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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

New Year Resolutions

… or the lack of.

There have been years in which I have a long list of new year resolutions, and surprise, surprise, I didn’t complete it. And there have been years in which I have a really short list, and still, I managed to not complete it. So this year, I am not going to have any. I mean, why lie to myself?

Besides, sometimes announcing that I am going to do something has the effect of making me feel like it has already been done. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that it’s a fallacy that my mind falls into.

That is not to say that I don’t have any goals that I want to accomplish though. I now have something better – a ticket system / bug tracker!

What the hell is that, you asked?

I’ve seen ticket systems used in engineering, customer service, etc. but it’s probably the most widely used in software development, the line of work I am in. The work flow usually goes something like this:

1) Developers (people like me) make software.
2) QA (quality assurance) tests the software, and when they find a problem, they write up a ticket with the descriptions (such as “button doesn’t work”), mark it new/open, and assign it to me.
3) I read the ticket, and either work on it or decide why I won’t work on it. I then mark the ticket as “resolved” and give a reason such as fixed (“There, I fixed it”), cannot reproduce (“I don’t know what you guys are smoking”, or not a bug (“That’s right, quit wasting my time”). I assign it back to QA.
4) QA will double check to verify if it’s fixed. If it is fixed, they “close” the ticket. If it’s not fixed, they write a comment about it and assign it back to me.

It can also be used as a todo list. I can also write a ticket for a task that I want to do, and assign it to myself. And when it’s done, I close it or assign it to QA to verify.

One thing I noticed was that I am quite organized when it comes to work. Notes are taken. Charts are made. Tasks I’ve done are usually better documented than that of my co-workers. And stuff gets done. I also noticed that I am organized when I treat something like work, such as helping family members with car shopping or planning out videos. So I figured, if I want to get more done, I should treat those items more like work.

So now I have a constantly updated list of tickets with more serious tasks like “gather documents together for filing taxes”, “pay rent”, “go over credit card statement”, as well as errands like “take out the trash”, “return the phone call”, or unimportant (or rather, REALLY important) things like “watch last week’s ___ (insert name of TV show)” or “watch ___ (insert name of Youtube video that I meant to watch but was at work)”. And yes, I also have one called “write blog post about new year resolutions”.

With that, I should get more stuff done this year. So no new year resolutions. Whatever that’s going to be done is just going to be broken down into subtasks. I will write them up, assign them to myself, work on them, and close them when they are done. This is more concrete and productive for me, anyway.

Let’s see how long I keep this up!

PS. If you are technologically inclined and want to know which system I am using: it’s Mantis. It’s not bad. I also looked into Bugzilla and Trac, but in the end, I just wanted to get something working and was too lazy to figure out how to get to my server’s shell and all the other settings. In the end I just picked Mantis because it’s based on PHP and MySQL, and I am already familiar with how that was set up on my server.


  1. January 11th, 2012 | 4:28 pm

    Wow — a ticket system for goals and resolutions — that is brilliant. But can you trust that you’ll get your ticket resolved in time 😉

    Jane Chin’s last blog post..Enough

  2. January 11th, 2012 | 5:25 pm

    Just like work, some stuff is going to be marked low priority and they might never get done. That’s not a bad thing though, since it also helps prioritize things. For example, “write blog post about Christmas” is closed without being done since Christmas is already over and it’s not that important of a task to do in the first place. And “bring screw drivers home” was also never done because I couldn’t find mine and instead borrowed one. Of course, those two items obviously don’t get me towards any significant goal.

  3. January 11th, 2012 | 8:19 pm

    There is some science behind the ineffectiveness of stating what you will do. Indeed, you trick your mind into thinking you have already accomplished it, since you are getting accolades from others for making the effort and so on. I’d link to the study if I had the slightest idea where to find it.

    I think you are on the right track with your task management system. I’ve taken that approach before, and it is quite effective. Alas, it does not work in a freelance environment!

  4. January 11th, 2012 | 9:36 pm

    Yeah, I’ve had the theory for a while, and I did come across that research too that confirmed what I thought.

    I actually think task management systems work great with freelance environments. I mean, it might be hard to get others to use it, but it should help you if you just use it for yourself.

  5. Kat
    January 16th, 2012 | 11:20 pm

    I never keep my resolutions… maybe I should employ your system, heh.

    Kat’s last blog post..“Is He Gay?” (Alternatively Titled: “Dad, this is why your other children don’t visit.”)

  6. January 17th, 2012 | 1:27 am

    Yes, bring out your inner microchip. 😀

  7. January 19th, 2012 | 12:36 pm

    Wow. That’s organized. To be honest, this would intimidate me, but I can see how it would helpful to others and love the idea of using it for resolutions is fascinating. I like the idea of reviewing the “tickets” and deciding what action you will take on, including the possibility of closing it, if it’s not important anymore. This would give a more realistic picture of what we accomplished during a year and why we let go of some resolutions by choice.

    Keep me “posted” on how this goes through the year:~)

    Sara’s last blog post..Story Photo: The Sea Shell

  8. January 19th, 2012 | 2:12 pm

    Yeah, it can be intimidating if you are not used to it, but at work, the ticket tracker (the work one, not my own) is one of the first things I look at at the beginning of the work day, so I can definitely associate this with my daily ritual. This also shows that I really embrace being a computer programmer. :-)

  9. May 30th, 2012 | 2:14 am

    Hmmm… you’re more organised than me. I’ve been using lists and/or reminders for years, but something always comes up just as I’m finishing one and the whole thing gets put back again. (Hence me not catching up with blog reading or emails easily) I think my problem is that if I treat things as work my eyes glaze over and I get bored 😉
    I need to find ways to make games out of my chores!

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