Thursday, December 24, 2020 -
2020 - Year in Review
A look back at what was 2020. Highlights, what worked and what didn't.
That’s a wrap for 2020, the most unpredictable year in a long time. There has been, and continues to be, tragedy and suffering for many people globally. So much of that could likely be avoided with a bit of common sense and wearing a mask… 😷
Year in review
Work from home
Some time in early March, I started to work from home. To be completely honest, I was glad it (finally) happened. I worked remotely for a few years as a freelancer earlier in my life and remember that time as the most productive time ever.
For someone who works in the software industry, I have never liked open office spaces, not to mention the 9 to 5 work hours and the fact I needed to be present. These are leftovers from the industrial age. There is so much to be said about the inefficiency I have experienced in offices, let’s just be glad we are past all that.
What I am most thankful for is that people who can work from home finally get a chance to spend more time with their families. Missing dinners, birthdays or the first step of your child because you are abroad or working late to make someone else’s dream come true is ridiculous.
In my case, working from home resulted in a lot less wasted time:
- No more commute (~1h 15m per day)
- No more domestic & international travel (~4 to 6 days per month)
I had two options as to what I could do with that extra time. Play video games, watch Netflix, scroll through Facebook or be smart. I opted for being smart and using the time wisely, which I reflected in my OKRs.
Objectives & Key Results (OKRs)
In my first week at home earlier in 2020, I knew I had to get my WFH routine set up. The first step was to create objectives and key results for the rest of the year. I highly suggest you look into that as you wouldn’t try to cross an ocean in a boat without GPS or a compass, so why live life without any clear direction?
My top objectives I set for the year were:
- ✅ Publish a technical book about modern web development (Cloud Native Web Development and A Smart Guide for Your Career as a Software Engineer)
- ✅ Develop a SaaS product to experiment with new technologies (Your Analytics)
Svelte - a technology bet that paid out
Over two years ago, I learned about www.svelte.dev. I spent some time to understand how it worked and it was clear to me that Rich Harris was onto something. I dropped React and started to use Svelte (Why I moved from React to Svelte and why others will follow). I received quite a bit of push back from people when I started to recommend Svelte back then, just the same way I received push back when I recommended React before people talked about it.
This was a bet I made two years ago and in 2020, it showed it was worth it. Expect to hear a lot more about Svelte in 2021.
Focus on more than one income source
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a common saying to mitigate loss. We all follow that in one way or another. Whether it is eating healthy (you wouldn’t just eat pasta every day) or investing in various industries to better weather market difficulties.
How many of us though rely on one single income source? “Study hard, get a good job” is what you likely heard from your parents. They told you that because it worked for them. However, with the availability of the internet and its global reach, I no longer believe a single income source to be a smart decision.
My OKRs in 2020 reflect that and with my first book, I created my first additional income source besides my full-time job. As you will see in my next blog post, my 2021 OKRs are very much focused on creating further income sources. Look at yourself, find what you enjoy and what you are passionate about, then start creating. Create more and consume less!
First and foremost, I published a book and made significant progress with my SaaS product, which is used by eight teams at the time of this writing. The best part: It’s completely free until I get a chance to integrate with Stripe :-). If you have less than 10k pageviews per month, it will forever be free or you can self-host it for free too.
Secondly, for the time of 2020 when my wife and I lived in the UK, we had a great daily exercise routine. The lack of the daily commute and generally being more active needed to be compensated for. Make sure you move!
I also deleted my Facebook account and decided to focus my social media time on Twitter. More on that in my next blog post where I talk about 2021. Along the same lines, I trimmed my RSS feed, unsubscribed from all sorts of email lists, cut toxic people from my network and became a lot more protective of my time by learning to say “no”.
What didn’t work
After relocating back to Canada, our exercise routine went down the drain for a while, something that needs to be picked up again.
I stopped taking my half an hour nap at lunchtime. That was something I did for the first few months when I started to work from home and it was great. This is high on the list of things I want to revive. Even if you don’t fall asleep as easily as I do, I suggest you try lying down for thirty minutes to rest.
I do not yet live at the place I want to live, but this is something I will continue to work towards in the coming year.
Takeaways for 2021
In my next blog post, I will go into a lot more details on what I have planned in 2021. I will also publicly share my OKRs and hope to inspire some of you.
Overall, for all that happened, 2020 was a pretty good year for me personally. The lifestyle I live now is a lot more aligned with my personal values. Not 100% yet and I will make further adjustments in 2021 to move closer to exactly how I want to live my life. More to come!