I haven't been writing much for the past three or four years. However, I always make sure to find time to write my annual resolutions post. I'm not sure why I slowed down on writing new posts, I certainly enjoy it. It probably has to do a lot with how busy life has become. I'll get to that further down within this post though, don't you worry. Do me a favor and slow down from your life for a moment and spend 5 minutes with me while we review another crazy year of my life and some lessons learned together. Want to read up on previous resolutions, or jump right to a certain section? You're in luck, I've linked them up in the header.
2016 overall was another fast paced year that seemed to fly by. Lots of lessons learned and many more still to be learned. I would like to think my kids will some day read, and more importantly learn from these posts. Chances are if they are anything like me they will have to experience the lessons first hand in order to learn from them. My annual resolutions posts are my favorite since I tend to put a lot of work into setting goals for myself and trying to apply some creative work to them as well.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat of us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.- Steven Pressfield
Life in 2016 was busy. No, really, it was incredibly busy. Being a reactionary year, health rarely took priority in 2016. Lots of healthy food, little focus on excercise. I set some health goals in 2017 which you can see at the bottom of this post. At least during the second half of this year I think health can take much more of a priority.
Of all the resolutions, this is one I did not succeed in whatsoever. In hindsight, I wasn't exactly setting myself up for success though either. On week days I'm averaging 4.5 hours commuting which takes up a lot of time from me, my family, and my health. Very often we spent the weekends playing catch up or attempting to rest up instead of thriving or enjoying life like I would have hoped.
First off, I really liked the video from this guy so check it out. 2016 was a pretty creative year and I continued to learn a lot. I worked on side projects more than anything, with one side project still taking up the majority of my time. This was a good resolution for me because I am happiest when I'm creating things. I spent lots of time coding and experimenting and hope to continue that trend in 2017.
One of my favorite lessons learned from the year is from Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital. He said many people spend a lot of time playing defense in life, but little on offence. For instance, if I were to ask you how you spend your time at work, how would you respond? My guess is you you spend a lot of time in meetings and email. When you think about what you have in your email and the meeting you attend, are those things you want to accomplish, or things others want you to accomplish? I find in my life, especially in business, I spend the majority of my time doing what others need. That isn't always a bad thing, I love helping people. The problem is if you spend the majority of your time helping others, and little time on what you want to accomplish, you'll find feelings like being out of control or being overwhelmed. The less you can focus on saying no and focusing playing offense, the more time you'll have for you. How can you do that? Let's next move on to Derek Sivers who came up with the mantra "if it isn't a hell yeah, it is a no."
Are you out there working on your own to do list or are you letting everyone else write your to do list for you?- Chris Sacca
From Derek's blog: "There was a music conference in Australia that I had told my friend that I would go with her to. It wasn’t even like the conference themselves were really expecting me, it was my friend Ariel Hyatt, one of the best publicists I know and she was speaking at that conference and asked if I would come with her as like a co-presenter in her mentor session or something. So I had said yes like six months before. Like yeah sure, Australia!
I’m living in New York City. And once it came close and it was time to book the tickets I was like “eh, I don’t really want to go to Australia right now, I’m busy with other stuff.” And it was actually my friends Amber Rubarth, who is a brilliant musician, I was on the phone with her and kind of lamenting about this and she’s the one that pointed out, she said “it sounds like your decision is not between yes and no, you need to figure out whether you’re feeling like fuck yeah or no.” And I said “yeah, that’s really what it comes down to.”
The idea is if you’re feeling anything less than like “oh hell yeah I would love to do that! Oh my God, that would be amazing!”, if you’re feeling anything less than that then just say no.- Derek Sivers
Because most of us say yes to too much stuff, and then we let these little mediocre things fill our lives. So the problem is when that occasional big oh-my-god-hell-yeah thing comes along, you don’t have enough time to give it the attention that you should because you said yes to too much other little half-ass kind of stuff, right?
So once I started applying this my life just opened up because it just meant I just said no, no, no, no, no to almost everything. But then, when the occasional thing came up that I was really like “you know what, that would be awesome”, then suddenly I had all the time in the world.
