I view the new year as a life checkpoint. How am I doing? Am I doing what I set out to do? Am I happy? I also look at basic goals, accomplishments, and insights from the previous year.
In prior years my focus was external and career oriented. Gaining certifications, speaking at events, and contributing to open source projects I felt strongly about. This year my focus was internal and oriented towards having a better life.
Accessibility. I spent a significant amount of time this year learning everything there is to know about accessibility. This turned out to be the tip of a very large iceberg, but I feel I succeeded in studying accessibility on OS X, Windows, and the overall web.
Getting Legit Organized. Organization has been an overarching theme in my life, usually when I’m experiencing failure, but this year I decided to make it a focus. I studied organizational systems, learned how to identify and eliminate the clutter in my life, and successfully organized most of my paperwork electronically. I also experimented with a lot of technology and systems to get to this point, and I feel I can maintain it going forward.
Read more books. This has become an on-and-off goal in past years, but this year I decided books were something to make time for. I discovered Marie Kondo, whose books were the foundation of my reorganization this year, and I also discovered Tim Ferris, whose attitude and ideas I found useful when approaching challenges.
Diet and Nutrition. Though I’ve always been very skinny, nutrition has been former weak spot for me. Being skinny doesn’t always correlate to good health, so this year I decided to take cooking classes and focus on switching to healthier foods. I spent most of December cooking, and while there is still much work to be done I feel I’m overall healthier for having spent roughly half the year changing my personal habits on this.
More time with friends. I played a record number of board games and went to a record number of parties and outings.
Enhance personal technology. This was an expensive one. If I felt a device or app could improve my life by as much as 5%, I tried it. My major wins this year include joining rise.us, an app that pairs users with nutritionists who review their daily meals. I also got a Fujitsu ScanSnap IX500, a duplex scanner which can scan and ocr about 20 pages a minute. My favorite feature is the scanner’s ability to detect when pages have doubled up and wait for user correction. Many scanners were returned before I discovered the ScanSnap with this prized feature.
Time management. I’ve developed a working Evernote system I use consistently. I also use the Pomodoro technique for the less exciting tasks in my life. Google calendar took a backseat this year, and is now only used for appointment and meeting reminders.
For 2017 I’m going to switch my focus back to my career. I’d like to write more, including for this blog, and for industry magazines and maybe short stories. I’m also making more time for public speaking, and hope to present sessions at a few conferences in the bay area. I’m also going to make significantly more time for open source projects. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about this upcoming year.