Another year has come to an end, so here I am with another year-in-review post. Just like every year, I’m going to perform a quantitative analysis of all the data I collected this year and see where the year went. I’m not sure whether this year was special or if I was just actively using RSS, but I came across several “year-in-review” posts. One thing I noticed was that not a single one of them did a “data analysis” thing; instead, they were more on a personal level. For example, in this post by Marie (https://mariepoulin.com/blog/2023-year-in-review/), she talks about her vacations, family, and friends, which I think is another way of looking back at the year. However, for me, looking at the data and seeing what happened not only helps me reminisce but also gives me a precise idea of things I can improve. It could be that I am just someone who needs solid data analysis to identify where I’m lacking 🤔️️️️️️
Anyway, Please continue reading. Oh, and I’ll also leave links to my previous year-in-review posts.
Sleep & fitness
This year was significantly better than 2022 in terms of fitness. I dedicated a considerable amount of time to working out, even if it was just at home.
The above fitness stat might not seem impressive for someone consistently going to the gym, but I believe it’s pretty decent for at-home workouts. By the way, these numbers only go up to July, as moving out and starting a new semester made it challenging to maintain a regular workout routine.
Speaking of sleep, I admit I didn’t do well, especially in October and November, as evident from the dip in those months. I won’t delve into the numerous reasons for my lack of sleep, but I will say that project/assignment deadlines sucks.
At the end of 2022, I purchased a Fitbit, and that’s why all the sleep stats are just screenshots from the Fitbit dashboard. Since it also tracks step counts, here are the total steps I took in 2023, excluding August.
The reason for 0 steps in August is that I was waiting to receive a replacement. This is the only thing I dislike about Fitbit—it’s quite unreliable. You never know which software update might cause it to malfunction or drain the battery at an accelerated rate. However, on the days it’s working, it’s probably a pretty good device.
One realization I had in 2023 about fitness was that my goals were a bit vague, such as “stay fit.” This year, I’ve set some concrete goals that, if achieved, would not only keep me fit but also be enjoyable to pursue.
Articles and Book
This year was a bit of a letdown in terms of reading novels. I had set a target of reading 40 books but only managed to complete 2 😅️️. I noticed that I decided not to count audiobooks at all, so I didn’t even go for those, and for some reason, I didn’t read novels either. I’m hoping to change this next year, and at the very least, I aim to read 24 books (2 a month) in 2024.
Although novels may not have been on my reading list in 2023, it doesn’t mean I didn’t read much. Interestingly, I read quite a lot of articles on Pocket. When I wasn’t engrossed in articles, I was busy reading research papers, mainly due to starting my master’s program. Pocket never really provides comprehensive stats about reading, but they do send out an email every year. You can see some of the screenshots from it below.
I didn’t get a chance to track how many papers I read, but for 2024, I plan to come up with a way to keep track of them as well. I will probably find or think of a way to visualize that information too. Additionally, I am considering publishing “my article notes.” Whenever I read a particularly interesting article, I usually jot down notes, essentially creating a sort of abstract to remember what was in there. So, I could make those notes public.
Movies & TV Shows
I really, really want to move away from Trakt.tv but haven’t found a decent enough application to do so. After their DB incident, the whole site is quite slow, and I still find their premium subscription idea of only offering a 1-year subscription weird. Anyways, maybe 2024 will be the year where we find a better alternative, but until then, we are stuck with it.
In last year’s review, I made some stupid mistakes while writing the Movie & TV show section. I’m going to leave it like this for fun and gags.
This year, the official time spent on watching might be high, but the actual time is lower. That’s the tracking issue; if a show is X minutes long and you mark it as watched, it’s going to consider it as “watched X minutes.” However, in reality, I usually watch the majority of shows by skipping a lot of stuff. It might not make sense for several people, but I can grasp the whole idea of the episode or movie without having to watch every single second. So, I usually finish an episode or movie of X minutes in (X - Y) minutes. For example, I remember watching a show with a total runtime of 8 hours X minutes, and I finished it in just ~4.5 hours. But since there isn’t a way to keep track of my actual watch time, again, we are stuck with the official runtime of the show/movie.
This year, I spent around ~125 hours watching movies and 1175 hours watching TV shows. Despite a significant increase in my watch time for both movies and shows compared to last year, I’ve only watched 5 out of the top 20 movies of 2023 and 5 shows out of the top 20 shows of 2023.
Looking at the genre of movies over the last 3 years, I learned a few things. First, I watched quite a load of movies in 2022. Second, I need to watch only 13 movies in the action genre or all hell will break loose 😅️️.
