2018 Review

For the second year, my Tim Ferriss-inspired past year review! This year saw a bunch of travel: 41,615 miles (1.6 times around the World, according to google maps!)

Everywhere I traveled in 2018

2018-01

Brekenridge Ski House

Something Rotten with DR

Positive:

  • Started tracking the number of poms I worked at poms.gen.co - a habit that got way more deep work done in 2018 than any previous year
  • Started officially dating DR
  • Something Rotten with DR
  • Brekenridge ski trip with Luke, Tori, Ben, and Eli (I got way better at skiing; night skiing is super fun; ski lodges right off the trail are amazing)
  • Got into crossword puzzles with Luke, Tori, Eli, and Ben.
  • Finished outlining Relationships
  • Took online classes in Redux, React, and Firestore (mostly on an iPad!)
  • Had brined chicken for the first time at a dinner meetup with Phill
  • Bought a new bicycle (Lucy <3)
  • Revolving Sushi
  • Got Fractures for my dad and Elisa

Negative:

  • Lost my laptop for a week getting the keyboard replaced (grr touchbar MacBooks)
  • Dealing with family drama

2018-02

Daisy June

El Potrero Group

Positive:

  • CLIMBING AT EL POTRERO CHICO with Luke, Paul, Tam, and Andy (especially taking a rest day, drone shots, Rosio’s cooking)
  • Hung out with Daisy June and George (especially hiking, reading Aladdin, and Jump Zone with Adam and Josh)
  • Bike/unicycle ride with Trigg and DR
  • Started 30x500

Negative:

  • loan arbitration
  • not getting a lot of work done while traveling (only 3 poms during my entire week at El Potrero; 4 in St. Louis)
  • drinking at El Potrero

2018-03

Positive:

  • Portland trip with DR (especially dinner at Merekesh)
  • Deciding to stay home and work instead of going to China with Trigg
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at SMU with DR
  • Black Panther with DR
  • PS Alumni Dinner
  • Lots of work on 30x500 and learning graphql
  • Started playing the Witcher
  • Made lemongrab :D

Negative:

  • the way I handled the Trigg/Hoit Lunch
  • working on Apricot Book, but not enough to finish it
  • cold and wet climbing

2018-04

Mac King Dad and my bikes at SMU SMU OA Climbing Trip Me and Patrick Collison Me and Amy Hoy Microconf Hike Bara Chirachi bowl

Positive:

  • Made Microconf Recap platform
  • Microconf! (especially hiking, escape room)
  • Doing the Microconf Recap (especially getting known better in the Microconf community, practicing content marketing, extracting more information myself)
  • Taking Drone shots that Justin Jackson used in a cool recap video
  • The Bara Chirachi Bowl at Morimoto in the MGM Grand
  • Early retirement talk at Gavin’s hackathon
  • Randy Pitchford’s birthday party
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Got a new backpack
  • Biking around White Rock Lake with dad
  • SMU Outdoor Adventures climbing trip at Reimer’s Ranch
  • KBBQ with family

Negative:

  • Scrambling to get the IRS payed in Las Vegas

2018-05

Packing for summer of travel Sibs in Mexico Tacos al Pastor Chichen Itza Cenote Snorkeling in Cozumel Tarpon Springs Harry Potter World

Positive:

  • Starting the Summer of Travel with DR (especially hanging out with sibs, snorkeling, playing that dumb videogame, tacos al pastor, taking cool drone shots, Chichen Itza)
  • Getting some work done in Mexico (GDPR email)
  • Tarpon Springs SPONGING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD (especially figuring out how to ask to get my hair cut)
  • Animal Kingdom with DR
  • Harry Potter World with DR and lunch with Raven

Negative:

  • Not having a functional Apricot Book CRM
  • Ren Fest
  • Moldy car
  • Overeating bad food in Mexico
  • Feeling gross about the way my body looks underwater
  • Running out of local storage on my drone
  • Not getting a lot of work done while traveling

