Looking Back at 2013

Digesting year 2013 will take more than just a few words – be prepared for over three thousand word feast of recapping the year.

Some things never seem to change, one of those is me slumping in my productivity at the end of the year – I’ve not been thrown off whack quite as badly as I did at the end of the 2012, but still holiday season seems to adversely affect my ability and willingness to work.

I have not been exactly just taking it easy either this year. I have not even had time to think. This time, perhaps, it has not been all my fault that I have been distracted. Life has thrown some curveballs at me just these last couple of weeks and thus I don’t really know what I am doing right now, once again. But time to write about that stuff will be when I have figured it out, now I’m merely going to retain an air of secrecy.

In many ways 2013 was moving along the same continuum as 2012 – my life transforming towards something it has not previously been. The transformation can be completed once 2014 rolls around and the beautiful butterfly is ready emerge – if I just follow through and let it emerge. I managed to double the amount of countries visited this with the Japan trip early on combined with the short trip to Sweden. The Japan trip is one I’m still very proud of. It was a lesson in discovering my own limits – or rather realizing there was still ways to go to reach them. Japan trip makes up a good chunk of my posts last year as I was posting up every day.

The latter trip of 2013 was visiting Lapland and Sweden which I didn’t do posts about, but that were still decent experiences. I did grow a lot of out of those experiences as well, but that trip admittedly was more like a vacation than either Japan or Malaysia in the past have been.

On the more professional front, I was fully emerged in being process oriented, building up habits and letting them go. I didn’t have much consistent focus in the end during the year, thus similar achievements like completing my book last year didn’t emerge. I just rather had aimless habits – but they are not completely worthless anyway.

I did manage to create a body of creative work on my fiction writing channel, that I am not going to share here. In any case it is on a foundation now from which it is good for me to build on.

Despite me not completing my personal projects, the main achievement obviously was my income soaring. I still don’t really have any passive income, which kinda sucks but nonetheless I already have location independence achieved through my means of active  income. That is perhaps the biggest and most important transitive achievement of the year. It sets me up for a 2014 where I could be anywhere in the world I please.

Goals I Set For 2013

Last year I set my goals publicly on this blog and I went for a very simple form of goalsetting this time. I only set three goals for the whole year, which ended up, in hindsight, to be a bit too little. Here are the goals with my comments on how well I pulled it off:

  • Establish a writing habit of 3 hours a day, every day. SUCCESS

I might not have kept this habit in the end as rest of my life overwhelmed it, but still I did write 100 days straight of at least three hours a day, proving to myself that I can do it, I can write consistently like the pros do. Of course, as things stand so far I’ve since been thrown off of writing almost completely. I do write a lot obviously still, but the well structured habit has not yet returned – that will have to happen in 2014 for my improvement in my craft to continue.

  • Increase your income to 1000 € a month – focusing on established platform at Fiverr. If that fails, get a job. SUCCESS

I didn’t establish a platform at Fiverr though it still provides me with side income. It was more of a matter of getting a location independent job.  Nonetheless, the main goal of finally sorting out my income to at least a reasonable level was a resounding success. Again, I have a foundation to build for the future.

  • Get yourself to Japan in February. SUCCESS

Everyone knows how this ended from all the nineteen videos I made during the trip.

So I completed all of my three goals for the year. It was all just a victory march from January to December then? Well as already said, I wish I had one or two goals more. This time I did underestimate myself. I will also structure the goals I set for next year differently. Still I want to avoid taking on too much – the year should have limited focuses.

Biggest Successes and Failures of 2013

Time to go a little bit deeper with my analysis of the year by listing successes and failures of the year. This one might repeat some of the things already said at least on the success portion. Let’s delve right into it.

Top-3 Successes

  1. Finally getting my income sorted out
  2. Creating a writing platform
  3. Spiral of Awesomeness

I did come up with even more potential successes to list, such as me finally starting to gain some muscle this year and posting weekly to the blog through the year – but the fact is that these three had the biggest positive effects on the year and are the ones that will give me the strongest foundation to go on. I have talked about my income and writing platform already, but Spiral of Awesomeness being here perhaps needs a little explanation. Didn’t I fail that challenge? Well technically I did, but that challenge gave me a huge momentum to go onward I will definitely do this type of challenges in the future. It was definitely one of the most productive times of my life so far and taught me a more important, over-arching lesson about pushing myself.

