It’s hard to stay on track if you don’t actually define what the track looks like. That’s why I’ve come to value taking a bit of a personal inventory and writing out a specific list of goals at the end of each year. What better day to do that than New Years Eve?
Last year was the first time I actually wrote out a list of goals organized in categories for the new year ahead. When I sat down to write out my goals and categories today, I made a copy of my old list and took the time to evaluate each goal’s progress in 2019. Using GoogleDocs made it easy for me to leave notes on specific items, stating whether or not I succeeded with a certain goal or what hindered my success.
I’m not going to share either list here because they’re quite long and personal, but I would like to write about some key reflections on 2019 and high level goals for 2020.
2019: Work-life Balance
Over the past year I focused very hard on achieving work-life balance, and not allowing work to 100% rule my personal life. I’m happy with my success here. I didn’t work as much, rarely worked on the weekends, and my output during the week was a lot higher as a result. 2018 was a very stressful year in terms of work, so a balanced 2019 was needed.
Moving back to Richmond in 2019 was also in line with the work-life balance goal. Living in Charlottesville was fun and useful for starting out my partnership role with Storyware, but at the end of the day it’s not a town I want to call home and I was only living there for work-related reasons. To me, Charlottesville feels a bit small, and is eerily familiar since both of my parents are from there. Richmond on the other hand is much larger, I never spent time here as a kid, and a lot of my good friends reside here. I can still drive up to Charlottesville whenever needed, and I can now explore new business opportunities for Storyware in a different city.
Before moving back to Richmond I did spend almost a year splitting my time between Charlottesville and Richmond. What a time that was. At first I was heading to Richmond every Thursday or Friday, then I started spending just Monday – Wednesday in Charlottesville towards the end of 2018. Building a life simultaneously in two cities is great fun, but it gets old after a while. I don’t miss maintaining two separate grocery lists.
Now that I’m back in Richmond, I live with my amazing girlfriend and we were able to adopt 2 cats. I’ve wanted a cat for years, but travel has always hindered my ability to adopt one. Taking the time to settle a bit has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
2019: My “Social Media” Experiment
At the beginning of September I gave up all social media. It felt weird and oddly quiet for a while, but then felt really peaceful. I had planned to use this period to be more creative, but much of my mobile “screen time” ended up going to the News App. Talk about an interesting time to be more informed…
I did end up hopping back on Instagram last week after nearly 4 months. This move was purely because I missed having a place to showcase photos from my Nikon. Since I’ve “returned” to social media I’ve barely touched it. It’s good to feel that I’ve broken the old habits of scrolling and wanting to post something to an Instagram or Snapchat story every day.
One major reason why I left Social Media is because it didn’t feel fun anymore. For me, the majority of social media has gone from being fun platforms filled with creative expression to places where everyone is looking to gain something: companies vying for our data and friends vying for likes to validate their latest experience.
A couple of weeks ago I saw an article on Medium titled, The Decade the Internet Lost Its Fun. I’ve never agreed more with an article.
2020: Re-focusing Technology
The last point is a great segue into thinking about new ways to refocus my time spent on technology.
First off, we have a big year ahead for Storyware. We have a very busy schedule lined up after we spent much of 2019 on a re-brand and working through some internal items. We embarked on one new technology offering: Alexa and voice services development. I’d like to find some additional new avenues for us to go down with technology, particularly in the spirit of using technology to make something easier or more fun.
Secondly, I’d still like to determine a new medium in which to share my photography. That might be here, it might be elsewhere. We shall see. Whatever I do in terms of revamping my photo workflow, I need to devise a system that is quick, easy, and allows those who actually want to see my photos, see them. A bare-bones newsletter might be what I do here.
That’s a wrap.
One of my goals for 2020 is to write more. That’s in the form of writing in my moleskin journal, random blog posts here, and blog posts for Storyware. Stay tuned to see how it goes.