Monthly Review October 2018

The last monthly review I published on this blog was for February. I had a half-finished draft for March but somehow didn't get to complete it. From then onwards, I thought about whether I should continue this tradition of writing a monthly review at all or whether I should just leave it. If I continued, I asked myself whether I have to catch up with the missing months like last time, also considering to make a summary post over multiple months or shorter reviews. All in all, these thoughts made this whole thing seem much more of a burden; an ever-growing pile of work as months went by and I tried to focus on other things.

Lately, though, I came to the realization that there are so many things on my mind that I need to put in order to make sense of myself again. I feel like I haven't taken much time for mindful self-reflection over the past half-year and that's slowly beginning to become a problem. Therefore I have decided that I need to reboot my journey of self-improvement and one of the first sensible steps would be to get back into the evaluation of my life with regular monthly reviews. I have also made the decision that I will not try in any way to make up for the missing posts on this blog and instead simply publish a review for last month and subsequently try to get back on track with writing each month.

After this lengthy introduction, let's have a look at my October.

Events & Highlights

I've been to a concert of the modern jazz and acoustic electronica band GoGo Penguin in Darmstadt. As I've already posted on Instagram, I really enjoyed the concert, and I was close enough to the stage to observe the musicians in action. Sadly I had to leave before the end of the show because I had a train to catch. I also enjoyed going back to Darmstadt where I went to university and even though I've been there a few times already, this time my arrival in town made me feel especially nostalgic.

We had a six people session with my regular boardgaming group and I got to try a new game called Hyperborea. See a picture and mini-review on my Instagram.

Another highlight happened close to the end of the month when there was a reunion of one of my old schools. It was not the school where I graduated after the 13th year but the school where I had been from 5th to 10th grade and left in 2001. I haven't been in touch with any of these people for 17 years so meeting them again was quite exciting. It's fascinating to see the different, sometimes unexpected paths each of us takes after school and how some people and aspects of people change and how others feel exactly the same as if no time had passed.

Finally, I started a one-week "workation" in Berlin, from which I returned yesterday.


Here are the top five categories from RescueTime, based on 245h 45 min time logged:

  • 30% Software Development
  • 20% Social Networking
  • 10% Communication & Scheduling
  • 6% Utilities
  • 6% Business

Looking at focus booster, my total productive time was 131h 16min.

What's quite interesting is my weekday productivity chart, because it looks much more stable, meaning distributed equally, compared to previous ones:

Weekday Productivity

Looking at the still-too-high social networking numbers, I can see that almost half of it goes to Twitter:

Bildschirmfoto 2018-11-04 um 15.39.44.png

I'm wondering why Twitter feels especially addictive, but I'm also guessing that limiting my usage of Twitter is the key to bringing the total hours spent on social networks down and replace them with more meaningful activity.

For Facebook, I installed the minimalist Firefox Add-on Disable Facebook News Feed. It does essentially what the name suggests, it removes the news feed from Facebook. You can still use notifications, private messages or directly look at profiles of friends or pages, it's just that the homepage remains empty and you won't get sucked into it. Because you have to go down into the settings and disable the whole add-on to make your feed visible I have stayed away from it since August. I want the same thing for Twitter. Blocking the page completely or unfollowing everyone is not an option I want to consider at the moment. Maybe I should just fork the extension and port it to Twitter myself?!


My average mood tracked in Exist was 3.92.

Entertainment and Media

I'm following the new season of Doctor Who and so far I like the 13th Doctor and the new companions. Apart from that, I've started Wisdom of the Crowd. It is a crime-themed show with a focus on technology and Silicon Valley. And while obviously their depictions of tech are simplified I still have the feeling that they're trying to be accurate when it comes to terminology and their characters are stereotypical but they don't overdo it.


November is packed with more travel. I'm going to two conferences, API the Docs in London and the tcworld conference in Stuttgart. I'm also a speaker at the latter, talking about API design and documentation.


As I've mentioned in the productivity session, I want to spend less time on Twitter. I already don't use the mobile app but somehow I browse their website too much. As one goal for this month, I want to find a technological solution to curb the addiction, probably based on the add-on I mentioned above, without having to leave Twitter completely.

Final Remarks

Writing this post took me three pomodoro sessions and a few extra minutes. Please note that some of the links to tools I use are referral links so if you sign up through them I get a commission or rebate.