My hopes for 2014 can be pretty high up after doing so well this year. I beat the odds as well, for there was a lot that didn’t go according to plan, yet the year overall was a very good one.

Top-3 Failures

  1. Not putting out my best work on the blog
  2. Returning to too much playing games
  3. Not reading nearly enough

These are the three biggest failures I came up with. There were others too, like overtraining myself to injury, not doing anything with my niche site, but overall I’d say they didn’t have major impact to my present nor to the future. Some obviously, but these three are of higher importance if you ask me.

Looking at the three overall and all I feel is that I am leaving so much potential on the table by doing substandard work on the blog, wasting massive amounts of hours on games that I could have used in developing myself or my life, and not reading nearly enough. I read fourteen books in 2012 – in 2013 I have only finished one and nearly finished couple of others. Granted, there’s a blog that I read almost completely during the year and best blog texts can be almost on par in value with books, but still, point still stays.

Regarding the first failure, I even wrote a post about it expressing my anger on myself. Why did I fail on that? I have simply failed to set up a routine that allows me enough to time to craft well-thought posts, instead leaving me to scramble at the last minute on Monday (or like in this case, already few hours into the Tuesday) to make my weekly post. I know I have a lot of commitments, but since I have also committed to writing this blog, the least I could do is commit the time it deserves to it.

It is not as if I don’t have enough time, which brings us to the second failure – This year I fell back to my old habits regarding games, the biggest culprit being FIFA 13 during the earlier part of the year that almost completely destroyed my productivity for months. I guess games taking out people’s best edge is fairly common, but if I want to go for really hard success I will need to rise above this paradigm. Nothing is bad in moderation but as an addictive personality type, it is starting to appear I can’t do anything in moderation. Last year I played most of my games online with my friends, making it more a social activity that I don’t really mind, so what’s so terrible about it is that now I actually mostly played alone.

If there’s one thing I shouldn’t need to moderate it’s reading – it’s common trait for successful people to read a lot, and that’s where I have fallen short. This year I didn’t keep putting new ideas into my head enough. I only finished one book which doesn’t really stand up well against even my own last year’s feat of fourteen books.

2013 in Numbers

As I wrote in last year’s corresponding post and also on my Universal Awesomeness Score post, I keep track of almost everything I do on a site called Joe’s goals, leaving me with a lot of numbers on how did I spend my time during the year. Also, I have a software called Manic Time installed on my computer that tracks everything  I do. I thought it would be interesting to share some numbers at this point.

I did change the scoring system during the year so not all the same statistics are available as last year. Some stats that would be interesting were only started in the middle of the year during the change so I won’t be sharing them yet – those ones are for the next year.

The Path activity 433.5 hours

Last year this meant simply writing fiction, but towards the end of this year I redefined my path to be creative on more broader ways, so I now include stuff like writing blog posts and making videos into this. That being said, about 95 % of the hours still account from writing fiction.

The key takeaway is that I nearly doubled the amount from last year, averaging a bit over an hour per day through the year. For someone aspiring to be a fiction writer worthy of being taken seriously, that’s nearly not enough and while I considered my three hours a day writing challenge a success it still lasted less than a third of the year, so overall productivity still needs to be upped. Given I didn’t have that much work to do in the earlier part of the year one would have thought I would have put out a number that I can’t even beat in the future given my 40+ hours of weekly commitments, but I actually think I can beat this number next year, especially since broader range of activities will now account into the number.

High Value Work 525.5 hours

It’s a solid number amounting up to nearly 1.5 hours per a day. A lot of it is thanks to being forced to work 40 hours a week nowadays so I can thank for intense work after October for this number. Expect this same number to be closer to 2000 hours next year – which in comparison would be a massive improvement compared to 203 hours of last year, but I am basically required this now. It is funny how huge difference having to do something does.

The Grind 219 hours

This actually loses out to last years number, which is not all bad thing – clearly my working hours have now emphasized on more productive endeavors. Nothing much to say here, really.

Total work 1178 hours (3.2 hours per day)

All this work amounts to decent amount of work, but as said, for the next year just my Valuable Work should beat this number by almost double. Averaging seven hours of total work per day throughout the year is not beyond my grasp if you ask me, which would end me up going above 2500 hours total at the end of next year. If I want to do everything I am dreaming of in the 2014, I really have to push myself to the limit.

Footy 77 hours

I find it bizarre I am still half decent after so little playing. Being busy with other facets in my life and spending much of the year slightly injured really took its toll on this. It is sad that probably my favorite activity in the world was so marginalized.

