2016 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year and I’ve never been good about keeping New Year’s resolutions but I think it’s healthy to periodically consider what to prioritize in our lives.

In 2016, I’d like to start focusing on me a bit more. Two areas of my life have made it hard to think too much about myself the past few years: kids and work.

It’s easy for a lot of parents to devote all of their free time to their kids, especially when they’re young. I think it’s important for adults to retain individual interests and pursuits outside of their role as parents. It almost feels selfish to say that you want time for yourself but it’s critical for parents to keep growing as individuals so they can share that with the rest of their family. We are role models for our children and they should see that we have interest separate from taking care of them. Also, our time as caregivers is really a short period of time — in 15 years, my youngest son will be off to college, hopefully as an independent young man. God willing, I’ll have a few decades of life after that happens where I want to ideally do more than sit around watching TV and feel empty without the kids around.

With regards to work, I don’t think I’ve ever had a 9–5, 40 hour a week job. That’s not to say I’m a workaholic — I know plenty of folks who work much longer hours. That being said, especially in the tech industry, most jobs have become ones where it’s really hard to get away entirely from work. Most of us get work emails on our smartphones and when we get notifications on our phones, regardless of whether we’re out at dinner with friends, playing with our kids, or getting ready to go to bed, we have a hard time ignoring them. I’m grateful for the flexible work schedules that most tech jobs now provide but it’s also not healthy for employers to assume their employees are always available.

What does this mean for me in 2016?

  • When I’m home, at 6pm and later, I am not “on call” for work. Responses will have to wait until the morning. Same for the weekends. I shouldn’t feel like I need to use the weekends to catch up or get a head start on emails.
  • Read more books but no tech books, leadership books, or anything that could be related to work. Fiction or non-fiction in a subject area unrelated to my career.
  • Pick up playing guitar again or learn to play the piano. My 5 year old started piano lessons this past year and it’d be fun to learn along with him. It’s helpful to have an outlet for creative expression.

2015 was a really good year for my family and I‘m looking forward to 2016 being even better!