Posted on Tue 12 January 2016

2015 in review

I've already written about my must-have apps from 2015, but I didn't spend all my time playing with apps. When I read Josh's review of 2015, I really liked the format, and decided I would also like to write up what I got done throughout the year, my goals for 2016, and some of my favourite non-app products and art from 2015.

So here goes.

Things I did in 2015

When I started writing this section of the review, I felt really down. A few big things happened in 2015 that weren't nice at all, and I'd rather not think about them.

I did do some cool stuff, but a lot of it was day-to-day, rather than milestone achievements, so it's hard to write about what I got done here. The one thing I'm super proud of is what I've achieved with my iOS development progress in 2015. I'll write a separate post about that so it's not dampened by my sad feelings about the crappy parts of the past year.

For now, let's look ahead.

Plans for 2016

Since I was fired from my job at Ghost in December 2015, 2016 will mostly be about finding enough work to pay my bills, and then increasing the amount of income I can make independently. My main aim for 2016 is to be able to live comfortably without any client work at all by the end of the year.

Goals

  1. Double the income from Hello Code (from around $3000/month now to $6000/month)
  2. Release 4 of my own products (the first one, my email course Productive Habits, is open for pre-orders and about to launch)
  3. Pay off my tax debt
  4. Launch Field Trip, my online magazine, and build up its accompanying Patreon account to $1000/month
  5. Find a sport or exercise I enjoy
  6. Travel to Europe (doubtful this will happen, but if everything else goes well we might be able to afford it this year. If not, early 2017 hopefully)

Things I want to get better at

  1. Programming knowledge: I came from no programming knowledge into learning Objective-C and building iOS apps. I'm still a beginner developer and make bad decisions and write ugly code. I also have a hard time figuring things out because I like to get things working as quickly as possible, rather than researching all the theory I can find around something new I want to use. This year I want to focus more on adding theory to my practical knowledge, and practising the same things over and over so I can do them again easily, rather than fumbling my way to an implementation and promptly forgetting everything about how things work.
  2. Getting work done before lunchtime: I have a bad habit of fluffing around in the morning until around 10 or 11am, which is when Josh normally wakes up and I spend time chatting with him and having lunch. Come 2pm I often wonder where the day went. This year I want to be more disciplined about getting things done in the morning. Planning what to work on the night before should help.
  3. Spending less money: I consistently spend more money than I should, and now that I have no job I need to be really careful about cutting back on expenses. I've set up budgets that I usually ignore, so trying harder to stay under budget should help.
  4. Being more social: I usually feel good after I've socialised a little bit, but I'm too lazy to do it regularly. I also don't know a lot of people who are interested in the same things as me—a lot of my friends came from theatre, and I'm not doing that anymore. So I want to put in a bit more effort this year to catch up with friends more often.
  5. Being more patient: I get frustrated too quickly and I want to be more patient and calm this year. I'm going to try to notice when I'm stressing about tiny things that don't matter (usually technology not working the way I want it to) and I'll try to be slower in responding to people (mostly Josh) so I don't snap or let frustration into my voice.

Habits I want to build

I try to work on just one habit at a time, since that means I can focus all my energy (and every trick I know) into just one behaviour. I have a few habits I'd like to build this year:

  • practise French every day
  • floss minimum 3 times/week
  • work out minimum 2 times/week
  • cardio exercise minimum 2 times/week (this is where finding a sport or exercise I enjoy will come in handy)
  • play piano/read music every day

That's only five, so I have a couple of months to spend building up each one if I want to get them all habitised by the end of the year.

My favourite stuff from 2015

Books

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett

I'd never read any of Ann Patchett's novels, and had no idea what to expect from this collection of essays. The subject matter varies wildly, but Ann's voice remains constant. I grew to empathise deeply with Ann as she told me stories about her troubled first marriage, her struggle to become an author, and how she cared for her sick grandmother. I enjoyed her stories about taking a dog away from a little girl because Ann had claimed it first, getting frustrated at people who thought she wanted a baby because of how much she loved her dog, and how she fought the controversy over her book about her late friend when parents at a university tried to have it banned. I'll definitely be reading this again.

A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel, by Robin Hemley

Opened me up to a whole new world of writing, and reading. I added many books to my reading list via this book.

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, by Pamela Druckerman

A lot of the ideas in this book have stuck with me, and I'll probably read it again in the future. It definitely made an impression.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

One of very few classics I made time for this year. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. I particularly liked the way New York was described. It made me want to be there.

The Martian, by Andy Weir

One of few novels I enjoyed this year. I'm not a big fan of fiction, but this book really sucked me in.

TV

Borgen

Moar Borgen! This is the best. Especially season 1. I'm hanging out to watch it all again. It not only convinced me politics can be interesting, but it totally hooked me on Danish TV in general.

Bob's Burgers

Didn't think I'd like this but it's really fun. I wish they wouldn't have weird breaks in the middle of a season, though.

Orange is the New Black

So good. So sad that it's all over so fast, and we have to wait ages for a new season.

Rick and Morty

Another one I didn't think I'd like but it really grew on me.

The Hollowmen

I usually don't like Australian TV or movies much, but this awkward, silly comedy is exactly my style. I wish there were more episodes. I watched Utopia recently, which is like The Hollowmen, only not as good. I still enjoyed it, but I want more Hollowmen.

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