Stephen Lindberg

Product Designer @ Iterable

30 December 2019

Yearly Review 2019

Time for another year-end review post. 2019 had its share of ups and downs. First let’s see how I did on my goals:

Read 50 books

I failed. I read only about half of my goal. What happened? A couple things: for one, my commute was slashed from 2 hours per day to 10 minutes per day, which really reduced my isolated reading time. My reading pace during the first half of the year was much steadier and faster. I didn’t correct for this when my commute went away, and so I kept falling behind.

Another thing I realized is that I was reading lots of fiction, and my motivation started to wane because I like to read to satisfy my curiosity, rather than to find out what happens next in a story. I think in 2020 I would like to focus more attention to non-fiction reading. I still read several fiction books that I loved.

You can see the books I’ve read here.

Practice life drawing weekly

I failed. While I did do a considerable amount of drawing this year, it wasn’t at a steady pace. Typically I found myself having 2-3 day spurts of motivation to do drawing, followed by 2 weeks of nothing. I’ve accepted that this is fine for now, considering that my goals for drawing are mostly self-indulgent.

Be positive

I succeeded. I felt much more in tune with my emotional well-being this year. Therapy helped big time. I think that I’ve gained a good set of knowledge to manage my anxiety so that I’m not paralyzed by indecision.

All told, I feel good about what I learned from setting these goals, and I don’t feel bad about my failures. I will go into 2020 stronger than before.

The highlights

Plenty of amazing things happened this year. I did a 50-mile bike ride with a good friend. It was the first long bike ride I’ve done in several years. I look forward to doing more long rides next year. I went to XOXO in September where I played video games, met great people, and heard amazing talks. While in Portland I also did my share of hiking. It was beautiful. I also went to Costa Rica this year and learned how to surf. It was a idyllic, remote adventure, and I would love to go back some day.

As for more career-related highlights, I led a couple workshops this year. One on data visualization, and another on drawing and communication. It was great practice for facilitating group lessons, which is a skill I am always trying to improve.

This year I also had a ton of fun taking photos with my X-Pro2. I look forward to capturing more moments next year.

Looking ahead

So what are my goals for 2020? (I get a bit anxious setting year-long goals actually. What if my focus shifts 6 months in? Oh well…)

1. Lead at least 2 workshops

I had fun leading workshops this year. I hope to lead a couple more this year with the intent of creating a workshop that I could use over and over and iterate on. This will help me get better at speaking in public and facilitating group activity.

2. Publish one writing each month

To help me get into the habit of writing, I’ve compiled a list of prompts so that I can write a little bit each day. This will help me generate ideas and get into a routine of writing.

3. Juggle 5 balls

I’ve neglected to practice juggling for the past couple years. I’m stuck at 4 balls and I want to get to 5 by the end of the year. I’ll have to set aside some time each day in order to improve on this. Luckily it can probably be achieved simply by practicing for 10-15 minutes a day (I hope – this is just my rough estimate). Part of the challenge is that 5 balls is hard to do with low ceilings, so I will need some outdoor space (and warm weather).

Happy New Year!

That’s all. I hope 2020 treats you well.