2018: Give more than Take

The new year has just started, I wish everyone a great start with our home-made pancake, joined force with my 2-year old son Alton.

Pancake of the Year

I have been reviewing the last year, and set goals 🎯 for the new year and upcoming future. Every aspect in my life has been going good, but I always feel unsatisfied. No matter it’s family, work, or social life. I feel like I can do more, and serve people better.

What can I do better to help others? I learn a lesson from Parenting. To love our kids, we should be loving unconditionally. I don’t expect any return from them. No matter how they perform and what they do, I will still love them. I may have expectations on them, but this does not conflict with unconditional love.

Thus, when I am setting my goals for the new year, I try to take the perspective of helping others without expecting a return.

Since time is the most important resource I own (and this is the same for everyone), I am 100% responsible to choose what to do with my time. Before committing to any action, I will think about the purpose and if I can contribute effectively. If not, I will still say “No” ❌. In contrast, if I decide to put effort, I will commit to it regularly ✅.

Aligning to my Life Goals 🎯

In any case, when I make decisions, I first check with my life goals to see if they are aligned. Here are the quick recaps to my 5 life goals:

  1. Family of Four
  2. Financial Independence
  3. Travel the World
  4. Win Apple Design Award
  5. Read 1000 Books

With this list in mind, I have set some goals for 2018.

Family of Four 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

First of all, as time is most important resource, I will dedicate my time to my most important area Family. With two young kids in the family, I am going to spend every night between dinner to sleeping time with my Family.

This is actually about 2 hours of time every night, which is less than 10% of time per day. We usually have dinner at 7:30pm and bed time at 9:30pm. This period of time can already include the bathing and reading time.

Kids need our intentions at their young age. It helps to give them a sense of security. In many cases, father can do a better job than mother alone. For example, couple months ago, my first son was undergoing the bed separation challenge. Father can do a better job in handling this. It took me only 4 intensive nights to engage my son to sleep in his own bed by himself, compared to many months of struggle with his mom.

On the other hand, as my 2nd son is coming. I plan to make a gift for him. Couple years ago, I made Moments Movie for the first son. I am going to make another app. I am giving this app a codename “Smile”.

Financial Independence 💰

I treat this very seriously. As the success in this will empower our family to go after other dreams. What I need to do is to create enough passive income to cover our basic expenses, no matter which city we live in.

I may need a few more years to really achieve Financial Independence, but there are some progress I can make this year. For instance, I am targeting a 10% return of my net asset value.

Since last year, I have set a portfolio as asset allocation. According to many experts covered by Tony Robbins book MONEY Master the Game, this is very important skill to manage.

I divide my asset into categories like bonds, stocks, property and cash. Each class may vary over months. In each season, I will review the portfolio and restore back to preset ratio. For instance, I only keep 10% of the my portfolio as cash. I may invest more if the cash exceeds the value and less if I run out of cash.

In order to strengthen my investment knowledge, I have ordered a few more finance books and joined investment course. My core focus is to increase the asset steadily and safely. This is to balance the risk in working in startups, which may have many unexpected moves.

Travel the World ✈️

Compared to the previous life goals, this one is more straight forward. Since my 2nd son is coming soon, we won’t be travel too much. Yet, I and my wife really want to visit Okinawa and the Aquarium there. We plan to go there around June.

In the meantime, I really want to participate in WWDC this year, since there is rumour about merging the iOS and macOS in some ways. Since I have been making macOS app video tutorials, this will be very interesting to witness the move in person.

By the end of the year, I want to start my long-waiting digital nomad life, where we may stay in another country for longer period of time. I will work there remotely, and spend other times to travel around with my family. This will be a challenging one, and that’s why I start to research for information with my wife. I will be sharing our findings in this blog.

Win Apple Design Award 🍎

Apple Design Award is kind of the top notch award in app industry. So far, Sorted has been making good progress. We may have a chance to step on the stage of Apple WWDC. In the upcoming months, we will be spending days and nights in making Sorted 3. After that, I would expect to continue the work of Mac version to complete the ecosystem. This takes largest effort compared to all others, but we have little to share until later. 😆

Read 1000 Books 📚

In the last couple years, I read in average 40 books over the year. So I am going to set a similar goal. Read more is not a high priority for now. I’d prefer to ensure regular activities every day. Yet, I do have a preference on categories I want to explore more. They are:

  • Productivity
  • Parenting
  • Business
  • Finance

These categories will help a lot to my other life goals. Since I have quite a list of tasks on my plate, I need higher Productivity to complete them faster and more effective. The two kids at home need me at home and serve as a role model, Parenting can teach me to become a better Dad. Since I am working in startups, Business books can serve as mentors. In order to get to my goals earlier, I will need a strong Finance model to support my journey.

This is the list of tasks I think of now. As per every task management system goes, more tasks will appear throughout the year. I am glad that I can work on a nice productivity app Sorted, and use it to schedule my life.

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