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2024-01-09 . 687 words . 4 min

Embracing the oddities

There is something strange about "new year".

There is hope that something new is going to begin and it might be better than status quo. There is quiet that happens at work when people go on annual leaves and there is suddenly time available to work on stuff we wanted to do but could never get to. There is pleasant weather in Dubai which makes you want to go out often. There is happiness of spending extra time with family. This cocktail of feelings happens every year towards the end of the year but never otherwise. It is reasonable but strange.

maybe, most of us long for closure and an year end denotes that

Personally, I don't feel anything drastically changes when we start a new year. Except when we make efforts to change something. And a year end brings energy, which is not just intrinsic but from others around me to plan for better outcomes. After loosing out for so many years, this year I've learnt to embrace this "external" energy, suppress the "weirdness" of new year and plan a few outcomes (short and long term). Anyway at work, we get graded for "what did we do last year" and we need to plan our OKRs for new year. So, why not!

About intrinsic energy, 2024 presents itself with a new role in the same old job at Majid Al Futtaim. I'm still an Engineering Manager but I will be working on building and maintaining "Core Datasets". This team didn't exist in 2023 which means I would be looking at structuring a team, creating a roadmap, setting objectives for this year (along with others) and deciding they way of working for this team. I'm also excited about writing more code and returning back to core data engineering team after managing a software project for a good year and half. More to look forward to in the new role and hence, the hope factor is at all time high.

OKR-azy 2024

In 2023, I dabbled with "bullet journal method" to cope up with "stack overflow" I experienced with my TODO list. The things that drew me to use this technique was weekly/monthly reviews for big picture and tracking metrics that I can customize for my needs. Before this I was a pen-paper guy with loose A4 sheets having a mix of technical diagrams, obligatory meeting doodles and a list of items that I needed to do. I didn't continue bullet journal as long to make it a habit and churned away from it, for reasons unknown to me. In retrospect, I like pen and paper for doodling and scribbles but I don't have the discipline of journal writing everyday. Couple of things that stuck with me was:

Point 2 and 3 are worth a separate blog in itself, so more on that later. I'm not surprised about point 1 though. I have always liked setting goals and trying to track and do them in a phased approach. Weekly, monthly and yearly reviews in bullet journal method is another manifestation of goal setting and tracking. Not much to my amaze, when I did performance review starting this year, I felt similar satisfaction on scoring myself against the goals as scratching a done task in the journal list.

With inspiration from my manager (@mtrencseni has been doing personal OKRs from many years) and acquired chi for new years resolutions from everyone around me, I decided to write down my personal OKRs for 2024. I'll publish an update on this in coming days. But at a very high level, I'm prioritizing to improve my health, gain financial independence, and get better at programming. As a person, I want to listen more, speak less, be more patient, read more, write more, and learn to say "no".