Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lately I have been drifting

It's been a month already? Wow. I mean a month since I last wrote here. Clearly, I have taken quite the chill pill when it comes to blogging and personal project stuff.

I tend to do this though. I work in waves it would seem. Really, it's more about the fact that I'm currently searching for my "next thing". These past 7-8 months have been all about me trying to leave my shitty job and become a programmer.

I've officially accomplished all of those goals, and currently have nothing big or exciting to work towards. I have a feeling that the reason MOST people just wander through life without ever accomplishing anything huge is the same reason I haven't done too much this past month in the public eye.

It's all about a combination of things I assume.
  * Having a passion for something
  * Trying to improve something that is painful
  * A clear objective and path to complete it

Those were the things that had me working my ass off to reach the level I did this year. Currently I'd rate my level of happiness at "meh". In other words, I am not UNHAPPY, but I also have nothing exciting to think about or talk about.

This month I consumed about 7 audiobooks on Audible. I really enjoy listening to them at the 3x speed. I was going to listen to some twice, but I just keep finding new ones that I want to go through.

I realize that one of my number one passions in life is just learning things. I get a LOT of enjoyment from sharing what I have learned, and creating videos or blog posts but I just don't ever prioritize or value doing that so what happens is I look up and realize it's been over a month!

I have a huge list of things that I WANT to share with people, but then before I do I learn 5 more things that I want to share and just get carried away. I have to say, there is a large amount of respect that I hold for people who consistently write quality content.

It's fun and rewarding, but keeping that habit isn't easy!

So overall, that's my update. I just wanted to make it clear that I am currently in "drifter" mode as I search within for what is essential to me, and what lofty and exciting goal I want to pursue next will be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Planning to do some sleep hacking

Alright, closing in on the month of July. Good stuff happening. IBM Job is
locked in. I can give up all of the stress from looking for jobs. Now to focus
on being happy.

Plans for the next 2 months? Freelance to pay the bills...approx 5 hours 5 days
per week. Yep 25 hrs np. Only charging $40/hr, but that's plenty to keep me
going for now. If I were to take on any other work I'd probably go up to $60 minimum.

Can leave me with extra time for learning, writing, and social. Wee!

So, as of this morning I woke up feeling AMAZING. Got sleepy around 8-ish? Just
crashed out, woke up naturally this morning around 1:30am and I haven't felt
this good in...I don't KNOW how long.

This has led me to think, okay I need to start studying this sleep thing. I
heard on a podcast about Buck Fuller doing the Dymaxion sleep. 30 minutes
every 6 hours. Great, that's perfect for me.

The trick I believe, is that he wrote down/monitored the times when he felt
tired, and put in a nap during that time. If I use that same approach, I feel
that I can cut out the long periods of sleep and get that benefit that I just
experienced this morning.

Off the top of my head, I get tired around 4-5pm, and 9pm? Maybe around 12. Not
sure honestly that's a best guestimate, so I'll just monitor it the next few

Instead of going cold-turkey poly I'll probably first get used to sleeping maybe
4hrs and tossing in a 30 min nap when I get tired during the day. Most people
I've researched tend to fail (myself included in previous attempts) due to not
switching to poly gradually. Hopefully I can fix that.

Once I adjust to napping, and (oh btw) learning to sleep upright...just in case
I have to sleep somewhere without a bed, in my car, on a couch etc...that's when
I can try to slowly phase out more of that core sleep time.

That's probably the most I should look into it for now. I have to get some
personal data going before I make hard decisions. For now though, I purchased
some 33dec sound blocking ear foam thingies, and a sleep mask.

And...some other ramblings

I learned about a few awesome plants that you can fill your house with to
improve the oxygen, and supposedly make you more productive. I'm 100% down for
doing that, but I'll wait until I move to Austin. For now, I pinned it on the
"to get" Trello board.

My Pavlok band should be here before too long hopefully, and so I'm looking
forward to some great strides being made in the next 2 months.

I'll be mapping out what content I'd like to get written over the next couple of
days, and hopefully have July planned in such a way that I can get into the
habit of daily writing easily by just pulling from a list of topics. It's much
harder if I don't even know what I'm going to write about!

Well, any more writing and about my "plans" would just be rambling and futile so
I'll get back to work now :)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

SUCCESS! I got a job

I got the job! Pretty good offer as well. But first, let's talk about my personal goals etc.

So June was a bit wishy-washy as far as personal habits go. My single biggest issue is I've had trouble getting out of bed and being exhausted, and many more seizures. Could be stress? Not sure. Either way, it sucks. I haven't kept up with workouts, but I've done some squats / pushups to stay warmed up and active a bit.