Playing Games ~700-750 hours

I actually stopped properly tracking this towards end of the year, simply because I started getting lazy with the points system and all. Still, here’s a number that again trumps everything else productivity related. Just shifting all these hours to work will almost achieve my 2000 hour yearly goal. Where I get the rest of the hours from, I don’t really know, but I am sure time will tell :)

More Numbers: Universal Awesomeness Score

I think for anyone considering trying out Universal Awesomeness Score, which I’m simply going to refer to as UAS from now on for simplicity’s sake, would be interested in seeing what my numbers looked like after the initial use of the system. So I’m going to list out my top-5 weeks and days since doing the transition, as well as sharing the average day using the system.

Top-5 Weeks

Week 39/2013 – 475

Week 40/2013 – 403

Week 44/2013 – 331

Week 43/2013 – 293

Week 42/2013 – 254

After the first week my motivation really dropped and the aimlessness of rest of the year is really reflected on my scores. I am sure the new year will bring an improvement on that.

Average week: 275.6 points

I consider the average still very solid one.  Of course, in my own categorization it goes between mediocre and okay, but given that the rest of the year has not been exactly me pushing my edge, I am fairly happy with it. Of course, I hope the average of next year will be soaring somewhere above 400 points.

Top-5 Days

October 10th – 114

October 15th – 99

November 28th – 95

October 17th – 92

October 31st – 82

Average day: 39.4

I burst into some quite productive days, but average tells that I had slump days as well. I think above 100 will be needed to get to the top-20 list of next year.

The Best Posts of Year 2013

I decided to end this post on a high note, looking back at the year of this blog. As said, I have not been happy with what I’ve been putting out in my blog, but still, simply going with Sturgeon’s law, if 90 % of my posts are crap, there should be that 10 % that actually is non-crap. Since for most of the year I wrote one post per week, I am guesstimating I ended up with roughly fifty posts, so I thought only five posts would emerge as best, but I ended up with a bit more – If I’d read only two of them, I’d read the second one and Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously one – just to get contrast how much I improved on expressing myself during the year.

Take the Right Action

Very simple, kind of trademark post about kicking your ass to doing the right thing. I like that it is on to the point and short.

Japan Day -2: Life Momentum

I really like the simple video in this, it puts me in a reflective mood about myself given this was very early on in the year and the kid I am watching in the video… well it is just a kid when I look it now. The concept itself is pretty sound. Of course whatever plans I give out didn’t really come forth. It is really not one of the best videos of the year, just a one that is a nice contrast to everything else.

Japan Day 17: Taking Action Enables Growth

Aside from hokey title and – in hindsight – not the most appropriate music choice, this video is actually really solid. I am low key cause I’m obviously exhausted but I am surprised how well I articulate myself and that concept is absolutely huge and crucial – hell, watching it now felt like an important reminder to me myself.

Japan Finale

The first video actually puts me to tears so I think it does the job, at least for me. I obviously agree with my concepts, and given the visceral emotional response I get from this it’s a shoe-in to my list. There’s a little bit of cheesiness factor in the end of the first video and one might argue Braveheart’s score would fit better with me leaving Scotland, but fuck that, it fits anything cause it’s like the most awesome score ever. Frankly I think the music choices for both videos are spot on.

Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously

My delivery is pretty solid on this one and it’s a simple yet valuable concept.

Spiral of Awesomeness

This one made its way to becoming a staple Becoming Awesome post with the huge success I gained from completing the challenge. A true classic of a challenge I recommend anyone to take.

The Power of Testosterone

As far as posts that are simply written stuff go, this one is probably one of the most solid ones I wrote all year. Very informative stuff and makes me feel like stepping up my game – I miss that testosterone high that I’ve let slip far out of my hands over last couple of months.

The Universal Awesomeness Score

This massive post is still actually under construction and it will be the one that I use as a base for writing new posts in the future. As far as undestanding the system I go about using for my productivity and growth, it details a lot of it. I think if I can improve it during 2014, it could end up changing people’s lives, but as of now it is just the ideas expressed in an unstructured way. Still, if any post of my last year’s posts should be a Becoming Awesome staple, it’s this.

Alright, that’s it folks! The whole 2013 of my life recapped into one concise… Well, just one post anyway. Let me know what you think or ask any questions you might have in the comments. I’d of course love to hear about your reflections of the past year as well.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image