19 things I did in 2019

Newsletter #14

This year was a busy one, here are 19 reasons why. 

I rate each thing I did based on 3 factors:
Fun: How much fun I had doing it.
Rewarding: How much I got out of it.
Pride: How proud I am of doing it.

  1. Joined or created over 15 Slack groups – This year, Slack became an integral part of my life. I was added to client groups, created groups for work, and, most interestingly, I also joined a bunch of interest groups ranging from personal growth, entrepreneurship and marketing. Working remotely can be lonely, so chatting with folks online is a nice way to get some human interaction.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 3/5 | Pride: 0/5]
  2. Bought a OneWheel – I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but riding my OneWheel has been the funnest and biggest lifestyle change I’ve had this year.
    [Fun: 5/5 | Rewarding: 5/5 | Pride: 2/5]
  3. Went to climbing classes at FitBloc – I started going for climbing classes 3 months ago, and have seen a big improvement in my climbing since then. I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know fellow climbers at FitBloc, and being part of the community.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 3/5 | Pride: 2/5]
  4. Learnt how to produce podcasts – Started producing internal podcasts for Grasshopper (a client). It took a surprisingly long time to figure out the gear (I finally settled on a Zoom h5 and 2x Rode Wireless Go). And a surprisingly short time to figure out my podcast editing workflow using Audacity and headliner. I really enjoy making podcasts because they don’t take that much effort and it feels good to create something.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 3/5 | Pride: 3/5]
  5. Got better at editing photos – This happened inadvertently. But I’m really proud that my photos are looking better.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 2/5 | Pride: 3/5]
  6. Obsessed over my sleep – This year, I tried to sleep earlier after listening to Matthew Walker, bought new pillows, experimented with different sleep positions, and guilted myself about pre-sleep phone hygiene. All of that only made incremental improvements to the quality of my sleep.The one thing that has made a substantial difference is temperature – I sleep much better now that it’s always cold and rainy.
    [Fun: 0/5 | Rewarding: 1/5 | Pride: 1/5]
  7. Went to Rwanda with my parents – This was an eye-opening experience. Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, is beautiful. Goat nyama choma is delicious, safaris are wondrous, and genocide is terrible. Anyone who thinks they’re above such primitive savagery is fooling themselves. Never underestimate how easy it is to get brainwashed and lose perspective.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 3/5 | Pride: 0/5]
  8. Took on 2 new clients at the start of the year – On boarding 2 new clients at the same time was savage. This took over my life, and I worked 10-12 hour days for most of the first half of the year. Worked most weekends too. Towards the end of the year, I left one, and kept the other. Work is more sane these days.
    [Fun: 1/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 4/5]
  9. Coached the Singapore Women’s frisbee team – This has largely been rewarding, and a great outlet for some of the frisbee ideas that have been swimming around in my head for years now. I’m so glad and proud that people seem to genuinely enjoy being a part of this team.

    My goal with the team is to get them to realise that they’re capable of so much more than they think, and open their eyes to the possibility of a frisbee team that’s positive, encouraging, competitive and fun, all at the same time.
    [Fun: 4/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 4/5]
  10. Co-founded Member Hero – This is a premium WordPress plugin that lets you build a membership site, from scratch, without code. I’ve been working on it with my co-founder, Ahmed, for about 10 weeks now. He’s been working on it since the start of the year.

    The website is live (memberhero.pro), and it’s now possible to purchase the plugin.

    I usually work with professional designers and developers to build websites for clients. But in this case, I made this website 100% myself using Thrive. I wouldn’t have been able to make a website like this in 2018. And the year before that, in 2017, I built my first website. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learnt.

    Talking about shit I’ve had to learn, I’ve also had to learn how to product manage. This involves determining and prioritising what, how and when features need to be built. I started completely clueless, but am starting to get the hang of things.

    Finally, I’m really looking forward to marketing my own product for once. It’s one thing to do it for clients, but so much more rewarding to do it for myself. The stakes are also higher, which just makes it that much more awesome if we succeed.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 4/5]
  11. Built a kick ass team at BENTO – we now work on digital marketing across paid ads (Facebook and Google), content marketing, web design and development, and SEO. Working with the team now, it’s hard to believe we’ve all been working together for less than a year. We’ve come really far, but are still only scratching the surface.
    [Fun: 4/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 4/5]
  12. Went to New York with Iggy – where I spent most of the time sick or on unproductive conference calls. We stayed with lovely friends (Angela + Diana), ate life-changing oysters, and played a lot of Overcooked.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 2/5 | Pride: 0/5]
  13. Started drinking hot chocolate in lieu of coffee – The best one I’ve had so far is at Apartment Coffee. PSA: Many Singaporean cafes have fancy hot chocolate now.
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 3/5 | Pride: 0/5]
  14. Discovered The Moon – My favourite new cafe of the year. At least 2 newsletters have been written there. Would also like to thank Iggy for supportively keeping me company while I wrote each newsletter.
    [Fun: 2/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 1/5]
  15. Read 27 books this year and finished about 23 of them – My favourites include: Meltdown by Chris Clearfield; The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis; The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee; The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin.
    [Fun: 4/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 2/5]
  16. Listened to lots of podcasts – I enjoyed many of them, but this one was a revelation both in terms of story and what this medium is capable of: Escaping A Christian Cult, Sam Harris with Megan Phelps-Roper
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 3/5 | Pride: 1/5]
  17. Played Dungeons and Dragons – I wrote about this recently, and continue to enjoy roleplaying as Pim, the ex-pirate, beast master gnome. 
    [Fun: 3/5 | Rewarding: 2/5 | Pride: 1/5]
  18. Lost 3 jackets and only successfully recovered 1 – Jackets have been especially hard to keep track of this year.
    [Fun: 0/5 | Rewarding: 0/5 | Pride: 0/5]
  19. Started writing this newsletter – This has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done this year, and have received lots of positive feedback for it so far. If you’re one of the kind souls who’ve said something nice – thank you, I appreciate it. Your encouragement has helped to keep me going.

    Also, random shoutout to Tom (who doesn’t read this newsletter) for patiently helping me sort out the code on lesley.pizza

    I started it with no expectations, but found that the fortnightly cadence has suited me well. I hope I don’t jinx it, but I’ve so far found publishing consistently to be surprisingly easy. I definitely don’t plan on stopping.
    [Fun: 4/5 | Rewarding: 4/5 | Pride: 4/5]

Final thoughts:

This year, I’m proudest of improvements made in my writing, designing and people management skills.

I did and learnt so much this year; and in fact feel like I’ve been aggressively doing and learning for many years now. Since 2013, I feel like I become a fundamentally different person, with vastly different skills, after each successive year. It is exhausting, but rewarding. I wonder how long I can keep this up?

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