2016: What Went Well, What Didn't and Goals

A short recap of the year that is gone by and looking forward!

Rahul Pulikkot Nath
Rahul Pulikkot Nath

Table of Contents

Posts per month - 2016

2016 was a great year and I thought sharing some of the things that went well, those that didn't and setting goals for 2017.

2016 was a great year and is the first one where I am writing a 'year in review' post. Blogging, Videos, Open Source and Community contribution are some of the things that went well. FSharp, Reading, Travel, Photography and Exercise did not go that great. Looking forward to 2017 and planning to keep the goodness of 2016 and add some more to it

What went well


This has been a great year with my blog. On an average, I published four blog posts a month. It started with a self-challenge from March to write every day. I was able to come up with eight posts that month, but then felt it was not something that I could stick with consistently. So I kept a target of four posts per month and stuck to it for the rest of the year. I automated a lot of mundane tasks in my blogging workflow right from creating draft posts to deploying posts and scheduling posts for future deployment. This has saved a lot of time for me and helps me stick just with the writing part of blogging!

Posts per month - 2016

Sticking with publishing posts on a regular interval was more about deciding that I have to write every day. I set a 'mini habit' to write every day - at least one line every day - and stuck to it. This helped me get over the initial inertia of starting to write a post. Having set this goal to myself I had to consistently come with topics to blog about. This very much changed the way that I approached my day job. I always involved in it with the need to find something to share, in a way that I can abstract it out from the business dependencies. Most of the decisions and issues that happened to us (the development team) are now documented here. This acts as a documentation for any new joiners and makes the ramp up to the project a bit easier. More than anything it definitely helps me find the solution when I come across the same issue again. So if you still don't have a blog of your own, there is no better time than now. Make it a new year resolution. Get a URL and start writing. I have also been successful in getting a couple of people (at least four that I personally know of) to blog. Getting started is the biggest hurdle, the rest will fall in the due course of time.

Youtube Channel

Starting a Youtube channel had been something I wanted to do for a long time. I have just got started with it and posted one video. I now understand why people say recording is hard - there is a lot to it and it takes time to be good at it. The only way to get better if something is hard is to do more of it - Frequency Reduces Difficulty I plan to start with one video per month and see how it goes. I have been procrastinating on the second video for a while, will see if I can get it out before this year! Got it out just in time!

Open Source and Forums

Contributing to Open Source projects is a good way to learn. I have always struggled to find projects/issues to contribute to. But then I learned that it is again just a matter of deciding and committing to. First Timers only a good way to find issues and projects that one can possible jump right into. I decided to start looking at projects that I use more on a day to day basis - Asmspy and Autofixture were something that interested me. There were a couple of open issues in AsmSpy, that I picked up and Mike Hadlow was more than happy to merge them in. I also decided to set up Chocolatey package for AsmSpy. On Mike's request, I now manage the chocolatey package account and am a contributor on AsmSpy project. I automated the deployment pipeline for AsmSpy so that I do not have to worry about deploying the chocolatey package every time a change is made. Also got to contribute to a few issues with AutoFixture which is managed by Mark Seemann (ploeh). I was also lucky enough to meet him in person at NDC Sydney.

I keep a look at the Azure Key Vault MSDN forum and try to help every time a question comes up. Answering questions on forums is also a good way to learn, find interesting problems and at times rewarding.

What didn't go well

  • FSharp: Learning FSharp is something that I really want to, but it's not been happening that well. I am on and off with this and it keeps getting sidelined.
  • Reading: Compared to 2015 my reading has been a lot down in 2016. Though I have been listening to a lot more podcasts, I think I have to get back on with reading in the coming year.
  • Travel & Photography: There's not been much travel except for the long vacation back home and a few local places in Sydney. Though I have been clicking along I was lazy to process them. There are still lying on my camera waiting to be processed.
  • Exercise: Getting enough exercise is something that I have really lacked last year and I think I have also put up some weight because of it. Except for the walk up and down from home to station for the office commute, there's not been much of my body moving.

Goals for 2017

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Blogging: Stick to at least four posts per month. Try to see if I can get up to 6-8. I will have to improve the time that I take to write a post for this. Handling images for the blog needs to be automated as I spent some time converting and optimizing them.
  • Videos: Create a schedule for publishing videos and improve the quality and delivery of the videos.
  • Reading: Set up a reading plan and read at least 21 books (1 more than what I did in 2015).
  • FSharp: Learn, Contribute and Blog
  • Travel & Photography: One trip at least once in 3 months and post photos
  • Exercise: Run/Bike at least once a week.