- For me, the best Movie of 2023 is John Wick 4
- Oppenheimer ain’t got shit on Mr. Wick
- In my opinion, the top 3 documentaries I watched in 2023:
Moving onto TV shows, as I said I spent 1175 hours i.e. ~48 days watching shows. I would have been sad if that was the actual number but in my heart, I know that isn’t real. I think the way I watch shows, the hours would be somewhere around 700-900 range not more than that. Anyway, we might not be able to figure out the exact hours watch but we for sure know the genre stats.
I believe the drama, crime, and comedy trio is what most shows tend to focus on, explaining why those categories are a bit more prominent. Take shows like Barry or Slow Horses; they encompass all three of those categories. Additionally, shows like The Continental, Succession, The Bear, The Americans, etc., exhibit various permutations and combinations of these categories. By the way, I’m mentioning these shows because they are among the ones I watched in 2023.
For me, best show of 2023:
- Loki S2
- I was confused between Yellowstone, Succession, The Americans & Loki S2.
- I think Loki S2 takes it because I’m only judging just 1 season in comparison to the multi-season finale(d) shows.
- If I have to choose between the first 3, I’d say Succession takes it.
Few of my recommendations, that I watched in 2023:
Top Funny Show I watched in 2023: Barry
Music & podcasts
Frequently, I contemplate self-hosting my music, but, similar to last year, I feel like not being able to search for any song and listen to it randomly, is kind of a disadvantage. I know that this happens very infrequently, and I could probably use YouTube for such occasions. Still, Spotify music has become important because several other family members would suffer if I canceled the premium 😂️️️️️️.
Interestingly, I scrobbled almost 8% fewer songs compared to last year. For some reason, I expected it to have more scrobbles this year, due to the whole moving out and traveling more. I used to think that traveling is mostly when I listen to songs, but apparently, that isn’t the case. Another task for the coming year would be to have a separate “what I do during traveling” section to see exactly how much time I spent traveling and what I did during that time. Anyway, my top 5 songs this year were:
None of the songs from last year made it to this year’s top 5, and I guess that’s a good thing. One common feature among these top 5 songs is that I listened to each of them on a loop after the initial listen. One thing is that all of these five songs were kind of my song on a loop when I first heard them. Ex: On 7th November my friend shared Tu Hai Kahan by AUR and on that very day I listened to that song 91 times i.e 6.6 hrs.
One thing that surprised me this year was my listening clock. During the years when I was just working, my active hours used to be late at night when I would relax, play games, and listen to music. But this year, things were quite different.
I’d say the majority of this year I spent being a student, which means that I would spend most mornings and nights worrying about the upcoming class, the deadline for assignments, or the quiz that might happen any day. So afternoons were usually the time I’d relax or travel back from college to home. And that is when I’d spend time listening to most of my music. And if that is the case, then it makes sense that my most active hours are in the afternoon.
My above theory is backed by my weekly scrobble chart:
As you can see, the majority of scrobbles are on Tuesday. That was the day when I had two classes and like 3/4 hours of a gap between those two. So during that gap, I’d come back home, cook, eat, clean, and go back, and my “loop-worthy” songs were a huge support during that time. One thing that confuses me in the weekly chart is the high number of scrobbles on Thursdays. I had no class on those days; not sure why I was listening to so many songs on an off day. I’m saying this because I remember spending the majority of off days worrying about the upcoming classes.
All in all, I spent around 14,219 minutes (approximately 9 days) listening to music, which isn’t a lot, I’d say :)
I wasn’t big on podcasts this year; I did listen to a few here and there but didn’t dedicate much time to those. One thing that I did do in December 2023 was binge-listen to all the episodes of the ISpy Podcast(https://foreignpolicy.com/podcasts/ispy/).
Starting from this year onwards, I wanted to introduce this section. I think 2023 was quite a good year for me when it came to traveling. For an international trip, I had the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia, and currently, I’m residing in Singapore. On a national level, I had the chance to explore a few beautiful scenic cities in Himachal Pradesh - Jibhi, Bir Billing, and McLeodganj.
For many people, this might not be considered a lot of traveling, but I feel like, for someone who wasn’t getting out of the house at all, this was quite significant. I don’t have big plans to travel much next year, but if I could manage just a few more national trips with “the boys,” it would be a huge success.
PC & Phone Usage
This year, phone usage increased, which is somewhat expected. Last year, I used my phone for around 43 days (approximately 1043 hours), and in 2023, I used my phone for 1248 hours, i.e., around 52 days. The reason I said it was expected is that I believe I traveled a bit more this year, and the mobile is probably the most used device when I’m traveling.
