I’ve had a great year. In 2016 I was lucky enough to go to New Zealand, Hawaii, New York, London, Norway and Tokyo – whilst having a full time job. I submitted my permanent residency visa application in Australia, got promoted, and got engaged. Amongst all these great things, there’s also been a few hard lessons that’ve been great catalysts for personal growth. In line with this, I’ve added a “lessons learned” section to the format I gave last year’s brief year in review.

5 Highlights

Best experience

There were lots to choose from here, but snorkeling with green turtles in Hawaii clinched it. There was a whole group just swimming up by us for air, and it was surreal how close they were. GoPro footage on it’s way.

Best city

With a really close friend in London, we took a trip to go and see a mutually close friend In New York. It was sensational. Completely exhausting but invigorating at the same time. Compltely lived up to expectation.

Best exhibition

By pure luck we stumbled across this, but the Cooper Hewitt in New York had an exhibition on how Pixar break down a story. It was small, but had all these little gems from their process on previous films. So much fun.

Best blog

I really like Khoi’s writing style. It’s interesting, feels conversational and unpretentious. And although I reduced a lot of things coming into my inbox this year, Subtraction is one of the few to remain. Really enjoyable.

Best book

Alain de Botton has been in my peripheral for years, but never actually read his work. This year I read the Architecture of Happiness, and regret not having read his books sooner. Really interesting and thoughtful.

5 favourite apps

Pocket Casts

About 5 years late, but I really got into podcasts this year. I’ve been working through This American Life, and they’re great to run to. Pocket Casts won for me on it’s simple design, and keeping old show’s backlogs searchable.

Letterboxd

I’d always saved my watchlist of films in Wunderlist. But I couldn’t track films watched, or get recommendations from others. Khoi Vinh (avid film watcher) mentioned it on Subtraction, and I’ve been hooked since.

Spark

After having Mailbox, the ability to defer and snooze mail is something I couldn’t be without. Airmail and Polymail were close, but Spark has the perfect mix of simple design and powerful features to win me over.

Thunderspace

Repeat from last year, but worth it. I’ve always thought I was more creative/productive listening to music, and was skeptical of listening to rain, but this app can’t be beaten for focus work or meditating. Just amazing,

Bobby

This is one of those apps that should just be included in your bank app but isn’t. Let’s me keep track of when my payments for various services will be due, so it’s easy to manage. Simple, and now has all currencies.

Lessons learned in 2016

The hardest lessons this year can be summed up in two words – managing ego. This applies to my own ego, and the people I work with and manage. It’s something that as my responsibilities have grown over this year, and I communicate with more people in other timezones only over Slack, that I need to make a conscious effort to be better at. Things that helped towards the end of this year were managing ego from A List Apart, and frequently remind myself of Jason Fried’s Give it 5 mintues.

Things I’m excited about in 2017

Last year I wanted to travel, make more time for reading, meditation and writing – all wrapped up into a nice morning routine. I read more than half my reading list I set last year, far more than I did the year before. And although I didn’t write or meditate as much, I did get to get into some semblance of a fitness routine, and ran a few decent length races. In 2017 I’m looking forward to doubling down on all these, and launching a side project I’ve had on the backburner for too long.

Review of 2016’s reading list

So last year I set this as my reading list for the year. Managed to get through just over half of it, which I was happy with, but still not quite the book a month I wanted:

  1. How google works
  2. Introducing aesthetics
  3. The language of things
  4. The architecture of happiness
  5. Books vs cigarettes
  6. The art of travel
  7. Ways of seeing
  8. The consolations of philosophy
  9. B is for Bauhaus
  10. Intelligence of the flesh
  11. How music got free
  12. The road to character

Reading list for 2017

What I did realise from last year’s reading list though, is there were a few books that I really really tried to get through, but just couldn’t. I always get this weird feeling of guilt when I quit on a book, but for a few, I could have read 3 books in the time it took me to wade through one. This year I’m focussing on a few authors I loved in 2015, rolling over a few I didn’t get to, and chucking in a few scripts to the mix:

  1. Art as Therapy
  2. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
  3. The Consolations of Philosophy
  4. How Proust can Change your Life
  5. Writing for Emotional Impact
  6. Hitchcock Truffaut
  7. The art of travel
  8. Ways of seeing
  9. Whiplash Script
  10. The Shining Script
  11. Ex Machina Script
  12. Zodia Script