2018-06

Me and the firebase lady Connor Kite's Wedding Biking in San Francisco Red River Gorge climbing Drone flying with Tanis James Todd's CHEESE PLATE James Todd's amazing breakfast

Positive:

  • AltConf
  • ELECTRIC SCOOTERS and getting around San Jose and San Francisco
  • Meeting CGP Grey in person (and getting a hotstopper)
  • Hanging out with Spencer at his house
  • Connor Kite’s Wedding (especially hanging out with Luke, Trevor, and Sam, Chinese Gardens, biking in San Francisco, touring Stanford with DR)
  • Climbing at the Red River Gorge
  • Drone flying with Tanis
  • Learning to Kayak with Luke and Tori
  • Meeting up with my dad on his cross country bike trip
  • Hanging out in Portland (especially renting a bike, improv, cool dinner)
  • Dinner with Josh Kaufman and James Todd (especially CHEESE PLATE and sous vide steak)

Negative:

  • Finding out details of UTMA account
  • Feeling super weak climbing at the Red
  • Tire blowing out
  • The World Domination Summit (disappointing speakers this year)
  • Very few poms getting done

2018-07

Daisy June and George DR at the Utah Shakespeare Festival Gateway Steak My first sous vide experience DR's birthday party

Positive:

  • Mosaic Web Dev and Memory (especially my memory class going so well!)
  • Another trip to hang out with Daisy June and George, this time with DR! (especially picking up Adam’s fried sweet potato recipe, trying sous vide cooking for the first time, Everest Cafe)
  • Experimenting with philanthropy
  • DR’s birthday party
  • Hanging out with Justin for a week (especially lunches at Whole Foods, My Hero Academia, swimming)
  • Suburban Rapelling
  • Utah Shakespeare Festival with Spencer and DR: The Merchant of Venice, Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry VI, The Foreigner (especially because she knows everything about Shakespeare, fancy steak dinner)

Negative:

  • Being caught in an NPD fit and not being able to take Justin’s cat to the vet
  • Futility of coaching dad through his family conflict
  • Not coordinating with Spencer’s Utah Shakespeare Festival trip
  • Very few poms getting done
  • Comedy of Errors with DR was pretty bad

2018-08

Sous vide all meat diet meal Good Old Fashioned Guac Off

Positive:

  • Austin climbing trip
  • Started renting my car to Sophia
  • Scheduled and went to a glaucoma appointment! What an adult.
  • Love Never Dies with DR
  • Muppet’s Treasure Island with the sibs
  • Assembled hang board
  • Sous Vide cooking eggs and steak regularly
  • Started playing Borderlands 2
  • Built working MVP of links.gen.co
  • Started making guac more regularly
  • read and outlined 12 Rules for Life and How to Win Friends and Influence People

Negative:

  • getting weird drops in my eyes and thinking I might have glaucoma
  • all meat diet

2018-09

Brazillian Steakhouse Star Wars VR 3d printed JBP gift Dark glasses

Positive:

  • Started Standup Comedy class
  • biking regularly again
  • meeting with Lawrence (especially contrasted with the Trigg/Hoit meeting)
  • NPD communication pattern
  • birthday lunch at Brazillian Steakhouse with DR
  • Made dark glasses to wear to get ready for bed
  • Lots of yummy meals out at Ichiro, Bubba’s
  • started JBP gift project
  • Sibs birthday dinner at Kuro revolving sushi (so many plates!)
  • Started playing (and beat) Spiderman for PS2 (such a good game)
  • Chilipad
  • Star Wars VR
  • Read and outlined Just Fucking Ship
  • Played a lot of Borderlands 2

Negative:

  • Late to Ewing audition :(
  • JBP gift experiments didn’t work well; lots of dead ends
  • Played too much Borderlands 2 D:

2018-10

JBP project setup Jordan B. Peterson Pumpkin carving The Pink Pistol pitstop near our cabin in the woods Dessert at Bastion Nashville drone pic

Positive:

