By the time I am writing this blog post, there are 40 days left for 2019 to end and it always ends with doing a new year's resolution.

Why start now? 🤔

I usually start with an initial draft on what I want to do each year and I always do it one month before the year ends so that if I want to add/remove/edit something, it would occur before the new year starts

also, a good head start would be ideal to test some of those goals and see if they are doable or not before the year starts (you can think of it as a testing environment for one month to see if it works out or not)

Before we start talking about those new goals...

2019 was and still one heck of a year with a lot of changes and events going on, I would consider it one hell of a rollercoaster of a year.

Between switching through 3 jobs, start journaling (more details will be mentioned below), along with a series of events that affected me emotionally. We can conclude that 2019 was not like any other and I am truly thankful for those moments because those moments are the main cause for making me be who I am currently am.

what is the plan boss? 👨‍💼

This year a lot of changes will occur but one thing that hasn't change for the past 2 years is the number of books I read per month (it's 60 in case you are wondering).

As for those changes, I've decided to categorize them in a way that they are targetted towards a specific purpose and not in a generalistic way (unlike last year and this year)

and those categories are:

  • career-based goals (everything related to my current domain which is Computer Science)
  • self-development goals (everything personal related material)
  • financial goals (everything related to my financial expectations and plan towards being financially independent)

Let's start, shall we?

Career-based goals 🖥️

Everyone who asked me about my career goals always start with: "Are you thinking of working outside Lebanon? and are you thinking of working in one of those big companies like Google/Facebook/Microsoft/etc ?"

If you've asked me two years ago, I would have said yes without thinking that much. All I cared about is having one of those companies name on my CV even if I was an intern.

Now, things have changed a bit where my main focus is not working at them for the sake of working at their company but for the sake of living that unique experience.

2 years ago, I didn't mind being an intern but now I do mind

The word "intern" cringes me out because it always makes me feel that "there is a low chance for you to get the job so for sympathetic reasons we will give you a taste of this experience for like a month or two but don't expect that much"

Some companies don't hire you unless you entered as an intern and see if you are worth being chosen out of a group of people.

But if things went towards that I have to start as an intern then I have no other choice.

so what is your scope of big companies?

I mainly focus on three companies nowadays:

  • Github
  • Google
  • Microsoft

Github because of the community, you feel that you are doing a huge impact on the development community

Google because of the environment where you can bounce between projects or sections if you feel that you can excel in that project/section

Microsoft (oddly enough even though I wasn't a fan before) is also due to the environment but their huge contributions towards open source made me rethink about them

but there is a different approach for Google and Microsoft 🤷‍♀️

What I am aiming for is quite specific from both Google and Microsoft. Both of them run a special program that makes you distinguishable and recognized by them.

Google has the Google Developer Expert program where you undergo a process of being reviewed based on events you host, type of content you publish as well being an expert in a specific field (and it has to be Google technology related)

Microsoft has the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program which is similar to Google's Developer Expert but the Microsoft version 🙃

going back to Competitive Programming

One of the goals that I haven't accomplished this year was getting into competitive programming (I did for a short period) and it mainly consists of solving algorithm questions that help you think about programming differently

Some of the sites that I have got my interest where:

  • Hackerrank
  • Codeforce
  • Project Euler

create more relatable content more often

I've realized that whenever I face a development problem, I had to search between forms and StackOverflow posts to see which one works out.

Wouldn't be great if I dedicated my time to write more blog posts about the things I've faced before and explained it in detail so that others might benefit from it?

also, I've always wanted to write and publish a book, a site like Leanpub would be ideal as a starting point since they offer a free tier (mainly ebooks not physical books)

focus on side projects that might have potential

I used to have a habit of writing any idea for a side project on a dedicated journal (it changed later on) but they never became a reality just a bunch of sentences on a journal.

This year, I should focus more on the ideas that might be a potential side project that might generate some side revenue.

create multiple streams of income

I think I've talked about this matter a lot where I mentioned from time to time that I am going to sell templates on various sites and generate side revenue while working on other tasks

This year, I should focus more on publishing reusable code content (or templates) that can generate a good amount of side revenue, think of it as "money that gets generated while you are sleeping"

focus on certifications

this section is very straight forward, mainly focusing on certifications like AWS Cloud Practitioner (and much more in the future)

overview

  • Google Developer Expert
  • Microsoft Most Valuable Professional
  • Competitive programming
  • Publishing more code-related content (blogs/books/videos)
  • Focus on side projects
  • Generate other sources of income
  • Focus on certifications

Self-development goals 💁

Let's clear things first here: the majority think of self-development in a way that you are struggling with something on a personal level and you are trying to get things going.

