2017: Year of Productivity


It’s another year which means it’s once again time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and start looking towards what we want to do in the new year.

For many of us, this means making resolutions that we plan complete, but for one reason or another, never do.

I, for one, hate the idea of resolutions. I feel that most of the time when people make resolutions they make them very general and uninspiring. In the end, a lot of people never keep up to their resolutions and drop them all together by early February.

This is what led me to create The Challenge List, in which I set out a number of challenges for myself and try to complete them before the end of the year. These challenges are made to push me out of my comfort zone and improve both the mind and body.

Throughout the year I’ll be sharing what I learned form taking on these challenges. During my journey I’ll also be experimenting with different productivity methods and utilizing ideas from Tim Ferris, Charles Durhigg, and other productivity experts. As I try out these productivity ideas I’ll be posting what worked and what didn’t,and what can be learned from applying these concepts.

2017 Challenges

Progress: 6/20
Last Updated: July 24th, 2017

  1. Swim 2 Consecutive Miles in Open Water
  2. Finish a Tough Mudder[ACCOMPLISHED July 15th, 2017]
  3. Take a BOB Survival Course
  4. Shoot 150 Points in Archery[ACCOMPLISHED June 29th, 2017]
  5. Develop A University Capstone App
  6. Obtain my Bachelor’s Degree
  7. Get into Advanced Krav Maga Classes
  8. Get into Intermediate Swords Classes
  9. Get into Advance Parkour & Free Running Classes
  10. Climb Black Edge Peak, South Dakota[ACCOMPLISHED July 19th, 2017]
  11. Earn a Front-End Web Dev Certificate at Free Code Camp
  12. Be a Nerd Fitness Rebel for 365 Days
  13. Finish A Triathlon Sprint[ACCOMPLISHED June 3rd, 2017]
  14. Post 50 Blogs in the Challenge List
  15. Make a 5-min Parkour video
  16. Read A Productivity Book A Month
  17. Become a Level 4 Blacksmith on Habitica
  18. Make Cheese
  19. Snowboard Down Green Circle Slope[ACCOMPLISHED February 19th, 2017]
  20. Get a Development Related job [ACCOMPLISHED February 28th, 2017]

You can follow me on my journey by clicking on the Follow Button on the right side of the screen. If you also have any Challenges or Goals for 2017 let me hear them in the comments below!

2016: Continuing the List

One year ago I made a list of 25 things I told myself I had to complete by the end of 2015. I called this list “The Challenge List“, in which I would took up 25 challenges to help improve myself throughout the year. I figured by instead of referring to them as goals I would like to get done, they would instead be thought of as challenges I must complete. By the end of it all I ended up accomplishing a large chunk of my challenges and pushed myself towards boundaries I never thought possible.

The list ended up becoming so beneficial towards self-improvement that I decided to do it again for 2016. This year I gave myself 25 new things I am challenging myself to complete by the end of the year. Like last year, I am not going to think of these as 25 things I want to complete this year, but 25 things I must complete.

2016 Challenges

Progress: 18/25

  1. Go to an Escape Room
  2. Visit a China Town ACCOMPLISHED(8.27.2016)
  3. Swim a full mile(1650 Yards)ACCOMPLISHED(7.26.2016)
  4. Do not say “I” for an entire day ACCOMPLISHED(4.23.2016)
  5. Finish a Spartan Race ACCOMPLISHED(6.25.2016)
  6. Go to the Wisconsin Strawberry festival ACCOMPLISHED(6.26.2016)
  7. Get a Full-Body Wax ACCOMPLISHED(11.11.2016)
  8. Rock climb Taylor Falls, Minnesota ACCOMPLISHED(9.10.16)
  9. Do 10 Footbag kicks
  10. Publish a mobile app ACCOMPLISHED(7.29.2016)
  11. Make a flash drive
  12. Road Trip to Canada ACCOMPLISHED(10.22.2016)
  13. Winter Cabin Trip Up North ACCOMPLISHED(12.11.2016)
  14. Hike up Timms Hill, WisconsinACCOMPLISHED(6.29.2016)
  15. Visit the Minnesota Eagle Reserve ACCOMPLISHED(7.1.2016)
  16. Create a Video Game ACCOMPLISHED(8.20.2016)
  17. Build an Arcade Machine
  18. Achieve Level 100 on Habitica ACCOMPLISHED(10.17.2016)
  19. Get accepted into Advanced level Parkour classes
  20. Take a Yoga Class ACCOMPLISHED(3.25.2016)
  21. Run a 5-minute Mile
  22. Go SnowBoarding ACCOMPLISHED(1.9.2016)
  23. Start a Fire with a Fire Bow
  24. Craft and Shoot my own Arrows ACCOMPLISHED(8.7.2016)
  25. Win a T-Shirt in Marines Pull-Up Challenge(25 Pull ups) MAX REP: 18, (9.1.2016)

The 2015 Year in Review

The year of 2015 ends which means it’s time to take a look back at everything accomplished this past year. With the end of the year I have can finally mark off three more items off my list such as Meditating twice a week, Practicing Martial Arts, and Complimenting a different person every day. With those three items completed my total number of challenges finishes off with 16 completed out of 25 challenges. For a complete update on the list and my analysis on each of them you can look here.

