For each month of 2023, I’m choosing a single word to inspire action. I did a similar experiment throughout 2020 and loved how it impacted my mindset. I’m excited to do this for another year!

For January I choose Depth. Rather than expanding into new habits, topics and interests, I wanted to spend time exploring, finishing and working on things that I’d already started. It was a busy month! I relaunched this blog and wrote a long article about working in the Twitter developer space. Marilyn and I spent a week volunteering at the Sundance Film Festival and ended up watching 17 movies in a week while volunteering 35 hours.

Depth wasn’t as much of a priority as I hoped. It was a constant reminder not to expand into new things though and focus on what I was already excited about.

Adam tailoring a digital garden

For February I’m trying a similar theme, but with a different take: Garden. I want to focus on improving the aesthetics and experiences of things I’m involved in. This is less about creation and more about experience design.

I’m not planning to do full UI/UX overhauls to projects, or major changes. This focus is on making experiences – both for me and for anyone who uses things I work on – that little bit better.

I hope to do this in a few ways.

For Hardcover, this will involve launching iOS and Android apps. We started beta testing the app last year and we’re getting close to a public release. The last Apple needs is for us to be able to purchase subscriptions in-app. We’re using the cordova-purchase-plugin to make that possible, and we’re almost there. This will tailor a much better reader experience using the app on mobile for the 50% of people who currently access Hardcover through a mobile device.

Also for Hardcover, my focus this month will be on improved reliability. We get quite a few BugSnag error reports every day right now, and that’s only going to grow. These are all automatic notifications I receive every time something goes wrong on the site. I’d like to clear these existing bugs out and write tests for parts that are failing so that by March it’s rare to receive an error report.

Here on my blog, my focus is going to be on continuing to develop this blog into my own digital garden. There are a few steps to that which I’ve already started that I’m looking forward to working on this month:

  • Migrate over remaining blogs post from my previous blog to here. That involves moving about 300 old Markdown posts into WordPress.
  • Implement Webmentions for links to posts.
  • Migrate over my old photo posts
  • Make a more interesting About page

Those are all for-fun projects that I could pour tremendous amounts of time into. I think of the Hardcover work as my “day job” and this blog as a nights and weekends passion project. It’s also been a chance to try out Next.js 13’s new App directory features in beta before we try using any of them on Hardcover.

In my physical space, I’d like to do a little apartment gardening. Less focused on actual plants, and more focused on improving our apartment in small ways to make it even better. We’ve lived in our apartment for 5 years now and I still LOVE it. After a decade of fixing problems in a house, it still feels like a vacation.

But things can always be better. I want to look into those smaller improvements that aren’t necessary but make things more inviting. This will be worked out over the month, but it includes: organizing the pots and pans to make it easier to cook, organizing our guest room closet a bit more, making it easier to charge devices and whatever else comes up.

The big goal for this month is to approach life with an eye for “how can I make this better” – and then actually do it. Let’s see how it goes.

How’d It Go?

I wanted to focus on aesthetics and the feel of what I was creating and putting into the world. I made some progress on this blog, created some beautiful digital art, and released an iOS app for Hardcover (!).

The mindset shift that helped was thinking about my life, my projects and my physical space as a garden. It felt like looking at everything as a coloring book, and I was having fun just filling it in.

The focus on beautification over productivity has been exciting. It did mean accomplishing less this month than I intended. I spent weeks working on the Hardcover iOS app making slow progress. That might’ve gone much faster if I had a mindset this month more focused on getting things done.


MidJourney image generated with the string “tailoring a digital garden, computer, flat design, light colors, colorful, white background, symbolic, abstract –aspect 3:2”.

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I'm , a full-stack product developer in Salt Lake City, UT. I love enlivening experiences, visualizing data, and making playful websites.

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