Table Of Contents:
Every year I like to take some time to reflect on the past 12 months. I think about all of my favorite moments and experiences from the year and consider what lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I chose “Visibility” to be my Word of The Year in 2022. And indeed the year was filled with events and opportunities that increased my visibility both online and offline. I became a Women Techmakers Ambassador and a Google Developer Expert in Android, and I prepared two technical talks on Jetpack Compose and spoke at 7 conferences. I also decided to focus more on creating content: wrote 4 articles, tweeted tips and tricks about Android development, and experimented with educational videos on Tiktok and Instagram. Overall, I really embraced the word of the year and made an effort to be more visible and present in the tech community.
I was fortunate enough to have the support of independent conference organizers, who provided financial assistance for my talks, as well as the support of Google, who made it possible for me to attend Google Conferences. At the conferences, I had the opportunity to meet both old and new friends, and the connections I made have been invaluable. I was able to learn from industry experts, and network with other professionals. I’m extremely grateful for all conference organizers, who made it possible for me to speak and attend the conferences this year.
- Establishing a weekly review process. This simple habit ended up being a huge accelerator for everything I accomplished in 2022. Reflecting on the past week and planning for the next one every Sunday has become a usual routine for me. It helps me become more proactive and less reactive in my day-to-day life.
- Having a routine with pre-planned list of tasks for the day. This is a side effect of the first highlight, but it’s still worth mentioning separately. Having a daily routine that includes both: habits I want to embrace and encourage, and tasks + events that are planned for the day, sets an important mood to start your next 24 hours. This combination helps me to be more organized and productive.
- Learning a lot about personal organization systems. I spent a lot of my free time this year learning about different personal organization systems for task management and goal setting, such as time blocking, task batching, energy-level mapping, PARA , GTD , the 12-week year , The Eisenhower Matrix, and identity-defined tasks and habits. I was really interested in finding the best system for me to stay organized and achieve my goals. Ultimately, I ended up mixing and matching different methodologies in practice.
- Taking Content seriously. Thanks to my established weekly review process, I was able to allocate time for writing and producing content. It wasn’t always easy, as it took longer than I anticipated, but the results were amazing. I’m glad I was able to make time for this important activity, and I’m proud of the content I created.
- Visiting Chicago. It is such a beautiful city! I had a 6-hour layover there back in 2017 and only had a chance to visit the Cloud Gate area. This time, I spent 4 days there and didn’t even open my laptop once because the city was so captivating. I made the most number of steps since the COVID pandemic began while I was in Chicago, it was that engaging!
- Embracing landlord journey. In my 2021 review, I mentioned that being a landlord was not a truly passive job and at times it felt like a second full-time job. Dealing with tenants in 2021 was so difficult that my husband and I decided to move out of our house (which is a multifamily and we were living in one unit) and consider selling it. However, after 7 months of taking a mental break and coming to terms with the fact that it was just another job, we ultimately decided not to sell and instead fully accepted this journey as landlords.
- Buying home. This new house we are living in is also a multifamily, but our unit has its own private backyard, front yard, and a large office room. It’s also only a 10-minute walk from the Path station, which is a huge plus. We hope to live here for the next 5-7 years!
- Receiving Green Card. This 9-year-old immigration process has been quite a wild ride for me, especially in 2022. It’s been very exhausting, but i’m extremely happy that I won’t have to deal with USCIS again for the next 10 years. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.
8 years + 10 months + 25 days— Aida Issayeva 🌻 (@Aida_Isay) December 28, 2022
later I’m finally holding a green card 😭🙏🙌
This feels surreal! I can finally visit my parents and sisters and hug them for the first time after so many years 😭 pic.twitter.com/M0lDq90KrI
- Trying new activities. I finally got to try rock climbing this year and it was a great experience. I have to admit, I didn’t realize my upper body was that weak, but it’s clear that I have a lot of room for improvement. I’m looking forward to continuing to try rock climbing in the coming year. One of my team’s offsites at Twitter included a rope challenge where we had to climb trees and poles of different levels of intensity, which was really cool. The last new activity I tried for my wellbeing was acupuncture, which I did 2-month long course. It helped a lot with my eczema.
- Re-visiting good old activities. I used to meal prep regularly when we were still going into the office, but during the COVID pandemic I stopped doing it. In 2022, I decided to slowly get back into meal prepping, especially if I know I have a busy week ahead. I try to spend time meal prepping on Sundays to set myself up for success. Another activity that I used to enjoy in the past is dancing, so I decided to take some dancing classes to amuse myself and get some exercise.
- Starting a new job in January. The culture, vibe, and open-mindedness of my colleagues really resonated with me. Despite the Elon Musk drama, I was able to learn a lot and grow as an Android developer and as a person. It was the first time in a long time that I felt fulfilled and happy in all aspects of my job. Sadly, it was short!
- Ending that job in November. I thought a lot about what pill to take. Ultimately decided not to join 2.0 version. I don’t want to go into too much detail about it due to my current non-working agreement, but perhaps I will write about my perspective on the matter at a later time.
- Becoming Android Google Developer Expert. Being a GDE is a recognition of giving back to Android community. I’m so happy and proud for becoming one. This also pushed me out of my comfort zone, and helped me write more technical articles and learned more about some Android APIs.
- Becoming Women TechMakers’ Ambassador. Having this opportunity to serve as a role model and advocate for women in tech industry is a truly meaningful honor and something that is close to my heart.
- Giving talks at conferences. It was so exciting to speak at TechBash, Droidcon SF, Droidcon NYC, Chicago Roboto, Mobile Summit, Connect Recharge, etc. Not only did it further push me out of my comfort zone, but the preparation process also helped me to learn a lot about Jetpack Compose. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and insights with others.
- Meeting fellow AndroidDevs IRL at the above conferences and Google IO & AndroidDevSummit & North America Connect. I was fortunate to attend many in-person events this year, and it was so much fun to connect with others who are passionate about the same work that I do.
Although the year was full of positive highlights, it had a fair share of challenges in all areas of my life. Here is the snippet list of some:
- Getting sick with COVID in and out
- Visiting Emergency Room
- Juggling multiple incoming requests at the same time at work
- Dealing with pipe issues in the rental: gas issue, frozen and bursted pipes
- Procrastinating (I did an analysis on it, will share soon)
- Switching between excitement and exhaustion was physically tiring. There is a thin line between the two states, and I found myself frequently jumping back and forth between them. It took a toll on my energy levels.
The Year in Numbers
- 1 newsletter sent
- 2 technical talks prepared
- 4 articles written
- 7 conferences presented on
- 47 Tiktok videos posted
- 175 tweets
Month # of tweets January 17 February 25 March 18 April 19 May 14 June 15 July 18 August 13 September 16 October 12 November 6 December 2
At the beginning of the year, my key metric was to increase my followers on social media platforms. However, in the second quarter, I decided to shift my focus to producing content instead, since it was something within my control. I figured that follower growth would be a nice side effect of creating good content.
- Top 10 logged feelings
- Top effective* days of the year
Looks like there was no single day this year where I felt like I accomplished everything I wanted to (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐). However, there were 23 days where I felt like I almost accomplished everything on my to-do list.
*Effectiveness metric is about whether or not I feel like I was able to accomplish what I set out to do during the day.
- Properly planned week score
In late 2021, I discovered that I tend to underestimate the number of tasks I can complete in a day. As a result, I decided to track how well I plan my weeks. In 2022, my score was 54.5%!
I didn’t realize that I was off by that much. Sometimes it was because of an “emergency” that arose during the week, other times it was because I took on something unplanned, or because I procrastinated. However, most of the time it was due to my underestimation. I plan to write a separate article about this in the coming week.
I completed 187 workouts, not including above mentioned activities in Personal Highlights section .
I’ve been manually tracking all of my expenses for as long as I can remember. By manually, I mean physically inputting them into a spreadsheet rather than using personal finance management apps. The main reason I do this is because it gives me a better understanding of where my money is going and how to budget it. All of my expenses are divided into household, rental, personal, and business categories.
Inflation had a big impact on my numbers this year. Here’s a snippet from the household category(2 adults):
I’m happy to see that we spent less on alcohol purchases this year!
I mentioned earlier about my habits of tracking my feelings, journaling every day, doing weekly reviews and planning. This meticulous tracking helped me to see the biggest time-wasters of the year, which often triggered negative emotions. At times, it felt like a test of strength from the universe. To my surprise, the top two time-wasters were organizations: USCIS (the immigration department) and PSEG (New Jersey’s Electric & Gas company). These two entities took up a significant amount of my time and mental energy. Last year, I spent 38.5 hours on the phone with PSEG and 26 hours filling out requests and emails to USCIS.
In the World
There was a lot happening in my life behind the scenes, especially with my feelings and emotions. But there was also a lot happening around the world, especially in the parts where I grew up and where my family still lives. There were a lot of negative emotions boiled inside of me, that I didn’t share or post. #BloodyJanuary in Kazakhstan, then War in Ukraine left me scared, angry, disappointed, and disoriented. Possibly later in the year I’ll write more about it.
Best of the Year
Miscellaneous things worth mentioning.
- Productivity tool - Notion - After two years of use, it remains the most outstanding tool I have ever come across.
- Fitness tool - FitON - My one and only fitness app that gives a daily doze of exercises! Even after five years, I cannot and will not stop recommending it to my friends and family.
- TV-show - Ozark - My absolute favorite best ending to a tv-series in the history of tv-shows. Its season finale was a great tribute to the series as a whole!
- Movie: none - Not a single movie from this year stood out as noteworthy.
As I head into 2023, there are some things I want to do more of and some things I want to do less of. In order to make these changes, I have a system in place that helps me develop desired habits and discourage unwanted ones. Learning about different organization systems has helped me to understand the bigger picture of my life and how to set goals accordingly. Instead of focusing on annual goals, I’m shifting my focus to the roles that I want to embody in my life. These roles are built through the development of consistent habits. Here are some key habits that I want to focus on in 2023:
- I’ve had a bad habit of binge-watching for a long time, but it really got out of control last year. I’m talking about binge-watching for 10-12 hours at a time, not just a few episodes. It’s insane and it’s definitely a big waste of time. I think it’s related to my OCD - I like to complete things as soon as possible and don’t like to drag things out. So this year, I want to binge-watch less. Unfortunately, the first week of the year didn’t start off well in this regard.
- I want to write more this year, especially long-form essays and blog posts. My focus will be on organizing my thoughts and ideas into a clear, cohesive train of thought rather than just a jumbled mess.
- I want to consistently meal prep this year. In 2022, the main question in my household was “What should we eat?”, and this question ended up taking up a lot of time, especially during lunch. But when we meal prep, we can just grab something from the fridge and don’t have to spend any time deciding what to eat. This also helps to avoid getting stuck in a rabbit hole of Yelp reviews and takeout options.
I have a lot of habits that I plan to continue and new ones that I want to pick up in 2023. I’ll share them in my 2023 review ;)
I also want to spend some quality time with my family. I’m excited and terrified to see them in-person for the first time in 9 years!
I’m truly grateful for all of the opportunities and challenges that 2022 brought me. It’s been a transformational year!
I’m also excited for what 2023 has in store! I’m sure it will be amazing ✨