The theme for 2022 was resilience. Over this past year most of us have gotten at least one lesson on the importance of resilience, whether it was because of a job loss, a major change in a relationship, a death in the family, or because their entire social life was upended. However, the fact is, life changes, and sometimes changes a lot in a very short period of time. Fragility is the natural state of things – it takes systems, planning, and preparation to set things up so that they can be relied upon, even if the assumptions underlying the system become unstable. Note that resilience doesn’t fix things that are fundamentally wrong – it just smooths out the disruptions that occur when surprises happen.
It’s been an interesting year for us this year. We hit several of our goals, others changed due to life circumstances, and even others are still in progress.
Sometimes it would be nice to not live in times that will be in the history books other times it’s exciting to see what’s going to happen. No matter what is going on in the world around us we learned this past year about being resilient and creating goals that will stand through even the tough times. As we go into 2023 we will spend our time learning how to better accomplish our goals by managing ourselves and our time wisely and breaking our goals down into manageable chunks that we can accomplish.
Get at least one Azure certificate. Yes this is a carry over from last year but I still plan to complete it especially now that I’m on the regular performance plan schedule at work. I’m going to follow Will’s advice and get the fundamentals (AZ 900) certification first, then work toward the developer (AZ 204).
Learn to play 4 worship songs on the keyboard, not the synth (playing whole notes). Be able to play the full song along with the recording of the band playing. At least one will be a fast song, likely the third one I attempt to learn. I’ve already learned to play some parts of songs but not a whole worship song. As a bonus goal, outside of my control, I’d like to be able to play the keyboard with the band either in practice or at a special event like a creative night.
My long term goal is to become fluent in Albanian. For this next year I plan to get more regimented with my study by setting aside daily time to study Albanian. I also aim to have a full conversation in Albanian beyond small talk/casual greetings.
Create a creative space in my house for doing all the creative activities (painting, music, writing, photography, etc.) that I do. I spend most of my free time involved in some sort of creative activity. The largest room in my house is barely used when I’m awake, bedroom. Over the course of the year I plan to move my office into the spare (creative) room, then move my bed into the room I now use for an office. After doing that I will turn what is now my bedroom into a creative arts room.
My primary goal for the year is to maintain the gains (or losses) I’ve made this past year. I’ve reached a healthy weight and am developing a healthy lifestyle. That said I also want to push myself as that will keep me focused more than maintenance. Right now I’m running about 10 miles per week on average (1.5 on lifting days and 2-3 on cardio days). I injured myself pushing too much too soon this past year so I’m going to increase but slowly. My goal is to work myself up to averaging 20 miles per week (2 on lifting and 5-6 on cardio and adding 4-5 on weekends).
Cutting back and focusing on saying no this past year along with hurting my knee running has shown me the benefit and necessity of rest. In addition to continuing to have a night for creative endeavors, this year I plan to take one day off completely from any sort of work. A big part of this is reducing screen time so less time in front of the computer, watching TV, and playing on my phone. I’m going to track my screen time on each of these devices and aim to reduce it by at least 30% by the end of the year.
Increase the frequency with which I do creative writing, as opposed to more non-fiction stuff like what we do on the podcast. I don’t necessarily have to publish any of this stuff, but I just want to have unstructured blocks of time for creative pursuits on a regular basis. I’m also highly unlikely to decide to pick up a musical instrument or a paint brush, so that’s the likely best choice.
Have more deliberate practice on grammar instead of just vocabulary. I have a pretty solid vocabulary in the language, but some grammatical constructs I should have already internalized aren’t as solid as I would like. It’s also much less fun to drill those, but I really need to do it. My vocabulary is well into C1 level, but I’ve not really locked in some of the structures from B1 and B2 levels as far as grammar. I still understand them, but they aren’t second nature. So I need to drill a lot to correct his.
Switch over to typescript, react, and either postgres or mysql for my stack. While I like C#, it’s increasingly become pattern soup that I don’t enjoy working with. Angular has exactly the same problem. I’m also really enjoying learning new things on a new platform, so I want to lean into this a lot more. My new job also uses these technologies, so I have a great environment in which to learn.
Finish switching to linux. It looks like Windows 11 is going to try every way that they can to make sure that you are forced to use office online, including forcing you to sign into your computer with those credentials. Because this means that a mistake on microsoft’s part could mean that I can’t make a living (or that I have to waste time dealing with their issue at my own expense), I’m not going to stick around. Plus, things like forced updates are incredibly disrespectful and I’m tired of the problems they cause. And I find that Microsoft’s goals often don’t align with mine.
Improve the way I document and organize my digital assets. Stuff like email, password management, my checklists for doing various things – they are all documented to varying degrees, but not necessarily up to date, organized, or in a structure where it’s easy to find them. I’ve migrated a lot of things that can safely be stored unencrypted into obsidian, but the process is far from complete. And I need to rework my password management system as well, as I’d like to get into a little bit more of a structure for things like password rotation (and not reusing passwords, which I mostly avoid, but isn’t perfect). And 2FA anywhere I can as well. Basically documentation, structure, and procedures are the forerunners of automation and outsourcing and also reduce mistakes.
Complete Developer Network
Launch our first non-podcast product. We have some things we are working on right now, too early to give details. It may be a book, it may be a training course, we’ll announce it when it’s ready. The idea is to get over the hurdle and produce something other than a podcast that can help grow the business and provide for us to make more content for the podcast.
Get the new site launched. It’s close to ready, but we’ve both had some schedule disruptions that have slowed down the work we needed to do to switch over. Will is currently working on some of the final steps, but we have a lot of things to test to make sure that the launch doesn’t cause other problems with things like the feed, existing links, SEO, and our content pipeline. But wordpress is getting more and more annoying and we’re either going to have to put in a lot of work on wordpress updates or we are going to have to switch.
Start on rebranding our stuff. The logo and other stuff were done more than seven years ago and are a bit dated. The same is true of the website layout, which was largely imposed by the wordpress theme we use.
Theme for 2023
The theme for 2023 is time management by exploring the 12 Week Year method of productivity as described in the book by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. The core concept is to break the year down into 12 week sections (quarters) and set goals for each of the 12 weeks.
Setting annual goals is a good thing, however 12 months can be a long time to spend working toward a goal. Breaking them down into 12 week goals increases the urgency and helps to prevent procrastination.
As we have seen this past year, many things can change in just a few months. Breaking goals down into smaller chunks allows for more flexibility when life and situations change.
The 12 week year also fits into our current annual 52 week year structure by having 4 chunks (quarters) of 12 weeks working on goals, then a 1 week break between chunks.
During each of these chunks, likely at the break week, we will take time to discuss an aspect of the 12 week year or time management in general. In that same episode we will briefly go over our goals, what we accomplished in the previous chunk as well as our goals for the upcoming chunk.