Annual Review - 2020

Annual Review 2020

I’ve never had goals hence I’ve never done reviews.

This year was different. I discovered the world of productivity thanks to people like David Perell, Ali Abdaal, Nat Eliason, Anne-Laure and Shu Omi. So, obviously I needed to do a review.

But how do I know what I wanted to do? This tweet thread I wrote in 2019 came in handy. It’s not exactly my 2020 goals but 2020 was a crazy year anyway. Now with that as a my yardstick, let’s kick off the Annual Review 2020

2020 - The Year of Productive Procastrination

Overall, I liked 2020. I didn’t do a lot of things I planned but I managed to do a lot that I never planned.

Get more organised (This, this & this)

Going by these three goals, I wanted to be more organised. I feel pretty good about this one.

This was the year I discovered the world of productivity and I’ve constantly put in effort to stay organised. I started using Roam Research regularly for note taking along with Fantastical for calendar and Things 3 for task management. I did try a BUNCH of other tools but these 3 have been the most valuable

Rating 7/10

Create content regularly (This & this)

I’ve always wanted to create content and 2020 was good for me. But, not exactly the kind of content I wanted to create. Let me explain.

2020 was the year I spent a lot of time creating memes. More specifically, Tamil memes. It’s an activity I absolutely enjoyed and I’m glad that I got to make people happy. I’m very grateful to all the people I met because of this on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re one of them, thank you.

My favourite memes from the year were this(kickstarted the IPL meme series), this (follow the link for other similar series) and this one more recently. Oh and also proud of

I also enjoyed hosting a music quiz called “Ithu Entha Paatu?” on Instagram. I’ll play music from a song and people have to guess what song that is. I also learnt how to build Instagram effects and built one based on Kollywood lyrics. I enjoyed watching people play these and met a lot of new people. Find me on Instagram if you like this kinda stuff - @yenceesanjeev.

I also created more “traditional” type of content. This year, I launched my blog on but didn’t write as much as I wanted to. I also wanted to post regularly on Linkedin but it was a mixed bag.

Rating 6/10

Learning & reading goals (this, this, this,this,this & this)

2020 was a good year of learning. I read more this year than last few years put together. My top books from the year were How to take Smart Notes, To Pixar and Beyond and Work Clean. Outside of this, I read about 7 Apple, Pixar and Steve Jobs books. All of them, very enlightening. Thanks to Readwise, all my Kindle Highlights are exported to Roam Research

2020 was also the year I finally learnt how to deploy websites. I learnt a bit of Jekyll and used Netlify to deploy websites. I also bought more domains than I needed

I started reading fiction towards the end of the year resuming a Tamil classic, Ponniyin Selvan and two other books - Neverwhere and The Midnight Library

I paid for a lot of certification courses. I didn’t feel good about the money that went here. I justified it to myself thinking it’s money well spent but it could’ve been managed better. Among the courses, the top ones were Ness Labs: From Collector to Creator and and Ali Abdaal: Productivity Masterclass

My takeaway for learning from 2020 is that paid courses are usually better structured BUT not all paid courses are created equal. I should’ve been a lot more diligent in spending money on courses.

I also didn’t do a good job of revisiting knowledge from these courses. I have notes for all the courses but never looked at them twice.

Rating 5/10

Health Goals (this and this)

2020 was comparatively a better year for me, health wise. But, I did not capitalise on the momentum in the first half of the year.

I signed up for a gym membership 2 weeks before lockdown (Needless to say, money down the drain). But the 2 classes I went there made me realise that I am not as unfit as I thought. I started working out at home with the Cult Fit app. I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a blog post titled “Cult Live app is a game in disguise” on the app.

I also developed a steady morning routine. Waking up by 5:30 AM and reading 1 chapter everyday. I sustained this for 2 months and then fever + corona scare drove all good habits out of my system in the last quarter of the year

Rating 5/10

Things I never planned for

A few other random things happened this year that weren’t planned. I managed to learn how to work with stock markets and mutual funds (this book is a good primer). I still don’t know much about it but I managed to dabble with it.

Towards the middle of the year, I was super excited to move jobs to a startup -  This was definitely unplanned. But one of the best things to have happened this year. I joined a very familiar team and we’ve had a brilliant year so far.

I spent most of my leisure time watching TV shows and playing FIFA on my PlayStation 4. I enjoyed watching The Boys on Amazon Prime and Scam 1992 on Sony Liv. I also wasted a lot of time scrolling Twitter and Instagram, more than I’d like to admit.

Overall, I’m grateful for 2020. More specifically, grateful for the time it gave me. I realised how much I hated commute and small talk. Thankfully, both of them were minimal this year.


2021 - The Year of Getting Things in Order

My understanding of goals got much better this year. Hence, I’m not going to be as tactical as my 2019 self. I consider goals directional. As long as I’m moving in that direction, I’ll be good.

Here are my broad goals for 2021

Generate passive income

I heard this first from Naval Ravikant and later by Jack Butcher’s “Build once, sell twice”

In 2021, I want to generate passive income. There seems to be a path and it’s just a matter of putting in the work to do it. To get a sense of how much you can make off of the internet, I recommend this video if you’re serious about it

Q1 Update (2/10): Okay, I still haven’t earned a single rupee but I wasn’t expecting to anyone. I have managed to grow my newsletter to ~150, add a few more people to my Linkedin and Twitter so that’s gotta better my chances

Funny Kollywood x work content

I’m grouping this under Kollywood because that seems to broad enough. What I mean is - I want to spend more time creating funny content for the Tamil audience, especially around work. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do but I know I want to spend more time here because I enjoy this

Q1 Update (7/10): Okay, this is going unexpectedly well. My goal was to do more Kollywood but I haven’t done that (Except for this thread on emails and a Instagram filter). BUT, I have started making funny videos about work. This has gone unexpectedly well and majorly contributed to new followers on social.

Career goals

A large part of my weekdays goes into my full time job and I plan to make it fulfilling. I have specific goals (both personally and for our product) but I’m not gonna bore you with the details

Q1 Update (8/10): Not getting into details. Going well :)

Be healthier

Now, this is broad but the reason I have this down as a goal is because it’s not gonna get focus otherwise. Our default behaviour is unhealthy. So If you’re not consciously putting in effort to stay healthy, you will be unhealthy. I plan to try a bunch of things but more specifically better sleep routine, more physical exercise and venture into meditation

Q1 Update (1/10): The only thing I’ve sustained from 2020 is finishing my dinner before 7 PM. And I am breaking that by ordering on Swiggy once a week. Lockdown life is definitely healthy.

Unexpected goals

Just like 2020, I’m doing things that I never planned on doing.

(Q1) Started baking

This was never, ever in my plan. Out of impulse, I bought an OTG last month and since then I’ve made 3 batches of cookies and 2 batches of brownies. I enjoy the process and I look forward to eating them.

(Q1) Cohort based course

I enrolled in Write of Passage and Ness Labs, both cohort based courses. It next-levelled my learning and I’m getting to meet so many amazing people.

(Q2) No Code Tools

Okay, this looks cool. I want to build and publish web apps using no code tools this year

That’s it! Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

No seriously, thanks for reading through. If there’s anything on the list you want to talk about, you can find me most active on Twitter - @yenceesanjeev

Cover Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

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