2019 in Review

December 27, 2019

tl;dr 2019 was a super productive year that has thought me many great things

It's that time of the year again. This strange time "between" the years. This forceful break you have to give to yourself. And that's a perfect time to reflect on what has happened this year. I'm doing this for 2 years now in my blog, and it already became somehow a tradition. So let's see... how was my 2019?

Well, in one sentence... it was pretty busy! But in a good way. It was a year full of challenges in all kinds of ways. So let's split it up into different aspects of life.

Job

I think the most challenges and changes I had at work. I've started a new position, somehow out of nothing, and genuine interest. It's all about technology innovation in the insurtech world. Insurance can sometimes be very tedious and boring, especially for young people. And I think technology can have a significant impact here. In the last 10 months, I've created a lightweight internal innovation hub that does things completely differently! Trying to create awareness for the potential of new technologies, learning stuff, and building tech products with every employee that wants to change something. I've learned so many great things here and left my comfort zone more than a dozen times. Making workshops, keynote presentations, short sprints, internal hackathons, teaching technology, and also keeping myself up to date with new tech. It's super challenging, but at the same time so rewarding!

In the next year, I'm diving to 100% in that new role. Building a small team and learning even more things. I've also learned a lot about myself and where my strengths and weaknesses are. One thing I really need to get better next year: delegating work. It's impossible to do everything by oneself. But at the same time, it's sometimes hard to really "let go" of a task. I think building a team where you can trust each other to 100% it essential and definitely on the top of my todo list for 2020!

Sports

Another significant aspect of my life is sports. In the last 2 years, I've made a big transition towards endurance sports, always learning, and trying out new things. One of my goals this year was doing my first half marathon, learning to swim correctly, and doing at least one triathlon. And what should I say? All that went great! I've started training early in 2019 and blasted my first half marathon. It was a super cold and rainy race, but the atmosphere was exceptional! Right after that, the preparation for my first triathlon endeavors started. I went to the pool 2 times a week, made a log of kilometers on the bike, and kept up the running. Because my training load increased a lot, it's essential to stay clear in the head. Sports should never be another stress factor in life! And I really enjoy it! Especially those long training days where you're in the saddle for hours, discovering new places or just get in the running flow and cannot stop it. In summer, I did 2 triathlons with an excellent feeling afterward. Okay, I have to be honest... the swimming was hell, and it was more of a group fight on 1500 meters than a competitive swim, but hey, that's the sport.

All in all, the year went great, and I'm super excited for the next years. I already have some new challenges in my mind. I've you would like to get more info on my training you can follow me on Strava.

Learning

In addition to all of that, 2019 was also a year of education! I've learned many great things through writing, reading, and especially teaching. I think that's a significant factor. Grabbing a concept, understand it, and explain it. In 2019 I've read many great books and got new favorites. You can check out my all-time favorites and the stuff I'm reading on the dedicated reading place on my site. Based on one of these books, I've changed my entire productivity flow and task management to the GTD Flow, and it has changed everything! I'm still in the process of learning, but I'm getting a lot more things done and feeling very productive. 10 / 10 can recommend it.

Additionally, I've put a lot of focus on learning new coding technologies. Last year was very design-focused, but it's time to build something! I've invested a lot of time in learning proper React and built my entire site new. I'm really in love again with coding. That's why I've also gone to some hackathons and hacked through the nights with some friends.

In the end, there is also my master's degree I'm still doing! But don't worry, the end is near. Currently, I'm writing my thesis, which is a very complex project. Here, I'm learning something new, actually every day, and I'm also making a lot of mistakes. I will definitely write about this experience in detail on my blog soon. So, in the end, 2019 was also a year full of new lessons that have taught me many great things.

Highlights

Besides the business, 2019 also has brought some exceptional moments and highlights. For example, the bits & pretzels conference I was a part of. So many inspiring talks and people. And even Barack Obama live! I mean, that's crazy!

Also, all my speaking gigs were some kind of a highlight. All the workshops at work and the presentations I did for that. But by far, the most memorable moment was standing on a TEDx stage the first time in my life. I've done a little company presentation that was somehow different, and I cannot wait to get back on that stage for a full keynote!

And there were so many more great things! Extraordinary holidays, 2 crazy good hackathons, the end of my personal podcast, and exploring new hobbies.

Goals for next year

My goals I set last year were pretty ambitious. And honestly. I did not reach all of them. My goal of 30 blog posts was by far my biggest fail. Now, with the new homepage, I'm super motivated again to write some more things and share new insights. I'm also starting a newsletter in the new year, where I'm sharing my learnings.

But all in all, it looks very significant, I've done my half marathon and my triathlons. I've kept living healthy on a (mostly) plant-based diet. I've read 18 books (!) this year and all in all I've tried to live more minimal and consume less. But honestly, I can work more an that in the upcoming year. So, based on my goals and performance this year, here are my goals for the forthcoming year

  1. Write more on the blog again
  2. Ship at least one side project
  3. Put more of a focus on trail running and do at least one trail race this year
  4. Read at least one book per month
  5. Be more wisely about spending money on stuff

That's it! 2019 was a very busy year that has thought me many great things. I'm super excited what 2020 will bring

Keep improving, keep developing, keep creating ✌️

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