Post-2016 thoughts.

The year’s been a rather vanilla but fulfilling one, if I might say so.

Fitness

I stuck to my goal of maintaining a consistent workout routine. We’re really close to the one-year milestone now! Pretty pleased at the commitment I’ve made, and I feel good. Obviously, seeing the results help. Have to admit, it’s been a little shitty at times, knowing I have to say no to lunch dates on workout days, and just play the part of an anti-social c*nt, but that’s what discipline boils down to. You don’t give yourself excuses, period.

Committing to gym, also meant I had to commit to nutrition. That in turn, meant a better focus on nutrition, meal prep and understanding the results eating different foods did to my body. Can’t say I’m a veteran at this, but definitely a big step forward.

2017 objective: keep this shit up.

Related: earlier gym post.

Friendships

Really glad to have reconnected with old friends, especially my RCY mate SP. Have to admit, he made an extra effort to catch up when he was down here in Melbourne, and we’ve met up a couple more times since, a rather difficult feat considering we’re a few time zones apart. Looking forward to keeping this up!

Other great moments include:

  • Attending Anita/Richard’s wedding
  • Catching up with Nash
  • Meeting my man Olgun at last! And all the chats we’ve had online, wouldn’t trade that for anything.
  • Basketball and suppers with the Ngee Ann/Changkat folks
  • Basketball with TX, after so many years. I sucked, but it’s still wonderful to be back on the court together with the man. I still remember our poly sessions fondly.
  • KTV sessions with the ladies. Yes, there’s only the ladies. That one group.

Also appreciated all the extra time all my friends have made to keep in touch, especially the ones in Singapore (Swim Team folks, my 1-Net people). Long may this tradition continue!

2017 objective: keep in touch with as many people as I can. This is going to be hard, harder than 2016 when it comes to Singapore.

Family

This year’s routine has actually been a bit of a shitfest, to be honest. We had to manage on our own without help, and having two kids at daycare full-time was a suicidal notion, financially speaking. We ended up working something else out, but it meant a nonstop rush every single day. It’s taken the two of us to cope; I’m glad it’s all over. Next year’ll be pretty similar, but the financial burden should be tremendously reduced at minimum, and itinerary easier.

Elly’s grown a lot this year, in confidence and articulating herself. Lenny’s development has definitely been slower, especially on the speaking front but we’ll get there. All it takes is patience and consistency. He’s not an idiot, just lazy to talk when it comes to getting what he wants. Laziness is unfortunately, a trait that seems to be passed down. I wonder who he got it from, hmm. /s

2017 objective: help Elly transition to her new school and routine, get Lenny talking like a madass mofo.

*I also had this idea of getting two paper notebooks, and filling them up with handwritten positive moments for the kiddos. BUT, I can see myself fucking it up very quickly so we’ll see.

Entertainment

Yes, this has been rather poor overall. I’ve barely touched my PS3/PS4 (played PS4 for the first time in July!), or played basketball much. It’s been TV series for the most part. Daredevil, The Flash, The Walking Dead, and holy crap, Breaking Bad at long last. So impressed with it, I’m a convert through and through. Bitch.

And anime too: Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans, Dragonball Super, and rewatches of Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny.

Also kept my reading up, thanks to the new Kindle Paperwhite (old Kindle destroyed thanks to Lenny). It has been sidetracked somewhat, thanks to anime binging.

2017 objective: actually play the PS3/PS4 without objection from the wife on pixelated violence being bad for the kids. Like, really. I grew up on this kind of stuff, it didn’t turn me into a homicidal maniac. And again, TRY TO PLAY MORE BASKETBALL DAMMIT.

Travel

Popped over to Singapore twice, sneaked in a side trip to Thailand, a day trip to Sydney, and that’s basically it. Next year should be looking better: a trip to the States (or two even!), another possible to China, and mayyyyyybe something local/interstate. NBA playoffs, here we come.

Work

It’s been an educational year, thanks to Jared’s constant stream of suggestions and answers, with half of them being self-discovery. Again, thanks to Jared for leaving me room to find answers out myself, rather than spoonfeed. The deluge of projects that got dumped on us this year was a little draining, to say the least. I’m just glad we’re done with it all, project management is most definitely not our forte, especially when our priority is to help the user out.

Have to admit, I was a little sad at losing Crystal on the team, she’s been a solid dependable rock. And also, not forgetting my mate Ravi for all the chats, support all the time, and to the boss Andy for always being the perfect manager. Lastly, for a great bunch of guys at the Melbourne office. Couldn’t ask for more, really.

PnR

I knew this year was going to be me stepping away and doing less, because I would’ve burnt out if I kept at the punishing pace I’d been working at the past couple of years. So far, it’s worked out decently. The bulk of my contribution have been either on quickie pieces, or video highlights. I still think we could’ve done a lot better, but it’s still been a decent body of work overall.

