The first year of my thirties was both incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. I started a new decade and a new role as CEO at the same time, and at Automattic we grew to over 300 people and raised money for the first time in a while, both of which I couldn’t have predicted five or even two years ago.
My big takeaway from the year was the importance of habits and small actions for accomplishing big things. To be productive I don’t need any fancy setups or project management software, just a well-groomed todo list and a pomodoro timer. This year on my birthday I find myself in Egypt which is an awe-inspiring place in many ways, but most striking to me has been the enduring beauty of craftsmanship with access to only the simplest of tools.
In running, which I started this past summer while in Italy, I was able to slow down to go further and without injury, and ended up putting in about 140 miles which took my fitness to be better than it’s been so far in my adult life. At least half of those miles were with friends and you can’t underestimate the importance of friends in helping you overcome mental blocks. (Also flew 425k miles in 2014, a new record. You can run anywhere and with minimal equipment — it’s a great way to explore a city.)
Reading and writing, two of the activities still most important to me, benefitted from a “just do it” philosophy of putting one foot in front of the other. I published more words on ma.tt than any year since 2007, and I find blogging one of the most rewarding pastimes in my life. It was also a year of not trying to be all business all the time: I started reading fiction regularly after a decade away and letting the topics here drift wherever my interest is at the moment. Last year I talked about balance, and I think this is what drove many of the accomplishments I’m looking back on fondly now.
I’m proud of how 2014 went, and I hope to build on that foundation to be a better person and reach even more ambitious milestones in the year to come. Here’s to slowing down to go further, and tackling big tasks with friends.