2017, in review. now with YOY change.

Time to review my 2017. Here’s last year’s post about 2016.

Life Highlights: The three biggest things that happened to me in 2017 were starting a new job, losing my last biological grandparent, and an exciting personal development. Everything else was pretty stable, which is nice.

Progress toward Goals: I did not accomplish the goals I set out for myself last year. Boo. More on that later.

Just like previous years, I chronicled and color coded who I spent time with every day on evenings and weekends:

my 2017 on a page

my 2017 on a page

Total time spent socializing with friends + family + coworkers =282 days/365= 77%

(^ up from 269 days/ 74% last year) (nerd alert: 5% YOY increase)

Green “spending time with friends”: 162 days/365 = 45%
(^ up from 149 days/ 41% last year) (nerd alert: 9% YOY increase)
The change is due in part to people from the Yellow “coworkers” category moving to Green “friends” category either when they left my old job or when I left my old job, since I still spend a lot of time with several of them (hi Ben and Zach) but no longer as “coworkers.”

Last year I wrote that I was happy with who and how often I spent time with, as I focused more on close friendships rather than maintaining a broad network. As I look at the greens this year, seeing the names of close friends makes me really happy again. I think I was extra picky about who I spent time with, and again prioritized time with close friends over maintaining a broad network or meeting new people. Most of the greens are with the same people on repeat- my close friends in SF (Jess, Surbh, Deb, Ben, and Zach) a couple friends in the east bay (Rex and Brendan), and others who we don’t see as often but still love spending time with when they’re available.
Even though I’m happy I got to spend so much time with these lovely people, 45% does seem high. That means almost every other day I was seeing a friend. Which doesn’t surprise me, but particularly in the context of not moving forward on some of my personal projects, it’s definitely a clear indicator of how I prioritize my time.

Red “spending time with family”: 95 days/365 = 26%
(^ up from 73 days/ 20% last year) (nerd alert: 30% YOY increase)
It’s fun to look at all the red highlights and know that I spent so much time with family. The reds this year were primarily with my parents and sister, including a two week vacation we all took together. My in-laws also visited us for a week and we visited them for a week. We also visited Boston three times this year which gave us more opportunities to spend time with family.

Yellow “spending time with coworkers”: 25 days/365= 7%
(Λ… down from 47 days/ 13% last year) (nerd alert: 47% YOY decrease)
I am not surprised I’m spending less time with coworkers since 1) I’m at a less social workplace now, and 2) as stated in the Green category- I still spend a lot of time with some of my old coworkers but that time is now Green instead of Yellow.

I am lucky that I made some great friends at my old job that I’m still close with. It was a special place to work. I’m also happy that I’m spending less time with “coworkers” and more time with “ex-coworkers turned friends.” Even though I miss having a more social workplace, I think there are benefits to feeling less pressure to go out after work, and I have plenty of other things to do in the evenings. Pretty amazingly, in last year’s post I wrote “In 2017 I’ll strive for coworker social time to be closer to once every other week, or 7%”- and that’s exactly what it ended up being! Given the new personal development in my life, I imagine the yellow category will be even smaller in my future.

Orange “extracurricular activities”: 26 days/365 = 7%
(didn’t track this last year)
This year most of my “extracurricular activities” were either EBIA school board meetings or facilitating a Women in Management group at Stanford. I really enjoyed participating in both and learned a lot. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to devote as much time to these activities moving forward, and it’s been nice to pick up a new extracurricular activity recently, volunteering with Crisis Text Line. This activity has a flexible schedule that I can do anytime I’m on my laptop on my couch, so that might take more of the orange category in 2018.

Purple “out of town vacations”: 81 days/365 = 22%
(up from 61 days/ 17% last year) (nerd alert: 32% YOY increase)
“out of town weekends”: 20 out of 52 = 38%
(16 out of 52/ 31% last year) (nerd alert: 25% YOY increase)
I didn’t realize that we were out of town so much more in 2017 than we were in 2016- the trips all seemed manageable and not as exhausting as some of the 2016 stretches did. I’m not sure why that is.

Last year I wrote that in 2016 I mostly went on weekend trips, and I only took two weeks of vacation. I was hoping that in 2017 I would take more week-long trips, as well as more than one trip to LA, more than one ski weekend, and longer trips to the east coast. I’m happy to report that in 2017 I took two weeks off between jobs and I also took a full two week vacation with family. We also did two trips to LA and two ski weekends, as well as two week-long trips to the east coast (even though I worked remotely on those), so mission accomplished. πŸ™‚

I treasure my 52 weekends a year, and looking back, I’m happy with the 20 weekends I was out of town and the 32 weekends we stayed in SF. Of the 20 weekends we were out of town: 5 were in the east coast (Boston/NYC/Baltimore), 4 were in Napa, 2 in Tahoe, 2 in LA, 2 on an international family vacation, 1 in Carmel/Monterey (when my in-laws visited), 1 in Palm Springs for our anniversary, 1 in Colorado for my annual grad school reunion, 1 for a wedding in Nashville, and 1 in South Carolina for my bucket list trip. All 20 of those weekends were wonderful. Of the 32 weekends we stayed in SF, we spent most of those weekends seeing our close friends, as well as our favorite leisurely weekend activity- going to brunch and then taking Astra on long walks to Fort Funston or Stern Grove.

