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Kingdom by Olga Nesnova

A look back at 2020

Everyone has some lists to recommend these days. But looking at everything, I could only see what society wants to see: the inspirational “not good, not terrible” type of story. But it was a terrible year.

It still is a terrible year, and it is not like starting from the 1st of January the whole corona novel will be completely erased. 2021 will have new challenges, new ways to make us think and grow. That is for sure!

On the other hand, it would be foolish of me to not say that 2020 was a year that we all learned from. It was a year that hit us differently and we will always remember it. And the next year(s) will be hard as well — the virus is still roaming around, the economy is shaky, and there are thousands of people looking for a job now.

2020 was proof that we are living at the hinge of history and this can only be a good lesson for us and make us take note of everything we’ve experienced.

So, here’s my list of takeaways and learnings in 2020

  • resilience
    The more tangible the threat, the more resilient we become.
    Being forced to have a reactive state of mind to all the things happening — working from home, furloughs, fast-forward digitalization, social distancing, keeping in touch with near ones using all sorts of tools, made us stronger.
    It made all of us have a clear purpose, better priorities, and be flexible enough to use solutions we were not familiar with, focus on our purpose, less noise, and a tangible threat to what we value the most made us resilient — A resilience process that will be part of our collective memory for a long while from now on.
  • time appreciation
    Every year I travel a lot and enjoyed my time with no specific goals or schedule — just destinationless urban strolls. I always loved it, but this year I realized how valuable that was. And how much energy and motivation it gave me.
    We all value a fresh breath of air now and a walk without thinking twice before going out, we all look at the offline meetings as something we wait for just to have safe contact with people. We all look at small things differently.
  • friends and family time
    I changed cities quite a lot of times since I was a kid, and while this comes with a lot of learning and flexibility in terms of culture and management, I never really had time to make connections.
    So, I ended up with my friends being all around the country or around Europe. And so is my family. This is why my time with them was always extremely limited, but valuable (and fun as it pushed me to travel).
    This year though, after I lost my father, had surgery (nothing complicated, fortunately) and it was literally impossible to meet my family and friends even for just a tiny bit, it just hit me how important is to give more value to the little things around our dear ones and to make the most of what we have.
  • work-life balance
    Everyone had a productivity boost, then some meltdowns and lots of ups and downs. I even have a note from one of my bad days this year:

Today I felt guilty for not being *very* productive.
I stayed in front of my PC from 8:45AM to 8 PM ⁠ — in the last 4h I just hoped that I will get some things done.
I did not.

After sending a couple of emails, I gave up and started to scroll. TNY showed up in my feed with this *amazing* post: “The designer who invented the Bullet Journal says he no longer uses multiple notebooks. At the link in our bio, read about the organizational journaling system that promises to help you achieve your goals, and declutter your mind.”

I felt guilty once again: what if I had some bullet points for today, instead of all these digital/management tools?
And the 1st reply, from adamjk (a very nice illustrator), said: “can’t I just have one thing that isn’t designed to squeeze as much “productivity” out of me as possible.”

And there it was: the reason for my anxiety & guilt!
We feel the need to squeeze out A LOT OF PRODUCTIVITY. And most things around us are designed to tell us this.

Maybe some days should be about the quality of our work or time to zoom out and see what things we need to do better; or about working at a different pace sometimes because we are only human.
As long as we take ownership of what we do & manage to get things done qualitatively, maybe we shouldn’t feel guilty for some slower days.

This year I learned it is ok to give ourselves some slack. It is ok to have a slower day. We are only humans.
And I wish you all a year with less stress and/or pain and a lot of happy moments!

See you in 2021!

Working with tech products that always have a cause and solve a problem | Data-Driven Marketer • Strategist • Product & Startup Enthusiast • Occasional Speaker

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