  • Fun retreat to a cabin in the woods
  • finished JBP gift and he liked it!
  • got to see/meet JBP in person (especially the advice he gave me on NPD relationships)
  • Meeting with Stephen Coy
  • James Todd Digital Audit in Nashville (especially picking up a yoga and board game habit, super fancy meal at Bastion)
  • First public standup comedy set! Holy cow it was exhilarating
  • Started tracking productivity and setting daily todos with Things 3 (instead of my home-grown markdown system)

Negative:

  • having to work on JBP project during cabin vacation
  • Spent too much on Sophia’s birthday
  • Didn’t get enough work done in Nashville
  • Voted

2018-11

Salt Lick Emmer & Rye Fancy Dinner Sibsgiving USB-C life

Positive:

  • got new iPad Pro, so my laptop phone and tablet all run on USB-C
  • got the LG Ultrafine 27-inch 4k display and holy cow I should’ve gotten it sooner - so much productivity gains
  • Austin Climbing trip with Luke, DR, Henry, and Michael
  • Super fancy dinner with Luke and DR
  • Meetups with Natalia, Laura, Gary, and Jason with Luke in Dallas
  • Sibsgiving
  • Decided to do at least 10 minutes of cardio every other day
  • started consistently doing 5x5 again

Negative:

  • miscommunication about Celeste’s family weekend events
  • a shot I drank with Jason in Dallas
  • super spicy overpriced Poke bowl at Poke-Poke in Austin
  • Thought I had a MCI
  • Sweeney Todd at the Firehouse Theatre

2018-12

Outrageous mono-meal breakfast Panama Canal Banyon tree Fried red snapper Rainforest hike in Panama City Skiing at Sipapu

Positive:

  • started eating outrageously large breakfasts as my only meal of the day
  • started doing Groove emails every day (especially feeling comfortable sorting out deliquent accounts, big cash bump)
  • Focusing on Fileinbox landing page, marketing, and talking to customers
  • Negotiated a small Microconf discount for doing the recap
  • Sibsmas! (especially gifts to Justin, getting catering)
  • Last minute trip to Panama to hang out with Trigg over Christmas (especially hiking in rainforests, practicing spanish, making a new Anki spanish vocab habit, leaf cutter ants, learning about the history of the canal, fried red snapper)
  • Ski trip with DR at Sipapu (especially rest days, figuring out how to drive in snow, getting a humidifier, going back to normal breakfasts)
  • Jerry Seinfield with DR and Cody M.
  • Not getting sunburned in Panama or Taos :D
  • Watching Avatar and Kora with DR

Negative:

  • not getting very much work done in Panama
  • Panama food being more expensive than I’d thought
  • REI Garage Sale was disappointing. I’d go back if I had something specific to buy around camping (like a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, or tent)
  • being surprised by my accounting bill

Review from Takeaways for 2017

What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?

  • performing improv: I did improv inconsistently. It takes a lot of time to devote to this to get better, and I don’t feel a super strong pull to it consistently. I might replace it with standup.
  • walking around new places, especially by myself: I did a bunch of this in 2018 - success!
  • rock climbing outside: several climbing trips to El Potrero, The Red, and Austin. El Potrero in particular was one of the best trips of my life.
  • camping: not a lot of camping, but a ton of traveling
  • teaching: just Mosaic for structured teaching this year, and I helped DR learn to program and ski!
  • giving talks: only one talk this year! I’ve never really tried to get speaking gigs, and I’m hoping next year to give an atendee talk at Microconf
  • traveling, especially World Domination Summit and Europe: SUMMER OF TRAVEL - I traveled a lot in 2018
  • spending money on frequently used objects: in particular, getting a monitor, an iPad Pro, a Chilipad, and a sous vide machine had super positive effects
  • playing games with people I like: James Todd does this so well. So far I’ve picked up Dominion and played it with several groups, and I’m in a DnD game with my siblings. This could be more of a habit for 2019.
  • seeing shows and movies: I saw lots of movies and shows in 2018
  • biking: Biking was my default mode of transportation for 2018. Not getting to bike over the summer was hard.

