Today is December 28, almost the last day of 2021. I have been working from home for another year since March 17, 2020. What a historical point in time we are living in, fighting COVID19.

I have four things to reflect on when looking back at 2021. 

The first thing is quarantine. 

Fighting COVID19 includes lots of methods. For travelers, one of the required methods for some countries, such as China, is compulsory quarantine.

When we think of quarantine, we feel miserable. It’s unbearable, boring, with scary days or even weeks stuck in a small room. However, according to conversations with my friends, it is not always like that.

One of my friends who had stayed in quarantine said she enjoyed the quarantine and thought it was just too short.

She had accompanied her teenage son for two years in Vancouver and had sometimes been exhausted from the routine. Having the chance to stay in a separate room from her son for 14 days had been great. She had planned to listen to several online courses, and watch a few movies. She actually watched more than she had expected to watch, read the books with her, did video conferencing with her family and friends, plus some exercises in the hotel room. Having no responsibility for cleaning, cooking or buying groceries was an excellent experience. Moreover, her son had a great time away from his helicopter mom, staying peacefully without being reminded or worried about things for 14 days. 

Another friend said that it was the chance to escape from the commune, daily routines for operating a family, feeding the children, and traveling for business; that’s what she described for her quarantine. She could have all the time for herself, for 14 days, for the first time. It was the dream she had been hoping for.

So, is quarantine scary and miserable? Depending on the way you look at it. If your life has been busy and chaotic, it can be your once-in-a-lifetime escape from the chaos and the craziness.  

Last year, I had the same experience when I was “stuck” in a 4-star clean hotel room as a required quarantine. I realized that I had no other responsibilities other than working 8 hours a day. The food was delivered. The remaining 16 hours were all mine. I read two books, watched a few movies on Netflix. I did some online shopping, and my goods were delivered to my hotel room. I made video calls with my friends and family. I did the exercises in my small hotel room but it was still doable. I didn’t need to write a grocery list and think about purchasing. There was no laundry, no cooking, no cleaning, no ironing,and no need to worry about my son as I knew he was being cared for perfectly. That was the only escape I could have reason to ask for. (I think moms will understand what it means.)

I think that’s a positive attitude to cope with quarantine during COVID-19. Isn’t it? 

The second is goals and my goal checker. 

What about the rest of my 2021? I worked like a busy bee in the first nine months and then got exhausted from lots of working time and less balance. So I decided to switch my job and started to have a work and life balance in September.

After I was back to a balanced life, my daily plans started to go back on track. What I learned from my experience is we need breaks and balances to look after our family and ourselves. There are many things in our lives, and work is not the only thing we need. Constantly working overtime is exhausting and consumes energy. The worst is that you have no time to do something you want; for me, it means exercises, learning new piano pieces, writing blogs, reading a book, etc.

What is the purpose of work? In my opinion, it is one of the important missions for a career person to contribute talent, knowledge, and passion to an organization that they like to work for. In addition to it, we also need personal growth and learning. In addition to that, we need time to enjoy life, social and family time.

I did not mean my past working experience was not good, but I learned that we need a healthy balance of personal time other than work.

The third thing is an attention stealer or source of distraction.

I learned from the goal completion that I am lucky to have an exercise pal for the exercise goal. That’s why I could have a high completion rate.

I am quite behind in my piano classes, friends, and it’s quite obvious that I haven’t practiced enough. We can clearly see why we are not good with some goals and will be aware of allocating our goals for the new year. 

One thing is still outstanding, and I have been aware that we have constantly been “contributing” or the negative word “manipulated” to digital devices. I have been aware that the biggest time stealer was online shopping, and chats on WeChat.

Although I have had the time management sense and self-discipline mindset for a while, I still have had my attention grabbed by various things, mostly by electronic devices.

I need to continue to prevent distraction from electronic devices. But, after we get rid of the distractions, we will  achieve many things. When I wrap up my 2022, I hope that’s one of the goals I achieved: “anti-distraction”. 

The fourth change I had in 2021 was to “Break Away.”

I got inspired by my friend one day, and I realized that I don’t need many things in my life. I don’t need lots of pots in my kitchen, the many items of clothing in my cabinet, the many pairs of shoes, and accessories. 

After I cleaned up and donated lots of items from my house, I found that I enjoy a fresher home and easier life. 

“Break away” is something I will continue to do in the new year.

Last but not least, before I plan for 2022, I would like to summarize my 2021. I have 9 goals for myself every year, and this is the completion rate for my 9 goals:

  • 8 hours of sleep (every day): 45%
  • Read/Listen to books (every day): 47%
  • Piano 30 mins (3 times a week): 47%
  • Exercises 30 mins (3 times a week): 80%
  • Bible reading (every day): 82%
  • Read a book ( one book per month, read 6 books in 2021): 50%
  • Write a blog (one blog per month, completed 10 blogs in 2021): 83%
  • Learn a new course (one course per month, complete 12 courses in 2021): 100%
  • Watch a movie (one movie per month, watched 12 films in 2021): 100%

For 2022, I would continue to have goals and goal checkers. I believe the goal checker is the tool for us to follow the goals. 

I hope 2022 is the year that we win the COVID-19 fight for the whole world, and our lives will go back to normal. For kids born after 2022 or those who are still young kids in 2022, hopefully, they won’t experience such a pandemic in their lifetime.

Goodbye to the end of 2021, and cheers to the coming of 2022!