Reflecting on 2020

Jan 08, 2021 · posted in Design Journal · 6 min read

Reflecting on 2020

My summary and reflection on 2020

What a year 2020 has been. The changes and things that has happened to my personal life as well as the world is totally unimaginable. But we went through. It's presumptuous to say the worst is yet to come (at least in Hong Kong), but staying self-aware and mindful to our own targets is the way to see our own improvement over time,.

So here are some of my 2020 Goals:

Career Growth & Development

In 2020, I was put on furlough for few months after the travel ban (I worked for a travel startup), I had some time to think about my career and what I want to try and accomplish in the the next few years. My conclusion was to start looking for new jobs and equip myself for the job market.

The whole job searching journey is a big challenge for me as it has been 5+ years since my last job hunt. Finding a suitable opening positions, crafting a personalized cover letter, a resume that adequately state what I did without bragging, prepping for countless interviews happened offline or online, and most importantly a portfolio that allow people to know you who you are from your own design. Every process is hard work and I had gone over dozen of revisions to adjust and frame my store. Thankfully, the reward of such process is also out of my expectation. I'm lucky to receive 2 job offers, and I'm grateful to announce I'm starting the new role later this month!

During the process, employing OKR (Objective & Key Result) framework to my career planning was very helpful, inspired by Sophie Li's OKR for self learning. I'm writing an article on my own approach and goals, stay tuned!

Publish 12 blogs

Surprisingly I have reached the target. Half of the blogs were published here on my personal website, another half is published in new my Chinese blog (Migrated from Wordpress to Gatsby). I had a lot of free time to write at home during initial wave of lockdown in March. However I have still yet to develop the habit to write, anything every day. But it's a work in progress, comparing to 6 blog published in 2019.

Mostly read blog post is How to Organise Design Workflow and Operation in Figma, which had 2x more visits than the second place. The article also attracted a lot of referral traffic as it was quoted and other newsletters and design resources site. Thank you so much for sharing my article.

Read 12 books

As most of my leisure time in the past year has been spent on job hunting, I failed to read 12 books in 2020,by meeting half the target at 6 only. (9 in 2019) I still haven't find a good time slot for reading, I used to read a lot during commute but the experience wasn't particularly pleasant. I shall set the same goals for my next year.

Watch 20 documentaries

It was a step up from previous year, I have watched 20 documentaries this year (11 in 2019). I think it is still a reasonable target but I might have to include documentary tv show to it as well. I attempted to write reflections after each film (1 & 2) but some time there wasn't much to write about.

My favorite documentaries this year is Free Solo (2018, Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi) & For Sama (2019 Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts).

Logging my personal life & be mindful of health

Logging is a new personal habit of 2020 that I really enjoyed doing. Although it might not be perfect, but I have created a excel system to track all my habits and personal data (like wake, sleep time, weight). I have even build a Glide app to access the Google Sheets as a database. Glide is really powerful but the row limit and the way I want to organise my data is quite different, so in the end I input on my desktop browser anyway.

I have also recorded 94 films on Letterboxd, 44 tv shows, 280 days of wake up time, 289 days of sleep time, 234 days of weight. I have lost some weight as I intake less carbs, and start to be more mindful of health and what I ate. I subscribed to Calorie Mama but gave up later since matching Hong Kong dishes & recipe from the system is a chore.

Build new things

I built 3 open source projects in 2020.

  • Together At Home Club — Collection of resources to encourage people staying at home during lockdown. I shared my building process and lessons here. Overall accumulated users is around 3k, with around 50 curated free resources.
  • Gatsby Starter Lamma — I built this Gatsby starter in July after I realized someone forked my personal website and used as template. I never thought it would happen as the source code is so personalised and a big mess without documentation. This is an attempt for me to contribute back to the community.
  • Notes of Samuel — I did not maintain my old Wordpress site (Chinese blog) for a while now, so it was great to start again combing all my writings from Wordpress, Medium and even some long Facebook status. I migrated my chinese blog into Gatsby using Gatsby Starter Lumen. I also built a custom travel page featuring all my travel journals.

For the best products & apps of 2020, I'm switching gears a bit this year and building something new. Stay tuned for my update!

That's it. I hope this annual review is going to be a tradition and I can become even more transparent on my personal growth. I'm very truly grateful for what I have learned and become over the past year, and I thank my partner, friends and family that supported me through the journey. Wish everyone safe and healthy in 2021.

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