2021, a Year in Review

This is the fourth summary of my year that I have done (you can read 2018, 2019 and 2020‘s reports) and, for reasons I will outline below, this year is very much incomplete. Nevertheless it is still worth taking time to assess the year.

Data for this report has as ever been taken from a number of sources including Exist, last.fm, Audible, Swarm, RescueTime and a couple of spreadsheets that I keep. However, the phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” very much applies here.

Healthily

Every metric this year was down by almost 50% which is shocking. I’m not really sure what has contributed to this huge drop off. Maybe not being able to go away on holiday? I really can’t figure it out but it is quite stark.

Also, if the stats are to be believed, my sleeping is down 100%. I’m not sure how I have managed to operate on zero sleep! The reason is that during the year my sleep tracking app updated and stopped doing what it was supposed to do. This is the first of a number of technical snafus this year.

Bookishly

Books are another area where there has been a stark reduction in output – again over 50%. This time this is likely to a change in circumstances which I am blaming on my wife! When Helen was working I used to regularly leave the house to work in co-working spaces just to see a different four walls. When she retired at the end of 2020 I felt less desire to continue to do so as there was always someone in the house to talk to. This lack of movement meant that I had less opportunity to pick up a book as I might have done previously when travelling.

I don’t need to feel too bad about the situation though as at just shy of 20 books a year I am still well ahead of 91% of the British population who read less than 11 books a year. In fact 28% of Brits read no books at all.

The full list of books I read can be found here.

Musically

It’s a similar situation here where my listening was also down this year, although only by 10%. The content of what I have apparently been listening too has also been somewhat skewed this year. Let me explain.

For many, many years I have used a self-hosted piece of software called Subsonic to host and stream my music. It’s like having your very own Spotify and I loved it. Then, suddenly, without warning it stopped working and I was sad. I spent days searching forums and applying suggested fixes until I realised that it wasn’t going to come back from the dead so I needed to find an alternative solution. Step forward Plex.

I’d had my eye on Plex for a while as not only can it stream music it can also handle movies and TV shows. This meant that I was able to install the Plex app on our TV and stream from our now pretty old Windows media server to not only my mobile devices but also the TV and Alexa too. The latter was, perhaps, to prove a mistake.

If you look at the top artist, album and tracks shown in the image above you’ll see Lindsay Buckingham is prominent on all three. Now I like Lindsay Buckingham but not, it seems, as much as my wife does. Now that she has access to 34,317 tracks by shouting at Alexa she is regularly making use of this but only to play Lindsay Buckingham! This is somewhat skewing the stats.

Live music continued to take a hit this year due to the pandemic. Again I only managed one concert, this time to see Steve Hackett, who was excellent as ever. I also didn’t go to two others that I had booked towards the end of the year as the Omicron numbers rose and I took a cautious approach. This included Marillion which I was particularly disapointed about.

I have seven gigs booked for 2021, some rescheduled from 2019, others new bookings – including Lindsay Buckingham (!), ABBA and Porcupine Tree. I hope that this year I will be able to attend these.

Steve Hackett, Seconds Out

Moviely

Last year I couldn’t be bothered to record the data but this year I did and watched more films than I ever have done. This was partly due to a concerted effort on my part to make the most of the myriad streaming services we now seem to have access to (Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and, of course, Plex). It was also because I have started to have a film night once a week where I banish Helen and watch a film on my rather long watch list.

Looking back at the list I can’t see one film on the list that I feel really stood out for me (that I hadn’t seen before and wasn’t an old favourite). In one case I went to the cinema and I didn’t even get to see the end of the film…

Productively

When compiling this report I log into each of the tools I use to get the information I need. When I logged into RescueTime I saw this message at the top of the screen – uh oh! Turns out that I’d changed my laptop in February and forgotten to reinstall the tracking client so there’s no data. Oh well let’s just take it as read that I was ultra productive in 2020 shall we?

Socially

I continue to wean myself off Facebook but in its stead I seem to be spending more time on Reddit. Despite all of this Twitter is still my go to social platform probably because the short bites are great for my short attention span. Also, now I have worked out how to mute so many toxic words (Brexit, Johnson, Petel et al) it is so much nicer a place to be.

My most popular tweet this year with this one regarding the National Museum of Scotland which seemed to resonate with people.

And Finally…

So there it is my 2021 in numbers and graphs. And here, according to Exist, is my average day.

“Head off to bed at 07:15pm” 😂