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Hello, 2016. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year. Welcome, 2016!

"Don't count the days. Make the days count."

It's the first day of a brand new year. And, I'm already creating (and checking off) my brand new lists for 2016.

I usually have several that I start off at the end and beginning of the year. Some of my lists include:

  • Highlights from the Past Year
  • Lessons from the Past Year
  • Goals for the New Year
  • Things I Want To Do in the New Year
  • Things I Want To Learn in the New Year

If you're keen to get some lists started too, check out Inc.com's 16 Lists To Make To Jumpstart Your Career in 2016. While it's an article primarily created for making lists regarding professional matters, the ideas can also resonate with personal list-making.

Since I've been remiss with my blogging here lately, this post is one of the things that's included in one of my new year lists. I know, I know... I keep telling myself I'll be a better blogger here at ShaiCoggins.com. Or, if I'm not, I won't beat myself up too much about it. I fail at both, consistently.

I'm hoping 2016 will be the year that I'll finally get my act together for this blog. For this to happen, I realise I need to make some changes with how I approach this blog and my content creation themes and processes.

I am currently working on these changes. They won't happen quickly. The plan is to roll them out bit by bit, with guidance from your feedback.

So, if you've been reading my blog for some time now (or even if you just came across this blog recently), I'd love to hear from you. What would you like to read in this blog? What would make your blog reading more enjoyable and productive?

I look forward to sharing our 2016 adventures together.

Have an amazing year ahead!

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Ready for 2013!


The 1st of January always feels like a fresh start. A reboot.

That’s why I’m always excited to start things off right for the year: Spending time with the family. Eating good food. Moments of reflection. Creating. Reading. Dreaming of what is to come. Goal setting. Organising. Starting a new journal.

And yes, blogging.

Over the past few years, I have been making an attempt to begin the year with a blog post. Most times, I manage. And, I’m grateful each time that I do get the chance to do so.

I guess, I just can’t help it. Even before I had a blog, writing during the first day of the year is something that I love doing.

That’s why I’m here. Today.

I’m blogging to wish you all a happy new year.

And, I’m blogging to continue a lifelong tradition of writing on the first day of a new year.

So, what’s up for 2013?

Looking at my year-end reviews for the last 7 years, it’s almost tough to imagine myself keeping up and matching all the big events that have happened. Each year almost feels bigger than the last. In different ways. And, I haven’t even archived the years before these ones that I managed to blog about.

A part of me wants to keep going, to keep achieving, to keep growing… If you’ve known me long enough, you’d probably know that it’s just in my nature. I get restless with same ol’, same ol’. That’s why I love start-ups. That’s why I enjoy working for myself. That’s why I’m a tragic ideaholic.

But, there’s also a part of me that wants to embrace a bit of stillness. To step back and to see what life will bring without pushing too hard.

Not sure which part will win as days go by.

For now, I have set myself 13 goals for 2013.

Yes, I’ve kept up with my annual goal setting practice. But, unlike in previous years, this year’s goals don’t seem too big or too lofty. They’re still challenging. In fact, I’m already unsure if I can accomplish some of them. But, the challenges don’t seem too daunting.

Some project-based goals for the year include:

  • Another fundraising event. Last year’s birthday fundraising was something that I really cherished. And, I’m hoping to do another one this year. I’m still looking in to the cause that I’d like to support.
  • 365: Words + Pictures. This is a project that I’ve been failing every year for the past 5 years. You’d think that I should just give up and tell myself that it’s no use. That I’m simply not good with a daily practice. Nope. Not me. I’m going to give it another go. As such, I might even end up blogging more this year. More on this in another post.
  • Create a WOTY project. As you know, I’ve been doing a Word of the Year for five years now. If 365 is known as a bit of an epic failure for me, WOTY is one of my biggest wins. And, I’d like to see if I can push this a little bit further in 2013. I’ll share my annual WOTY post soon!
  • Explore a ‘13 Things’ idea. I’m not sure yet what I’d really do with this one. But, with my strange aversion to the number 13, I thought that this is a good year to take this head on. Already, I’ve done a ‘13 goals for 2013’ list. So, take that number 13! 😉

