending average. That's technically smaller. January looks weird because I deposited money into my checking account and then transferred it to savings. I got repaid for some personal loans. That $8000 in my savings account has to last me the rest of the small year now. I did actually spend more in January than any other month because I bought those two Spartan Royal Mansion aircraft trailers. That project really killed the small potential for the year, money-wise. I've already spent a lot on special rivet tools. I'm going to need to sell more mini-warehouse contents on eBay to finish the Spartan I'm converting into a laundry room/lab/office. Or maybe I should call it the Distribution Center, serving as the packing and shipping headquarters for selling off all the stuff I acquired back when I had a 3000 sq ft house. The 216 sq ft metal outbuilding will double my mouse-resistant living space. With running water and electricity it has a different type of functionality than my shed. And with a low ceiling and room for free standing furniture it is different than my house. I'll be able to have an actual chair.

That's pretty much what the small year has been so far, fixing up that Spartan. I passed the point two weeks ago where I stopped taking things off it and started putting things back on. It was a fine point and I almost missed it. It was between scrubbing the frame with a wire brush and orange cleaner and painting it with Gempler's Rust Converter. Since then I've installed the hold-down straps and roughed in the plumbing. I've got a $300 stack of stinky plywood out there now. I'm waiting for some strong men to come install it for me Friday. I already painted the C side of the plywood blue. I'm going to paint the B side just as soon as it's screwed down. I'm so sensitive to the smell of plywood, but I don't know what else to use. I built my house without any plywood. I had a man come and saw the Advantek subfloor for my 6'x12' bathroom while I stood a good distance upwind. I held my breath and screwed it down and quickly covered it with thinset and Hardibacker so I wouldn't smell it. The rest of the walls and floor is all real wood. The roof is steel on purlins. I suppose I could have used 1x6s in the Spartan, like a deck, but I still would have had to hire somebody to drive the screws into that steel because I'm not strong enough to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment