2020 – My Year in Review

A crazy year is coming to a close. End of March I was still moderating an on-site-Trust and Values workshop – and right after that was it with “on-site”. Several lockdowns took a toll on all of us. For me as Keeper this time was easier to stomach than for some other people in so far as after one crass change nothing was changing for a long time. That also means this 2020 year in review will be shorter than the one of 2019. Just like last year, I’ll (structurally) stick to my Big Five for Life:

Agile Project Management

Agile Coaching, trainings and consulting took surprising turns in 2020 just like anything else: While pre-lockdown me and many colleagues had been convinced Agile Coaching, trainings and consulting were on-site activities, we were quickly taught better:

Starting in March the order was “home office until nobody knows when”. Even today I’m convinced this physical distance between us is a punch in the gut for those social activities which are the salt in the soup of any great organization. Spontaneous chats, short informal exchange face to face, are suddenly impossible. Even short term scheduled video calls can not replace change encounters. This is how work for Quandoo, my long-term client changed: Instead of intense on-site team coaching I focused on leadership coaching in regular 1:1s and reinforcing our team of Agile Coaches. Working in such a great team again was my professional highlight 2020! Thanks for that, Ajitav, Alex, Joakim and Pranshu!

Another just as drastic factor were daycare closures: Suddenly full-time employment is just not possible anymore. Instead our days were split in two::

  • Morning shift 09:00 – 12:00 with childcare and cooking. (Followed by lunch together and afternoon nap with the little one.)
  • Afternoon shift 13:00 – 18:00 with childcare and dinner preparations. (Followed by dinner together and bedtime routine for the little one.)

A good dozen of full-day-trainings (via video call of course) showed one the one hand that it was possible to have interactive and educational trainings as remote-events. On the other hand are these twice as exhausting for everyone involved without direct interaction between trainer and participants. Another stress factor was that a full-day-training for me meant full-day-childcare (and no work) for my better half. Those days were just as (if not more) exhausting.

As a positive side-note, here are two great services we found in 2020, that help get closer together in times of home office:


Even better: Gather

Traveling the world

That’s what a year in review is for: To become aware of the moments one would otherwise (without a review) not be aware of anymore. Originally I thought this life goal would be blank or at least bland in this COVID-19-2020-review. But then there were surprising highlights:

Berlin Köpenick

Berlins greenest district, also the one with most river- and lake sides is our new home. The first lockdown did not only give us a chance to explore it, but actually forced us to. What we have discovered was just marvelous:

Kaisergebirge, Österreich

A stag night (or weekend) lead me to Austria in summer for the first time. What an experience. So far I’ve only been there for skiing and let’s be honest: Ski resorts are interchangeable from a certain size and altitude. How different, how beautiful and unique is Austria in summer! Three overnight stays (none of them sober), a lot of hiking and a morning canyoning-tour made this weekend to one of the few family-external highlights in 2020:

Acting in an at least medium sized theater

The second year in a row without progress towards this life goal. Fortunately it wasn’t in the 2020 Sprint Backlog either due to childcare and second pregnancy. Well: It’s important to raise the awareness for such goals and not lose sight of them. Especially when reaching or even approaching these goals is not possible at times.

Intense family and friend Relationships

Balancing out the previous one again for the second year in a row, the absolute winner: Relationships! There’s nobody I would have liked more to spend the lockdown with than with my (NEW!) fiance! I would never have spent as much time with our son, hadn’t the lockdown forced this happiness on me. Wuhlheide, Animal Park Berlin (Europe’s largest), Müggelsee, beach, Dahme river, we have explored our hood, talked a lot, had a sweet tooth, were digging, building, repairing, cycling, feeding ducks, saw deer, herons, squirrels, foxes and so much more.

This plus some nice summer weekend trips with friends, a lockdown on-site regulars’ table with social distancing and beer in the park, a short vacation with a bit of remote work in Mecklenburg kept 2020 exciting.

Absolute highlight in December: The birth of baby #2!

Happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it.


Active political or charitable Engagement

This is where I realize how quickly the year passed by (in hindsight) and how monotonous it was sometimes: Just like in 2019 this life goal took a back seat in 2020. My charity was limited to receiving packages for neighbors and being a good father to my son.

The bottom line…

is that this year could have been much worse in every single way. Continuity in my client relationships lead to me not having to worry much about my income. Even these few worries never made me doubt my freelancing. I’m really thankful for that. A lucky situation especially thinking of countless self-employed people who’s livelihood is at stake during this pandemic.

Just like last year, the simple writing of a 2020 year in review makes me happy. There’s more good things than bad things. One has to stay aware of this. Three of five life goals significantly progressed. Good prospects for an above average safari. 🙂

2020 Reading Challenge

In 2020 I had resolved to read 12 books. I only got to 8. My downwards trend continues. At least the root cause is quickly identified: Since home office means that there’s not commute anymore and also the son doesn’t need to be taken to daycare I’m missing a lot of time on the train. Precious reading time was turned into work time. Good and bad at the same time.

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