2017 Focuses

For this year, I wanted to take some time to write down some notes on things that I would like to prioritize in my life. Just as how WordPress is now putting the main efforts into three major focuses, I wanted to separate mine into three major focuses as well. For 2017, these are going to be health, contributing and relationships. This is the first post I have ever written like this, and for the most part it will be a list of things I want to pursue. I would like to be able to return to this post at any given time to remind myself of these things and also to write a summary by the end of the new year in relation to which of these goals I have accomplished, in which points I have improved and which I should probably put more effort into.

Health

A while ago I would have never thought that this focus is leading the list for 2017. And that is precisely why it now has to. I feel like I have cared way too little about my health in recent years, especially in 2016. Focussing on WordPress stuff and university duties, I was most of the time unwilling to spend additional time to work out or even prepare some good meals. While fitness has almost never been a significant part of my life, about three years ago I had a great time going to the gym regularly and eating clean, which made me feel much better generally. Some time between early and mid 2015 however this passion started to slowly vanish. I didn’t care too much about nutrition, and one of the worst things was that I was rarely motivated to cook up something great – resulting in eating a lot of either some unhealthy food at home or just too much food outside. I still play soccer twice a week, but this never made up those bad food habits. Consuming too much beer, as great as it is, added up to that. During my recent trip to the US I didn’t care at all about what I would eat – and I had done that during all of my trips there since they have some bad food and a specific brand of pop over there that I terribly love. This has not been a problem before since I had lived generally healthy, but now that it just added up to my general lack of health, it finally made me realize I need to improve things drastically. Now that I have the university (almost) out of my way, I think my efforts to improve that drastically are realistic, especially since I know I have done it once before. My goals are:

  • Do some sports every day. This would be alternating between going for a run (or bike ride) and building some muscle – only the days when I play soccer should be excluded. Obviously there will be times where it’s hard to perform even one of these two, for example when I’m at a WordCamp for a weekend. This is perfectly fine, but the general plan stands. There are some great workouts that take you only about 30 minutes and you can also go for a run in that same time. So I don’t wanna do anything too extreme, but I want to do it regularly. Really regularly.
  • Develop a more regular day routine during the week. While this has definitely improved in 2016, there’s still a lot of things to do. At least I don’t work at completely random times anymore (before it would be a day from 10am – 6pm, the other day suddenly from 8pm – 4am). But I still do not have a real routine. The end of 2016 I started waking up with an alarm at 8am, which already made me feel much better and more productive. However I would like to get up just a little earlier, at 7am, then work until 3 or 4pm, just as long so that I always have time and motivation left for my daily fitness routine. There will be a couple of days which have WordPress Slack meetings in the evenings, so these hours will add up to my work-time as well, just to consider this too. Having this routine also means going to bed at regulated times – I should probably aim for 11pm – at least never past midnight.
  • Eat better food. The first part of my health trip has losing weight as the primary goal. About three years ago I had more than 10kg less, and I want to get back to this. I know there’s always some bad food involved in life, and that’s good. But for at least January I would like to restrict myself completely to the clean and healthy stuff. Maybe I can stretch that period to last for another month, depending on how I feel about it. I definitely think doing this will improve my consciousness about how to eat healthy in general. I should probably do such an extreme month every once in a while to keep reminding myself, so that I don’t fall back into bad behavior as I did about two years ago. At some point hopefully eating healthy will just be a habit.
  • Drink less beer. Just like with food, at least January I will completely stay away from it. And then the general amount should get less afterwards too.
  • Do a short morning-routine of push-ups every day. This basically means after waking up I do some push-ups continuously until I feel like I cannot do any more. I have done that for a while, and this should continue. It means that even on a day where I for some reason can’t do any more sports, I at least have done something. And in long-term it helps for sure, although it only takes like 1 or 2 minutes.