Looking at the purple highlights, I’m glad I was able to balance some of our favorite local destinations (Tahoe, Napa) with exploring places in California I hadn’t been before (Palm Springs, Mendocino). I’m also super happy we were able to squeeze in 4 trips to the east coast (two of which were longer than a weekend) and 2 trips to LA, since those are places where we have some beloved friends and family.

We went to 5 weddings this year– one local, three of which gave us great excuses to fly to the east coast, and one of which brought us to a new city we were curious about (Nashville). I also squeezed in a trip that had been on my bucket list for a long time- visiting my friend Trevor in South Carolina.

Looking to 2018, I don’t expect we will be out of town as much, though there are already 3 weddings we plan to attend. I also hope that the friends we put effort into visiting over the last few years will visit us this year instead; it’s their turn. πŸ™‚

Accomplishing Goals

In last year’s post I reflected on 2016 and how setting weekly goals every Sunday across 6 categories didn’t work out for me. I wanted to try something new for 2017- scheduling activities into my calendar every Sunday. I thought slotting things into my calendar would be more effective than just creating a weekly to-do list- it works pretty well for me when I do it on an ad hoc basis. Unfortunately I was even worse at this 2017 resolution than I was about the 2016 one. The 2016 one I kept up for half a year, but I think the number of Sundays this year where I actually sat down to schedule things into my calendar I can count on one hand. 😦 So that stinks.

I think one reason for my failure to accomplish this goal is that our weekends ended up being pretty busy; now I know that 38% of those Sundays I was out of town, and of the 62% where I was in town, I was likely at dinner with friends or getting ready for the work week. So even though I’ve had a recurring calendar event on Sunday evenings to do my “weekly planning” (which was supposed to be the time where I added goal-related activities to my calendar for the week), it didn’t happen.

I’m not sure if I want to try a third method of goal setting for 2018, since the ones for 2016 and 2017 didn’t pan out. I still like the idea of weekly planning, but I’ve struggled to get into a good cadence with it. I’m also not feeling as motivated this year to accomplish a lot beyond survival. I’ve been really busy and working hard at work, and balancing my career with this year’s personal development will be enough of a challenge in and of itself. I need to reflect some more on how much additional pressure I want to put on myself- or maybe a better way of putting it is how much structure I want to add to my life. Structure can be helpful and liberating, but it can also create pressure and expectations. So I’m going to spend some time thinking about this before setting a resolution to manage my goal-setting differently in 2018.

Even though I didn’t accomplish my goal of weekly calendaring of goal categories (the 6 categories I used in 2016 were behavior, health, side project, managing my finances, foreign language, and happy marriage; in 2017 I was going to select every week from a buffet of categories: cleaning, cooking, running, finances, photo albums, writing, learning, side projects to save the world, etc), I made good progress in some of them anyway. For example my side project ideas usually involve video, and I got to keep up with my video editing by working on a few fun video projects in 2017 (I taught a stop-motion animation class to a group of middle schoolers, I edited a video interview with my grandpa that I recorded 4 years ago before he passed away, and I did some video editing for a project at work). I was pretty good about running- I ran two 5Ks last year (I know that’s not very impressive but it keeps me motivated) and ran with the dog which was fun. I was good about archiving my photos. I didn’t do very well with the writing and learning- I started taking an online journalism class but I dropped it, I didn’t do much reading, I didn’t clean or cook much, and well, basically since I failed to do the weekly calendaring, I failed on most of the things I was going to calendar in– since by their nature they fall by the wayside. (Though I did do some fun baking projects- I recently leveled up my cookie decorating skills by making cookies for some special occasions).


some cookies I made in December 2017 for a wedding, a baby shower, and New Year’s Eve

Looking back at the goal categories, one thing that was cool about 2016 was an intentional focus on behaviors every week, and I particularly focused on active listening. It was fun to be intentional about it and I saw so much improvement that way. Being more intentional with my behavior and attitude is something I’d like to do in 2018, so even if I shy away from committing to a weekly goal, I’d like to think about my behaviors more regularly and be more intentional and reflective about habits I’d like to improve.

So, all in all, not a lot of pride in what I accomplished in 2017, but I’m also not in the mood to set goals for 2018 beyond survival. If I were to set one goal it would be figuring out how to juggle my job and my personal life, and a second goal would be to be more intentional and reflective about my behaviors (especially reactions). So, let’s leave it at that.


2018, mostly a blank slate πŸ™‚

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