In this year of self-discovery, I learned that forgotten goals can lead to unexpected triumphs. Join me on a journey through the pages of 2023 as I share the chapters of my life from career milestones to my favorite books and the pursuit of productivity.
On January 11, 2023, I wrote on my phone that at this point in my career, I should:
- Lead workshops
- Speak at conferences
- Publish in professional media
I had none of that going for me at the time.
As a typical marketer, I hid in the shadows, tooting my clients’ horns but less so my own.
I’d love to say that this short list of goals set me on a path of grinding and hustling, lighting a fire in my soul whenever I wanted to give up.
The truth is I forgot about the note soon after creating it.
But when I went through old notes a few weeks ago, I realized I’d accomplished everything:
In September, I spoke at the GPT Slovenia conference, representing my family’s ecommerce business, Enaa. I was Digital Media Director at Enaa for seven years as and remain on as a consultant. At the conference, I shared some of the best practices and lessons we’d learned implementing artificial intelligence in our business development.
As an early adopter of commercial generative AI tools, I spent most of 2023 sharing this knowledge with my family’s business and my clients. The opportunity to practice public speaking at the GPT Slovenia conference was gratifying. I will be even better prepared next time.
In November, I joined forces with my father, Aljoša Domijan, to host a series of online workshops focusing on ChatGPT and ecommerce. As newbie course creators, we made a few mistakes and had heaps of fun. The turnout exceeded our expectations. We developed the workshop’s structure and content together. I wrote all copy, handled email marketing, cold outreach and lead generation, created the WordPress website, designed our presentations, etc.
The end of the year brought a welcome return to print magazine journalism. I contributed a feature on the new era of AI-powered ecommerce to the January-February 2024 issue of Marketing Magazin. My Master’s degree at University of the Arts London was in Journalism and it feels exciting to do something I studied for.
I’m thankful to clients who have hired me throughout the year for artificial intelligence, marketing or ecommerce consulting. I’m available for new projects in January 2024, so get in touch if you’re interested in working together.
In January 2024, I’m teaching a new online workshop (in Slovenian) on how to use ChatGPT for professional and personal productivity. I’ll share the signup link soon. Stay tuned!
In 2023, my travel bug lay dormant. Creating a pleasant home life took over. For most of my life, I yearned to get away. These feelings dissipated as I settled into my home. I don’t mean to denounce my youthful restlessness though. It led to stints in NYC and London, as well as my digital nomad era, all beautiful and singular life experiences.
By the virtue of living on a small continent and having friends in nearby countries, I still ended up traveling often. I went to London, Paris, Budapest, Milan, Turin, Siena and Venice. Turin was new to me. I loved the abundance of stylish vintage lettering and the imposing armory of the Royal Palace.
There were also several day trips to Trieste, Italy. Their purpose was to stock up on delicious Italian groceries and drink a latte macchiato in the sun. This simple pleasure is inaccessible to residents of foggy Ljubljana most of the time.
Because I adore the architectural gem that is Antwerp’s Cogels Osylei neighborhood, I wanted to go to Brussels to look at similar flamboyant Art Nouveau buildings. The idea appeared when the weather was already hot. In the fall months, I had other trips scheduled. I’m still interested in this trip and have postponed it to 2024.
In 2024, I’m also looking at spending two weeks in Taiwan. Will this be the year I get to fly my namesake airline, Taiwan’s Eva Air?
Have you noticed that people on the internet are obsessed with telling others to read all the time? It’s a trap. As a Comparative Literature graduate, I’m well acquainted with the benefits and joys of books. But excessive reading can give you a false sense of productivity and achievement. Reading is not creating, though it informs creating.
I find that Milton Glaser’s famous quote applies to the quantity of reading: “Just enough is more.” Not to say I’m above indulging in Scandinavian noir on occasion …
I use Goodreads to track finished books. Their search function often returns zero results for niche books, old books or works by Slovenian and Croatian authors. With this in mind, I estimate that I read 60 books in 2023. These were my favorites:
- Antonia Angress: Sirens & Muses
- Ursula Parrott: Ex-Wife
- Robert Galbraith: The Running Grave
- Svetlana Alexievich: War’s Unwomanly Face
- Fleur Jaeggy: Sweet Days of Discipline
- Orhan Pamuk: A Strangeness in My Mind
- Maša Kolanović: Poštovani kukci i druge jezive priče
- Slavenka Drakulić: Nevidljiva žena i druge priče
- Katarina Šeme: Sumatra: Leto na tropskem otoku
- Ksenija Benedetti: Hiša sozvočja
Another seminal book of 2023 has been James Clear’s bestseller, Atomic Habits. I had first read it years ago, curious but ultimately unwilling to apply its teachings.
I was working with a mentor this year who advised using a habit tracker and a daily planner to develop consistency. I prefer digital to paper for planning, so I bought habit tracker and digital planner templates on Etsy to use with Google Sheets. I also reread Atomic Habits intending to use the information this time.
I’ve found that sticking to my habits and schedule yields the desired results quickly. I also revel in the feeling of doing things right. A few times, I fell off the wagon and then took too long to get back on track. I aim to improve this in 2024.
My one and only New Year’s resolution I’ve stolen from a witty person on social media: whenever I see a fruit I’ve not had before, I will eat it and read the Wikipedia entry about it.
Lessons Learned in 2023
1. Document everything as I go. When I redesign a website and I can’t wait to wave goodbye to the artless old design, save a whole page screenshot first. It’s satisfying to look at earlier versions once the project has taken off or changed direction.
Case studies should be written immediately after project completion when the information is still fresh in my mind. If I wait, the successful project gets buried under new work.
2. When I meet a new person I’m curious about, I enter the connection with authenticity and enthusiasm. Sometimes I get the same in return, sometimes not and that’s fine. When we don’t click, I need to move on.
3. Deep cleaning is self-care. My quality of life shot up once I started keeping my spaces spic and span.
4. It’s OK to act without gathering and analyzing all possible information first. Most of the time I can only learn by doing.