Contributing

In early 2016 I really started contributing to WordPress core on a more regular basis. Before that my contributions were mostly in form of plugins, but I have recently put my efforts more into core instead of building open-source plugins (just some very small ones occasionally, plus possible core features that I would like to investigate). However, contributing to core has mostly happened whenever I felt like it. Especially during writing my Bachelor thesis for university I actually had quite a bit of time for contributing, since I had saved up some money before to be able to take time off work almost completely. But now I need to start earning some bucks again, so that leaves the question how much I time I can put into core contributions. They are a very high priority to me, and now as committer I wanna make sure to do my part in helping out. My goals are:

  • Grow as a contributor. This certainly is a very general goal, but I have learned so much during WordPress core contributions, and I would like to keep up the pace. WordPress shows you both good and bad things, but even the bad things in the end teach you how not to do it, so they all have their benefits. I also wanna try to be more critical, both of what I do and what others do. This might sound a little odd, but I feel like I often tend to not question my own ideas sufficiently and, on another note, accept other people’s decisions too easily. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t want to become a troublemaker. I just want to improve in questioning things where appropriate.
  • Get a long-term multisite roadmap ready. We have talked about this in some occasions during the past few months, but our roadmap document is still merely a list of ideas. Together with the rest of the multisite contributors, I would like to work on an actual roadmap post for the make blog, which will highlight the features that we plan to work on, both in the short and the long run. While we have all these great ideas, many of which I’m sure will be in core some day, we now need to prioritize and figure out the way that working on these improvements makes the most sense.
  • Travel more. Now that my university studies are out of the way, I am free to work and contribute from wherever I want. While this is not exclusively related to contributing, travelling enables me to possibly attend more WordCamps around the globe and also to hang out with fellow contributors who live far away. The only trips that are certain at this point are Paris in June and Nashville in December, but I’m sure further plans will follow, and I cannot wait to explore more of this beautiful planet.
  • Figure out a way to do contribute on a sustainable level. I’m a freelancer and have never even measured how much of my work-time I put into core, but I need to find a good balance between open-source contributing and paid work, in terms of both time and finances. Whether through a higher income through paid work, some sponsored time or simply a better time management – I’m not sure how any of this is going to work, therefore I will investigate. I lead a relatively cheap life these days, but I know this is (unfortunately) not going to last forever. Therefore this is luckily not a too pressing issue, but I need some plan here sooner than later.

Relationships

This focus is very personal, so I will probably keep it short. I’m sure y’all don’t wanna know about all my crazy weird inner thoughts anyway. However, I would like to highlight what I mean with focussing on relationships here. I think I am sometimes a bit lazy when it comes to connecting with some of the people in my environment, some of my friends, and want to improve as a person here. My goals are:

  • Meet up more often with the people who live nearby, and call or at least text the people from further away more regularly. I would say I’m doing okay (not amazing though) when it comes to my very few best friends that matter to me the most. But sometimes I don’t put enough time into keeping the relationships with the other important people in my life healthy. Maybe because I’m thinking about my own stuff too much. Maybe because I’m too busy with work. This needs to change.
  • Collaborate on a new hobby. One of my best friends and I have started to produce some EDM recently as a hobby. It’s really fun, and I would like to put a little more time into this. Instead of just working on it randomly, I hope we can arrange one day every other week or so where we continue to work on it. While it’s just for fun, I think we both have high expectations for ourselves and want to get this good before eventually releasing it. Getting to that point is going to be a great challenge, and I’m sure it will improve the friendship as well.
  • Visit one of my other very good friends more often, who lives a couple hours away. Now that I’m free to work from wherever I want, I could even go there for a week or so (travel!). I have only visited him twice in the past 5 years which I feel is way too infrequent. He comes here more often since his parents live in town, but I truly feel like I owe him some visits as we don’t hang out enough due to the distance.

So this is my list of focuses for 2017. Maybe you have something similar, and if not, I hope I have encouraged you to think about your goals and write something up – a personal sheet, a blog post, whatever suits you (my sister created her personal keynote presentation!). I have never done this before, but just having written all these things down helped me figuring out my detailed goals, and I’m sure they will also remind me when I’m uncertain at some point. And now, let’s just end this with: Happy new year – may it be a great one for you! ❤️

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