Also, here’s a snapshot of some things that I’m looking forward to:

  • An upcoming family road trip. To enjoy the last bits of the holiday season, my family will be on the road for some fun travel around Australia.
  • My ten-year anniversary in Australia. Yes, I’ll be celebrating a decade of life here in Oz soon!
  • My final year in my 30s. Ouchies. Yes, I’ll be celebrating my 39th birthday. Not sure if I can do it in style – but let’s see.
  • Graduation day for my postgrad degree. Having finished my Masters’ degree late in 2012, I’m due to go up on stage to receive my degree this year. Hoping to sort out registration stuff some time.

For ShaiCoggins.com, I have a separate list of tasks in my 2013 plan. This includes:

  • Launching “Notes from Shai” e-newsletter. Yes, this is due out this month and I’m hoping to send an issue out at least once a month. So, if you’re not subscribed yet, now might be a good time to do that. Really.
  • Working with themes. Partly related to this year’s 365 project, and partly due to the upcoming e-newsletter, I’m planning on working with themes this year here at ShaiCoggins.com. And, believe it or not, I’ve already set the monthly themes for the whole year – and even weekly themes for the first 6 months. I’m hoping to complete the full 52 weeks of themes in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will evolve.

There are a few other things coming up, but I’d like to be closer to completion when I share them here. So, do stay tuned.

For now,  let me just wish you a fantastic year ahead in 2013!

2013 Doodle

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Well, Hello 2012!

It's the first day of a new year, and I love being able to blog today. Why?

It's because it gives me the chance to start the year like how I want to spend the rest of it --- doing things I enjoy.

Blogging here at Studio Notes is one of those things. And, it's a practice that I hope to continue with much more ardour, frequency, and tenacity.

It's also a great way to clear the "first post of the year jitters" away and just get on with it.

With my first 2012 blog post out of the way, I can just write about the rest of the things that I wish to post here.

Like my annual Word of the Year post. And continuing the Twitter Follow Case Study. Among other things.

Glow lights and sparklers to celebrate....

As part of my Studio Notes tradition, I'd like to share some of the things that I look forward to in the new year...

Although after such an epic 2011, I'm not quite sure whether I long to have more exciting things happening to keep the momentum going... Or just wish for a slower, quieter year, so I can regroup and recover.

At this stage, the only two big things on my plate include:

1) Taking part in Connecting Up 2012 Conference as a member of the organising committee/keynote speaker/workshop helper;

and hopefully,

2) Completing my Masters' degree in Teaching.

Oh, and I'm also looking forward to my husband's completion of his PhD and my li'l girl officially starting school mid-year.

As always, I've already got my list of goals for the year. 12 things for 2012. I'm sure I'll blog some of them in the coming days/weeks/months.

I also have a wish list of movies to see (Hunger Games, The Avengers, The Hobbit, Wrath of the Titans, etc), gadgets to own, activities and events to check out, and maybe even holidays to take.

How about you? Do you have any special plans and goals for 2012? What are the things that you're looking forward to this year?

In any case, I wish you a fantastic year! May 2012 bring you a world of amazing possibilities...

2012: a life of POSSIBILITY... First pic of the year!

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Well, it’s 2011 and…

Well, it's 2011...

... I haven't blogged here at the Studio for most of January!

In fact, I know I haven't been around here much lately. It has been more than two months since I posted an update and I've been feeling really bad about it. But, I won't bore you with the details of my absence. Let me just say --- I missed you and I miss the Studio! And, of course, in a way, I'm hoping that you've been missing me too. 🙂

So, what's new with you all? How's 2011 treating you so far?

Having been unable to write here for some time now, I've missed telling you all about...

