Year 2022 in review

As the year winds down, it is an opportunity to reflect on how we have fared on our life's foundation pillars(work, health, and family).

Work

The most significant change I made this year is I started going office. Since the office environment has an ingrained work context, I quickly get into productive mode. Commuting to and fro from the office served as a signal to my brain to warm up and wind down from work. It helped me to meet colleagues who were working on different initiatives and helped me learn new things. Overall, it has improved my mental well-being by setting where-how I work context.

I read the following books.

  1. Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential by Tiago Forte - My notes.
  2. Just Keep Buying: Proven Ways to Save Money and Build Your Wealth by Nick Maggiulli
  3. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
  4. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett
  5. What The Heck Do I Do With My Life by Ravi Venkatesan - My notes.
  6. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams
  7. Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change by Kent Beck

This year I donated to the Free Software Foundation, Wikipedia, and Mozilla.

Health

I worked on my mental health. As we came out of the pandemic mindset, there was a lot to catch up on, books to be read, blogs to write, and side projects to work on. I felt overwhelmed and stressed. I tried different approaches to managing it, but nothing worked until I figured a combination of ideas gathered from How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, and The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career.

Since my backlog kept piling up for the last two years, there was a lot to catch up on. I wanted to clear them as early as possible and be on top of things. The problem was I relied on my willpower to complete them instead of building a system that would lead to that outcome.

An example of the difference between a goal and a system.

Goal: Lose 10 kgs.
System: Work out 30 minutes daily, and eat on a small plate.

Thinking more about designing a system for creating things led me to weekly-updates idea. If I consider everything to be a learning debt. Just like paying an EMI for a loan, I can spend 1 hour daily to clear it. Setting one hour limit forced me to be more stringent in choosing what to do. I shut down two projects I lost interest in maintaining, cancelled 3 domain names, and unsubscribed from a bunch of newsletters whose quality has gone down with time. It has also helped me discipline how I go about executing things. Some days I read books. Some days I work on my side project, and some days I learn new standards related to the work. Anything that I can write in my weekly review. I write a summary of things I did the whole week on the following Monday, just like how we do scrums but on a weekly cadence.

I was able to read 7 books, work on 4 side projects, and answer 5 questions on stackoverflow all by disciplining myself to work only for 1 hour a day.

Family

The year was full of celebrations starting with our own. We celebrated 5 years of togetherness. We are a much different person now than how we were 5 years ago. Optimizing each other's schedules for continuous downtime, helping each in taking care of the kids, and having do-nothing weekends have taken priority over things in our life. It is interesting to see us evolve into this but at the same time, I'm sure we will have a different set of priorities at the end of the next 5 years.

We took kids along with us where ever we went. We took them to all the marriages we attended this year, and they got to know the extended family and enjoyed playing with other kids.

Dhruvan has started going to school from the beginning of the year. He uses the TV remote himself and instructs GoogleNest to play his favourite cartoons on Youtube. It is interesting to see how kids learn things by observing us these days.

Aaradhana turned one. Just like we did for dhruvan, we captured everything she did leading up to walking on her own as memories. She misses her brother when he goes to school. But when dhruvan returns from school, he teaches her what he learned. Be it a new rhythm or a game. Then they play together :)

With No lockdown restrictions, I'm exploring Chennai again through kids, taking them to parks, beaches and aquariums. They are getting to see the animals, mountains and the sea in the real world than from youtube.

I think 2022 was the year of celebration for us. I hope 2023 will be a good year for all of us.

Previously 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2014