Monthly Review October 2017

It's November 9th and about time for the monthly review for October. Actually I don't really have much time to do this today because my to-do list of client projects is totally full, however the health of my level 6 warrior at Habitica looks quite bad and I quickly need the experience points that writing this post will bring so I can level up and fully restore the health of my avatar ...

october2017-habitica-avatar.png

Goal Review

Last month was the first time I made a goal list as part of the monthly review, so let's check them out:

Reduce screen time at night

I think I failed that one quite often, on some days I had to work late, on others I couldn't resist the temptation of Netflix.

Figure out how to best use Habitica

I'm using Habitica every day to track habits and I have started using it for recurring tasks, such as writing this monthly review, as mentioned in the introduction. It is not yet my primary to-do list and I haven't built any integrations to turn it into that.

Finally release CloudObjects phpMAE

Failed. A lack of time and some unforeseen problems have prevented me from achieving this goal.

Update this blog with a custom domain

Success. I've decided to place this blog on a subdomain and I chose 1up as its name, inspired by the power-ups in some computer games, because the idea of this blog is to guide my journey and aspiration to become a better version of myself, a "+1-version". Jason/matigo of 10Centuries where this is hosted helped me set the custom domain up.

Read a "real" book

I've been able to include a short reading session into my morning routine on most days. At first I didn't know what I should read but then my mother helped me out on that one by handing me a novel she had read and thought I might like. I'm about halfway through with the book.

Accomplishments

My partnership with BlazeMeter is continuing and my second piece of writing for them, "5 Reasons You Should Use OpenAPI / Swagger for your APIs", has been published.

Highlights

Thinking of highlights for the last month, two short trips come to my mind. One of them was a one-day trip to Cologne to meet Jonathan, who's one of my oldest friends from my school days. Unfortunately we rarely see each other so it was really great to see him again. My trip coincidentally was one of the warmest, most beautiful days of the "golden October" so we could spend a lot of time outside walking and talking about all kinds of things. He's a huge StarTrek nerd as well, so later in the afternoon we watched the two latest episodes of StarTrek: Discovery together.

The other trip was to Essen where I visited the SPIEL (literally GAME), which happens to be the world's largest trade fair for boardgames and related merchandise. As I'm a big fan of boardgames I often wanted to go but never actually managed to make the trip. This time I was lucky that one of my friends with whom I regularly have boardgame nights once or twice a month and two of his friends had already planned the trip and I could join them. One of my cousins lately moved to Essen as well and she offered me a place for the night, so I was able to combine the trip to the fair with a family visist as well, which was really nice.

Another highlight of the month was that I finally replaced my old, damaged and non-upgradeable (from Android 4.1!) Samsung Galaxy S4 with a Fairphone 2. If you don't know them, Fairphone is a Dutch startup and B Corp on a mission to make electronics more sustainable by making their phones long-lived and easy to repair and upgrade as well as enforce transparency and better social and environmental standards on the supply chain. I find this a mission worthy of support. Unfortunately they have long delivery wait times as they can't keep up with demand so I bought a refurbished phone from an eBay seller. So far I'm quite satisfied with the device.

Productivity

My RescueTime top five categories:

  • 25% Software Development (up by 9 points from 16% last month)
  • 14% Social Networking (down by 6 points from 22% last month, lowest value this year!)
  • 10% Entertainment
  • 10% Utilities
  • 9% Communication&Scheduling

I'm happy to see I've spent more time doing actual coding last month. Thankfully I have been adamant in adding all time tracked with other tools into Focus Booster, so I can present data from that source again and do some comparision. There were a total of 205 sessions (Pomodoros and other types of sessions that can be both shorter or longer) and a total productive time of 91h 46 min tracked in Focus Booster, which is nearly exactly the amount of Very Productive time in RescueTime (89h 57min) and roughly half of the 198h 39min screen time recorded there. I find it fascinating that even though the tracking methods are quite different (manual vs. automatic) and, for example, I might use Pomodoros for things that RescueTime would consider distracting, these numbers are quite close.

One graph from Focus Booster which I've shared previously is the weekday productivity, and I find it interesting to see that this looks different from the same graph in May and June where I've previously included it:

june2017-weekday-productivity.png

I have no idea why that is. Maybe I suddenly started to love Mondays ...

Exercise

According to Swarm I've been swimming four times. I haven't really spent that much time cycling because either the weather made me feel like skipping it or I had other things to do.

Mood

My average daily mood, as tracked in Exist, was 3.74, slightly lower than last month. This surprises me, based on gut feeling I had expected it to be higher.

Daily Routine

I already know my goals and my struggle and I feel there's not much to gain from further analysis at the moment, so I'm skipping this section for this month. It'll be back next month.

Entertainment and Media

Apart from keeping up with Star Trek: Discovery as already mentioned above I watched a bit of other StarTrek shows on Netflix, mostly The Next Generation (fourth and early fifth season) as well as Enterprise. I haven't watched any movies or non-Trek series this month.

Habits

Positive habits I track:

  • Making the bed in the morning
  • Reading
  • Cycling
  • Working at the standing desk
  • Playing piano
  • Meditation

Negative habits I track:

  • Using social networks in the morning
  • Using phone or computer in bed

Goals

This post started with goals and it ends with goals. For this month my goals were a mixture of failures and successes, most of them a little bit of both, so let's see how I fare next month. Here's what I plan:

  • Reducing screen time at night remains a goal as I've failed too many times.
  • Getting CloudObjects phpMAE released also remains a goal.
  • Finish the book I'm reading right now and start a new one.
  • Develop an improved system for tracking my to-do list.

Final Remarks

Analyzing the month and writing this post took me 5 Pomodoro sessions.