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2023 in Review

The new year is here so it’s as good a time as any to write a blog post.

To prepare for this I just read what I wrote around this time last year. To be honest it was a bit shit.

I didn’t really cover much of what I had done in the previous year and I didn’t have any plans for the upcoming year. Both problematic when trying to do better.

I did however talk a little bit about planning things ahead of time.

This post will be better. First off I’ll start with the year in review and then be looking forward to 2024 and what that might entail. The idea being if I start to wonder what to do I can refer back to this post.

2023 in Review

General Overview

In general everything was pretty good. If not just normal and a bit mundane.

I felt like I didn’t lose my shit as much as I have in the past. I got more clarity around some areas and felt better about those things.

I think social media and apps in general have led me to be less focused this year and OK with not doing much. Something I want to change moving forward.

This has contributed to not reading as much this year.

Works changed a little bit in some ways, that combined with the length of time I’ve been doing it, I’m sort of over it.

Looking back I would have liked to done some more trips and exploring new places.

My fitness has been crap this year. I had a long period of not doing anything, the toe thing was a small part of it.

We also had a change of household structure. Had some young people move in before they start uni in 2024.

So here’s some highlights and low lights from the past year.



We went to Thames and learned a lot about gold mining, was a good time away.

Spent some time with relatives that were visiting this year. Did a bunch of touristy stuff with them.

Had some cool little day trips as well.


We went to see Hamilton the musical which was just as great as expected. Even if I did pay for the car park for the wrong day.

Fieldays was on again, this time we went and interviewed people for the podcast which went well and helped us solidify what we want to do moving forward.

Film festival – I helped out with Misty Flicks which was great. Both from the helping side of things and seeing the films.

Other Things

We did 2 escape rooms this year which was a lot of fun. Would like to do more but they really are a luxury type thing as the cost does add up.

I helped out with one short movie.

We water blasted a lot at Mum and Dad’s to help tidy the place up. Was a big job, but turned out well I think.

Helped someone move which involved packing a furniture trailer as much as humanly possible so it could be driven down to Christchurch.

I got a new phone. Having just always had a basic sub $500 smart phone, jumping up to an iPhone 15 pro has been a big change. Thanks to some backpay from work.



I feel this took a big hit this year. The bare minimum was done on many projects. Without actual deadlines it’s hard to move the needle in large amounts.

I did go down the path of trying to find better tools to help with this. But at the end of the day it’s just a way to waste time and make excuses.

Bung Toe

I had an ingrown toenail that I thought would right itself after some time. Ended up going to a podiatrist. Paying a lot of money for what seemed like a simple thing. Not having the pain any more sure is good.

Stolen Car

Got back from holiday and on the 28th of Dec some shitheads stole my car from outside out place where it was parked on the road. All that was left was the ignition barrel and some broken glass.

Surprising due to our location and just annoying to deal with. As I type this my car has been found, fingerprinted and waiting for the insurance company to decide on what to do.

2024 and Forward Thinking

General Overview

I’m not sure what 2024 will bring and I’m not exactly sure what I will achieve, but I have a rough idea of what I want to do.

I am going to use this post to list out an overview as such. A type of plan. Something I can look back at when I stray too far into doing nothing.

This is something that would have been useful last year instead of the blog post about nothing.


For me I have realised that productivity goes hand in hand with feeling good. When I eat better and move more I tend to be more productive.

While I do think I have found a great app to help keep track of things and help with focus I also think having a decent phone that works all the time when it should also helps. I’m reverting a lot of things to the standard apps on the iPhone. Notes, reminders etc.

Another key thing that effects my productivity is when other people are around. I like working with no one around. This is tough when it is the holidays, when we have other people living at our house and when people use my main computer for entertainment purposes (which I am fine with, and they will move if I ask, just to be clear)

It feels like there is always a pull of needing to be present for these other people. That for them to be less bored or have something to do I need to be part of it. Even if they are just watching TV. I need to discuss this and block time to get things done. It doesn’t help the only place my desk setup works is in the lounge, right next to the kitchen.

1 hour of super focused time is better than the the 5 or 10 minutes caught whenever I can.

To help be productive this is what helps me:

  • A clear plan of what I am going to achieve in that session
  • Blocking out external sound headphones and Brain.FM
  • Using a Pomodoro timer
  • Remove other distractions

Nothing ground breaking there. All standard type things.

If I was to upgrade something to help with this it would be my laptop. I’ve been rocking a 2nd hand 12 year old laptop for the last 8 or so years. It gets the job done, but lets say it’s not a Macbook Pro.

Work Stuff

Reading and almost finishing the book “What Color is Your Parachute” which I’ve talked about in this blog post and did a follow up in this post. Really has helped me change the way I think about work.

In Feb it will be 10 years I’ve been doing my current job. Which is crazy the more I think about it.

It’s now come to the time where I don’t like going to work. When you start feeling like that it’s time to do something different.

I think I know the type of work I would like to do. But… not all of it fits well with family life. In fact it could be worse than now.

