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28

22 Apr, 2020 | Personal

You can view my previous yearly summaries here: 24, 25, 26, 27.

Summary

This has been a strange year, providing me with more questions than answers. 2 years ago I decided to learn to code, which has been a very rewarding skill to develop. At the same time, I haven’t found the career as a developer to be as rewarding as the skill itself. This dissonance has been uncomfortable at times. 7 years into my career, I still find myself asking the question ‘what am I best placed to contribute?’ Whilst only one facet of my annual review, the career component has taken a larger part of my thinking. Whilst most of the sections discussed below have become clearer or more consistent, the career component feels more fuzzy and confused.

28 birthday balloon

Health

I have continued to focus on good sleep. In particular, I have become more consistent with my bedtime routine and learned to eat earlier in the evening as I find this helps with better sleep. I averaged 8 hours and 7 minutes of sleep a night, remarkbly close to last years average (8 hours 10 mins).

sleep data

I’ve continued to exercise with decent consistency. I’ve found the gym to be more boring. I’ve tried to change my routine by focusing more on classes rather than isolated gym workouts. I’ve tried Classpass and picked up yoga ocassionally. Next year, I plan to continue with more variety to my exercise.

gym data

Two trends from last year that have continued: less drinking and letting go of meditation. I find alcohol in my social life on fewer and fewer occasions. I don’t miss it.

My Apple Watch will occasionally nudge me to meditate, which I do, but with far less discpline or consistency as I have tried in previous years. Instead, I’m pursuing active mindfulness - mindful practice through other means, such as sport.

A final thing worth mentioning is an increased effort to measure my health. This year, I’ve used Thriva to do regular blood sampling. This year, I plan to invest in glucose monitoring as well.

Professional/Personal Development

As mentioned above, my professional work has been a source of confusion. I’ve oscillated between finding energy in my work and finding boredom in my work. In particular, I’ve felt that a pure developer role doesn’t allow me to utilise some of my core skillsets (e.g. sales, strategy, pitching). This year will be another year of personal experimentation in my career.

I read 12 books this year. I focused on topics of finance, career and coding, which I imagine I will expand in the coming months. You can read some of my book notes.

reading data

I launched 3 new side-projects this year, which I am pretty proud of. In last years review, I stated I wanted to build credibility as a product builder and I believe I’ve execute on that. It’s also allowed me to become involved in the Indie Hacker community, which gives me a lot of inspiration and energy. I add all my side-projects on my projects page and have built some in public on Twitter.

I published 9 posts this year. This is fewer than I imagined, but they are also some of my best writing. I continue to have a mixed relationship with writing. On the one hand, I find it clarifying and energizing to write and share my thoughts. On the other, I don’t know of any concrete benefit I get from it. Arcs of Seniority is my most viewed essay to date.

A notable new mention here is I have started teaching coding through Code At Uni, teaching students at LSE, UCL and Nottingham Trent an introduction to coding workshop. I have never formally taught before, so I was surprised to get great feedback from both students and colleagues.

teaching data

Finances

I’ve refrained from including a finances section in previous reviews. As I’ve got older, this has become more of a focus, as I feel more (self-applied) pressure to plan for the future.

5 of the 12 books I read this year were finance books, predominantly on the topic of stock investing. I started stock investing 3 years ago as a small experiment. It has now become part of a concerted strategy to build wealth and I spend considerable time on it. I’ve also created a small investing club - let me know if you’re interested in joining. You can read most of what I know about finance.

investing

Relationships

Again, a focus on depth over breadth. I’ve spent more time with my girlfriend and family, which has been rewarding.

I have also made an effort to build relationships and accountability in aspirational communities e.g. the IndieHacker community. I’m still trying to find a ‘tribe’ that best reflects who I want to be.

Fun

In my effort to focus more on side-projects and learning to code, I became slightly less spontaneous. Whilst deliberate, I do miss some aspects. Particularly, I’d like to go to more music concerts next year, having gone to none this year.

summary

New Things I Tried This Year

New things I’ve found valuable.

  • Outside Walks - I’ve become more deliberate about time spent outdoors. In particular, I’ve built a habit for taking walks outside during lunch breaks and on the weekend. I’ve found this to be a good way of stimulating thinking and nurturing calm.
  • Countryside Breaks - I took 3 weekends in the British countryside (Cotswolds, Chilterns and Wiltshere). A combination of being outdoors and spending a longer period of time with fewer people proved to be particularly rewarding. When you live in the city of London its easy to forget that the UK has such amazing countryside. I encourage you to explore it.

Looking Forward

A focus for this year will be on self reflection and understanding. I want to find the source of some of my dissatisfaction in my career and work towards resolving that. I want to pay more attention to the activities and people that give me energy. When something peaks my curiosity, I want to better understand why.

I want to continue building my side-project muscle. I want to spend more energy on projects with revenue-generating potential and more time with people that keep me accountable to my side-hustles.

Finally, I’m happy to continue deepening my existing relationships. In particular, I’d like to extend the idea of weekends in the countryside to think about ways I can create more interesting social events between my friends.


Health

Parentheses show year on year change.

  • Sleep - av. 8 hrs 7 mins/night
  • Weight – 83kg (-3)

Personal/Professional Development

  • Books read – 12 complete (same)
  • Posts published – 9 (-5)
  • Projects launched – 3 (+2)
  • Public Speaking – 0

Fun

Music concerts/theatre/festivals/sporting events – 2 (-4)

  • Mamma Mia (Jul 19)
  • Notting Hill Carnival (Aug 19)

Travel – 7 Countries (+3), 10 Cities (+5)

  • The Cotswolds, UK (May 19)
  • Bari, Italy (May 19)
  • Mallorca, Spain (Jul 19)
  • Wiltshere, UK (Aug 19)
  • Oludeniz & Kabak, Turkey (Sep 19)
  • Tel Aviv, Israel (Sep 19)
  • Algarve, Portugal (Sep 19)
  • The Chilterns, UK (Dec 19)
  • Koh Panghan, Thailand (Feb 2020)

Bucket List

Nothing new completed from my Bucket List.

Annoyingly, I did have one planned (a large mixed group ski holiday) that was cancelled ude to Coronavirus.