What I Discovered in 2020

(This can be a private publish so if that isn’t your factor then it is best to transfer on.)

That is the ninth 12 months that I’ve carried out a 12 months in evaluation piece. I’m at a special stage of my journey so that you may profit from and end up in prior 12 months variations. Listed below are simple hyperlinks to 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019

In 2020, the world shifted beneath our ft however my enterprise saved rising. The nervousness I had about sure aspects of my enterprise disappeared, changed by nervousness about COVID-19 and our political panorama.

I discovered sanctuary in easy habits that I’ll take ahead into 2021.


It was 2020, so you’ll be able to’t keep away from speaking about COVID-19. The unusual factor is, social distancing didn’t change the best way I do enterprise. For essentially the most half, I do all my work remotely. Now and again I would go into town (we actually don’t name it San Fran) and meet with a consumer.

I couldn’t do this in 2015 as a result of I used to be going via chemotherapy. I discovered that not assembly in particular person labored simply fantastic. Purchasers agreed.

In order that’s the way it’s been for the final 5 years. As soon as in a blue moon I would go in for a gathering however I largely keep at house. Heck, I’ve two shoppers in Australia, 4 in New York and two in Seattle so it’s not like I’m going to satisfy with them in particular person a lot anyway.

So the quarantine and lock down orders weren’t a huge change for me. But it surely was totally different.

The day was now not cut up up by journeys to drop my daughter at college, going out to get groceries or stepping out with my spouse for mojitos at a favourite restaurant. My daughter was doing distance studying, we shortly moved to supply providers for our groceries and I upped my bartending expertise.

The times have been positively monolithic and homogenous, resulting in a normal groundhog day malaise.



Out there at Woot

The largest drawback I had in 2020 was motivation. Early within the 12 months I purchased out a associate, discovered a developer and started engaged on facet tasks. It was the end result of my 2019 epiphany. Let’s do that!

However even earlier than COVID-19 hit in earnest, I used to be slowing down. And as soon as COVID-19 was upon us my motivation evaporated. The explanations for this have been two-fold and interrelated.

Cash is just not an issue. The enterprise grew, but once more, one other 13% in 2020. Some individuals get a buzz from making increasingly more cash however I’m not one among them.

I’m not saying I don’t nonetheless try for that to some extent. There are some targets I take note of. Issues I’d do with that cash. But it surely’s now not a primal motivation to do that or that factor so I can earn money to get out of debt or to pay the mortgage or go on that trip.

Issues have been going amazingly effectively in my life. So my passions turned outwards, towards coping with COVID-19 and the 2020 election cycle. Why ought to I spend time in pursuit of much more cash when so many issues have been going fallacious?


Office Space Movie Scene

A few of my efforts have been productive. I used to be engaged with my native faculty district, serving to to oust an ineffective Superintendent after which pushing for the fitting plan of action with the brand new one. I gave to particular political candidates and made positive each DonorsChoose venture at my daughter’s faculty was totally funded.

A few of my efforts have been much less productive, doom-scrolling and ranting in regards to the lack of logic and empathy I noticed in our nation.

To me, the division appears much less about Republicans vs Democrats and extra a few distinction between a philosophy of ‘me’ vs ‘we’. (My politics are far-left and whereas I hardly ever interact in public I make no apologies for that perspective both.)

I additionally agonized over the George Floyd homicide and the systemic racism it uncovered. How may I be an ally? Whereas I’ve an excellent creativeness, I can’t perceive the way it should really feel to be black in America.

I caught glimpses in Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. However finally, I felt powerless. Maybe that’s apt.


New York Times Crossword Puzzle Statistics

There was a silver lining to lock down orders and the deluge of unhealthy information. I took up some good habits. I’m an enormous believer that you simply attain sure targets by instilling good habits. But, I usually discovered I failed at making these habits are actuality.

In 2020, I made good habits stick. I’m unsure precisely why and, to be trustworthy, I’m not significantly curious about discovering out. I’m simply comfortable I received there.

Annually I say I wish to learn extra. The behavior I modified? As an early riser I’d get up and watch TV. I ended doing that and browse as a substitute.

Because of this, I learn 16 books in roughly 9 months, together with books by William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, N.Ok. Jemisin, Jonathan Franzen and Emily St. John Mandel.

I’ve a morning routine of types. I’m up early. Like 5am early. I do the New York Instances Crossword. I make some espresso. I learn.

