The Image above literally summarises my personal life last year with much time spent with bunch of books, some doodling on notebooks but you can completely ignore the yoga mat like i did on daily basis.
There are multiple areas in our life like work, family, social, career and spiritual however i will be focusing only about my personal life keeping my work, family and spiritual life aside.
As I look back, 2019 would be a year of focusing less on outside world and more of myself trying to find focus and meaning with my hobbies full of experiments, learnings ,surprises , some hard decisions many more so here is the review.
Every life event gives learnings ,but setting up time in direct active learning areas helps to keep yourself updated and take better decisions ,so took up these activities for same.
Initially decided to read 26 books and for the first time did it well beyond this limit ,buying a kindle ,Ipad along with kindle , pocket and Instapaper did helped me in this process but i also ended up buying or borrowing a bunch of hard copies as well.
Although i have always preferred books for learning anything but there are now better ways to learn so i did enrol and subscribe to learning platforms like Pluralsight, Udemy and Test automation university and all of them were really helpful for learning on a focused area like typescript , testing patterns, tools like cypress and many more but i was looking for something more.
I also enrolled for an online certification program for product management from upGrad.This was a proper and relatively longer program for 6 months and which does requires decent investment of your time and efforts but is really practical and helpful to understand the area well. I started this program in July to improve myself in my current role and just completed it now before i started writing this blog.
Just visit upgrad.com to find a program that suits you or send me a direct messege to know more.
I was not much into podcast at all until i started using spotify that came in India this year and i found the podcast section with very great content. one i realised this there was no looking back and i found myself spending most of unused time during travel, waiting or some chores listening to podcasts.I also found a couple of websites that does learning podcasts like testguild.com , indiehacker.com and tim ferris show and all of these were very helpful.
Life dosen’t come up with a manual ,or at least i cant find mine so we need to constantly experiment and below are some notable ones this year
Apart from podcasts these also got also very regular on the meditation app called headspace .I started using it multiple times in a day before sleeping ,after waking up , while walking ,running or even sometimes while eating and working at home.
Along with podcasts and meditation both of these listening activities it meant having good earphones on the go so ended up buying these two earphones below. you also see there an extra mobile and keyboard which brings us to the next expriment.
Decluttering my spaces
I always wanted to read more ,write more, do creative stuff and complete things on times but often found myself getting sleeping in middle of work at home or distracted to some other work.So i decided to partition my room into different areas each meant for different purpose like sleeping , sitting and working ,leisure and eating. This took much more effort patience and discipline but once i did this results were positive.
I did realised that i have got some back pain and stress due to long hours of sitting and noise distractions and decided to minimize direct use of laptops both at home and office instead use a monitor and keyboard along with one of these headphones and both of these alone helped improve my situation positively.
Another little problem was getting my office and personal things mixed up so decided to keep a dedicated phone, laptop only for personal use which helps me in getting proper breaks from work and have setup proper boundaries.
I decided to focus less this year on offline events which includes meetups ,conferences and workshops unlike last few years for getting more focused. However i started participating more on online events like webinars , live sessions and hackathons like hacktoberfest and applitools hackathon and realized that these online events are much more practical today.This also got me more disciplined on contributing much more on open source and github.
Although i did participated in few offline events like appium conference , but for next year many more already registered.
I started documenting my humour writing on daily basis ,I also forced myself on sketching daily basis so that i have enough content to share online or offline in form of comicstrips , sketches or whenever i get any chance for any open mics around the city.
Did i say webcomics ? Yes i started with a new hobby of doodling on daily basis which helped me publish the good ones on my instagram and personal website here on weekly basis and was happy to see the response and sometimes getting in trending posts.
I learned these drawings last year itself from “Dam Roams” series of books and website and looking forward to get more regular and share a weekly newsletter soon .
As always I spend most of my free time on one of my side projects often sometimes to the point that i have no free time.here are few notable ones
As i mentioned already these comics were created every week to spread criticism with humour about software and technology which everyone among us can relate and enjoy.
This is a fun website that shows random fun and hilarious excuses for different areas like work ,meetings etc. The original idea behind this site was to break the notion that excuses are bad because they are often helpful if used responsibly for getting more focused.
Interactive checklists that you can share with others and also mark progress this can be used to improve quality of any work like website development ,launch etc .Initial website lists just single checklist which is also open sourced but it can be extended to many more in future.
As a feedback to this some people also shared need for online automated checklist tool that does it for them ,so worked on a MVP for that too which checks and lists few of these rules automatically and list errors as below.
The initial motivation cam up from Atul Gawandes book “Checklist Manifesto” and the initial work also got featured on betalist ,however i have discontinued to work on this for now
I did get enough chances to perform at few open mics and some sketch content for my friends along with other few experiments on different formats on social media , however have decided to stop this completely and stick to work only on webcomics in one specific area for next year.
Whats Next ?
Ive realised that its better to focus on one side project at a time so working on consolidating past related projects under single umbrella brand and to work towards something which is valuable both on continuous and long term basis rather than just immediate learning only.
Mistakes and Learnings
It can’t be all all just right ? Its life not Instagram :) . There were few mistakes so sharing learning from them too
- Good physical and mental health needs both discipline and time .as soon as you get impatient you will fail , its like playing snakes and ladders.
- Excuses are not bad but saying yes to everything is ,so its good to say no often and give excuses if its hard to communicate.
- Its Important to have rituals and discipline for keeping balance in your Work, Personal ,Social life and hobbies otherwise its hard to maintain more than one of them always.
- Nuture your hobbies but have only a few as you can’t be a michel jackson , bruce lee and obama at the same time.
- Taking time offs is important , not just for you from work but also for your team and family from you
- Stay aligned to your purpose thats the only thing that gives true pleasure and meaning to your life