2018, a Year in Review

For years now I have been keeping list and records of what I have been up to. This might be count of daily steps through to books read. All of this was nothing more than for me personal interest. However, recently several personal data aggregators have emerged which take data from multiple sources and present it back to you in a hopefully meaningful way.

I have been using one such aggregator, Exist, for a number of years now and each year I am sent a summary of my year in data. I could just paste the results from this and other sources here but I thought it would be more interesting to add some commentary, so here we go…

Actively

Two and a half million steps is about 760 miles or just slightly more than from Lands End to John o’ Groats, a distance that would have taken me 211 hours to walk. The figure of 2,582,912 is less than the 3,636,024 that I managed n 2017 so I probably need to up my game again in 2019.

While the time working out is probably accurate the time in bed and asleep clearly is not. I’m not sure where Exist is getting its data from for this as elsewhere it also said that on average I got up each day at 16:45!

Bookishly

This year I “read” a total of 28 books which was up from 17 last year. I put read in quotes as some of them, a quarter in fact, were read to me as they were in the form of an audio book. By far the biggest genre was non-fiction books but I did get in a few business/technical books too.

Highlights this year year would have to be Mark Ayre’s “The Black Sheep’s Shadow”, laughing a lot at Adam Kay’s “This is going to hurt” and the perennial favourite author of mine Robert Harris’ “Munich”.

Musically

Data for my listening habits comes from the last.fm service, something that has been recording my tracks played since 14th February 2005 (the very first track I recorded, or scrobbled as last.fm calls it, was Dire Straits — Telegraph Road and they even made the top six some 13 years later).

This year has very much been a prog rock kind of year for me as the top three artists attests. In fact I saw both Marillion and Steven Wilson in concert this year, more of which in a moment.

Music is an incredibly important part of my life and it is unusual for me not to have some on while I am working, walking or relaxing. According to last.fm I scrobbled 6,606 tracks in 2018 although this is low because those I listened on Amazon Music aren’t recorded as it isn’t supported. This compares to 9,292 for my son and a whopping 42,321 for my mate Dirk – now that’s a target to aim for in 2019!

As you can see from the above in 2018 I attended the most gigs I ever have, hitting the dizzy heights of 10. From the frenetic show at the Hexagon in Reading featuring local boys The Amazons to the amazing audio-visual Steven Wilson show at the Royal Albert Hall I’ve seen some amazing bands this year.

Moviely

I watched exactly the same number of films in 2018 as I did in 2017 – 64. Interestingly a third of those were actually where I went out to the cinema to watch where the experience is so much better. Also the local cinema has started running a regular “flashback” series and I have been a number of times this year to see films from my youth. The full list of films watched can be found here.

Here are some of the films I particularly enjoyed in 2018, in no particular order:

Ready Player One
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Productively

It is unsurprising that my top three most productive apps (for which read most time open and front of screen) are respectively Skype, Word and Remember the Milk. Given how geographically spread we are as a business Skype is the best way for us all to keep in touch. Most of the time that is text chat rather than voice but we do use it for calls too.

I am wedded to Remember the Milk and have been using it for keeping me on top of my to do list for over ten years now. I can’t recommend it enough. It is simple and highly effective at managing quite sophisticated lists without I would forget to do half the things I am supposed to be doing!

That Facebook is in my top three most distracting apps has spurred me on to remove it from my life. I have found the content that I see on it to be pretty negative and I want that out of my life. I will miss the occasional posts from university friends but we can find other ways to keep in touch.

Socially

I tweeted 1013 times in 2018 and the one above was by far the most “successful”, getting me my own feature in The Sun. I strive for a loftier publication but you’ve got to take your 15 minutes of fame wherever you can get it! To be fair (to me) I didn’t really have a problem with Ashley turning the HoF into yet another Sports Direct but it was the hypocrisy of Harrods comment. On reflection I’d rather have had better engagement for some of my more positive tweets (they do exist) but you can’t choose what interests people.

In amongst all this reading, tweeting, listening and walking I also managed 53 blog posts on here (I also wrote some tech blogs at Spoken Like a Geek and a smattering for WorkInConfidence). These were mostly about our exploits on our holidays which this year included what must be one last trip to Florida with the “kids”.

And Finally…

So there it is my 2018 in numbers and graphs. And here, according to Exist, is my average day – not sure how I am getting by on so little sleep though!