It's that time again, a new calendar year has begun. This year "Happy New Year" has an entirely different meaning to most of us, after what can only reasonably be described as a train wreck of a year. I'm a day late in writing this post this year (even though I'm posting this as Jan 1st), I quite honestly couldn't find my words yesterday.

How was 2020?

2020 started very well, having signed commitments for the majority of my year before the year even began, and a new client that I started a project with just before the pandemic (our first shutdown in Ontario). That secondary project was cancelled and while it was not replaced with much other meaningful work, I did manage to keep busy with the other commitments. I'm extraordinarily fortunate to have not lost that business. Things slowed down to be sure, but the year ended with a flourish that made up for some quiet times in March and April.

I struggled early on in the pandemic and it had less to do with COVID-19 I think than it was with other things occurring in the world, mostly in the US, which made a lot of what I used to do outside of work seem so irrelevant and meaningless. For several weeks I was going through the motions of work but not being very productive about it, focusing on work was a challenge, and blogging was non-existent. I finally gave myself a kick in the ass in the summer and started a walking routine to clear my head of distractions and get some regular exercise. At one point, I had a streak of 72 days in a row walking 10,000 steps a day. The streak died in November but I have maintained a 50,000 steps/week goal since then. It was good for me to kick start some new routines and I gradually got back into a better headspace for the rest of the year.

Goals-wise, here is what I had planned for 2020:

  1. MVP renewal - that was a success, I was renewed in July 2020.
  2. Expand my service offerings - this didn't get off the ground as much as I had hoped. The secondary project I mentioned above was a Power BI project which I was looking forward to, to get my foot in the door and gain more experience. I did complete some other Power BI work during the year, and passed the DA-100 "Analyzing Data in Power BI" exam in December, which resulted in a new Microsoft certification, so I'll call this a win.
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  1. More volunteer time - this didn't happen due to the pandemic cancelling the opportunities for the type of volunteering I tend to do at Habitat for Humanity. I opted to make a couple of financial donations to them instead of my time this year.
  2. Conferences - I commented on last year's post that it may be the first year I don't attend any Dynamics GP conferences and that ended up 100% true, but mostly for pandemic reasons as well. It was the first year in recent memory that I didn't travel anywhere (except for a 2-day conference in Toronto in January 2020). Most things I considered attending were outright cancelled. MVP Summit was held virtually which was different, but it worked (though not at all the same as visiting Seattle in person). I attended parts of Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Build virtually as well since they were being offered for free, which I ordinarily wouldn't have done.

What's in store for 2021?

It's the first time I can recall not looking forward to a new year. Sure, I'm glad to be done with 2020 but I think this year will be just as challenging based on how the year has started, pandemic-wise. I'm not going to set specific goals this year, or at least not yet, as the year ended in a blur. I felt like I was running non-stop for the last 3-4 months and needed to recharge my batteries, not put additional pressure on myself to 'achieve' something in a year which feels so up-in-the-air right now.

I expect I will not be renewed in July for my Microsoft MVP award, I've done so little so far and there is no way I can make up for 9 months of inactivity. I do plan on returning to blogging, I'm not sure when or on what, but I will continue to share things that are of interest to me regardless of my status in the MVP program.

Business wise my focus will be getting better organized and building systems and processes to help me stay that way. I felt like I dropped a lot of "balls" in 2020 and didn't like feeling that way. I also would like to update my website as it's pretty bare-bones right now.

I just plan on focusing on my physical and mental health as I have the last 6 months, making sure no matter what I do, and how busy I am, that I am taking time for myself in some way every day.