Now with those items crossed off the list, let’s take a look back at what didn’t work, why it didn’t get completed, and how I can take that information to help with my goals for 2016.

One of the biggest reason for some of these items not being accomplished is a change of interest. To put it straight, I didn’t study for my A+ certification nor did I work towards my gold medal for my President’s Challenge because I no longer saw it beneficial towards my life’s goals. I felt my time would have been better spent if I didn’t focus on these items rather spend time developing skills for my long term goals. By doing so, I ended up exceeding my ambitions that started these goals and became a much more accomplished individual in the end.

Some other items were not accomplished simply because I didn’t have the funds to do them. Some of these items, such as going to a shooting range and going to a Parkour jam, would’ve been financially draining. At the time, I did secure funds to complete some of these challenge items, but did not manage to have sufficient funds to complete the some of the more expensive items.

As for the rest of the uncompleted items on my 2015 list. I would like to say that I had a justified reason for not completing them, but I can’t. I felt like I overshot my list and greatly underestimated my ability to complete one of these items while juggling every day chores and the other 24 items on the list. A good chunk of these items I was able to accomplish because there was always some sort of deadline to complete them by. The rest of them did not have such a dead line and felt like I had all the time in the world to finish them. When there wasn’t any sort of deadline for these items I couldn’t find the ability to focus all my efforts to complete them.

So, what does that say for my goals for 2016? Well, I feel like to best accomplish my tasks I need to organize a plan that allows me to spend 100% of my effort towards completing them. I think the best way to accomplish that is to schedule a few days out of the month to really sit down and focus on completing my goals. Finishing my goals would be best accomplished if I take the time to sit down and focus solely on completing one project at a time. By doing so, the project will not only get completed faster, but I will also be able to accomplish it to my best ability.

In the end I felt like I had accomplished a lot during the year of 2015. I managed to go through 4 jobs, ran my first marathon, got my driver’s license, became Lifeguard certified, and placed second in state in the Cyber Defense Collegiate Competition . I felt like none of this could have been possible without the endless support of my family, friends, and colleagues to push myself to go beyond expectations. I also feel that this blog and my readers became a driving influence to keep me going.

So I ask you, my readers, what are you proud to have achieved in 2015 and what are your goals for 2016?

Goal 22 Completed: Got a new Job!

Last February I was interviewed for a job at a different company. There was some miscommunication that went on, and I thought I got the job. I sent my 2-weeks noticed in to my previous job. I went in on the day I thought I started, only to find out that I was not offered a position. They had informed me that they were still in the selection process, and there were some issues with my paper work. In short, I was unemployed.

Now, 1 month, and many papers later, I was offered the job. I started last Wednesday and I couldn’t be more happier. This job fulfills nearly everything I’m looking for in my field-related career.

Challenge List:

22 Get a new job ACCOMPLISHED!

The Start of The List

I never liked using the words “Resolutions” or “Goals” when describing things I want to get done for the year. Using these words makes me feel that there is no obligation to actually do them rather they’re just things that I’ll like to get done. Unsurprisingly, by the end of the year I don’t accomplish all of the things on my list.

So this year, I’m going to start calling the things on my 2015 To-Do list “Challenges”. I always love a good challenge. When there’s a difficult obstacle in my way I get a joy from training hard and pushing beyond my limits to accomplish them. I have compiled a list of stuff of 25 things I absolutely must complete by the end of this year.

2015 Challenges

  1. Compliment a different person every day ACCOMPLISHED(12/31/2015)
  2. Get my driver’s license ACCOMPLISHED(5/29/2015)
  3. Complete all 2015 moves for Parkour/Freerunning [Different list]
  4. Be lifeguard certified ACCOMPLISHED (8/7/2015)
  5. Run the Minneapolis Marathon ACCOMPLISHED(5/31/2015)
  6. Finish the A+ certification book
  7. Actively participate in a medallion hunt ACCOMPLISHED(6/25/2015)
  8. Hike Eagle Mountain ACCOMPLISHED(8/15/2015)
  9. Attend first Parkour jam
  10. Craft and shoot stone head arrows
  11. Release a Parkour video
  12. 12 Hours of Parkour in a day ACCOMPLISHED (9/4/2015)
  13. Win a TShirt at the US Marines pull up bar Challenge FAILED
  14. Start a fire with a firebow
  15. Star Wars all nighter ACCOMPLISHED(7/11/2015)
  16. Go to a shooting range
  17. Finish a Rugged Maniac  ACCOMPLISHED(9/12/2015)
  18. Make special gift for someone
  19. Meditate twice a week  ACCOMPLISHED( 12/31/2015)
  20. Earn Gold Medal in Presidents Challenge
  21. Pass all Parkour levels test
  22. Get a new job ACCOMPLISHED! (3/19/2015)
  23. Make a portfolio webpage (9/14/2015)
  24. Practice Martial Arts twice a week ACCOMPLISHED(12/30/2015)
  25. Do something Halloween related every day of ACCOMPLISHED(10/31/2015)

With an addition to my challenge list, I have created another list of stuff I would like to complete, but are not a priority.

I’m looking forward to crossing these things off my list.

If you are reading this, comment something that you feel you must absolutely accomplish by the end of this year. I would love to know what your challenges for this year are and what you’re planning on doing to complete them.