📚 node [[2022 12 09]]

Friday, 12/09/2022

18:33 taking away and adding structure

Realizing why I wasn't productive with my free time before, and figuring out what i need from it now. My life will be unstructured for the next couple of months before I start full-time work, and I've realized that I need some things every day to ensure that I stay productive, healthy, active and social! Nothing here is complex. Here's the breakdown of things I have to make time for every day:

  • Exercise. 30+ minutes. Can be biking across the city to get to/from somewhere, time at the gym or soccer. I don't feel good without it.
  • Sunlight in the morning. It works. Don't know why. Wakes you up.
  • Cooking at least once: It's super important to practice essential skills every day, and nothing is more beautiful than cooking. Don't buy bullshit. Make it from 'scratch': buy the plants, spice (not spice mixes), and cuts of meat, and make it happen. Worth investigating growing things as well.
  • Completing something I can show to someone else. Having goals or stories or whatever is one thing, but looking at a ton of backend plumbing and saying 'Look! I did that!' is incredibly unsatisfying. As cool as the work is, it's important for that work to matter to someone else. It won't feel satisfying otherwise. Connect it to a UI element, allow someone else to test or read it, publish it on the internet. Regardless of how your stuff gets out there, making it usable by others is the most important step. (This allows you to receive thanks and get feedback - the best motivation and the best way to learn, respectively).
  • Dedicated social time. I need to spend time with someone I care about who I don't see every day, enjoy a concert, or enter an environment where I can meet some cool people. Social energy is incredibly motivating for building and for life - we live for the people in our lives, and any 'work' I do should directly connect to other people. There's no better way to connect to others than to speak to them face-to-face, so this has to happen.
  • 1:1 technical conversation This usually goes hand-in-hand with the 'completing something' point, but may be separate depending on the product. To keep learning about technical topics in breadth or depth, and to advance a career, it's going to be super important to not only learn about innovations, but also to discuss how they work, how they might be implemented, etc. Maybe there's a cool library, or a new mathematical approach to something, or a new paradigm for X; regardless of the details of the conversation, it has to be with another person, one-on-one.
  • [Weekly] 'networking' events. 1:1 works but it's a bit of a crutch, and it's easy to fall into this trap of not meeting any new people. New people are beautiful and there are so many ways that they can benefit you; you're just one person, so meeting another person who cares about what you care about is multiplicative. And maybe you'll meet more! The only way to learn more is to be exposed to more. Also, it's really difficult to cultivate social skills speaking with existing friends; you generally can predict how they'll react or how your interaction will go. The people you meet and spend time with should be new and unexpected. There is no other way to learn.

This could help make a calendar - i.e. "Oh, I have to fill the social gap or the networking gap or the sports gap!" - or something. I do want to explicitly block time out for these things - right now I just do this in my head, but it should make it onto paper someday.

📖 stoas
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