Year in Review: 2014

December 2014

in Self-awareness

Another year has come and gone. Review time!

Every year I perform a complete review of my life, my goals, and my projects. I’ve done this for a decade, and every time it’s valuable and enjoyable.

Here’s a summary of my review for 2014. This is an extremely shortened version of my actual review, in which I go into much more detail. The process I use is detailed in my free guide 8,760 Hours.


Since I moved to the Bay Area near the end of 2013, this past year was largely one of settling into a new location and routine. I spent the majority of my mental cycles on my work at MIRI, and a good chunk of my non-work time getting to know people and places in the Bay.

Some things that went well

  • Mental Health – Meditated an average of 5 minutes a day throughout the entire year.
  • Career & Work – Devoted most of my available mental cycles to my work at the MIRI, getting a lot of good stuff done.
  • Productivity – Experimented (quite successfully) with using Percentile Feedback to increase worked hours, among many other little hacks and tweaks.
  • Organization – Maintained paperless system; successfully used new Evernote storage setup.
  • Health & Fitness – Significantly improved the average quality of my sleep; exercised ~100 times (mostly climbing and sprinting); solved persistent headache and eye strain problems.
  • Money & Finance – Got a US credit card + good credit score; completed 2013 taxes; tracked expenses all year; maintained a budget all year; started investing with Betterment.
  • Social – Met a bunch of people in the Bay Area; went to the EA Summit + Retreat; went to the CFAR Alumni Reunion.
  • Relationship – Maintained a long-distance relationship that—especially given the challenges and obstacles faced in long-distance relationships—is going extremely well.
  • Misc fun stuff – Went on a bunch of long hiking adventures; held a snake for the first time; significantly improved my go skills; learned a lot about whiskey and tried a few dozen very nice bottles;1 read some amazing fiction.2
  • – Made Anki Essentials available for free and it was downloaded 35k+ times; 8,670 Hours guide was downloaded 6k+ times; procrastination poster was downloaded 10k+ times.

Some things that did not go well

  • Didn’t exercise as much as planned (goal was avg of 3x/week)
  • Didn’t meditate as much as planned (goal was avg of 10min/day)
  • Didn’t spend nearly as much time as planned learning more about x-risk and related topics.
  • Didn’t reliably perform my monthly or quarterly reviews.
  • Didn’t do a good job of explicitly creating or working on goals and projects, yet still felt “busy” a lot of the time.
  • Didn’t write a single blog post (except for this one!) despite starting dozens of draft posts and having good intentions. :-P

In Closing

It was a good year! Something these reviews really hammer home how awesome life is. In the grand scheme of things, the troubles and tribulations I face are largely trivial. We live in one of the most kickass times in human history.



  1. Favorites by far are Lagavulin 16 and Bowmore 18. []
  2. Some highlights: Blindsight by Peter Watts, The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin. []