So I’ve seen a different opportunity advertised that ticks a lot of the boxes for me. I need to see how it matches up to the lists I made from reading the book.

I’m keen to throw my hat in the ring as they say and see if anything comes from it.


I haven’t felt this bad in ages to be honest.

I’ve started walking a lot more, which is great. I really need to sort out the food thing. I’ve never been good at tracking food, even though I know it works.

So like most people at New Years lets say I’m going to try and make better decisions around food which will help increase my overall health.

No fun runs this previous year. Doing one the previous year really made me want to prepare for it. So will have to find another one to book in with enough time to train and get better.

My shoulder gave me some grief as well during the year which meant I couldn’t use the rowing machine. The shoulder feels better now, but I need to see how it copes with the rowing machine.


I think it’s fair to say it would be nice to have some more money. I think that’s what I hope the projects further down this post can help with.

We had a couple of unexpected things crop up, but using YNAB really helped us give each dollar a job.


My reading has been a bit crap this year. I’ve found it’s hard to concentrate for extended periods. I think the mix of easily jumping between things, social media and other junk content has contributed to this.

I’m not going to set a goal for books read in a year. I don’t think there is a benefit to that. Reading the right types of books for you is more important.

These are the books I currently have on the go:

What Color is Your Parachute – Richard N. Bolles

This book has changed the way I look at what jobs I could do, how to apply for them and much more. I’ve told a lot of people about this book.

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life – Arnold Schwarzenegger

I’m 25% of the way through this. I like the messaging he gives and am finding it a good simple book that helps people from any background achieve more.

Straight-line Leadership – Dusan Djukich

I’m 44.1% of the way through this book. While fundamentally for managers etc, there are a lot of great ideas around how to be a better person. I’m probably going to have to reread this once finished and take more notes. Seems hard to find in a physical form.


For me this is where I spend a lot of my spare time. Working on something in the following list all while trying not to come up with new ideas. Shiny and new can be exciting.

I think there is something to be said about just focusing on one thing to get the results. While I also believe in trying different things to see what works.

I have to remember not every idea has to be worked on. Not every idea is a good one and it’s OK to say No.

Current Projects

Here’s things that have already been started and are in various stages. I’m going to talk about what I achieved with them in 2023 and what I AM GOING TO DO in 2024.

Giant Pumpkins NZ

2023 Overview

Like most things the start of the season seemed like it was shaping up well. Then later on everything dwindled.

What Went Well

  • I changed the theme the website is based on. Which means it runs faster now. took a bit to tidy up, but seems to be better now.
  • I updated some of the pages with much more information
  • I updated the weight estimation calculator which had the most visits ever this year
  • More people brought me coffees through Buy me a Coffee
  • I scheduled out all the Show us Sunday posts ahead of time
  • New growers started growing this year and commented on the site and content
  • I published most of the the GPNZ Crew email newsletters I planned to this year
  • I got more photos, more easily thanks to the new phone

What Didn’t go as well

  • I didn’t update all the pages on the website
  • I really struggled with creating any video content this year
    • Partially due to the productivity problem
    • Partially due to the people being around a lot more
    • Partially due to not feeling I was doing a good enough job and overthinking things
  • Some of the planned social media posts didn’t get pre scheduled as planned
  • I dropped the ball on the last couple of blog posts
  • Videos I have shot haven’t been edited or published

2024 Plans

I’m very proud of what I’ve built with this. I’m glad it can help people out not only here in NZ, but all around the world.

  • I need to update the rest of the pages with as much info as possible. Once this is done, it won’t need to be looked at for a while. Nothing much changes. It will then just be blog posts that are added.
  • I need better workflow for video content. I’ve been playing with editing video on my phone and it’s working quite well.
  • I have the ability to make mini courses that people can buy. Need to work out how to add even more value to the How To pages on the website and intergrate these
  • Need to update some of the free downloads I have on offer
Op Shop Directory NZ

2023 Overview

This is one of those things where I do a concentrate burst of work on it for 2 or 3 times a year then don’t touch it the rest of the time.

I’m not too fussed about this either way. But it is a great resource I have built and it makes money every single money. Not a lot, bit more than anything else.

What Went Well

  • I was consistent with the email newsletters that were sent out and had more people sign up to it throughout the year
  • I had a new changelog on the website so it’s easier to see what had been removed and added to the website
  • I set up some standard email reply templates which helps speed up replying to emails

What Didn’t go as well

  • I just didn’t spend the time on updating shop details when they came in

2024 Plans

The biggest thing is just sitting down and spending time updating shop info and working through the emails that come in.

I need to dedicate some time each week to this before it becomes this huge job months later.

I also have a better option to map where the shops are. But it’s a big undertaking.

The Chris and Sam Podcast

2023 Overview
The podcast is still enjoyable to do.

We average 50 listens per episode. Probably only know who 10 of those people are, so always surprising when people mention something we’ve said later on.

