The theme I set for 2020 was to stop and smell the flower: To relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. I don’t feel that I did that enough this year. Looking at my goals for the year again, I think they were more about setting me up to smell the flowers instead of actually smelling the flowers…at least that’s what I tell myself.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t even matter because it’s been such a sad, difficult and unexpected year for the world so I’m just grateful to be here.
My goals had 3 main themes – Simplifying my life, Career, Family/Parenting.
Simplifying my life
I believe the more organised and simplified your life is, the easier it is to spend time doing the things that really matter.
I explored what it means to be a minimalist, got into the habit of decluttering, tried to make sure everything has a place, developed some morning and night routines, started a toy rotation system, e.t.c.
Tolu started taking care of the food time table and online grocery shopping while I just focused on making the meals, which took a lot of mental load off me.
I also made some progress with how I use emails and curated my social media following to better reflect things I care about. I tried to spend less time on social media but reading “Digital minimalism” definitely increased my resolve to do this better so I’m planning a digital declutter soon.
It can definitely be better, there are a few habits I wanted to work on that I didn’t and I often slip into old habits but It all worked – I no longer feel overwhelmed and I feel more in control. I also started an Instagram page (me.organised) talking about it.
At the start of 2020, my plan was to get a promotion, make my work more visible and make more money.
I did all of that and I’m pleased:
- I got promoted from a product manager to a senior product manager
- I got “exceeded” in my end of year review at work, which also means a small bonus
- I did one side gig as a teaching associate for General Assembly’s Product management course
- I updated my website to better reflect my current career and interest
- I started writing weeknotes to reflect on what I do at work and also work in the open. I managed to stay consistent since I started in July which is better than my first attempt in 2019. I only wrote 2 other posts apart from weeknotes, 1 for my website and 1 for work – I’m hoping to do more of those
- I was a co-facilitator for the Introduction to product management course for civil servants in the UK, both the physical and online version
I’ve always struggled with being an active part of any product management communities outside of where I work and often find them overwhelming. I thought about what the right group will feel like for me and decided to ask a few people to be part of my product management circle.
I started a product management circle – a small group of product manager friends (Chantal and Detan) a while ago. We meet every 2 weeks to talk about our work, challenges, our professional goals and life in general. I find those sessions quite refreshing and encouraging. I always learn something new each time. It’s just the 3 of us right now and its working so well that we’ve decided not to jinx it by including other people
All this happened even though I worked from home most of the year and I feel grateful that my career was not adversely affected in 2020
Family and Parenting
Olaoluwa turned 2 in January 2020. Age 2 – 3 is a brilliant age where they begin to talk properly. We successfully potty trained him which was a trial of our patience but we did it. We also got him into Kindergarten at a really good school, it cost a pretty penny but we are glad because he loves going there.
The other amazing thing is we reduced his screen time drastically in the last quarter of the year. He got a kid’s kindle for his 2nd birthday and he was using it for a few hours a day. After his childminder mentioned that he’s not talking or interacting with other kids enough for his age, we stopped him from using the kindle completely to increase his general interactions. We are glad we did because he’s now a chatterbox when he’s not being shy.
I’m really proud we did this because I was not sure how I’ll cope without a proper distraction for him when he’s home during qorking hours, but it’s been fine. We’ve found los of activities to do and he just joins my meeting. I’ve blocked time in my calender to let people know when there might be a toddler in the background.
I tried to be a bit more intentional and read “How to talk so little kids listen: A survival guide to life with Children aged 2 – 7” which has definitely thought me a lot about having empathy and communicating better with kids
Tolu and I have been doing great. We’ve been communicating a lot better. We’ve been doing monthly retrospectives which have been so brilliant. We’ve had lots of lovely date nights and themed weeks even though we’ve been holed up at home because of Coronavirus. I feel like we are closer now than we were at the beginning of the year and I’m grateful to share life with this amazing man.
Tolu’s back hurt a lot of the year which sucked but I’m glad we now know what’s causing it and there’s a plan for treatment. It’s been an ‘interesting’ year for Playbrush, tough because Cononavirus made it so for lots of businesses.
What else happened?
I started investing a little amount each month and also did my accounts each month without fail. This was a huge step up for me. We also overpaid our mortgage every month, helping us get more equity in the house.
Someone hit our car and the insurance company decided to scrap it but thankfully we got some money from them and topped it up to get a better car.
My fitness level is not great. Swimming was going well till coronavirus happened. After that, I did almost zero exercises and I’m not currently proud of my waistline. I managed to pay more attention to my mental health though and tried to be more mindful.
Books I read
I read 8 books
- How to talk so little kids listen: A survival guide to life with Children aged 2 – 7
- The joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify
- Atomic habits: An easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones
- Product leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams
- The Confidence gap: From fear to freedom
- So good they can’t ignore you: Why skills trump passion in the quest for work you love
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world
- The friendship formula: how to say Goodbye to loneliness and discover deeper connection
- 0 countries
- 1 city (Gloustershire)
Worked from home
9 out of 12 months
I’m excited for 2021. My theme for the year is “living intentionally” with goals centered around simplifying my life, building meaningful relationships and focusing on my values.
Here’s hoping 2021 is wonderful for you in every way.