1) The updates on my events/speaking gigs. Since it has been a while since they happened, let's just skip the specifics. But, if you're interested in checking out some of my presentations, I uploaded some slideshows over to my Slideshare account. Of course, the presentations don't tell the whole story, especially of events that I've taken part in without speaking/presenting.

2) My holiday to Manila and Kuala Lumpur. If we're Facebook/Twitter contacts, you probably would've heard all about this, as I've been doing mini updates as much as I can. Even been sharing some photos. But yeah, my family and I had a great time seeing family and friends in Manila. It was fantastic to have our first official family reunion, plus catching up with relatives and friends I haven't seen in years. Even meeting some folks for the first time. Then, spending a few days with some friends in Malaysia before heading back to Adelaide. It was all great stuff.

3) My usual end-of-year/start of the year blog posts. I'm really, really disappointed about this, as I have grown quite fond of these posts. But, I haven't had much time for reflection and planning lately, let alone blogging all about such reflections and plans. I can't promise I'll try to catch up, but I know that I will do my best to do something similar to make up for it.

4) My 2011 Word of the Year. Yeah, I guess this is partly related to #3. So, I will see what I can do about writing this up at some stage.

5) Some special/interesting/memorable events that happened recently in my life. Like my son's 7th year birthday. Or, celebrating my sixth month anniversary at my job at Connecting Up. Or, attending my first ever Drupal conference in Brisbane. Or, trying to ice skate for the first time in my life. Or, getting a new hairstyle (yes, see it for yourself in the pics above!). Or, taking part in a great social media meets fundraising event here in Adelaide (#Quiz4Qld). Or, meeting some fantastic new folks and dreaming up new things. And, witnessing a lot of great tidings coming to life.

Yes, all within just the first month of 2011! Can you tell it's already going to be a packed year?

As it stands, I'm already trying to prepare for a few more events/speaking gigs and other special moments. Like an upcoming trip to San Francisco/Santa Clara (to attend a Global Contributors' Summit for the TechSoup Global group) in February. And, a trip to Washington DC to attend the Nonprofit Technology Conference '11 (#11NTC) in March. And, taking part in staging a conference for Connecting Up (#CU11) at Melbourne in June.   

And, yes, I'm also co-organising the first ever NetSquared Adelaide meet-up that's happening in March. If you're keen in the nonprofit + technology space (or social media for social good), do come and join us.

Anyway, I hope that whatever you're up to, I wish that the beginning of 2011 has been great for you. May the rest of the year bring more joy and blessings too.

P.S.: Although I haven't been blogging much here, I'm actually writing blogs 2-3x a week elsewhere. Of course, for my work at Connecting Up. And also, as a featured blogger at the Philippine Star's Unblogged section (something I've been meaning to share here with you too!). The CUA blog is all about the nonprofit sector, whilst my Unblogged posts are all about travel and lifestyle. Hope you join me there too!

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Happy New Year and Welcome to 2010!

Welcome, 2010!

Glow sticks, sparklers, party poppers, blowers, some swimming, dancing, laughter, a hearty braai and yummy chocolate cake... That's how we celebrated New Year's Eve with our family here in Johannesburg.

Then, as per our tradition every time we came to visit, we ended up watching The Royal Variety Show 2009 while we waited for our 2010 countdown. There were hugs and kisses as we welcomed the new year together.

The next day, my sister-in-law and her husband invited us to their house to celebrate the New Year with a fabulous feast of Potjkie (chicken curry in one pot and beef stew in another), with mixed berry crumble for pudding. There was some croquet fun and other stuff in-between.

Tomorrow, we're off to our first mini African Safari for this trip.

Yes. We're loving it all.

It's always wonderful to celebrate special days with people we care about. (Although, of course, we are missing the other part of our family!)

Anyway, I hope that you have had a great start to your 2010 too! And, may the rest of the year bring you plenty of things to remember and to celebrate.

Have a fantastic new year, all!

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