Notable milestones:

  1. We made a really solid push during the Olympics, and got our brand out there to the local audience. Responses from fans have been very, very positive.
  2. Re-partnered with Goalrilla Australia for a long term promotional deal. Looking to move our advertising to a digital agency, and improve ad revenue.
  3. Pushed past 66,000 fans on the Facebook page.
  4. Crossed 1,000 on both Instagram and YouTube.
  5. Grew our traffic by nearly 50%. The trick next year will be to maintain and exceed this number.
  6. Migrated to a new web host late last year, been smooth sailing ever since. Also switched to a new site theme.
  7. Less number-centric but equally important: team building. The quality of contributors coming on board have significantly improved, and that’s lifted our content quality.
  8. Content:
    1. I think we’ve picked up the pace on the NBL side thanks to an influx of energetic folks. But, I think we can be doing much better. For example, I’d prefer to see different storylines being explored, instead of a weekly column thing. Personally, not a fan of power rankings and roundtables; they’re an easy way to generate content but do not (again, IMO) generate the kind of interest columns would. For example, stat analysis, X’s and O’s breakdowns, interviews, features and so on. More effort needed, sure. But again, it’s the kind of thing a reader would want to read, and we should be putting our best foot forward.
    2. NBA dropped off due to various reasons: new contributors (some of whom were inconsistent), Jayme/Hayley’s new jobs, Luke’s work with other organisations, Winston’s workload, plus my order not to push unnecessary coverage on subpar games. But I’m confident we’ll pick the pace up next year as it gets into ASW and the playoffs after.
    3. I took the time to compare 2015’s analytics versus this year’s, and here’s my two takeaways: lists and list-style headlines work, and the Olympics were really good for us.
    4. This is a continual question hanging in my head: how do we get more people reading our work? I’m sure every other internet content marketer out there loses sleep over the same topic.

Something that finally happened this year, was the motion to incorporate and turn PnR into a company. We’re still working our way through some of the agreements, but it’s a big, big step. Somehow, it made me feel like this just transitioned from a hobby into something more serious, like how dating became marriage. I hate the extra pile of paperwork (hello ASIC, ATO, shareholder/director meeting notes, etc) that’s going to surface by the way. Hate, hate paperwork. It just feels like some unnecessary shit that’s taking me away from what I can be doing on the site itself, and I need to make sure the burden is shared equally, not me just being Atlas.

2017 objectives: Too many. Let’s just leave it at continued growth.


Less than an hour to 2017. Full steam ahead, y’all. The best is yet to be.

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This is why I have trust issues.

All too often, the world is a disappointing place.

Too many times, people cannot be counted on to put their best foot forward. It stems from a lack of ownership, an excess of DGAF (don’t give a f***), a lack of professionalism and ethics, among many other things (incompetence being one of them). It feels like my definition on a job well done, differs greatly from the rest of the world.

All of us are imperfect beings, so I guess that is to be expected. What else can we do, but use these imperfections the best we can, and move forward?

“What’s next?” Here’s how you stop procrastination

We all know procrastination is a bad thing. Why then, do we do it?

More often than not, it stems from a lack of structure, and not realising that our own habits are the problem.

Here’s what happens.

Picture this: your team had a brainstorming session for a new product line. Brilliant ideas were whizzing around, and it all came together into an absolute firecracker of a concept, something everyone thought would be a winner. Everyone left the room buzzing with energy, exhilarated and looking forward to the future.

Only, no one knew what the next course of action was. Market evaluation? A round of internal evaluation, to confirm feasibility? Management approval?

The idea sits on its imaginary bum, while another meeting is held to figure this out. And so on. You get the drift.

What if everyone had agreed on the next step to take, following that meeting? Perhaps the guys in product management figured it’d be better to check the market for potential competitors first, before anything else got done. Easy.

Not convinced?

Let’s talk about something simpler. You get home after a long day, and find something in the mail: an Aldi brochure listing the week’s offers. Surely it can wait, you think. It’s late, you’re too tired to bother. It gets left on the desk, and joins a growing heap of junk mail.

What if you’d simply taken two minutes to browse, circle the items that needed to be looked at, and placed it into the shopping bag, ready for the weekend?

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Multiply the same action by twenty, and that pile of junk might not even exist.

It even applies to email.

A new message just appeared in my inbox.

Scenario A: It’s a newsletter I used to read years ago, but ignore out of habit these days. My inbox is a cesspool of unwanted messages, I find it hard to get to the really important ones.

What if I’d simply taken ten seconds to click the unsubscribe link? Or created a filter that sent it right into Trash, without ever hitting my inbox? Replicate the same thought process to all those other unwanted emails, and we might be well on our way to Inbox Zero.

Scenario B: It’s work. Someone needs a report. It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s not urgent. Hell, it can wait. The email sits in my inbox every day, staring me in the face until the deadline’s a week away, and then I start scrambling hard.

What if I’d taken five minutes to put a plan together after reading the email? Was the scope clear, did I need to clear it up with someone? Did I already have the tools I needed to generate the report? Who should I be talking to? I send an email to a coworker, and mark the email conversation as done. One less email to care about.

Always consider what the next step should be.

I’ll be the first to admit that this principle isn’t applied to everything in my life. I do however, practise it consistently enough that Inbox Zero is a real thing, both at work and in my personal life. Avoiding procrastination improves my mental state of mind, and allows me to focus better on the things I need to do.

Cultivate positive habits, especially ones that save time and make your life easier. What do you think the next step should be?

I suggest checking out How Habits Work, and the book that’s changed my life to getting things done: David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Get started today.

Ego masturbation is a waste of time

It’s not exactly what you had in mind.

By ego masturbation, I meant the pointless activities that do nothing but stroke the ego and make me feel good, but accomplish nothing.

For example, checking social media engagement (“ooh, 300 likes! 200 new fans today!”) or AdSense earnings (“revenue seems to be higher today, hmmmm”).

These metrics are useful if stacked with proper forensic action (“what triggered the engagement on this post?” or “why are we getting more visits and ad exposure today?”). More often than not, I drift off after the initial endorphin hit.

Stay locked in, focus on getting things done.