I wanted to do a lot of personal content creation and working on my website but I really did none of that at all. I think I just overloaded myself a bit and couldn't focus.

Overall it was a success in the sense that I doubled my hourly rate for my freelance, got 2 job offers, 1 which I've now accepted and will be making a lot more money, and moving to Austin.

All of my hard work has finally paid off. The things I've been doing up until now have led to this moment really. I now just have to "try" and be patient, as the job won't start until Sept 1st. No probs, that gives me time to really do things I enjoy while freelancing.

I may do some writing, catch up on some tv shows, maybe play a game or two?

Overall I just want to enjoy myself and keep learning things without allowing myself to stress...myself. Ha.

Things are looking good!

So, just because I reached a big milestone / goal doesn't mean I'm done. I don't believe in stopping or slowing down. I certainly have waves of energy that go up and down, and so I'm on the downward ride of a huge spike of energy, which is fine.

That said, I have ideas for locking in good habit change and rituals. I've purchased a Pavlok armband, which should help me to kick any bad habits, and lock in the really good ones.

Going forward, I want to spend anywhere from 2-3 hours in the morning focusing on learning and writing...or really just writing / content creation in general.  Perhaps an hour or two itself for learning ha.

I don't know, I always have high expectations but what I've been learning recently is that it's not about getting those things done, but more about how hard you work. That's what I need to start focusing my measure of success on.

Alright, this is long enough. I'm excited to plan out my strategy for the month of July. We will see where it goes from here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Two weeks and two interviews

Well then! I haven't written my weekly recap in a while. Let's try to catch up on all of the stuff that is going on. So since the last recap, I've had two very successful interviews. One with FantasyHub and one with IBM Design. I got an offer with both, was completely floored with how amazing IBM was. Even though I wanted to start soon, I declined the FantasyHub offer.

Now I have been reviewing my thoughts these past 2 weeks on my habits and what I've been doing and it seems like I have a lot of excuses for NOT doing some of the things I've written down that I'd like to do. I haven't been doing my Insanity, content writing, pomodoros, and many other things.

Overall this month has been a bit of a wash and I think I'll have to stop beating myself up over it and just accept that I probably need it. I know I need that vacation time, even though I can't really consider this month "vacation" since I'm being hard on myself about doing it but it has been relaxing to just say "meh" and chill.

A lot of it is me sitting around thinking, "Well, I've finally done it...after 6 months of hard work I've finally got to the point where I can get a job that I want!" I'm getting the feeling that because of the fact that my life is about to change so drastically, I've already begun distancing myself from where I am now, and it's causing me to want to just push the fast forward button and that's exhausting.

I finally did a marathon of Game of Thrones. The first time I've let myself watch tv shows since I deleted everything back in January. I have been getting tons of inspiration from watching TED talks and other various things.

Overall, I still have some waiting to do (job wont start until Sept) and there are a lot of questions as well...but overall I am really excited.

Hopefully I can get through this massive annoying exhaustion thing where I just randomly can't seem to get out of bed, and then the next day I have tons of energy. I don't get it. I've been great for 5 months but the middle of May is when this really started happening.

I'm not sure if it is mental, physical, or both.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Morning Writing + Timeboxing is very effective

Overall this week was a bit weird to me. I got a lot of content writing done. I do it first thing in the morning, and time-box it out to around 2 hours. I haven't posted them all yet (queuing it up) but I have gotten something done every day.

But, emotions and tiredness!

Overall I didn't FEEL very productive, and most of the reason was that I didn't have a solid plan I think. In other words, I didn't really have something to work on. I was hoping to get some freelance in, and I did get about 10 hours done but other than that not much.

I still have the recurring theme of exhaustion and sometimes just falling asleep and I don't know what is causing that. Maybe it's just my personal cycle. Hard to tell really, but if I can figure it out that would be great.

Networking feels to be paying off

I had some good networking this week. I did well in a front end dev interview for IBM Design, and set up a couple more interviews which I will have good reference to. More on how that goes next week...

Inspiration is strong with this one

I've been watching the Tim Ferris show and getting inspired by some of the ideas in that. I haven't really blogged or tracked it, but I listen to a LOT of podcasts. In fact, it's getting to the point where I am actually running OUT of podcast episodes because I've listened to EVERY SINGLE episode of multiple massive podcasts.

I think a lot of inspiration and ideas has come from listening to these various episodes, and so maybe I should promote podcast listening more to people. It could just be that I am constantly thinking about programming and ways to learn more.

