This is my third year in review. I find blogging about my year is an awesome way to reflect and clear the decks before the new year arrives.
What did I achieve in 2019?
Business: the business continued to grow in 2019 at a steady rate. Although revenue is just one indicator of success it was good to see things continue the upward trend. Our profit margins remain extremely high and our small team is punching well above its weight.
Our growth strategy for 2019 was called “1 to 1”. This means myself and the team spent most of our time doing small scale activities that focused on connecting 1 to 1 with customers, partners etc. Work that doesn’t scale. This is a relatively novel approach since many of our peers were trying to scale their marketing and put distance between themselves and their customers.
Overall the “1 to 1” strategy was difficult and very time consuming. But the benefits of connecting with so many customers in such a personal way far outweighed any negatives.
The goal of the “1 to 1” was to learn from our customers in a more meaningful way, draw our internal culture into being even more focused on what our customers need and give a more human touch to what we do.
We have never just built and fixed websites, we have always helped people grow a successful business and when we sit down with customers we understand how to help them in ways we could never have imagined.
Health & lifestyle: I took my fitness, health and lifestyle to new levels in 2019. In 2017 I was not exercising at all, sick, tired and stressed all the time.
Now in 2019 I have now made fitness a life focus for the past 2 years and I currently train 3-4 days per week, sometimes a lot more.
I reached a peak in the middle of the year where I was running more than 70km per week and things were getting obsessive. I have since balanced that out to a level where I exercise a lot but don’t go too crazy.
I ran two half marathons in 2019, both were super hard. I think I’m still transitioning into a true endurance athlete.
I improved my overall health a lot more too. I took it on myself to improve my eating habits even more. Coming up to 10 years as a vegetarian I’m noticing the effects of my diet and previous eating habits more as time goes on. Eating right is one of the biggest challenges I face in 2020.
On the plus side, I quit drinking cola (coke or Pepsi etc) more than 2 years ago after I realised I was binging on sugar drinks. I continue to avoid cola and haven’t looked back.
Learning: I learned so much this year. I definitely made this a focus for the year.
First off, I enrolled in a computer science degree (I’ve been a self taught programmer since I was in high school), I wanted to be taken even more seriously as a computer programmer.
In my first semester of study I discovered a new level of academic success that I never knew I had within me. There is a lot of interesting things to be said about being a mature age student. Everything about study is totally different when you complete formal study later in life.
Secondly, I had a goal to read 50 books in 2019 and I achieved that goal only a couple of days ago! I spent countless hours with my nose in books and I got back into the habit and love of reading.
The interesting thing was I was able to read 50 books just by spending slightly less time watching TV, playing games and with news and social media. I didn’t put that much effort into freeing up my time, which shows just how much time we lose to digital distractions.
What did I fail at in 2019?
Every year has success and failure. Humans need failure to grow. Here are my top takeaways from failing at stuff in 2019:
- Time management is still the hardest part of my job, knowing where to allocate time into places where it will have the most impact without being too strict and without removing the fun from life. I wrote about this issue fairly recently when I discussed my productivity system and how it works for me. Time management and prioritising is still a huge challenged.
- Holding onto difficult customers instead of firing them. I always have self doubt “if I fired X customer it might damage our business growth” and so I stay too long with difficult customers to the detriment of other things. This is an interesting issue to solve and I believe I have made good progress but there is still a lot of work to do.
- Fitness goals require constant improvement. Near the end of the year I got the flu and was busy with exams for 6 weeks and this set my fitness back a few levels and it took time to build it back up again.
- Learning is more about what you choose to read than how much you choose to read. Next year I have a goal to read less but improve the overall quality of the things I read.
Looking ahead to 2020
Every year has a theme, I’ve discussed in previous yearly reviews the themes for other years. This coming year my main theme is “create”.
My goal is to create more than I consume
I am deeply concerned about the way we blindly consume media, whether that is TV, games or social media. The hypothesise that I will feel satisfied when I look back on the coming year and can see I created a bunch of new stuff and added more value to the world.