If you read any of Anthony Robbin's books like Awaken the Giant Within, Unlimited Power, Money Master the Game, and Unshakable you will start to see that self-development is not for the people who went rock bottom and are trying to get their lives together but also for anyone willing to change something in their life whether it is big or small.

As for my end, I've conducted some goals that I will try to achieve this upcoming year so let's start, shall we?

better time management and organization

I've been known for years that I organize my time and my tasks accordingly but lately, I've been going off-road and tend to procrastinate whenever I have the chance.

what causes procrastination? 🤔

I would say that when you are not facing any challenges or when you are facing a challenge that you cannot overcome easily then you tend to slack off from doing it till you reach the deadline.

As we see an easy task or a challenge with a huge timeframe, you will end up doing it at the last minute saying: "I have enough time to do this task later on!".

The same thing for difficult tasks and challenges where you would say that: "I have enough time to do sprints and cut it into smaller tasks so will finish it later".

are my devices causing me to procrastinate?

fun fact about myself: My phone is configured in a way that it restricts me to a certain amount of phone usage per day along with batching my notifications to 4 different timings:

  • morning
  • noon
  • sunset
  • night

all of my emails / WhatsApp notifications / Facebook notifications get batched so I don't see them nor know that they exist in the first place until the batch gets delivered but I tend to put my workgroup and anything related to my job on VIP level where I always receive their notifications first no matter what so if you send me a message and I replied in a span less than 10 minutes then consider yourself a very special person (no jokes).

a different approach for my Macbook where I restrict applications but after a certain hour (this is found in your settings under "Screen Time") but I always keep track of how many hours I spend on my devices per day ( I am not even exceeding 5 hours on my phone ).

better communications towards others

my main focus here is to be more outgoing in my conversations where I am always straight forward and strict to the point (which there is nothing wrong with it but some people are not used to it or might think about this in a different way like you don't like them or you are doing this because you have to or something)

focus more on outdoor activities 🏔️

it is not that I don't do any outdoor activities at all but lately, I've been doing them less often like hiking, stargazing, and much more.

so dedicating more time for outdoor activities would be ideal where I can clear my mind for a bit.

overview

  • Better time management and organization
  • Better communication towards others
  • Focus more on outdoor activities

Financial goals 🤑

I would give credit for Anthony Robbin's book Money Master the Game where he helps you plan towards financial freedom and if you don't know what financial freedom is or what does it mean: it is how much do you need to be financially stable to a point that you no longer need to work anymore in your life while you have maintained everything that you need like a house/ a car/ etc.

This plan consists of focusing on generating money without working that much or I would like to call it "Low Effort Work". I mentioned previously in my career goals where I would be selling templates and generate passive income out of it.

This part is how to use this income to generate more passively and here are a few suggestions:

  • invest in the stock market where I would buy low index stocks and by the time it would/would not generate that much of an income.
  • invest in cryptocurrencies where I would buy on the cheap and sell on high or hodl them for a long time.
  • (out of scope but we need to mention it for future reference and use) investing in real estate where I would rent out pieces of land or property that I've bought previously.
  • not a fan of forex to be honest but there is a chance that I might get into it later on in life.

The first step for this goal is to buy a hardware cryptocurrency wallet and by far the one that caught my eyes is the Ledger Nano S where it looks like a USB stick but in reality, it can hold up a good amount of crypto in it as well there is a recovery method in case this wallet got damaged and I needed to get a new one.

Journal Updates

On November 12, I've completed my first journal where I wrote more than 200 pages but journal number 1 has gone under heavy changes (more than 2 times as I remember). Journal number 2 has started with a set of new rules based on the experience from number 1.

It all started like a bullet journal where I would write the tasks that I have to do throughout the day and it was straight forward to the point that I've realized that there are events that are occurring that needed to be mentioned in details so the bullet journal style has been dropped for the favor of a classical journal-style method.

