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Life

Goals for 2020

It’s been a year since I laid out my New Year goals for 2019.

I’m ashamed to say they were mostly a miss.

  1. Complete coding courses & share the results: I didn’t finish any coding courses.
  2. Do more creative work and share it: I doodled a bit in my sketchbook towards the end of the year, but I didn’t share anything.
  3. Publish one new page per week to my site: I only published a couple — my Newsletters and Bookmarks.
  4. Read at least one book per month, share the takeaways: I read a few books but never wrote takeaways.
  5. Record and publish one podcast episode per week: I didn’t record any podcast episodes.
  6. Learn audio production, share my notes: Nada.
  7. Learn video production, share my notes: Nada.
  8. Get back into gaming & streaming: Nada.
  9. Send a monthly newsletter: Nada.
  10. Spend more time with family: I’ve been able to visit my family a bit more, now that we’re east of Toronto, but not nearly to the extent that I wanted.
  11. Keep the road trips going. Share the experience: We roadtripped through Italy for our honeymoon, but I didn’t do any sharing.
  12. Return to a healthy lifestyle: Last couple of months are better, but my weight is still where it was from years ago.

2019 wasn’t a total flop; it was full of life-changing milestones.

We were engaged and married in the spring; vacationed in northern Italy for our honeymoon; bought our first new car in August; and bought a house in September.

On the professional front I moved back into a community-focused role at GoDaddy; presented at a handful of WordCamps; and co-led a workshop at WordCamp US in St. Louis.

I also learned quite a bit about how I work.

Goals are great, but it’s the day-to-day tasks that makes progress. I learned that I need to make the time to work against my goals, and defend that time, otherwise they won’t happen.

Mornings are the most productive time of the day for me, so I need to defend that time and keep it free from meetings.

That time is finite, though — so as I look ahead to 2020, I’m thinking about how to plan my goals around what time I have available.

That means not trying to do too much, limiting my goals, and figuring out how my weekly routines will make progress against those goals.

Underlying all of that is a philosophy that my life is a latticework of projects and relationships, professional and personal.

It’s a duality of my identity. Neither side defines me wholly — but both sides are important.

So, with all of that said, what am I thinking of for 2020?

My goals for 2020

EDIT: Per my wife’s request, I’m adding a “notwithstanding clause” to ensure she can supersede any of the below goals at any time. šŸ™‚

Dive into team leadership and management. This is a new area for me. I haven’t led a team since 2013. So, for 2020, I’m going to do a lot of studying and seeking to put it into practice.

Get Main Street Durham off the ground. This is now a collaborative project with Matt Graham, my co-organizer in WP Durham.

Continue to organize WP Durham. We’re bringing local WordPress users together through in-person meetups and online resources.

Improve my coding skills, particularly in JavaScript. “Coding courses” have been on my list of goals for years. I haven’t made any headway because I haven’t set any time aside for it. That’s changing in 2020 with 100 Days of Gatsby and lessons from Wes Bos.

Courses and certifications in marketing, advertising, and business. I need to brush up on other areas to keep my skills sharp and relevant.

Make more art. When I was a kid I wanted to learn to play the keyboard/piano — so I’m getting back to that. Otherwise I’m pursuing illustration (drawing/painting) challenges, crafts, sculpture… the sort of hands-on stuff I’ve neglected for years.

Read more books. Aiming for a chapter every night, a mix of non-fiction and fiction — whatever piques my interest. I have a massive list of books in my “Read This” list on Todoist that keeps growing.

Continue to curate and write every day. I do a lot of reading and share highlights w/ commentary here on my blog. I’ll continue doing that and flex into newsletters and other channels.

Exercise at least 3x weekly. A mix of strength training and cardio, getting back on the bike when the weather allows. I’m seeing a personal trainer right now and might continue that for a while.

Tackle projects around the house. Our home is an old 1970’s side-split that needs some TLC. I’m treating it as a lifelong work in progress. Might even get a workshop set up!

How am I making time?

Mondays are for professional development. All the studying around leadership & management; reading & curating; writing & planning. I keep the day blocked to go deep on these topics.

Tuesday mornings are for Main Street Durham & WP Durham. Matt and I have a regular working session to jam on these projects. For me it’s mainly working on planning and content creation.

Wednesday mornings are for the web. This is when I work on coding courses and little practice projects.

Thursday mornings are for marketing. Working on courses and certification that tie into expanding my skills as a marketer.

Friday mornings are for creative work. TGIF. I wrap up the week with lessons and challenges focused on art — design, illustration, drawing, painting, music, et al.

Early mornings are for exercise. We’re over a month into the daily ritual. The schedule works out nicely. Up at 6-6:30, in the gym around 7, out around 8:30. Then I’m at a coffee shop for a couple hours before heading home.

Evenings are for books. Thankfully we’re a book-loving household so it’s not hard to justify some time for reading before bed.

Weekends are for friends, family, and work around the house. Good ol’ housekeeping.

What am I using to keep myself accountable?

With all of these things on the go, what am I leaning on?

Outlook (work) and Google Calendar (personal) for timeboxing. For the last four years I was tracking everything through my work calendar. As of November, I’ve started using Google Calendar again for my personal stuff. We also use iCloud for family appointments.

Todoist for tasks and reminders. I tried a few other apps this year but came back to Todoist for three reasons: the interface; the browser extension; and the gamification w/ karma (task completion) tracking.

Notion for research notes and personal project management. I have all my projects set up as folders within a single Notion workspace. That’s where my research notes go.

Harvard Business Review, Udemy, Wes Bos, Creative Live. I’m leaning on these four as my go-to resources for learning, at least in the early part of 2020. Also on my radar: Outlier, DataCamp, FreeCodeCamp, LinkedIn Learning, and Master Class (just for kicks).

Done for iOS. A handy app for tracking habits/routines.

Here’s to 2020

New year. New decade. New beginnings.

If you’re sharing your goals for the year, let me know on Twitter. I’m happy to link to them from here.

By Andy

Andy McIlwain wrangles content and community programs at GoDaddy as a Senior Marketing Manager. He's helped folks work with the web since '08 as a community organizer, workshop instructor, web developer, and marketer. You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.