The new year starts on Monday for me. My mind operates on a weekly basis and given that my week starts on Mondays, I can’t start my Week 1 on Friday the 1st of January. That would mess with my slightly OCD way of tracking goals, habits and budget and it wouldn’t be a good way to start the year.
I fought off a two-hour period when I just wanted to do nothing and wait for Monday to come, but luckily I’ve decided to treat the next three days (I’m writing on Friday at 830pm) as a “Week 0” period. In these final three days I’ll have an exceptional amount of free time for a weekend, so I’ll use it to prepare my systems for 2021.
I’m going to try to track my time again in the new year, but If I can’t that’s fine. I can’t expect to track every hour of 365 days. But I’d like to track some activities consistently: Coding, Sleeping, Gym, Work, Social Life. I won’t care so much about maintenance activities: Food, admin, organising, cleaning, hygiene, prepping, commuting. I will still try to track those but if I ultimately can’t, that’s fine.
I consider myself an Essentialist, so I will have coding as my absolute priority. Everything else has to gravitate towards that. I’ve organised my days so I can avoid any activities before 1230. It will be purely dedicated to code. I will have a daily session of dance training with my dance partner during weekdays at 1pm. The reason being, I can’t deny the role dance plays in my life and I’d like to be the best I can at it. I think there’s room for growth if we’re organised about it. If I’m doing something, I might as well do it well. Also, dance is still my bread and butter, so it still competes with coding as a priority. Dance will ultimately be the means to achieve my coding goals.
One of the things I want to pursue in 2021 is quality. I don’t want to do anything thoughtlessly, just going with the flow. I’ve been good at it in 2020, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. Here are some situations where I find myself in a sub-optimal (to say the least) quality state. It happens more often in the second part of the day, particularly if I didn’t have a nap. I have to fight for my afternoon nap to avoid being too tired. The more tired, the less will power I have to behave optimally.
The same relates to food. I’ve grown accustomed to eating the lowest possible quality of food, with the minimal amount of preparation, but a couple of friends have recently opened my eyes (mouth) to what I’ve been missing. Following the same rationale as before, If I have to eat around five times a day, I might as well eat good stuff. I won’t treat this as a priority, but I definitely want to get better at cooking in 2021.
On Eating Mindfully
I’m still not prepared to let myself eat mindfully. I need to watch something when I’m eating. I’ve recently found a couple of very good Youtube Channels about technology that are very stimulating and I’ll probably dive into those. The last thing I want to do is sit to eat and brainlessly scroll social media.
All of the above relates to “winning the day”. I love this idea. It’s about treating each life unit (aka day) as a little battle that can be won or lost. And winning most days relies on solid systems. There are things I’ll be doing consistently throughout the year and having systems for each of them will increase the likelihood of winning the day and hence achieving the ultimate goals: Get a computer science job, which leads to the ultimate of the ultimate goals: happiness.
Tracking My Coding Time
Something I realised I have to start doing is tracking my coding time. There are many sub-activities that can be done related to coding and I think it will be beneficial to have them timed so I can see where it’s going. The bulk of my time still needs to go to Building. If I don’t build I feel I have little impact in the world, so it has to be a priority. However the quality of what I build relies on the depth of my knowledge. A web developer spends a tiny fraction of work time with algorithms. At least that’s the case for me, maybe because I’m learning.
So what I’ll do to mitigate that lack of algorithm-producing time is work on coding challenges and exercises, and on a deeper level, dive into pure mathematics and computer logic. Anyone can write code these days, but Mathematics is still a challenge for many, so it will be another way to stand out.
For that, today I’ve started to study the very intimidating “The Art of Computer Programming”, by Donald E. Knuth. Hardcore math applied to computer science. I’ve never read anything like it back to back but there’s no way I’ll come out of it worse than I started. But this post is getting massive, so I’ll write more about the book on my next blog.
Back to work!!