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Written on Looking Forward to 2020

Looking Forward to 2020

Between Christmas and New Year it's the time of the year where I do do my Annual Review. 'What do I want' is one of the hardest questions to answer and in that period I take around 3 full-days to review the past year and set goals for the upcoming year.

For me it's very important to strike a balance between practical goals (that are reachable) but also things that seem impossible or are hard to plan for. The 'I'll figure it out along the way' type.

One golden rule is to never set to many goals, spanning my attention between too many goals is not a good thing. I made a list of some of them.


Shoshin in Teaching
Last year I gave courses which I didn't like. One of the most important things in teaching (to me) is that you teach about things you are passionate about. I was becoming a grumpy teacher that was teaching 'on-repeat'. I gave negative feedback; only looking at things that could be better instead of giving compliments of things students were already good at.

Spending more time with family and friends
More evenings and weekends spent playing board games, conversations during dinners and watching documentaries and films together. I also want to be more active reaching out to friends instead of waiting for friends to ask me.

Documenting more
I don't document a lot. I don’t take a lot of pictures or videos. I’m making an effort in documenting more things instead of consuming. I consume for entertainment but the best way to entertain yourself is to create stuff. Idle hands build nothing.

Teaching outside a classroom
Guest lectures are so rewarding. I gave a couple of them last year and loved doing them. I'm standing in front of a classroom all the time but I want to teach more outside the classroom. I'm working on material for launching some online courses. Along with that, I wanted to start a Youtube channel for a very long time it's about time.

Fighting consumerism
I regret buying a lot of cheap stuff instead of buying fewer items but with better quality. I always bought the 'cheap item' which ended up breaking and had no value for me. The world is full of products and items that don't matter. Half of the shit is unnecessary. Spending money on good products (tools) that last you a lifetime, caring about the value and materials, are good long-term investments.

Consistent sleeping
Going to bed and waking up at the same time. My sleep rhythm is all over the place, and it affects how I function. Headspace also had a massive effect on me when I did it consistently for about a month last year.

Do less

Doing 'busywork'
The latter half of last year was stress-free by removing mail and messaging apps from my smartphone. Turning off most notifications and only checking Mail and Slack on my desktop about ~3 times a day was the best decision I ever made. But still, it's very easy to open e-mail and start replying to things that are not important but seem urgent.

Watching low-quality content
Youtube is my weakness. I'm subscribed to +100 channels and it's hard to keep up with everything that shows up in my inbox. Binge-watching them on 2x speed to get through all is wrong. It's time to quit Youtube all together and read more or watch a series or movie instead.

Supporting big corps
Not buying from big retailers but smaller independent shops. I buy books online while those same books are in the window of my book store near the station I pass every day. Buy at the source, instead of buying from or Zalando but in the webshop of that specific company. They often have a bigger assortment or offer special editions.

Privacy first tools
I already started working on a big switch of software I'm using. The idea is to move away from Google Apps such as Google Calendar and Gmail to self-hosted solutions.

Design first tools
My latest 3 phones were Android devices, my first smartphone was an iPhone 4. I liked the customizability but feel like iOS is catching up on that front. I'm thinking about switching back. Android apps aren't as polished as iOS apps or oftentimes don't even exist on Android.

What’s coming next?

Basic Teaching Qualification
I'll be doing my Basic Teaching Qualification (BTQ) at the Amsterdam University this year about teaching performance, teaching design and supervising students.

Tech Courses
We at CMD Amsterdam are doing a big overhaul on our courses in the first year and I'm asked to work on one of our first programming courses. A big challenge since it's the first major overhaul since +5 years. I'll be giving block tech and web animation again and I have a ton of ideas for new courses that I can design.

Working on DIY projects
In Notion I keep a big list of DIY physical projects. I learned a lot about materials and sensors (IoT things) and I want to continue on that path.

Going to more meet-ups and conferences
Since the university is my main employer I have more time and resources to go to international conferences, I went to a couple of conferences last year but didn't visit any international ones.

Creating personal content
I found a nice rhythm to work on this personal site and taking the time to create more content. Something I want to continue doing while becoming a better writer.

Working on my set-up
My best work I do at home but my personal set-up (office space) can use some better equipment. Investing in technology to better work and run my side projects is on my wishlist. A NAS, better lighting, audio, and video gear are first on the list.

Working on side projects
I’m obsessed with people making money with products they've created. I have tons of ideas for small (open-source) projects to launch. I'm also thinking about working under 'the umbrella' of a 'design studio' instead of freelancing.

Bucket list

These are Long shots but hey, super goals are inspiring. Things that probably won't happen this year and that I have no concrete plan for but are still on my wishlist.

Moving to a co-working space or own studio
Construct a creative space where I can tinker with tech. I currently work from a desk at home and go to university for specific tools. I would love to have more of a studio or creative space at home to work from instead of only a desk and a computer.

Setting up a Minor
Most of our coding courses at the university are user interfaces and there is something about creative coding that I think design-focused students will enjoy. This can first be a course in another minor or project but there is a possibility it will turn into a full-fledged minor.

Becoming a certified coach
Giving students feedback on products is something I can do well, but I'm not the best coach. It's one of my biggest weaknesses and hope the BTQ will get me started but becoming a certified coach is something I want to explore further.

Thinking about doing a master education
In the last couple of years, I didn't feel like doing a Master's studies but for some reason I'm ready. I like to become a bit more 'academic', get better at argumentation and rationale. That's something a Master studies can offer but picking the right one is hard.

Danny de Vries