Even though the total hours/days of phone usage went up this year, I’m happy that the YouTube watch time is lower than it was in 2022. I believe the increased usage of Telegram/WhatsApp makes sense because, while traveling, these are the best options for staying in touch with friends and family. Additionally, the rise in browser usage also makes sense since this year I spent quite some time reading papers/articles without actually saving them locally or using a “read it later” app. Other than that, I’m not surprised about the usage patterns of the other apps.
The whitespace doesn’t represent “0 hours a day usage,” but rather a discrepancy in the data that I’m too lazy to fix. Interestingly, there were only 5 days this year when I used the phone for more than 8 hours. I know why I did that in January and December, but I can’t recall the reasons for those two green boxes in March. I wasn’t sick or traveling at that time, so I wonder what happened then.
Moving on to PC usage, this year it wasn’t just PC usage; it also included laptop usage as well.
It was 119 days in 2021, 143 in 2022, and a total whopping 164 days this year. Just like the previous year, I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s my bread and butter; the laptop/PC is the thing I use the most, whether it is for any sort of work or for finishing assignments/projects.
loginwindow is the top app I’ve used this year 😂. The reason for this is that I never shut down my laptop; I restart it like once a month, so for all the time I am not actually using it, loginwindow stays on top. I thought I’d filter it out, but then I thought, Nah, let’s leave it like that.
Anyways, just like any other year, this year also the browser (dev edition, Chrome, standard Firefox) and terminals (Windows & iTerm2) are at the top of the usage list. Followed by a few games I spent time on. When it comes to gaming, Rocket League always stays on top, and I’m not surprised Civilization 6 is in 2nd place. I loved that game; I found it much better than Age of Empires 4. The issue with AOE4 or any AOE game is that the AI isn’t that strong, so you don’t enjoy playing against it. And when it comes to playing against another player, you need to focus for at least an hour, which means I usually get tired after a game or two. But Civ6 doesn’t have any of these issues; just plays against AI, and the game stays pretty interesting throughout the completion.
I don’t know what that “:72” is referring to; I couldn’t figure it out. Unlike last year, all of the websites this year make sense. In other words, I can see why they might be in my top usage list and how I was using them. Last year, loads of websites just didn’t make any sense to be in the top list.
One thing that is really bothering me, both in PC and phone usage, is the high amount of time spent on YouTube. Even though the total phone+PC YouTube watch time is less than that of 2022, I still think that spending 543 hours, i.e., ~22 days out of the whole year, on watching YouTube is significant. Now, not all of those hours were spent on watching “entertainment” or frivolous videos, but I believe in the ideal scenario, those unproductive hours would be much less.
When you look at the heatmap, it might seem that there are loads of missing data, but that isn’t the case, except in one place, i.e., October. All of the other missing boxes are days I didn’t use the PC, but I don’t know why there is so much gap during October. In October, I know for a fact I was banging my head against my laptop and was trying to wrap up all the final projects/assignments for my first semester. Still, for some reason, Activitywatch tracked it as AFK rather than showing some app usage data.
Even though I love Activitywatch, just for this reason, I am thinking that next year it would be more effective if I used Mac’s Screen Time DB to extract the usage information.
Looking back at 2023, I realize that a lot unfolded, impacting my perspective on things and shaping my future in various ways. Certain events, like starting my master’s, not only provided the opportunity to reside in a completely different country but also allowed me to meet numerous new people. The experience at NUS (National University of Singapore) has significantly boosted my confidence. Coming from a lesser-known private college for my bachelor’s to joining a World Top 10 college for my master’s feels surreal, and it gives me hope that childhood dreams of attending renowned institutions might not be as far-fetched as they seemed. Just to clarify, the mention of MIT was just an example; my actual dream school is something entirely different 😜️️️️️️.
Additionally, the exposure to different places through travel has sparked ideas about personal goals and a kind of “bucket list” for things to accomplish in the future, not just professionally, but also on a personal level.
Let’s conclude this blog post with the significant highlights of the year:
- A memorable trip to Saudi Arabia
- Acceptance into NUS
- Relocating to Singapore and learning the true meaning of expensive
- Achieving a 4 GPA in my first semester
- I honestly have no idea what kind of magic happened there. I did decently, but I really didn’t expect that.
- Wrapping up the year with “the boys”
In keeping with tradition, I’ll end this by saying - So all in all this was a pretty good year.