What I Realized in 2020

(It is a private submit so if that isn’t your factor then you must transfer on.)

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

In 2020, the world shifted beneath our toes however my enterprise stored rising. The anxiousness I had about sure sides of my enterprise disappeared, changed by anxiousness 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 may’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. Every now and then I’d 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 by way of chemotherapy. I discovered that not assembly in particular person labored simply effective. Purchasers agreed.

In order that’s the way it’s been for the final 5 years. As soon as in a blue moon I’d go in for a gathering however I largely keep at residence. Heck, I’ve two purchasers 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 massive change for me. But it surely was totally different.

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

The times had been undoubtedly monolithic and homogenous, resulting in a basic groundhog day malaise.



Accessible at Woot

The most important drawback I had in 2020 was motivation. Early within the yr I purchased out a accomplice, discovered a developer and commenced engaged on aspect initiatives. 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 had been two-fold and interrelated.

Cash shouldn’t be an issue. The enterprise grew, but once more, one other 13% in 2020. Some folks get a buzz from making increasingly more cash however I’m not considered one of them.

I’m not saying I don’t nonetheless attempt for that to a point. There are some targets I take into account. Issues I’d do with that cash. But it surely’s not a primal motivation to do that or that factor so I can generate profits to get out of debt or to pay the mortgage or go on that trip.

Issues had been going amazingly properly 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 had been going incorrect?


Office Space Movie Scene

A few of my efforts had been productive. I used to be engaged with my native college 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 certain each DonorsChoose mission at my daughter’s college was absolutely funded.

A few of my efforts had been much less productive, doom-scrolling and ranting concerning 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 couple of distinction between a philosophy of ‘me’ vs ‘we’. (My politics are far-left and whereas I not often have interaction 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 dangerous information. I took up some good habits. I’m a giant believer that you simply attain sure targets by instilling good habits. But, I typically discovered I failed at making these habits are actuality.

In 2020, I made good habits stick. I’m unsure precisely why and, to be sincere, I’m not significantly excited by discovering out. I’m simply blissful I acquired there.

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

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

I’ve a morning routine of kinds. 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 should be dogmatic about it. In the course of the Tour de France, I awoke and eagerly watched every stage, having fun with each the race and surroundings. And I’d watch biathlon too, turning 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 when you 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 elements of every which can be comparatively simple. You type and pick the sides and get the define of the puzzle performed first. Within the crossword you undergo and decide 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 then you definately 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 can’t crack.

The trick is to maintain going.

The subsequent time you sit down on the desk, the sunshine is a bit higher and also you see the delicate distinction within the sky and the items at the moment are going in a single after the opposite. Or out of the blue 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 at present accidentally. Nor may I’ve gotten right here 8 years earlier. You must construct, brick on brick like an enormous lego mission, to achieve your objective.

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 when you wanna get to heaven
You’d higher get up
Get up, cease dreaming

I’m not spiritual 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’d put in a handful of items after I sit down on the desk for 45 minutes. The subsequent 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 considered one of my mantras about web optimization is that the sum is bigger than the elements. You possibly can see a few of this play out in my current 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 may’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 every other manner. However the time scale of measurement issues. Whereas it typically sounds self-serving, web optimization takes time. Persistence stands out as the most underrated talent in our business.

I’ve battled weight points for quite a lot of years. I understand how to lose the burden and have quite a lot of occasions, solely to place it again on once more. A part of the rationale for that is that the habits I used to lose that weight had been very inflexible.

I’d go for the bottom calorie consumption doable, denying myself, so I may see outcomes rapidly. It wasn’t simply about velocity however about preserving momentum. Once you weigh your self on daily basis it acquired 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 seeking to lose the burden slowly. There might 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 typically goes down. (Sure, sure, it is perhaps that I’m dehydrated.) Different occasions, 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 slightly over 10 kilos this yr, averaging about 1.5 kilos every week. It’s not about residing and dying by what the dimensions says on daily basis. It’s about understanding that I’ll get the outcomes I would like if I maintain taking these steps.

It dawned on me that I present this service to purchasers. I assist them transfer past the panic of every week that was a little delicate. I encourage them to not spend hours in evaluation however as an alternative 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 few 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 just a few deadlines. I’ll depend on the relentless energy of habits.

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


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