Evaluating the past year

Another new year is here and is customary by many at this time of year, I'm evaluating how things have changed from a year ago, what worked and what didn't.

Personal

Personally speaking, this turned out to be a fantastic year. My wife and I got to adopt again, this time from Kansas. We now have two healthy and happy boys and we couldn't be happier about it. I'd like to think we're done having kids but my wife still thinks we need to have a girl. Who knows then; maybe we'll adopt again in a couple years. For now, I'm happy.

Looking back at what I said last year, "I tend to be optimistic in my estimations." Honestly, that hasn't changed much. In fact, my overall work/family/sleep balance is off. I continue to work way too much. I enjoy what I do immensely but I manage to stay up until 3am almost every night (heck, it's 3am now as I write this).

I'd like to bring things more into balance and also spend more time excercising (beyond playing chase and other assorted horseplay with the kids).

Freelance

This past year saw me actually decide to drop clients which was a big step but thankfully made things less stressful. There's still plenty of work coming in and it's been a good mix of design and development. Lately though, I've been thinking of dropping design from the list and focusing on javaScript and PHP development while adding Adobe AIR to the mix. While I enjoy design, I still feel that it's not my forté. Besides, being able to fall back on other, more qualified designers (like my colleagues in Sidebar Creative) seems like a smarter idea.

Admittedly, this year hasn't always been roses. I'm still not the best when it comes to billing and sometimes clients arent't the fasttest at paying. Combine the two along with taking some time off for the adoption and it created a severe money crunch. Thankfully, it looks like I'm over that hump and back on track for this year.

While I wanted to focus on building my own applications – and did manage to launch WithCake and Snitter– I still haven't gotten various projects completed that I wanted (like Haylia).

I've flirted with the idea of going back into a full-time job working for somebody else. If the right offer came along, I suspect I could be convinced but for now, I'm happy continuing on with freelance.

Travel/Speaking

I enjoy travelling and 2007 was a good year. I managed to go to Vancouver to be one of the official bloggers for Web Directions North, was in New York speaking at Future of Web Design, a quick day trip to Seattle (getting to meet Bill Gates), a nice trip to Dallas for the Webmaster Jam Session and of course Kansas (along with a short stay in Chicago getting a passport). Oh, and of course the now annual trip to Austin for SXSW.

This year should be about the same. Right off the bat, at the end of this month, I'll be back in Vancouver for Web Directions North, speaking this time around. After which, it'll be SXSW but not speaking. Our family is planning a Disney Carribean cruise in October, the day after which I'll be flying out to Chicago for An Event Apart. I don't have anything else officially scheduled but you never know when something might pop up.

Writing

This year saw two books I was involved with hit the shelves: The Art & Science of CSS and Accelerated DOM Scripting. I even got the opportunity to do the tech review for Aaron Walter's upcoming book, Building Findable Web Sites. I don't have any plans to write another full-length book but don't mind the idea of contributing in a smaller capacity, like just doing a chapter or two.

Make no mistake, writing a book is a lot of work. For Accelerated DOM Scripting, there was so much research involved, not only in testing the code but in making sure the approaches I took made sense or that any historical references were accurate. I learned so much just writing the book.

The Blog

Ah yes, this blog. By the end of the year, I definitely wasn't writing as much as I would've liked. I had written a bunch of stuff but half the time, I scrapped it before posting it. Hopefully that'll change. Half the time, it's getting inspired enough to write anything at all. The other half, it's finding the time to just write. I'm not sure that I've got a plan specifically in place for that but I suppose we'll see where the year takes me.

Design-wise, I'm actually still happy with the current design. I have no plans to do a redesign, although I may tweak things here and there.

In 2008?

So, what do I expect from 2008? In many ways, I anticipate it to be much like 2007. There will be plenty of work, plenty of time spent with friends and getting to travel. However, I have this nagging feeling that I want a change and I'm just not sure what it means, yet...

Published January 06, 2008
Categorized as Personal
Short URL: https://snook.ca/s/862

Conversation

13 Comments · RSS feed
RhymesWithSeven said on January 06, 2008

Glad to hear all is well in Snookland. You and your colleagues are a great inspiration to myself and certainly other designers and developers around the globe. I look forward to another year learning from and utilizing the sites and applications created by Sidebar Creative. Keep up the good work & have great year!

Hamish M said on January 06, 2008

Happy new year, man. I look forward to seeing what 2008 brings.

By the way, I've been hitting the late nights as well. (Wrote my last big post at about 3:00 in the morning, heh)

Sulcalibur said on January 06, 2008

You seem to have serious focus and know where you are heading, even if the last line was "However, I have this nagging feeling that I want a change and I'm just not sure what it means, yet..."

I envy that security and dedication.

Aaron Mentele said on January 06, 2008

There should be a section in this post called 'Following'. 1,300 Twitter followers is almost enough to warrant it's own section.

Good luck in '08.

Carolyn said on January 06, 2008

Happy New Year! I anticipate that you'll have jillions of ideas and insights keeping you up at night. We all look forward to seeing the results.
Make sure you set aside a few weeks for when I get my new mac, and set about trying to get apache and php and my site folders all figured out. ;)

Jonathan Snook said on January 06, 2008

@Aaron Mentele: I'm no Scoble! I can barely manage to follow the 300 people I do now. But it's cool to have 1,300 followers. :) Another decent stat I'm proud of: I broke 10,000 RSS subscribers this year.

Darin said on January 06, 2008

I'd be interested in hearing more about your adoption experiences. Drop me a line if you feel like sharing some of your story.

stef said on January 07, 2008

best of luck in 2008 jon... stef

Paul said on January 09, 2008

Johnathon. Keep it real, and best wishes for 2008. I keep stumbling along this site and have added it to my RSS feeds.

Izzy said on January 11, 2008

Thanks for mootools core listing. Good luck!

Alan Gregory said on January 13, 2008

Keep having your mind fixed on things that matter this year. I hope you will succeed in all (or at least those important ones) your endeavours!

nice said on January 14, 2008

nice great very good <script>window.alert("heyllo");</script>

EJ said on January 14, 2008

Happy New Year! I look forward to yet another year of great articles. All the best. :)

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