Monthly Review September 2017

It's October 3rd, "reunification day", Germany's national holiday. And here I am with the monthly review for last month, published in time:

Accomplishments

I worked on CloudObjects but couldn't get anything released. Nevertheless ProgrammableWeb published a summary of my August post "Micro API Design Pattern", which felt quite amazing - I never had any larger site publish an article based on my own ideas or writing! Another related accomplishment is that I got a guest post called "What’s New in Swagger / OpenAPI 3?" published on the BlazeMeter blog. It's awesome because it's a paid gig that also helps me establish my personal brand as an API expert.

Highlights

The biggest highlight in September was probably my six day trip to Berlin. I was invited by one of my long time friends to celebrate the first day at school of his son who also happens to be my godson. The celebration was on a Saturday and I went to Berlin from Thursday to Tuesday. Friday I spent some time alone with the 6-year-old and we went to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. On the weekend, however, after the celebration we all went to a small rural village north of Berlin where my friend's wife's family lives. Spending all this time with their family and in a different surrounding was really nice and a complete change to my usual pace of life. The last time I went to Berlin I used the time to catch up with other friends and tried to get a glimpse of the bustling tech and startup scene as well, but this trip was completely dedicated to its primary purpose.

The only activity I did all by myself while in Berlin was some me-time on Monday night where I had a nice cup of tea, walked around the city, ate overpriced organic "currywurst" and at least caught a backside view of the Reichstag to confirm that I was actually in the German capital.

I also spent some time with my sister this month. As she is moving out of her current apartment and into a new place, I stayed at her old place for two weekends with her and also a fews days on my own in order to put the otherwise empty place to a good use before the lease expired. This way I could get myself another change of scenery.

Productivity

Let's have a look at the RescueTime categories, as usual:

  • 22% Social Networking (up by 4 points from 18% last month)
  • 16% Software Development (down by 5 points from 23% last month)
  • 13% Entertainment
  • 9% Utilities
  • 9% Communication & Scheduling

As you can see, Social Networking moved up as my top activity again, and Software Development is down. Overall I logged 45.7 h less screen time compared to the previous month, which is kind of obvious due to my travels. Related to that, 85% of the screen time comes from the computer and 15% from my phone; in August it was 90% computer time. Still, the conclusion remains: I really need to get away from that Social Networking timesink!

Exercise

I haven't been to a swimming pool all month, but I still rode my bike when the weather allowed. While in Berlin there was also a lot of playing tag and even football (!) with my godson. That certainly counts as exercise, doesn't it?

Mood

My daily rating in the Exist mobile app shows a 3.83 average, that's the highest recorded monthly average since I started tracking, almost as high as in July.

What I realized while doing the nightly ritual of rating my mood is that, on usual weekdays, my mood is closely related to productivity. If I got a lot done I feel better. This month, however, there were a lot of special days due to the travelling and spending time in different places so I based my mood on other factors and that should have done its part in leading to the higher ratings.

Exist has added a few additional capabilities to their mood tracking recently but I haven't found the time to test them.

Daily Routine

Here's my favorite chart:

september2017-daily-productivity.png

I've marked the most productive hours and they're the same as in August.

There's still too much red in there and at almost every hour of the day, even past midnight, I need to reduce that. I've already made some attempts at limiting my screen time in the evening but I haven't kept up with this habit; thinking to make it a goal for next month. The main problem is using my computer in bed because it's much easier to hit Next Episode on Netflix than it is to put the whole thing aside; means that it always gets late ...

Entertainment and Media

In September I watched the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and started with the fourth. I also saw the first released episode of Star Trek: Discovery.

At my sister's place we watched two movies together, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Host.

Habits

In the July review I mentioned that I started using Habitica. This app allow you to track habits and tasks and maps your success or failure in terms of fulfilling those to the health and money of an avatar that represents you. I'm still figuring out the best way to use Habitica for task management but I'm already tracking a few habits. Unfortunately as far as I can see the app only records streaks for habits but doesn't give me any information on how many total days I have actually succeeded with a good habit. I'm thinking that with Exist's new mood tracking somehow I could hook up the APIs and build something nice.

Goals

It's the beginning of a new month, October, and I'm in time to set a few goals which I can check with the next review:

  • Reduce screen time at night: Switch off computer and phone no later than 21:30.
  • Figure out how to best use Habitica, especially in relation to the other productivity apps I'm using.
  • Finally release CloudObjects phpMAE.
  • Update this blog with a custom domain and submit next monthly review to Belle Cooper's newsletter as well as my other social media channels.
  • Read a "real" book.

Final Remarks

Analyzing the month and writing this post took me 4.5 pomodoro sessions.