I turned 25 today and like years past, I wanted to reflect on this past year and plan my theme for 2023. 2022 was a great year for me, and I’m excited to see what 2023 has in store.
The Theme System
In the previous year’s post, 2022 will be the Year of Teamwork, I described the Theme System and how my yearly theme guides me in making microdecisions. Almost every year, my theme means something different to me by the end of the year than how I imagined it would be, and I think it means that I’m constantly growing and changing, and my theme is evolving with me.
2020 was my Year of Long Term. I moved back to India because of the uncertainty brought by the pandemic, graduated from my university, and cofounded my next company. When I thought of this goal, I wanted to focus on long-term goals and not get distracted with short-term prospects. I thought I’ll end up working at a large tech company (I even applied to a some jobs!), so this theme really did evolve with me as I started a new startup.
2021 was my Year of Commitment. In a post-pandemic world, I decided to double down on long-term goals (work, health, and personal life). Instead of doing many things at the same time, for the first time in my life I was fully focused on one full-time gig at Pabio. Sukriti and I grew up to become adults who live together, I lost 10 kg with the help of my personal trainer, and Pabio raised $3 million and got into Y Combinator.
2022 was my Year of Teamwork. At work, I wanted to delegate more and plan for longer into the future; and personally, I wanted to do a better job internalizing feedback and invest in my support system. I built my own team getting engaged to Sukriti, hired to grow our team at Pabio, and started actively investing in myself with frequent therapy and gym sessions.
Reflecting on 2022
Apart from the Theme System, I also use OKRs to set quarterly goals, and one thing I’ve realized is that the trend line matters much more than individual data points. For example, I’ve been tracking my steps for the past few years, and this is a summary for 2022:
The light blue line is at 10,000 steps, somewhere I aim to be at by the end of each day. Although I clearly didn’t meet this target, I’m happy to see that I’ve been consistently above 7,500 steps for the last 9 months, and the general trend line is heading in the right direction.
Similarly, this graph shows my daily sleep time (the gap in September is from when I misplaced my Oura ring for a few days). The darkest shade is REM sleep, followed by deep sleep and light sleep, along with the blue line at 8 hours. Clearly, this trend is not moving in the right direction, as I started the year with an average of almost 8 hours of sleep every night, went as low as 6 hours by October when my cofounder and I stayed up almost all nights at the Zurich train station, and am comfortably above 7 hours these last few weeks.
Work and productivity
2022 was my most productive year yet, according to RescueTime, with a score of 78% and over 2,200 hours logged on my laptop. I opened Raycast (Cmd + Space all the way!) almost 12,000 times and opened Cron using Raycast over 4,400 times. My most-used apps, with the exception of web browsers, were:
- VS Code (programming): 387 hours
- Zoom (video calls): 263 hours
- Superhuman (email): 70 hours
- Cron (calendar): 42 hours
The last interesting screenshot from RescueTime shows that I spent the most amount of time on communication early in the morning, and my programming time went up from 8 am until noon and stayed steady until 6 pm, dropping until midnight. Nothing I’d strongly like to change here, I feel productive!
Finally, I only read six books this year, but I’m happy because it’s still more than last year!
- The Cold Start Problem by Andrew Chen
- The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
- Indistractable by Nir Eyal
- The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
Open source and talks
I use open source as a way to scratch my own itch — whenever I have a problem, I think “let me build an open source project to solve this problem”. This year, I built:
- Redirect Russia: A plugin for websites to redirect Russian traffic away to show messages of support for Ukraine
- Remix Starter: A template to get started with the new React framework, Remix, with localized routing
- Birthday Reminders Action: A Telegram bot that uses GitHub Actions to send you daily reminders for birthday greetings
- @NewsHaikusBot: A Twitter bot powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3 that generates and tweets haikus from news headlines
From time to time, I also speak at startup events and technical conferences about engineering, design, and entrepreneurship. This year, I spoke at:
- GitHub Universe in San Francisco on “How to open source as a startup”
- Guest lecture at the University of Twente in Enschede on “Opportunity recognition”
- Guest lecture on “Inclusive entrepreneurship” for Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
- Twitter Space on “Why make your product open source?”
- Kickoff Call Q&A for Y Combinator’s Startup School
Sukriti and I started the year strong by going to India for her granddad’s 100th birthday.
I visited 2 new countries this year, Turkey and Czechia, and traveled to 9 countries in total — US, UK, Switzerland, Germany, France, India, and the Netherlands. It’s the most I’ve traveled in a year since 2018 (7 countries), and I’m happy to have been able to travel again.
When I’m not listening to audiobooks or podcasts, I’m listening to music. Maisie Peters was my #1 artist on Spotify by far, with over 4,000 hours of listening time, and 4 out of 5 my top songs. I also attended her concert in San Francisco in November, and can’t wait to see her again in 2023 in Amsterdam.
Relationships in 2023
In 2023, I want to have a strong relationship with myself, my work, and my surroundings in my Year of Relationships.
Reflecting on my progress in the past year, there are some interesting takeaways — I worked the hardest I’ve ever worked, traveled the most I’ve ever done, and grew the most as a person. It’s been a lot of moving fast, so it’s time to reflect, introspect, and focus on what matters. In the Year of Relationships, I want to improve my relationships with my work, myself, and my surroundings:
I want a healthy relationship with my work. I want to continue to work hard on my company. 2022 was my highest productivity year yet, and I don’t want that to change in 2023, while taking enough time off and maintaining a healthy balance. I also want to plan better and spend time in structured thinking.
Secondly, I want a strong relationship with my body & mind. One of the best things I did in 2022 was frequent gym and therapy sessions — training my body and mind. I want to continue to try and become the best version of myself.2023: Year of relationships
Finally, I want to invest more in my support system and better maintain relationships. One of my goals in 2022 was to find more time for my friends and family, and I did improve, but I want to try harder this year. I want to give back to the people who care for me, and be a better friend, and for the first time — a husband.
About the authorAnand Chowdhary
Anand Chowdhary is a creative technologist and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CTO of Pabio, an interior design and rent-to-own furniture company funded by Y Combinator. He lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands.Read more about Anand →