What Went Well

  • I’ve got the process down now. A 30 minute recording takes about another hour to sort out. That’s editing the audio, writing the show notes, adding all the links, uploading, scheduling and creating an image for it
  • We only missed one week of publishing, the very last week mainly due to my car being stolen

What Didn’t go as well

  • Adding all the episodes to YouTube, this is a time consuming process and with little engagement I struggled to get more of them up

2024 Plans

We’ll be continuing on with our randomness, technology and life stories. If you want a listen, head over to the website, or find us on your favourite podcasting app.

I plan to get more episodes up on YouTube, while no one is really listening it’s good as another form of a back up.

Audio Scrapbook

2023 Overview

What Went Well

  • The concept or idea is simple to grasp when mentioned to other people
  • Feedback has been good from people I have told, they get it

What Didn’t go as well

  • This project has dragged on. Partially due to one piece of tech I want to use going through a rebuild and a rebrand. The other part is I just seem to be dragging my feet with this.

2024 Plans
To rebuild the website similar to how I did it with GPNZ. Have everything setup and ready, even if some of the tech for recording isn’t ready yet.

Then time to think about promotion of it. Starting with people I know first. Then seeing how that goes and maybe reaching further afield.

The Great Pumpkin Carnival

2023 Overview

I decided I didn’t want to do this anymore.

People left, other things felt strange and I felt best not to be associated with it. I did however think there would be some sort of handover period, or help with a couple of things.

There was one phone call right before a meeting. Then nothing.

All a bit strange. I did get a Christmas card and some vouchers to say thanks for what I’ve done, which I appreciate. But I still have all the boxes of stuff here. Which I’d like picked up.

Between this and helping with the film festival I have a better understanding on things I’d like to help with in the future and also the importance of the right people, especially in a volunteering type role.

New Projects

Podcasting Company???
Not sure if company is the right term to be used there.

Basically we’ve done a bunch of interviews over the years at Fieldays (and Armageddon once) They are short and help promote the company we talk to.

Some are better then others as we never know what we are going to get into when we start the conversation. Usually we try and talk to interesting to us companies and a lot of them are in the innovation section of Fieldays.

But these great interviews don’t fit with our current podcast. Even if it is a bit random.

So we had the idea of splitting it out into it’s own thing. Initial thinking is this:

  • Interviews will be on this new podcast specifically
  • These recordings could lead to future work with the people we talk to
  • We need to ask previous people if there was value to what we did
  • If there is we need to think about how to set this up

You see if you are sole trader you can do things easily and super cheaply. When there is more than 1 of you, then things are more complicated and cost more.

We’ll see how it goes. Bare minimum is we need the domain name and build a website. Setup the podcast hosting side of it. Then go from there.

Not too different to what we do now, but have to set up a couple of things. Chris is focusing on making money first and what that entails, where I just want to set it up and see how it goes first.

Blogging Project

This has been going since last year sometime. I dived into it deep to begin with and have the initial bones of the website up and running.

Still more content to make. Will need to spend some money to make the content. The goal is to make money from affiliate sales.

I’m keeping this one vague here in case it takes off. Or not. But do need to do a bunch of work on this.

Travel Website

After our Thames trip early last year we decided to have a try at building a travel website.

By we, I mean mainly me.

The thinking behind this is that travel website seem to do well. We could give it our own spin and we could have more travel that would feed into this.

I’ve got the domain and need to set up the layout of the website. Next will be general content. Then blog posts after that.


I think I’ve got swept up in the craze that seems to be happening on Linkedin where every person seems to have some sort of newsletter.

The idea is that they can reach more people than say a blog post like this.

I weighed up two platforms to use, Substack and Beehive. To me substack makes more sense for me and gives me more options.

So I’ve set up the basics, published one post and that’s it.

I did have a newsletter sign up on here for ages, but no one ever visits this. So I changed it to the mini course you can take right now.

The thing I find is that I don’t have anything to sell, I don’t do any coaching as such. The segment of people I think I could help are the ones that want to do something on the side. A blog, or a podcast but don’t really know anything.

I wonder how I could reach people like this, if they don’t really use the internet much or hang out in places like LinkedIn.

I’m not going to commit to a publishing frequency right now. But do need to setup a few more things on it and write up some drafts.

Other 2024 Thoughts

As you can see there is a lot of things I could be working on.

At any given moment of having “nothing to do” I could be working on something. I think that is the key takeaway right now before getting further into 2024.

Oh and there have been other ideas and projects I have dropped or just stopped working on all together. These are the ones I am keeping alive currently and will see how it all goes.

Small consistent work, moves me towards the goal.

What these goals are and what I want to do I’m not sure. I will need to break these projects down from a high level, down to monthly and weekly plans.

Of course all of these things have to work around day to day life. From work, to family, to shitheads stealing stuff and everything else that can happen.

What I’ve Found

Without constraints, or hard deadlines I find it hard to sometimes push through and get things done. I need to work out the best way to create deadlines for myself, or at least trick my brain into thinking that. That’s when I get the most work done.

If you’ve read all of this, well done. If you want to talk about any of this, or how you can get started on your own idea then get in touch.

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