Journal

Last night, I sent out a tweet to hold hold myself publicly accountable today:

With that, here’s how things went:


MORNING

  • Get up at the same time as a typical workday.
  • Attend Irregular Cafe.
    • If there is opportunity to discuss, follow up on book club books and express interest in participating. Both books sound excellent!
    • The Practice, book form of all the lessons from Product Lab
    • Tiny MBA, originally 100 tweets from tweetstorm into a book, each idea is a separate idea, very business-focused
    • I put my vote in for The Practice!
  • Complete the Yearly Prioritization Workbook from Susan Shu Chang.
    • Summarize my findings and feelings from workbook.
    • Attempt to complete by lunch / early afternoon.

AFTERNOON

  • Revisit the priority list from 11/22 and refine.
    • Try to identify overlap with the workbook.
    • Identify and weigh key objectives.
      • Consider formalized rank-order prioritization for in the future, too much overhead for today.
    • Additionally prioritize key objectives with respect to mentor tasks.
  • Create either one or A/B weekly schedules for themed work sessions, with formal time slots.
    • The goal will be to try and take on objectives that fit with that day’s theme, when it makes sense. Obviously, working on a project or intensive learning subject may take priority, but I want to keep all the plates spinning as much as possible.
    • Try to factor in “downtime,” similar to an exercise routine, where maybe I follow up a few days of study with networking or generalized research.
    • I would like to formalize a time slot for book reading (15 minutes every day?). I currently squeeze reading into short walks, and it is not enough.

EVENING

  • Develop a current “all fronts” action-item list of absolutely everything that I actively want to work on.
    • Sort this list into categories.
    • If applicable, assign time estimates to tasks.
    • Break down tasks bigger than one day into smaller related tasks.
    • Aim to reduce my default daily commitments. I can always selectively opt into additional tasks.
    • Consider building this task list in Airtable and extracting tasks from the daily blogs. Include only completed tasks to reduce blog clutter.
  • Collect and review all artifacts from the day.
  • Post a draft blog (NOT live, leave it rough), recording my time and any major bullet points that I would like to include.
  • Tweet out success of objectives, and any valuable immediate impressions.
  • Stop and REST for the remainder of the evening.

Today was a very refreshing experience! Rather than tracking time directly, I broke up my entire day into pomodoro chunks and was able to fully focus during those cycles. I have tried sticking with pomodoros in the past with mixed success, so I’m very glad that it worked out well today.

Starting with the Yearly Prioritization Workbook, this was a great exercise to get everything in one place. As far as my major objective go, there weren’t any big surprises, but there was a lot of value in uncovering my themes. I feel a little conflicted about how much overlap there is with the examples, but here are the themes I ultimately boiled things down to:


Career

  • Would like to be constantly challenged
  • Strive to constantly deliver value and lift up others
  • Potential for advancement is motivating
  • Potential to achieve financial stability is a large motivator and would greatly reduce stress
  • Improves Stability

Brand

  • Allow me to communicate who I am and my values
  • Establish quality standards for myself
  • Forge connections and build a network
  • Improves Stability

Stability

  • Financial and career stability will greatly reduce stress, allow for higher quality work and focus
  • Strong network and professional reputation to bolster employability
  • Generate passive income to help cover living expenses with blogging, side projects, and ideally products
  • Would like to be able to travel and learn more about the world, develop a better sense for human cultures and issues
  • Improves Wellbeing and Aid
  • Improved by Career, Brand, and Wellbeing

Wellbeing

  • Physical, mental, and emotional health
    • Physical: Increase energy and active time, extend life expectance
    • Mental: Increase focus and efficiency, counteract burnout
    • Emotional: Grounded and focused, deeper connections with others and increased empathy
  • Improves and is improved by Stability

Aid

  • I want to freely share my experiences and knowledge with others and to lift people up
  • Reducing human suffering is a core value
  • Contribute to meaningful and impactful initiatives
  • Improved by Stability

My goals are currently extremely skewed towards the Career and Branding side of things at the moment, surprise surprise, so those objectives dominated my lists. The exercise did get me thinking past the next year or two and wondering about larger goals, and how I could steer things to help better align with my values and life goals. I highly recommend going through this process, and will absolutely be taking another look a year from now.

From my summary on 11/22, my six key focuses are:

  • Learning
  • Producing
  • Networking
  • Job Seeking
  • Personal Marketing Branding
  • Writing

These focuses will be critical components of not just switching careers into development right now, but for my growth for years to come, and ideally an applicable framework even at a senior level to stay moving forward and competitive. I have needed a little more structure, and came up with the following schedule:

The framework for my new weekly schedule

Each week will have a key focus, be it either a specific language, framework, project, or researching a concept. Wednesday will evaluate my learning for the week and either produce action items to continue the topic the following week or potentially generate updates for networking. Thursday will be for researching employers and positions, trying to identify skill demands in the market and trends among companies, and trying to identify teams where I feel I could deliver high value. Friday will be about catching up with social media, scraping reading materials for research, building connections, and generating a summary of my progress from the previous week. I’ve been kicking around some ideas on how to implement this, but it may take a bit before that component goes live.

Next up was to create a pipeline to handle development tasks, and this is the only thing I didn’t completely accomplish today. I’ve created the framework, but still need to add in the actual tasks. If you’ve been following along with me gushing about Airtable recently, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear it, but that’s exactly what I’m using:

My Airtable board, with multiple grid and kanban views tailored to a specific function or focus

Each new task gets a unique ID, and a few different filtered views makes it really easy to get a distraction-free view of the information I’m looking for. I’ve created a “break down” view for just tasks that are larger than my target four pomodoros, a view for tasks by project, and each daily focus has a unique Kanban board to keep related objectives all in one place:

A Kanban view of the tasks filtered for the focus that day

After I push this post live and my pipeline finishes, I’ll send off the drafted tweet I have prepared as part of the above objectives. That’s another thing I didn’t do - I wrote the whole dang blog instead of stopping at a draft! I’ve been excited about how the day went and feeling good, so it doesn’t feel like any effort to write this now.

To everyone that spoke with me, checked in to keep me on task, and encouraged me today, thank you so much!

Tasklist

  • Revisit the priority list from 11/22 and develop a schedule