2017 Recap

A few weeks ago I sat down and did a review of my self in 2017. This is a really good exercise that everyone needs to do. That is, if you are interested in growing. Here’s some excerpts of what went well, what could have gone better, and what I’m thinking I need to do for next year.

The Good

Here’s a sample of some of the public things that I’m really happy with.

  • Launched Pythondebugging.com – I decided this year that I was going to make a product and put it out there. With some help from my Mastermind group, I settled on a book about Python debugging. With a solid goal and a deadline in hand, I finished the book and made a few sales with it! This was a great learning exercise in all things entrepreneurial, and I’m definitely going to be working on it more in 2018.
  • Attended Micrconf Starter – This was a lot of fun! It was great to go to Vegas and meet a bunch of people (including my mastermind) who were all working to make a better life for themselves. I highly recommend checking it out.
  • Created a ton of content – I was juggling a few different sites and projects, but over all I managed to produce a lot of things: an email course, a book, a few different guides, some interesting proposals for my day job, a few websites, and a weekday-daily inspirational email/Facebook posting. I was a bit scattered and not every piece was a home run, but when I look back I’m pretty impressed by the volume produced.
  • Daily Stoic Inspiration – This project started in 2016 and has gone strong into 2017. There’s a daily email and a Facebook group (with over 3.5k members!). Its fun, you should sign up!

The not-so-good

Alas, not every swing results in a home run. These are a few things that for various reasons didn’t go the way I wanted them to.

  • Scheduling – Once I got doing on the Python debugging book I quickly realized that if I wanted to get it done I had to really commit to scheduling it. And as if by magic, things got done! And quickly! Once I did a review of my actions on the project I realized I should be applying that level of scheduling to other areas of my life. If nothing else, it will help me keep the level of satisfaction that comes from completing something. It is good to be a finisher.
  • HeroicInspiration – At the start of the year I had this ill defined idea about a website that provides inspiring quotes. It didn’t really go anywhere (more on why in the next bullet point), and that was disappointing because I really thought I had something. I don’t consider this a total failure, instead I’m looking at it as a work in progress. The next iteration (of which Daily Stoic Inspiration is part of) will be better.
  • Focus – When I had it, I was unstoppable. When it was missing, which was most of the time, wow… It was not pretty. Having clear goals truly helps with focus, but paradoxically, you need to be focused on your “big picture” in order to make goals to get you closer to your ideal outcome. I think I learned this lesson. But we will see in next year’s review. 🙂

The things I need to do

So, looking back on everything is a good thing to do for one very important reason: It exposes where you were wrong, and tells you want you can do to improve. For me, these things are clearly things I need to pay attention to:

  • Have goals defined – There’s a methodology called “S.M.A.R.T Goals“, but for me I need something at a higher level. I need to have a “Why” that guides me. With the Why in place, I can make S.M.A.R.T. goals, and the tasks needed to achieve them. Here is a great article that goes into more depth on this idea.
  • Focus – Related to the goals is making sure I maintain focus on the task at hand. There are so many distractions today, and it is easy to get sucked into unimportant things. I urge everyone to look at your habits and throw out things that take your time, your happiness, or your money. For me, going on a “news diet” and social-media diet where the smartest things I did in this topic last year. I’m currently reading Deep Work by Cal Newport in order to learn more about how to take this even further.
  • Setting a daily schedule – “Run your day or the day runs you”. I’m tired of other people deciding what is important for me. This year, I’m taking active control.

Recap of my recap

2017 was a good year for me. I found the power of focus, finished more projects that I usually do, and learned a lot. For next year, it’s all about focusing on the big goals.