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picture of me
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Productivity Report - July 2018

This month's banner features a picture of a vegan waffle that I ate. It was good.

Broad Overview

July 2018 is the 23rd month in which I have tracked my productivity. Overall productivity hours (especially software dev hours) for the month are fairly low, due in part to a week-long vacation at the start of the month. Nevertheless, I would say that I am a better programmer now than I was before, so progress has been made.

  • Fitness: 49.5 hours
  • Software Development: 22.25 hours
  • Music/Art: 2 hours
  • Other: 3.25 hours
  • Total productive hours: 77.0 hours

My average amount of productive hours per day (from all categories) was 2.48 hours.

Software Development

My software development goal for the month of July 2018 was to:

  • Update EmojiPhoto with text-message sharing functionality

That I succeeded in early on in the month. Actually, I took things just a bit further. I went ahead and implemented sharing via SMS, Gmail, and Whatsapp (along with Facebook and Twitter). You can find the Play store listing here: Emojiphoto on Google Play store.

For the remainder of the month I balanced time between working through problems on Leetcode and getting a head-start in my upcoming Data Structures and Algorithms class by reading the first couple of relevant chapters in the textbook (I emailed my professor to ask what I should do to prepare). I also spent a lot of time this month researching/pondering what I want to do in the near future as far as my education goes. I am still undecided, but I think there could be value in doing a masters thesis, which of course, would require me to enroll in an on-campus graduate program somewhere. The main issue here is money. No doubt, the online program I am in is more affordable (and also allows me to continue working full-time as long as I please). As of now, I am leaning toward staying on the track I currently am on and attempting to get accepted into Georgia Tech's OMSCS program. This is something I will have to keep thinking on.

Fitness

In July 2018, my overall fitness hours totalled to 49.50 hours. I spent 16.00 hours lifting weights, and I spent 26.75 hours running and cycling for cardio. My average lifting hours per week was 3.61 hours, and my average cardio hours per week was 6.04 hours.

In the beginning week of July, I was on vacation, and so I pretty much ate a ton of junk food. I also did not stick to my plant-based diet. My first weigh-in for the month, when I got back home on July 8, was at 202.0 lbs (up more than 10 lbs since my June 30th weigh in)! Or course, a lot of that gain was water weight, and I was down to 196 by July 10. By the time July 31 rolled around, I was weighing in at 186.8 lbs. For the record, this is the lowest I've weighed in about 10 years.

With the plant-based diet I have been on, it seems that I was easily able to get past my usual sticking point of 190. Keep in mind, at no point have I felt like I was leaving myself hungry. I am able to eat enough good food to satisfy my hunger while still losing weight. Time will tell how much weight this diet will truly allow me to lose. Weight-loss is not my main reason for the dietary change, but I welcome it for now.

As far as other benefits of the diet goes - my skin continues to look better than ever. I used to always have blackheads all over my face. I mean, I don't think it was particularly bad or anything, but now I have next to zero blackheads. The skin on my face is almost like a child's. Also, my back does feel better overall, but I cannot definitively attribute this to my diet. I have also started to stretch a lot (probably about 45 minutes every day), so that may very well have something to do with it.

For the time being, I will be sticking to my plant-based diet. I have seen no negatives, so why would I stop?

Music/Art

I barely spent any time on music this month at all. Actually, for the time being, I think I would prefer to focus my efforts solely on software development. This category will probably be removed for next month's post.

Other

In this past month, I spent 3.25 hours doing other productive stuff. Really, it's more than that. My consideration for what counts as productive hours in this category does not cover a lot of actual productive activities like time spent researching grad schools or cleaning the kitchen, etc.

Books

First up, I finished reading The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida. I rate it 3/5 stars. I considered giving it a 2/5, but there are two reasons why I settled on a 3. For one, while the book contains a lot of new age, spiritual mumbo-jumbo, there were some moments of keen insight that I do think I could take some value from. Secondly, reading this book influenced me to read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

As stated, the next book I read was Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor, and this book is a collection of stuff he wrote. As far as anyone knows, he never intended for this to be released as a book, and he never chose to title it "Meditations". The likely story seems to be that he was writing all of this just for himself. Who knows. Either way, this was a very influential read for me. In particular, I take these key lessons from the book:

  • If it is beyond your control, it does not harm you.
  • You can control your perceptions.
  • Be analytical/logical. Do not let emotions cloud your judgement.
  • It is your duty to work diligently and to benefit the community.
  • Pleasure-seeking is a vice and a weakness.

Marcus didn't necessarily say outright all of those things I mentioned, but that is my personal take-away from his writings. Here is one of my favorite verses from the book:

“Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option: to accept this event with humility to treat this person as he should be treated to approach this thought with care, so that nothing irrational creeps in.”

As I mentioned, Meditations has had some influence on my life. I have, since finishing the book, been living a more ascetic lifestyle. What I mean by that is that I am abstaining from certain distractions/addictions: listening to music, watching youtube every time I eat, caffeine. I also have been taking cold showers instead of hot. Also, I think I have done a better job of staying focused at work. Another way that Meditations has influenced me: I feel a sense of duty in devoting myself to some purpose, so that I can maximize my personal contribution to the world. I am still searching for that purpose, which I would not define as a static thing; it could change over time. For now, I think that my purpose is in furthering my education and skills in the realm of computer science. I mean, that is what I've been doing anyway, but at least I feel more assured in that.

Reading Mediations got me interested in philosophy, so I decided to read What Does it all Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy. Personally, I'd recommend skipping this one. The book gives short introductions to some of the main topics of philosophy, but it does not offer much insight. I just didn't get much value from this book. I rate it 2/5 stars.

Next I will be reading The Republic by Plato. I am reading Allan Bloom's translation.

Goals for next month (August 2018):

Software Dev Goals:

  • prepare/study for class (begins 8/27/2018)
  • Make a game for Ludum Dare 42 (begins 8/10/2018)

Fitness Goals:

  • continue trend of weight loss
  • continue with plant-based + fish diet