NOT-TO-DO LIST

  • avoid bureaucracies: getting an accountant was SO GREAT
  • deal with injuries early, and do the work of preventing re-injury: I went to the doctor twice in 2018!
  • backup glasses: check, though I never used them :p
  • don’t accumulate stuff you don’t use: I gave away a lot of stuff in 2018

Takeaways for 2019

  • Doing stuff with DR is consistently a big positive - keep doing that. Hanging out with Luke and Trigg is also consistently great.
  • Seeing shows and movies have a high rate of success to be positive experiences. Only three shows/movies out of the dozens I saw this year were so bad I didn’t enjoy them (and they were the cheapest ones)
  • I don’t get a lot out of alcohol - it just makes me tired. I don’t drink alcohol anymore.
  • Taking a longer time with fewer high quality self improvement books helps me internalize and enact them much better. Just Fucking Ship, 12 Rules for Life, and Atomic Habits were big process improving books this year. I could spend a lot more time just on drilling these books next year and be further ahead than if I listened to 100 nonfiction books at 3x speed.
  • Traveling is consistently a highlight, and I need to figure out a better way to balance work with traveling. Anxiety that I’m not getting enough work done on trips was a consistent negative.
  • I enjoy trips much more when there’s physical work I can be doing: climbing, hiking, skiing, or just walking around a cool new city.
  • Cool drone shots and trip highlight videos are a consistent positive, but I’m sitting on a lot of footage that still needs to be edited into videos. I need a better way to edit videos, which might be editing on my iPad.
  • Build habits instead of setting goals. I set an ambitious goal of doing 8 poms every workday that held for a while, but when it stopped it stopped hard. My newer habit of spending one pom every day on doing Groove emails has held much better, so (in line with James Clear’s Atomic Habits advice) I’ll be focused more on defining the habits of the person I want to become as opposed to setting ambitious goals to hit.
  • Focus on fewer projects. Apricot Book, Redux/Firestore, 30x500, Google Photos Triage, Mailto, and Winbox 0, Template Maker, and Life Timeline were all projects I worked on but didn’t finish in 2018. I “shipped” Microconf Recap and several vlogs, and would’ve been happier focusing on fewer projects and shipping more of them. For 2019, focus on Fileinbox and the Microconf Recap. Everything else is a side project, and should be worked on way less.
  • I think spending poms learning React and GraphQL was a good investment, and now it’s time to build stuff with it.
  • The biggest negative in my life for 2018 was interactions with NG, which I learned is because she probably has Narcicistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The overwhelming advice I’ve found is to limit interactions with someone with NPD, and if you can’t to be very formulaic about the way you interact (“When W, I feel X. I want Y, or else Z.”). This has so far been very successful.
  • Even though this was arguably my most productive year ever, I still feel like I wasted a lot of time on bad habits. In particular, YouTube rabbit holes. I’m going to make it very hard to get sucked into YouTube mindlessly. Cutting out Facebook has worked extremely well.
  • Having an accountant was freakin’ great.

In 2019, I want to be doing more:

  • focused work in building Fileinbox: one pom in building this business every day
  • habitual excercising: running or biking every even day, and 5x5 every odd day
  • talking to customers: one pom in groove customer support emails every day
  • learning and retaining: one pom in learning (reading or watching educational YouTube videos) and then capture it in Anki every day

Example daily schedule:

  • wake up and immediately get out of bed if it’s after 6am
  • exercise (run, bike, 5x5, climb, or yoga)
  • meditate
  • make and eat breakfast
  • set daily todos in Things
  • groove pom
  • Fileinbox pom
  • flex time: hang out with DR, meet up with people, see a movie, watch a play, learn, work on a side project, take a nap, edit vlog

Christian Genco of 2019 is a person who:

  • builds healthy habits and effective processes
  • ruthlessly breaks unhealthy habits
  • tracks his habit progress
  • every day: exercises, meditates, sets his goals for the day, does a groove pom, does a Fileinbox pom, and finishes the work he set out to do
  • is realistic about his expectations for the amount of work he’ll get done during a trip and plans accordingly
  • strips away unnecessary things