Notes From the Past Year: A Birthday Post

May: time to reflect.
  Days go slow, but years go fast;
    yet another past.

There you go; I combined my curiosity in Haikus with my desire to reflect regularly. It was a challenging year as it was for most of us. It was also a year of change for us. So, what happened last year?

Living through a pandemic with a newborn away from our families was hard. We have experienced loss. We were worried while our loved ones were recovering from covid. We have seen friends moving away. We have significantly altered the way we live our day-to-day lives. It feels like some of those changes are permanent. And we will unlikely to completely go back to our old life ever again.

Although we still stay hopeful and keep reminders around. We have the March 2020 schedule for cooking classes from a local shop on our fridge. Ironically we learned much more about cooking during this time, and eating at home became a much more exciting activity. But one day, we will attend those classes as well :) And one day, we will eat out again, go out to the movies, and one day our life will be as it used to be again. I am hopeful.

Vaccines are helping us quite a bit with getting back to normal. We started to schedule preventive healthcare appointments, got more relaxed about ordering food, stopped wiping groceries, and started getting help with child care. And we already have plans to meet with friends and family again in pandemic careful ways. As we get more comfortable, I am looking forward to traveling again, seeing new places, meeting with family, and making up for that time we spent far away from each other as much as possible.

Let’s talk a bit about habits and schedules. Building positive habits and having a regular schedule is a great way to grow, stay active, learn more, and generally enjoy a more relaxed life. I am using the word “schedule” loosely. I do not have strict schedules for my days or weeks. Instead, I have a general plan of how I would like to spend my energy. I continued to read more books, reflect regularly, and learn. I failed to exercise regularly, but I am getting back to it a bit more. I couldn’t have regular and high-quality sleep. And besides hoping that one day we will sleep again, I don’t even know how we can get there. Finally, next year I would like to spend more time staying in touch with loved ones.

Bits of wisdom for myself from my notes

I like to write short notes1 for myself when I have an aha moment. They are brief, and they look cryptic after a while. I decided to review, decipher, and summarize them here as a good future reference. It turns out they are mostly about time management2. Here you go, and maybe you will find them valuable too:

  • Plan your time to match your goals. Use your productive, high-energy times for high-value and creative tasks. And use the low energy times for chores and repetitive tasks.
  • Maximize the utility of your time. If you only have small bits of time, use them towards your goals. Do not wait for large chunks of time to be available. This advice equally applies to most resources: make the best of whatever you have in life.
  • Respect your time: Do not fill it with chores, toil, or non-sense. Relentlessly prune. Do things that matter. Think. Craft. Iterate, Be Creative. Focus on the most meaningful things in your life. Savor the time you have because that is what you should do when life is short.
  • Enjoy your time: Give yourself the freedom to bail out. Keep time for relaxing, and not every moment needs to be productive.

Awards time

Among the fun things, my favorite book was Before the Coffee Gets Cold. I did not have a favorite game this year, and I played some old favorites. Recently I started playing Red Dead Redemption 2, and it has a great chance of becoming one of my favorite games. It itches my desire to be in open spaces. I did not get much of an opportunity to watch new movies, but that allowed me to watch some old favorites. And my favorite show was Agents of Shield. It was well done and kept delivering better and better episodes.

All in all, I enjoyed my year, and I was grateful for the life we are living. I hope you will all have a great year as well!


  1. An example of such a self note. ↩︎

  2. I like this article about productivity and using time effectively. ↩︎