It worked out for a while until I also realized that this new method lacked any emotions in it. I'm still mentioning the events that are occurring during those days but there were no emotions associated with it so when you are trying to reread those pages, you will have a long time remembering what were the emotions that were occurring back them like if you were happy in this day, frustrated, angry, etc.

Those iterations have shaped journal number 1 to be somewhat of a success, number 2 is here to continue on top of number 1 with the addition of new rules (you can think of it as the successor of number 1)

those new rules are:

the index page has been removed

Journal number 1 had an index page at the beginning where I would write each day on a separate page then I would write the page number of the index. It was a good reference until the journal shifted to the classical method than the bullet method so some days used to take several pages also some days used to lie on the same page. It was a mess trying to index all of those pages so that in number 2, this feature got dropped off.

content that is been written in journal number 1 and the future of number 2

fun fact about journal number 1 is that there was another journal that was associated with it and I called it "The ideas and projects journal" where I would write any side project ideas on it and reference it later on in journal number 1.

It wasn't clear since there was some sort of data inconsistency between those two journals that ended up as a huge mistake. Journal number 2 takes a different approach where I would write it down on the journal itself then write it as it is on an app called Notion (which I have been using a lot lately). This way, the data is consistent and never changes easily as well easy access on Notion than to reread which page I have mentioned it.

additional content types

journal number 1 was pretty straight forward at the start then shifted towards a different approach on how to document things but journal number 2 is here to add more content types that I used to write before but never thought that it can be an independent type

listing ideas that come into mind

similar to the "The ideas and project" journal but instead of the ideas being on a separate journal, this time it is written directly on journal number 2

self-reflections

Self-reflection – also called introspection – is a means to observe and analyze oneself in order to grow as a person.

That growth is the reason why it is so important to spend time in personal reflection.

By understanding who you are now and who you’d like to become, you help identify the steps you need to take on that journey.

Reflecting upon how you behave and what thoughts enter your mind in response to events in the world around you allows you to see what you need to work on.

mainly writing any observations and analysis of myself to grow. Self-reflections were used at the end of journal number 1 and they showed a huge impact on me where I was more aware of my actions and my thoughts of those actions.

Thus, making them an important content type in journal number 2.

"what if?" moments 🤔

After analyzing journal number 1, it turned out that I was writing a series of "what if?" questions after each self-reflection which sparked a "what if?"

what if I wrote those "what if?"s and try to find solutions for them? and what happens if they turned into a real-world product or service?

We will never know but with time.

open discussions on certain topics

similar to "what if?", I've realized that sometimes I was writing open discussions about certain topics and those discussions would take several pages but they would analyze every single input and output of this topic.

and I found out that they are always after "what if?"s.

expressive writing

It is personal and emotional writing without regard to form or other writing conventions, like spelling, punctuation, and verb agreement.

Expressive writing pays no attention to propriety: it simply expresses what is on your mind and in your heart.

Expressive writing pays more attention to feelings than the events, memories, objects, or people in the contents of a narrative. Like narrative writing, expressive writing may have the arc of a story: beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes expressive writing behaves like a story that swells to crest and resolves itself on firm ground.

I've tried expressive writing at the end of journal number 1 which got me more interested in daily journaling.

You can think of it as some sort of therapy where you can express yourself with no limits. Rather than keeping those thoughts and emotions to yourself and bottle them up, eventually you will reach a position where you will break out of pressure.

This form of writing is ideal for individuals who don't like to express themselves to others due to past experiences where they tried to open up to people that they trust and that person treated them in a way they didn't expect hence they prefer to bottle up those thoughts till they crack.

I can relate to this kind of experience where I tried to open up to some people I think they might help ended up with no result at all. This form of writing has brought me more benefit than opening up to someone because I can express myself without being judged or criticized, and keep in mind that you don't need to understand what you are writing but rather try to remove some burdens and blocks through writing.

cherish those small wins

every day, we reach a position where we feel that we are not accomplishing anything at all. This list of small wins that you write every day brings some joy into your life where you see that you are doing something important, you are contributing to the community that is around you whether it is helping someone put heavy boxes into their car to giving 1$ to a beggar on the street.