2016 Retrospective

Previously: 2015

Each year, I set aside some time to think about the previous 365 days, everything that went right and what can be improved. Overall, I’m really proud of what I was able to accomplish in 2016. My wife and I were fortunate enough to take some awesome vacations together. I continued to grow in my professional life and tackle difficult and rewarding projects. We doubled our yearly donation at Drink for Pink.

Here’s a full rundown of what went well and what I’m going to focus on for the next year.

What did I do right? What am I proud of?

I learned a ton and shared with others.
This year, I invested a lot of time in reading and learning particularly on leadership. I finished 35 books, listened to quite a few podcasts, spoke at a conference, and blogged a lot (every weekday since October). I’m really happy with my progress over the past year, and I’m going to double down on reading and sharing over the next year.

I established better work boundaries.
For several months in a row, I had a goal of logging off from work on time each night and setting clearer boundaries between work and non-work. This has been going really well. I rarely touch work on the weekends or my off days. I’m still far from perfect, but it has been a big improvement.

Alongside these items, I’m really excited about the opportunities I was fortunate enough to tackle last year and my relationship with my wife continued to grow.

What are my biggest opportunities for growth?

I didn’t launch as many projects as I had hoped.
I set out a pretty ambitious goal of shipping four projects in 2016. Of that list, I ended up only getting one live and online. I also failed at getting a regular newsletter out the door. I’m honestly not disappointed in the lackluster performance here. I couldn’t get excited about any of the projects on that list, and my main areas of work (Automattic and Drink for Pink) did really well this past year.

Drink for Pink fell short of our goal.
We raised $8,500 for breast cancer research in the state of Colorado this past year. That represents double what we raised in our first year, but it’s still a good bit short of our $10,000 goal. This is still a huge success, but I want to see us break $15,000 in 2017.

Looking forward to 2017

I’m going to continue narrowing my focus for 2017 and set even fewer goals that I can knock out of the park.

Learn more and share knowledge with others.

Action #1: Finish 40 books and continue to publish book notes.

Action #2: Read alongside the awesome folks in the remote book club we started up. Our first focus is on marketing. We’ll be diving into a stack of books during the first part of the year.

Action #3: Blog every weekday. This simple habit has become incredibly important to me. It pushes me to learn, think, and share more.

Work less.

Action #1: Refrain from starting any new projects in 2017. Focus on excelling at everything I already have in motion.

Action #2: Track the days I take off in 2017. I don’t have a specific number in mind, but I would like to see how many actual days I take off in a year.

Action #3: Take off for several impromptu weekend adventures with my wife.

Raise money with Drink for Pink

Action #1: Hit $15,000+ in donations for all of 2017.

Learn JavaScript deeply

I got sidetracked by some other projects towards the latter half of 2016 that detracted from my coding work.

Action #1: Complete 30 pull requests in 2017 to Calypso.

Action #2: Complete the SQL and PHP courses in Treehouse.

Action #3: Apply to the JavaScript Wrangler position at Automattic.

At the end of each year, I try to remind myself that the most important part is to keep moving forward. We routinely underestimate what we can accomplish in a year and overestimate what we can accomplish in a week. Keep your head down and keep putting on foot in front of the other.

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