This is my first ever year in review post, let’s see how it went!

2016 was not a great year, in general for a lot of reasons, but it hasn’t been the best of years for me either. In this first ever ‘year review’ post, I’m going to look back at my year, review what was good, what wasn’t and what I want to achieve in 2017.

Work

In January I got my second contract working for G2G3 Digital working on a rebuild of the ConstructionLine website and platform. The contract was supposed to be in London, but it was decided half way through the hiring process that it was, in fact, going to be based in Sheffield - after no work for the last three months of 2015, I had no choice but to take the job in Sheffield.

That was the first time I had been away from my wife and children for longer than a night. I was getting the train up to Sheffield Sunday afternoon, I stayed in an AirBnB (with a lovely family) and then would get the train back on Friday after work. It was very hard being away from family. But I was working with a really great bunch of people and the family I was staying with were very nice. Eventually, Sheffield became my home away from home.

I even got a wall of Juan puns dedicated to me at the G2G3 Digital office - :)

The wall of Juan...

They must have liked me at G2G3 Digital, because they offered me a permanent role, which I gladly accepted, but working out of their London office, instead of Sheffield. But shortly after this, Capita, who owned G2G3, bought another agency and G2G3 was no more, we became OrangeBus. Ninety percent of the Sheffield staff were made redundant. :(

In September, a colleague and I got to work on an awesome project - a hi-fidelity prototype proof of concept app for GlobeCast. This was a really quick turnaround project, but I got a chance to implement a basic ServiceWorker script so that the app would work offline. I plan on doing a case study for the GlobeCast work.

Sadly, myself and a few others from the London office were made redundant just before Christmas and now I’m back to working freelance full-time.

Health

Health has not been great and my long train journeys didn’t help - it didn’t leave me with much time left for doing any sort of exercise. The only exercise I managed was a 30m walk to the office each way, I chose to walk rather than get the tube.

My posture, due to years of bad posture, while working on computers for over 15 years, has had a massive impact on my health. I have started seeing a physio about this and being more aware of my posture.

I did start doing weights, but this kind of fell through, again due to lack of time, so I’m going to be picking this up again, but after the physio says is ok to do this.

I’m going to start regular swimming and running! Swimming will help with my posture and upper body health. Running should help me improve my overall fitness.

Reading

Have read a lot of articles in 2016 due to my long train commutes but I realised I was consuming a lot but wasn’t sure how much of it was sticking - a lot of reading and not a lot of practising what I was reading. This is something I want to change this year.

Feeling overwhelmed with all the unread articles, I decided to delete 90% of my unread Instapaper articles and was only left with articles dating back 1 year.

I managed to read more fiction and I want to do a lot more of that next year. I’ve set a target of 10 books, I only managed to read 4 books in 2016. I’ll also be reading a lot more non-fiction, self-help types of books - like Deep Work and more.

Writing

Finally started blogging, even though I only managed a few posts, it’s definitely a good start for me, as it’s something I’ve never done, but have always wanted to. I hope to use blogging as a way to remember what I have learnt and read about, and hopefully, others will find it useful.

Numbers

I read a few year in review posts and some had posted number, I liked this idea - so here are some numbers. I’m going to do a better job of collecting this kind of data for next year’s review.

  • Books read: 4
  • Blog posts published: 3
  • Coffees: 158
  • Conferences attended: 1
  • Client projects: 4
  • Side projects: 3
  • Games played: 2
    • Minecraft
    • Firewatch
  • TV Shows watched: 24
    • 11.22.63
    • Agents of Shield
    • Banshee
    • Blindspot
    • Childhood’s End
    • Colony
    • Fear the walking dead
    • Humans
    • Mr Robot
    • Outcast
    • Peep Show
    • Plebs
    • Red Dwarf
    • Revenge
    • Slasher
    • The Man in the high castle
    • The Strain
    • The X-Files
    • Undatable
    • Walking Dead
    • Wayward Pines
    • Westworld
    • Zoo
    • ZNation
  • Films watched: 6
    • Deadpool
    • Westworld
    • The Secret Life of Pets
    • Arrival
    • Finding Dory
    • The Good Dinosaur
    • Moana

Looking ahead

I have quite a list of things I want to achieve this year - I hope it’s not too many things, as we all know if we try to achieve too many things at once, it just sets us up for failure.

I’ve been thinking of starting a local community for a while, either for web designers or for website owners - so either a meetup for web designers in the area or a Home Brew Computer Club.

Work

Establish my freelance business

Because I was made redundant, I didn’t have a plan for going full-time freelance and I am currently looking for work. Depending on whether or not I find a freelance client in the next few weeks, will determine whether or not this year is the year I go full-time freelance. But one thing is for sure, I do not want to go back to working for someone else on a permanent basis. That is just not me. I will be looking at possibly going back into contracting just so I can get some savings in place for being able to go full-time freelance.

Health

Exercise more and eat healthier

I have started the year with a ‘31 days of yoga’ video course, currently at day 9 and oh boy you wouldn’t think yoga would be that hard, but when you have spent years sat at the computer with bad posture, you soon discover how inflexible your body has become.

Have started having smoothies for breakfast, again, then just a light snack for lunch.

Something else that I read about that I wanted to try this year - no caffeine or alcohol - yup! In 2016 I cut down the number of coffees I had a day to just 2 max because I started having double espressos, I found that I rarely needed a second one throughout the day. But after reading a post by Tobias van Schneider - No Alcohol, No Coffee for 27 Months {http://www.vanschneider.com/no-alcohol-no-coffee-for-15-months-this-is-what-happened/} - I realised I was having some of the effects of caffeine and had never attributed it to caffeine.

Giving up alcohol for me is just a health thing, I’ve had way too many beers and my belly is showing that! We’ll see how long that lasts, but I’m not hopeful - I have a trip to Madeira in the next few weeks to see my parents, and its tradition to stop off at a bar on the way home from the airport to have a Poncha.

Finally, another new thing for me in 2017 - I have started meditation - it has become really popular over the years and I never thought it as something for me, but after my wife went to a mindfulness meditation course and we spoke about it, I have wanted to try it myself.

Let me know if you have reviewed your year, I’d love to read it. If you want to read a few more year in review posts - check out the Year In Review for Makers website.

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