Taking a rest day and reflecting on self

By | January 16, 2014

Yesterday was quite an interesting day. After working so hard for the past two months, I decided to take a rest day and not do any work whatsoever. None. Whatsoever.

Sadly, it didn’t really work (I ended up doing some programming anyway), but I did notice something important about myself.

Specifically, it was interesting to see how much I’ve changed over the past few months. Back when I quit my job on 2/15/2013 (yes, I remember the exact day), I remember spending entire days doing nothing but playing games and watching TV. I would play League of Legends on one screen while watching video game streams on another. It was … depressing. I was addicted, and I knew it. What’s worse is that I didn’t know how to stop doing it.

But now, it seems like I spend most of time programming and working on personal development. It’s kind of scary, actually, how different I am now. Just looking at the numbers alone, I went from doing 0 hours of productive work per day to 4+ hours per day. That’s quite a big difference isn’t it?

I know. You may be thinking to yourself, “Whoa, that was a huge jump. Why did you suddenly skip from being a total slacker to a what productive person?” Don’t worry, I know that I didn’t transition well between the two different states. I did that on purpose because the truth is that I have no idea how I did it. Seriously. I’ve been trying to reflect back and figure it out, but I honestly don’t know.

I guess the easy answer is that I instilled a new habit of working instead of playing around. But the question is, how? What happened exactly? I can’t say for certain, but the two things that come to mind are:

1) Office change. Instead of using my desktop upstairs in my room, I started using my laptop downstairs in the dining room. I assume the difference is that my laptop is clearly less powerful and cant play games as well, but that doesn’t really make much sense. I still play games a little bit, just a lot less. Hell, I can still play League of Legends that my laptop if I wanted. Then again, I did hit Diamond league back in Septemember, so maybe my motivation to play the game completely dropped when I hit my goal.

2) Pomodoro technique. I started trying this out a bit, initially doing 4 pomodoris (or intervals) per day. I know, 2 hours doesn’t really seem like much. But considering the fact that I was doing no work at all before that, I’d say going from 0 to 2 hours was huge for me. After all, improving yourself is all about the small steps!

(If you don’t know what the Pomodoro technique is, it’s basically 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes break. Do this 4 times and then take a longer 15 minute break.)

Nowadays, I spend 4+ hours working per day. However, I don’t use the Pomodoro technique anymore. This is because programming is all about getting into the zone and letting the code flow out. So when I take frequent breaks via Pomodoro, it really throws me off my game and drastically reduces my output. I guess I would need to figure out how to plan my intervals better if I want to continue using it.

Anyway, my goal is to get to 10 hours per day. This is because in the startup/entrepreneurial world, hard work is the defacto standard for being successful. It’s also more work than the typical 9-5 job, but you know what? I enjoy it.

So cheers to progress. It’s going to be a great year!

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