Every time people contact you, every time people contact me they say “I know you must be incredibly busy”, and I always think “No, I’m not.” Because I’m in control of my time. I’m on top of it. Busy, to me, seems to imply out of control, you know? Like “Oh my God, I’m so busy! I don’t have any time for this shit!” To me that sounds like a person who’s got no control of their life."
Below is a short video where Derek explains his philosphy.
To me, ‘busy’ implies that the person is out of control of their life.- Derek Sivers
I read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson about 10 years ago. The book gave me the desire to walk the Appalachian Trail, a 2,160 mile trek between Georgia and Maine in the Eastern United States. The problem often times with hiking the trail when you are younger is you don't have a lot of money so you need to work. Then as you reach your mid twenties you start taking on more responsibilities which also requires more work. Then comes love, and then comes family and before you know it you're almost fourty and you've worked a lot but wonder what it would be like to have six straight months of nothing but nature. One of the books that has had the biggest impact on Tim Ferriss is Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. In part it inspired him to write his first book The Four Hour Work Week. I've embedded a video trailer of the book below to give you an idea of what the concept is all about.
This brings me to a recent James Altucher podcast episode with Kamal Ravikant. Before I start there, let me first say you should check out James Altucher's podcast. I had been lightly following his writings but in 2016 got into his podcast as a result of my lengthy Bay Area commute. James is incredibly "real" and generous with his knowledge. Many times you'll think to your reading a personal journal when reading his work and on the podcast like you are overhearing a deep conversation with a friend. He doesn't hold back. Any way, in the episode Kamal talks about his 500 mile trek to Camino de Santiago in Spain.
Kamal talked to a monk. He asked him, “How do you find peace?” The monk said, “Easy question, huh?” “If I’m going to ask a question, that’s the question,” Kamal said. The monk gave him three answers. And I didn’t understand. I kept asking, “What do you mean? What does that mean?” He kept explaining, and I learned the number one philosophy for a peaceful life- Kamal Ravikant
My team's job is to maintain the content for help.netflix.com as well as an internal knowledge base for agents to assist you with your streaming problems. The articles today are static with very little personalization. Like any company, engineering resources can be tight so we ran a test using only our team with a jQuery, CSS, and HTML proof of concept (POC). Below were the goals of the test.
That was possibly the easiest and most helpful help function I have ever found. Refreshing 😊Netflix customer feedback
On a recent episode of Tim Ferriss's podcast he had a Random Show Threesome where Matt Mullenweg and Kevin Rose talked about resolutions. Mullenweg challenged Tim and Kevin to croudwource their resolutions to their friends and family. I've done that this year and even challenged some work coworkers to boot. Work challenges likely won't interest you on ths page, but on a recent date (yes, I'm oh so very romantic) asked Christina for some goals.3 things to do more of in 2017
I know I reference Tim Ferriss a lot but another thing I read in 2016 was an article by Chad Fowler who was a guest writer on Tim's blog. The post is titled The Big Question: Are You Better Than Yesterday? and if you don't have 5 minutes to read it for yourself, it essentially boils down to asking yourself each day if you are better today than you were yesterday. Anyone who knows me knows that breaking large goals down into smaller chunks and knocking them out slowly over time is one of my favorite life hacks. I'm hoping to continue that trend in 2017 where I take goals I've struggled with in the past and try breaking them down into smaller chunks each day.
The secret is to focus on making whatever it is you’re trying to improve and make better today than it was yesterday. That’s it. It’s easy.Chad Fowler
This is a super geeky one but if you or your app isn't ranking well within Google, you might as well not exist. I know the very basics of SEO, but in 2017 I'd like my apps to get on the map. I'll report back what I learned about how my properties are ranking (before and after).
I've gotten a little more granular this year. I have some detailed stats I'll share YoY with weight, steps walked, push-ups, and time doing mindful meditation.
Life can be challenging. Add on top of that kids, challenging jobs, oh and the Bay Area and you're supposed to find time for each other? Yes, yes you are. We don't get out nearly as much as we should. Even if we can't find time out, find time for each other.
I have lists for everything, but for some reason I've never had a bucket list. That might have something to do with getting older, the big 40 next year. I'll add to this list this year and throughout the years.