Goals 2020

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The plan Picture by Isaac Smith.

I know, I know… Almost a quarter of the year is already over. I’ve already worked on some of my goals for the new year, but didn’t get to publish them on here yet. So let me do that just now.

>Why don’t you set goals independently from whether it’s a new year or not?
I do. But I also think the stretch of a year is quite a good amount of time to measure goals.

The goals

Without losing any more time, here they are:

Recap as of 19.03.2020

This far, I’ve used quite some Pomodoros for my studying, but I’ve noticed that for some tasks - like proving results in Graph Theory - 25 minutes is just too short, so I used Pomodoros of a length of 50 minutes instead. I’ve also tried to do the essential stuff first. Overall, I’ve been quite productive and focused, but I’d like to improve on that even more.

My analog and free Sundays are great! I really enjoy them a lot, but sadly they didn’t survive long during the stressful phases of learning for university…

The traveling is working out okay, sadly we didn’t even plan going to Nepal, which actually turned out to be just the right decision, as any journey has been rendered impossible by the whole COVID-19 situation. But luckily I’ve been to London for a week and I’ve also had two trips to cabins planned, however with the current situation I guess they won’t happen now.

The startup is coming along great, we’ve been accepted to the Black Forest Accelerator 2020, where we get a lot of support and tips in workshops! Also the meetings with local authorities are turning out to be quite productive and inspiring. We’re motivated!

I’ve started collecting more basic recipes for my goal of cooking more basic stuff. I still enjoy cooking fancy dishes, but I’ll need to collect and try more simple recipes. It’s a bit of work to test out all these new recipes, but I guess the effort will pay off when I have my collection of fast and easy recipes.

As part of the Black Forest Accelerator we had to do some pitches, but other than that I couldn’t really improve my presentation skills this year yet. I’ve also tried to be more open to strangers and got awesome reactions, but I’d like a more strategic approach for this goal…

Over the past few weeks I sadly didn’t have much time for playing the guitar, but I did do my daily spanish lessons. I also finished the first spanish course at my university and plan on doing another one in the next semester!

I didn’t paint with oil colors this year yet, but I’ve got them at home and I’m planning to do so in the next weeks.

I’m currently finishing my 17th book, so I’m well ahead of schedule for reading 52 this year! I noticed that I should make better decisions on what book to read next.

The writing is something I’m really enjoying, but sometimes I need to motivate myself to follow through. However, because it was recommended by both Derek Sivers and Jordan Peterson, I started doing some clearer thinking by journaling and can already see some of its benefits.

I also started collecting my favorite parts of popular stoic texts, which I plan to release, either as document or by some sort of direct publishing, or both.

All in all I’m quite satisfied with the progress I made this far, but I’ll have to up my game regarding some goals, especially the free and analog Sundays have to be reestablished and I should also plan a longer trip for this year. I have to try out more different simple recipes. I also have to do more presenting and make a plan on how to be open with strangers. I also should do some more practicing on the guitar and with paintbrushes. Also I should write more on this blog.

This is only a first recap and there are more to follow over the course of the year.

Recap as of 23.06.2020

Here we are again, the first half of the year is over. How have I been doing this far?

I’ve really put a lot of effort into being efficient at the beginning of the year, only to work myself straight into a minor burnout. Maybe I’ve simply done too much; for my studies, for work and in my spare time as well. But maybe (and boy do I hope so), I just had the wrong approach. I tried to solve the issue of not having enough time with discipline, crazy routines and forcing myself into getting more done in less time. Until some day I noticed I didn’t really enjoy anything I was doing anymore. I was simply doing all these things in order to have done them and finally moving on to the next task on my list in a hurry. And remember, those weren’t all just things I did for university or work, this was my free time as well! Playing the guitar, reading, learning Spanish and painting all became chores! Finally, I think I’ve really understood the difference between efficiency and effectivity. So no more pomodoros, no more waking up at 5 AM (at least for now), but instead more thinking about priorities before starting to work and balancing my days better.
I think this alone was a great insight and an important pivot I’ve done this year.

This far, I’ve really enjoyed my analog Sundays and I’ve also implemented a tactic I (and others) call foyer phone, which I’m going to write a small post about soon. In addition, I’ve finally deleted YouTube and any other social media from my phone and that also helped tremendously with redesigning my spare time.

Sadly, no good news on the traveling part as COVID-19 is still around… But maybe I can go to a nearby cabin with some friends soon. We actually wanted to spend some cozy days there before, filled with reading, cooking together on an open fire, playing the guitar together and having fun. But this was before COVID, the booking was already completed, but then we had to cancel it… Now it looks like we might start another try soon.

The startup is doing some heavy turns, but it’s getting along quite nicely. We’re all learning so many new things, some domain-specific, but mostly about meta-stuff; communication (in the team as well as outwards), presenting and so on… This also helps with my goal of being more open with strangers, practicing presenting, discussing and so on. It’s a great experience this far - very fun and valuable - and I’m excited to see what’s yet to come!

I haven’t really started cooking as many basic recipes as I’d like to, but today I made some delicious cake and tomorrow I’m going to cook up some burritos. I’ve never tried making them before, but I’m really looking forward to it!

I’m also trying out stuff which was not initially on my list, like some basic gardening. Some days ago I ordered seeds for the goji berry to plant, but I had to stratify them for 30 days first. I hope I’ll be able to harvest some berries in two to tree years.

I’m playing a lot of guitar lately, I’ve learned some really fun pieces! A few days ago I’ve learned multiple (simultaneous) parts of one song, so I booted up Audacity on my laptop, recorded the rythm first and then played the solo on top of that.

So now I can finally present my progress after about 6 months of playing:

Check out the solo starting at around 2:35! B)

It is a lot of fun to jam to a rythm as opposed to just the empty void. I should probably hit up some friends to play together in the future!

The Spanish course in university is coming along fine, but I think the real progress is made with Duolingo. I’m excited when I listen to Spanish music or hear people talking in Spanish now. It’s still pretty fast, but I can already understand a good part.

Since my last update here I’ve actually managed to paint two oil paintings! They were both made as gifts and I know they’re far from perfect (on one I forgot to paint some shadows), but I think they’re really beautiful nonetheless. Especially considering that they are my second and third oil painting ever. Take a look at painting one and two.

I’ve also just finished reading my 23th book for this year, so I’m a few behind, but I think I can still pull off 52 until the end of this year.

I think the writing is doing okay, I write a post on here from time to time, but I haven’t really made any progress on the other writing projects… The year is still long, isn’t it? I’ve also been journaling daily, it’s helping so much with reflection, I’m glad I’ve started this.

So while I’m still struggling with some obstacles, I think most of my goals are perfectly on the way to be completed this year.

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© Niklas Bühler, 2020 RSS / Contact me