When you have a sole focus, it's really easy to find opportunities to improve. Being scattered tends to lead nowhere. Something to think about for sure.

So what's the plan?

If some freelance work doesn't pop up for me to get done (which I really need in order to pay the bills) I'll be spending the next two days streaming myself doing a bit of a 'workathon' where I just try to go pure pomodoros all day long on one singular focus (improving my website in this case)

I'll be improving the portfolio, building an online resume, adding recent projects and reorganizing it to look more professional, and even redoing my About page as well. Soon I'll have my roommate take more photos of me to try and get a good consistent Avatar image that I can use going forward in branding myself.

I'll see how it goes (the workathon days) and if I enjoy it, maybe I'll use that idea to do a content creation workathon. I want to build a video website similar to railsclips, eventedmind, or egghead.io so perhaps that would be a cool project to build and create a video series of me building it?

On Monday I do have a phone interview, so that will interrupt my flow for a bit and depending on how it goes I could have other things to do so I'll play it by ear on that. Not the most ideal thing for this type of challenge, but this is more of a test run anyways to see how I do and maybe I'll try and pull off the week-long challenge like the time-lapse guy.

I did several week races, so if I put together enough work on something I really enjoy doing I am sure I can pull something off!

After the next two days of test running that idea, if I don't have something to work on I think I'll spend the large portion of the day learning. I want to start knocking off some of my learning Trello cards such as getting into pure Node, Angular, Gulp, React even perhaps.

Final thoughts?

Well, this recap was way longer than I thought it would be but I had some more fruitful thoughts after all! See you next week. Let's see how far I can get!

OH! One more thing, I have been doing a better job of tracking stuff on my main Kanban board. I cleaned it up a lot and reorganized what I'm actually tracking. I'm really happy about it and should have some good data by the end of the month, which is great because I'm doing a talk on Kanban productivity for a local meetup haha.

Okay peace out.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Got the Geekdom membership. Teamwork FTW!

I had a heck of a lot of fun this past week! I spent most of my time at the Geekdom working alongside Andrew and Tim for the Camp Gladiator website wedesign. It does present new challenges of trying to stay productive when being around people that you are working with, but also the ability to collab and figure things out makes it much more interesting.

I learned a lot about Angular and Grunt, although I'd have to really dive in and maybe do a tutorial to get it down 100%. Becoming a member of Geekdom is a good feeling as well, because being up there makes it easy to attend any of the events, and meet other people in the community.

Outside of doing mostly work there, I have been feeling quite exhausted after waking up in the mornings and sometimes sleeping a lot more. I missed / did half of a workout on 2 days so that sucked, but overall from a month of Insanity I can tell I am in way better shape and LOOK a lot better as well. I'm happy with my progress so far, and will continue to work hard going into the next 5 weeks.

That's pretty much it for the recap. I had a lot of high energy work done, but it was pretty dense so there isn't many small things to discuss. I'll be diving into my upcoming plans for my monthly recap.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Networking could be the key

Week 3 of Discpline month

This week was interesting, I had some wins and fails. I'm starting to see a pattern with just about everything taking way longer than I predict for it to. It took me several hours to do the "Why Vim?" video, AND several hours to put together the talk for the Vim/Tmux IDE talk I did this week.

Overall I did some cool stuff however so I can't discredit myself too much. I hosted an online hackathon type of project, and I finished it up enough to display as a portfolio project which is awesome. I did a decent amount of freelance (not near as much as I NEED to do) but I met a great guy after doing the talk and ended up being offered some freelance where I pair with him up at the Geekdom downtown which was a lot of fun.

I ended up missing a day of exercise yesterday after sleeping an additional 5 hours randomly. That was odd, but it happens I guess. I just woke up and could NOT function and passed out. Other than that incident, I've been easily getting 4-5 hours of sleep and feeling amazing.

Even though it hasn't been perfect, this month of doing habits and discipline has been great. I'm really looking forward to solidifying and ramping things up going forward so that I can keep pushing myself and growing.

I'm at a point now where I just need to put in more job apps and get hired, because the only other thing I can do in my learning is just create more apps...so I'm more than 100% capable of getting any job IMO. Now the trick is to convince someone else of that lol.

I may not have to get a job as soon as I had thought if this relationship with the guy I started working with last night goes well, because he has a lot of work and is willing to share.

Overall, I'm happy with my progress and I'm learning a ton. I REALLY want to ramp things up even further, and get great at things like React as well. I may be jumping into some Angular as I help on this other project which is fine as also since there is a lot of work with that framework. Anyway, I'll be pumping out more content later and giving you guys an update after this next week rolls around!