Inspired by the many marketers who are also doing a year in review, I thought I’d do one for myself — because heck — why not reflect on how the past year has gone in one of the craziest times that the world has gone through collectively.
Like most, the past year hasn’t really gone how I’d imagined. I joined Forbes back in February after a 5+ year stint at MoneySuperMarket into a remote job role with the idea that I would see some travelling to various countries where team members are based. That was something I was really looking forward to and what really attracted me to the job role itself.
That very quickly settled into simply working from London, which I was very grateful for as I know many who have been made unemployed and are finding it tough to find a new job in the current climate. I was however fortunate that I had a planned trip to New York & North Carolina when I first joined in February so experienced the US for the very first time.
Highlights for me…
- Built up a new section on Forbes organically to a significant level called Forbes Advisor with a great deal of smart people ranging from Editorial, Product, Development, and of course my amazing team.
- I had my first trip ever to the United States in New York and North Carolina. Amazing places, and love the people!
- Became a judge for the 2020 UK Search Awards and also the EU Search Awards next year.
- I bought a house with my partner in London this year and we moved house in September.
- I officially started my own business called Switching Limited where I’m looking to take a host of my websites that I already own to the next level.
- Was part of a book with 26 other authors called ‘Mastering In-House SEO‘ at the start of the year. Not sure if this counts since most of the work was done in 2019.
- Did two interviews this year with Aleyda‘s Remoters.net titled ‘Interview with Jonathan Jones, remote based SEO Director at Forbes‘ & Hrishikesh‘s remote.tools titled ‘Forbes’ VP of SEO & best-selling author on how he stumbled upon remote working and started loving it‘.
- I increased my knowledge whilst being in the deep end of the pool to efficiently get things done – and I’m super happy with what I’ve learned.
Areas where I need to improve…
- I definitely need to have more of a work-life balance. I need to be less hands on and focus my time more strategically and find some space for myself to think. I need to switch off.
- Like Luke’s thinking here, I need to empower myself more often to simply say ‘no’.
- I need to spend more time on my own websites and businesses that I run, and to invest more of my own time in that space.
- I need to read more. I’ve purchased a few more books – mostly related to work (so against the whole thing work-life balance – I’m working on that!).
- I had plans to see my parents over in Taiwan, but due to the pandemic that wasn’t possible. I’ve spent a lot of time focussing on work for the past 5-6 years, and I’ve always put work first. I’ve not seen my parents since 2016 so I really need to go see them.
Outside of my topline highlights and improvement areas, I’ll dive straight into where I think I need to make the biggest changes for 2021:
I posted this in the interview on remote.tools, I’ve always found it hard to simply switch off. It almost feels like it’s in my DNA… but then that is what a workaholic would say. In some cases it really gets to me that I can’t switch off completely and that I’m ‘always on’ thinking about work:
A thing I still struggle with is actually switching off from work. I’ve always struggled with that, so it’s not as if going remote has caused anything there, but it’s definitely made it harder to switch off. The biggest difference is that with working from an office, you almost immediately switch off when you walk out of the building, walk to the tube station, and then make your way home. With working remotely, although I now live in a house with an office in the back garden, I take my laptop with me and I continue to work. It’s a challenge for me and I know I am not the only one that faces this challenge.Jonathan Jones via Remote.tools
Holidays and exercise were literally the only remedy. Holidays were obviously quite difficult in 2020.
I failed on the exercise front by a long shot. I made a commitment to run at lunch or do some form of exercise at the start of the year, and let’s just say that didn’t go to plan. I started out well there, but as time gradually moved ahead, I started to go backwards and eventually exercise became something that stopped being interesting for me.
I’ve made this a specific sub-heading as I haven’t seen my parents over in Taiwan in over 4 years. The last time I saw my parents was back in 2016:
I really hope the world can go back to normal. It certainly is more normal in Taiwan than most other places around the world, so the situation needs to improve for travel to Taiwan in the UK, and hopefully vaccinations are the key to opening that back up again.
I need to also spend more time with family that I do have in the UK too.
As I mentioned before, I run quite a few sites, mostly affiliate based businesses. I’ve invested a good amount of time into those sites this year, but I definitely need to invest more time if I want to take them to the next level. An aspect I need to look into is outsourcing some of the tasks in running those businesses as time is the biggest killer for me. It’s the thought process as well as the actual work involved to make it all happen which is a big issue.
I am also keen on getting into investing actually. Working closely in the finance space for Forbes Advisor, I tend to read more about finance than most, and we’ve done a lot in the investing space, particularly around ranking online brokers with a comprehensive and robust methodology. Whilst reading about the subject doesn’t make me an expert, it definitely helps with registering my own interest. Whether it’ll be stocks or cryptocurrencies is another question though.
Exercise & Food
I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled here. Eating healthy, and exercising has been tough. First of all, Deliveroo and Uber Eats are such easy options when in London, but they are also really lazy options. Goal is to spend less time ordering food from restaurants via apps, and more time ordering the ingredients to make my own food.
I’ve also been less enthused about my exercise routine. Exercise for me is everything to keeping my mental health in tact plus it is genuinely something when I get into I’m pretty good at. I used to do half marathons every weekend, 10K runs during the week, and run to and from work. I then moved on from solely running to exercising and doing weights at the gym. I was making some really good progress, and I wish for many reasons to get back to that time.
2020 overall for me was fairly successful — I’ll not dispute that. But it did also take its toll on me in other ways. I am hoping I can look back at this post and say that I’ve addressed some of these issues I’ve highlighted, but also can hope that for next year to be as successful as 2020 – if not more successful.
Very much looking forward to the world going back to normal again and here’s to looking forward to 2021.
Here’s to 2021 Jonny, sounds like you made the most of a tough year
Thanks Dan! Hope all’s well with you at MSM & with the family!