However I additionally realized that you simply don’t must be dogmatic about it. Throughout the Tour de France, I awakened and eagerly watched every stage, having fun with each the race and surroundings. And I’d watch biathlon too, changing into a huge fan regardless of my distaste for each snowboarding and weapons.


Tower Bridge Jigsaw Puzzle

One of many different issues we did as a household was jigsaw puzzles. Not only a few however 28 and counting, with all however two of these being 2,000 piece puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles and the crossword bolstered important truths. Each can solely be accomplished if you happen to take it step-by-step. You don’t simply match all of the items collectively in a half-hour. You don’t get each clue one after the opposite within the crossword. (You may get shut on Monday!)

There are components of every which are comparatively simple. You kind and select the sides and get the define of the puzzle carried out first. Within the crossword you undergo and choose off those that come to you immediately. You additionally put within the apparent plural (s), previous (ed) and comparative (est and ier) suffixes when noticed.

However you then discover there are tough patches. It may be gradual going as you’re employed on the gradient of the sky. And generally you get caught on the crossword. A fleeting thought that this is the one you could’t crack.

The trick is to maintain going.

The following time you sit down on the desk, the sunshine is a bit higher and also you see the refined distinction within the sky and the items at the moment are going in a single after the opposite. Or all of the sudden you get one of many lengthy solutions that reinforces the theme to that crossword. Issues click on and also you’re getting the double which means of the clues once more.


Brick by Brick Lego Tower Bridge Project

I didn’t get to the place I’m immediately by chance. Nor may I’ve gotten right here 8 years earlier. You need to construct, brick on brick like a large lego venture, to succeed in your purpose.

It jogs my memory of the track Wake Up, Stop Dreaming by Wang Chung.

Get up cease dreaming
There’s extra than simply two steps to heaven
I’m saying if you happen to wanna get to heaven
You’d higher get up
Get up, cease dreaming

I’m not non secular but the lyrics encourage me to not merely dream, however to do. Get up! Take these subsequent steps.

What 2020 did greater than something is affirm that each step is necessary even when they aren’t of equal worth. I would put in a handful of items after I sit down on the desk for 45 minutes. The following time I’ll put in a flurry of 150 items within the span of 10 minutes.

The puzzle doesn’t get accomplished with out every of these steps.

That is the place my private and enterprise lives intersect. As a result of one among my mantras about web optimization is that the sum is larger than the components. You may see a few of this play out in my latest piece about SEO A/B testing. I’ll be writing a follow-up piece within the close to future.

However as a preview, not each step is a step change. However you’ll be able to’t get to the highest of the mountain with out taking all of the steps.


A New Chart of History

Measurement is clearly a big a part of my enterprise. I wouldn’t have it another manner. However the time scale of measurement issues. Whereas it usually sounds self-serving, web optimization takes time. Endurance often is the most underrated ability in our business.

I’ve battled weight points for various years. I understand how to lose the burden and have various instances, solely to place it again on once more. A part of the explanation for that is that the habits I used to lose that weight have been very inflexible.

I’d go for the bottom calorie consumption doable, denying myself, so I may see outcomes shortly. It wasn’t simply about pace however about conserving momentum. While you weigh your self day-after-day it received onerous to maintain going when the quantity went up and never down.

This time round I’m not going for the bottom calorie consumption. I’m trying to lose the burden slowly. There can be days when I’ve a few mojitos and blow previous my calorie restrict.

The humorous factor is that these ‘cheat’ days and the numbers on the dimensions don’t line up. A day after indulging my weight usually goes down. (Sure, sure, it may be that I’m dehydrated.) Different instances, after a very good day – or perhaps a stretch of two – my weight stays the identical or creeps up.

However over time all of it interprets into constant weight reduction. I’ve misplaced a little bit over 10 kilos this 12 months, averaging about 1.5 kilos every week. It’s not about residing and dying by what the dimensions says day-after-day. It’s about realizing that I’ll get the outcomes I need if I maintain taking these steps.

It dawned on me that I present this service to shoppers. I assist them transfer past the panic of per week that was a little mushy. I encourage them to not spend hours in evaluation however as a substitute to execute on their roadmap. Try this subsequent factor.

Placing It All Collectively

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I enter 2021 feeling like I can mix the issues I’ve realized over the course of the previous couple of years. I’ll proceed to take dangers and be unafraid to fail. I can shake off the guilt of not returning some emails promptly or lacking a number of deadlines. I’ll depend on the relentless energy of habits.

Even when it doesn’t come collectively as deliberate, it’s the following step and I’m wanting to take it.


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