2023 Personal OKRs

Bill Johnson
7 min readJan 22, 2023

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2 years ago I started to set yearly Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for myself to both get more comfortable using the OKR framework as well as focus on changing and improving aspects of my personal life. It’s gone pretty well so far and I’ve learned a lot about measuring, the realistic nature of goals, and myself through the process. Last year was more successful overall and was much better at setting measurable goals. For 2023, I want to continue to stretch myself while getting more specific improvements to the areas. Here is a rundown of the OKRs I’ve set for myself this year:

Objective: Invest more in myself

This objective is about self-improvement and setting myself up for long-term success. Money is the obvious inclusion here but knowledge and health are equally, if not more, important for personal resilience and safety. The key benefit of this objective is to start 2024 with higher confidence in my ability to thrive for at least the rest of this decade.

Key Result: Read 12 books with completed write-ups on GitHub
Copied forward again this year but I upped the total to 12 books to continue to push my habits of reading further. My book selections this year will focus on building the resilience in my mind, body, and soul to avoid burnout and unsustainable practices.

Key Result: Invest 21% of net income
I’ve been very fortunate to be in an industry and job/role that allows me to have the means to save money. Apart from the customary 401ks, IRAs, and some other investment accounts, I haven’t put a heavy focus on the specifics of investing and making sure I am setup for any future retirement plans. I want to get more involved and active in investment choices and away from using default options. I’m setting 21% as a general number since it is half of my age and it felt about right as a target.

Key Result: Increase disposable income by 10% by reducing expenses and subscription services
I thought about just leaving this as “increase disposable income by 10%” but I also wanted to reign in expenses and subscriptions so it felt necessary to include them in the description. This pairs well with the “invest 21% of net income” Key Result above and the two together should have me in a better financial position by the end of the year while also understanding more of the nuance in the financial and investing industry.

Key Result: Complete a meditation session on every “T”
A “T” is just a day that starts with “T” so: Tuesday and Thursday. I have meditated a fair amount in the past but not with any consistency— typically only when I felt I needed it like before a race or during highly stressful periods. I’m looking to make this more common and I wanted a realistic goal that could be chained in some way to form a habit. Going from 0 to 2 meditation sessions a week is not simple but still achievable. I’ve been toying with doing these right at bedtime to help with sleep and to help mentally process the day, but I didn’t want to add that restriction into the Key Result itself.

Objective: Reduce reliance on modern conveniences

I’ve been in the tech industry my entire career and tend to fall into the early adopter persona for new gadgets, software, or general technology. This objective while achieve a better balance of modern conveniences and help break the tendency by intentionally including low-tech approaches or historically significant and acceptable ways of accomplishing the things we do in our modern world. The latest and greatest can be fun, inspiring, and helpful but often times there is a reason that things have been done a certain way for a long time. This objective is trying to better understand those tried and true ways to find an optimal balance point better modern and historical approaches.

Key Result: Drive to work no more than 1 time per month
I am not required to go into the office these days but still try to at least once per week in order to see and meet with my team or other peers and for just a change of scenery for my work day which can help with my focus and motivation. Instead of my single occupant car making the trip every week, I plan to use public transportation and buses to get to and from work. I am considering the ability to drive by yourself in your own car to work a modern convenience and also want to help promote more public transportation opportunities for others by increasing their ridership and demand.

Key Result: 50% of completed books were first published before the 1900s
Last year, I set a goal of reading more fiction books and I found it to be very refreshing. While my reading goal is focused on resilience and self improvement, I’m including this additional goal to improve my understanding and awareness of classic literature and novels. I haven’t read many of the traditional classic books and I’ve created a big list to choose from for this goal. I’m especially looking forward to seeing how modern novels and stories borrow and steal from these classics for their own works. Recommendations welcome!

Key Result: One meal per week uses something from our garden (during the growing season)
This might be the stretchiest goal this time around because I definitely do not have a green thumb, but I’m very excited to try it. Growing season is somewhat shorter in the Pacific Northwest than the rest of the country so I have to put some restrictions around the timing and expectations. Our home garden is pretty small (3'x3') so I’ll also have to learn about the timing and requirements for different vegetables and edible plants to maximize the space usage. We successfully grew tomatoes for the first time last year out of 3 or 4 years of attempts so I’m building off the optimism of that to an even better growing season this year!

Key Result: Use only reclaimed water for the garden
One thing that growing a bunch of vegetables requires is water. While we have no shortage of community water in this area, we have an abundance of water that falls from the sky. To offset the increase in water needed for the plants, I will add a water reclamation tank to fully support the garden projects. There likely will be enough to do more than just the garden but with the late summers being so dry I’m worried about committing to more than just that 9 square foot area. Depending on how this goes, I may expand this more broadly next year.

Objective: Take proactive steps to improve the world

Last year I focused on offsetting and measuring my carbon emissions, which was useful as a baseline, but the ultimate goal is always abatement of carbon emissions. This is even more important with reports that more than 90% of these offset programs are worthless greenwashing. This year I want to move beyond offsets and into direct action that has a positive impact on the planet and our environment and reduces my overall footprint.

Key Result: Abate 5 of the 10 biggest energy hogs in our household
With the addition of the Sense energy monitor I can see very detailed accounting of what is using energy within our household. In addition to that, I will be completing an energy audit at the start of this year to best understand our other opportunities for reduction. Once those data points are complete, I’ll have a list of the top 10 energy uses in the household and will begin to make changes like adding a heat pump or turning down temperatures in the house to reduce the total amount of energy used.

Key Result: Explore 12 new local trails or parks
Once a month I will go to a new trail and/or park in the local area. These trails and parks were created for the purpose of appreciating and responsibly enjoying nature so taking advantage of them and supporting it instead of doing something that generates more emissions is the end goal here.

Key Result: Volunteer 4 times with local outdoor-focused groups
Once you go looking for outdoor-focused groups, you find a bunch of them. Once a quarter I will volunteer my time to some of the local groups in this area like the Issaquah Alps Trail Club, Green Snoqualmie, and local Trash Mob chapters to do my part to keep our outdoor spaces in the best condition possible. I’ve enjoyed trails, parks, and other parts of nature for quite a while, this is a chance to directly help sustain them and keep them clean and capable to be used for others.

Key Result: Directly fund and/or invest in 3 carbon abatement or reduction projects
This is another Key Result that will require some stretching to meet. I don’t have a good investment network so part of this will be looking to build one up while getting a better understanding of what that means and the ramifications of it. There are a lot of bad, fake, and non-impactful projects out there so my research and deep understanding of the project goals and outcomes will be critical here. I’m very much looking forward to the challenge and the hope that I can find 3 of them that meet the bar for investment and funding.

Those are the 12 KRs and 3 Objectives I’m looking to achieve for 2023. I keep track of all of this on GitHub for exposure and increased accountability so feel free to follow along. Here’s to a successful 2023 and beyond!

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Bill Johnson

Principal Engineering Manager for Azure by day, run coach for @teamchallengenw by night