2021 brought the Jones family to a total of 4 with the addition of Toby Cooper Jones. It's been a difficult time to have a kid. I wasn't allowed into the hospital until the actual birth, having to wear a mask when holding my son for the first time. Relatives didn't get to meet him until he was nearly 2 months old.
So it's been hard to find time to work on side projects with a new baby and a 3 year old. You can even see the drop in productivity in my Todoist completions. See if you can guess which month Toby was born in...
One of my goals for 2021 was to "write more", and looking at the stats I've completely failed at that. Last year I wrote 3 articles, and this year I have written 4. Technically an increase, but not really what I had in mind.
I feel like the articles I've written this year are more thorough than last year's though, and are more in line with the kind of things I want to write more of. I've written about a new side project and my goals for 2021, which are less technical and more about me personally.
I do enjoy the technical articles as well, but good technical articles are hard to do right, and I end up getting sidetracked by other things. That's even how I came up with the idea for this almanac, I'm supposed to be writing an article on my move from Styled Components to Tailwind right now! I did finish it in the end, though.
I “launched” Chronolists in February, as a way to create chronological playlists for the MCU on a Plex server. After that I realised the same logic could be applied to other series and cinematic universes, so I expanded it to cover Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Buffy and others.
In September I decided to make it more official, bought a proper domain name and launched on IndieHackers. The site is still technically in beta, but i've heard from several people from all over the world that have used the site, and that's a nice feeling.
The prototype was built with Gatsby, but build times got a bit unmanageable as I added more series to the site. The new version is built with Next.js, which lets me make use of serverless API endpoints.
This was the first year I've been using Github as my main code repo, so it's a good set of data to look back on.
You can see the beginning of the year I was keeping to my goal of working on some form of side project at least once a day. I kept that up for the whole of January.
In February my second son Toby was born, and pretty much straight away I started to slip slightly. The real drop came a few months later, which lines up pretty well with the relaxation of distancing restrictions. I spent some of my free time actually seeing other people, and they weren't willing to log it as a Github issue.
It's really picked up again since September. Part of that is down to a project at work that is using Github, but I have also been more active on a few of my side projects. In the last few months I've been working on this site, a rebuild of Chronolists and another new top secret project.
Apparently the majority of my time this year has been spent on this site, which makes some sense. I rebuilt the whole thing, and have added just about every daft thing I can think of
The numbers may seem low, but my tasks are generally high level. For example, I have a task in my Chronolists project simply called "Complete rebuild in NextJS", and I had one for this site that was just "Move to Tailwind CSS" which took me about a week. I should really get better at breaking things down.
You might spot a bit of a gap in this data... I gave Plausible a try in January, but at the time I couldn't justify paying for analytics. After 6 months of trying various free options I coughed up the cash, so take that as an endorsement.
The only useful data here is from October to December. It does seem to be trending upwards, which is good, but I haven't really done anything to drive traffic. The launch of Chronolists seems to be sending a bit of traffic my way, and I'm planning to try and push that a little more next year.
I say this every year, but I'm going to be trying to publish things more frequently. Not just blog posts, but more things like this alamnac. If I can't create things that are a little bit different then what's the point of having my own site?
For the past few years I've been trying to stick to 12-in-12 with my gaming, essentially setting out to complete 1 game from the huge number in my backlog each month. I think I've done OK, considering I chose 5 huge RPGs, 1 of which was the entire Mass Effect Trilogy.
That said, Mass Effect Legendary Edition is incredible, I'm so glad people will be able to play these games without having to buy Bioware points in order to get the DLCs.
One thing I learned last year is that forcing myself to complete games I'm just not enjoying is a good way to be miserable, so I don't really mind that I've bounced off a few of these games.
Cyberpunk 2077 finally came out, and it was... ok? I played on PC, so didn't see the massive issues that the consoles had, and I waited until a lot of the major bugs had been fixed (and until I got a new graphics card).
Twelve Minutes finally came out as well. This has been on my radar for years, and it was fun while it lasted. I do wish it was longer, or had some more replayability. I couldn't bring myself to go back for the other endings.
A big theme with the games this year was games that I just couldn't run on my old PC. I had to stop playing Cyberpunk, Control and Assassin's Creed: Syndicate because I just couldn't run them. I ended up buying a new prebuilt PC, because a whole PC with a Geforce 3070 worked out cheaper than what graphics cards were going for earlier in the year.
One other game that I don't think anyone has ever heard of is NITE Team 4, a hacking simulation. I love these kinds of games. They're basically just puzzles with a terminal slapped in front of them, but I just can't stop playing them.
New for 2022
This year I'll be tracking a few extra things:
- Music listening, with Last.fm
- Time spent on projects with Toggl
- General time productivity with RescueTime