I’m writing this retrospective retrospectively, since it’s now November 2021. Time flies when you’re in a global pandemic.
Good thing I’m addicted to Notion and kept track of everything.
This post is going to be a bit shorter than usual since it’s not that actionable anymore but I wanted to document the outcomes of my year for posterity (and to appease my OCD).
A wrench in the works
Covid, man. What a rollercoaster.
I had it worse than most, but I already talked about that.
Needless to say that a lot of my objectives were affected by the global pandemic that the world was and still is going through, but it wasn’t all bad. Read on for some silver linings.
Career & Finance
Become Senior PM by mid-2021
- Update my Product Management Playbook ✔️
- Define the long-term strategy for the Results section of Typeform ✔️
- Launch 3 major, successful features or products ✔️
Achieve financial freedom by 2025
- Earn €1000 from a new source of income ❌
Thanks to the progress I’ve made as a PM, I feel like I am now in a position to ask for a promotion and truly feel like I deserve it. Whilst there is always more to learn, I feel very confident in my abilities to break down and find solutions to any problem. Apart from the items above, I also completed Hubspot’s “Inbound Marketing” course and “Probability & Statistics for Business and Data Science” on Udemy.
Unfortunately, my focus on growing as a PM came at the cost of not investing in any new side hustles.
Personal Growth & Learning
Feel at home in Spain
- Achieve B2 level in Spanish ❌
- Visit 3 other Spanish cities ❌
Lockdowns and travel restrictions prevented me from seeing much of Spain and I didn’t manage to achieve the level of Spanish fluency I had hoped for. That being said, by listening to the first two seasons of Coffee Break Spanish, completing Babbel’s beginner and pre-intermediate courses, and attending weekly lessons, I managed to achieve a Spanish skill level somewhere around B1 which is still muy bien.
Become a productivity machine (again)
- Setup the information architecture for my Personal Growth Playbook ✔️
- Write a blog post about my goal setting & tracking approach ❌
I’m very happy with the information architecture for my new “Book of Life”. It allows me to keep track of my learnings from books, courses, etc. much more easily than before. Now when hearing something insightful in a podcast or reading a best practice in a book, I know directly where to add it to my knowledge base so that I can quickly find it again and make use of the learning on a more frequent basis.
Travel & Adventure
Go on another epic adventure
- Go on another long-distance trek ❌
Improve my outdoor skills
- Go scuba diving again in a tropical paradise ❌
- Go skiing 2 times (1/2) ❌
- Go climbing 10 times ❌
While I didn’t meet my preset adventure goals, I still went on a lot of adventures.
- Tried a lot of things for the first time here in Barcelona, including axe throwing, wakeboarding, and standup paddle
- I also did a bunch of kayaking and beach volleyball
- Went skiing in Andorra where I fell on an icy slope, slid down the mountain backward, flew into a tree, and lost my phone. All this just two weeks before getting Covid 👌
- Went to a surf camp in the south of Portugal with some buddies from Berlin where I skydived (skydove?) for the first time. I’m still bad at surfing though.
- Went on 10+ hikes in Catalonia including the spectacular Congost de Mont Rebei and Pedraforca mountain
Health & Fitness
More holistic fitness
- Be able to do a handstand (pushing off a wall) ✔️
- Touch the floor with straight legs ✔️
Since I couldn’t go to the gym for a while, I got very into calisthenics and bodyweight training. Apart from learning how to do a basic handstand off a wall (still a way to go until a free-standing handstand), I also learned how to do 1-arm pushups and pistol squats 💪
In addition to my physical health, I also started spending more time working on my mind and mental health. After getting out of the hospital, I wanted to make sure I made every minute of my day count. But I ended up trying to do too much and burning out. I started practicing meditation, mindfulness, and journaling as a way to deal with stress and to keep working on myself. I particularly enjoyed following the “How to Meditate” course by Jeff Warren on the Calm App because it taught me that meditation and mindfulness are not about following a strict process, they are actually a set of tools that you can use in different situations, purposes, and ways.
Help the environment
- Eat less meat ✔️
- Take part in a beach cleaning event ❌
Whilst I didn’t measure it precisely, I’ve definitely reduced my meat intake. I’m down to about one poor chicken per week (cheese has been non-negotiable so far).
I also took part in two Covid studies and start donating part of my salary to charity.
I read 10 books, got very into Netflix documentaries (watched 24), and podcasts (32, excluding Spanish).
I also wrote two blog posts: 6 ways I use Blinkist to support my reading and the aforementioned Covid Chronicles.
Oh, and I finally played Bloodborne.
Last, but definitely not least, after over four years of going it alone, I’m in a new relationship. It’s nice to have a partner in crime again (despite her putting Tabasco sauce on my bolognese).
Room for Improvement
Overall, I feel like I made the most I could out of 2020. Or at least as much as I wanted to. You can always do more, but I am content with my accomplishments and wouldn’t have wanted to give up more of myself in order to achieve more.
Various situations this year highlighted the impact that some of my worse personal traits can have on myself and others. I’ve always known that I am a bit controlling and uptight, that I like to be alone and can be a bit selfish, and that I feel like I need to continuously move forward and experience as much as I can and stress about it if I’m not.
Going forward, I want to spend more time thoughtfully working on my relationships, being mindful, and practicing emotional intelligence. I also want to become better at letting go, being less uptight and controlling, and just living in the moment.
Constraints can actually be quite liberating. By not having to worry about choosing from endless possibilities for what to do next, I got to just lay back and enjoy for a while.
Had it not been for Covid-19 and the global pandemic I’m not sure I would have experienced Catalonia the way I did, met the people I did, nor explored myself and my way of thinking as I did.
I’m looking forward to things getting back to “normal”—mostly the traveling and socialising—but I’m grateful for the many good things that came out of this strange year.
Here’s the list of books I read throughout the year
- User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley
- UX Strategy by Jaime Levy
- Sense & Response by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
- Emotional Design by Don Norman
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemann
- Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb