The Wednesday Writeup - Issue #3

Hello, and welcome back to The Wednesday Writeup! Is this seriously issue 3 already? I'm losing track of the weeks.

Still in the throngs of Coronavirus, this week doesn't feel like it has been drastically different than the last. It's actually kinda nice in a way to be sending out these updates. It gives me a way to look back on the weeks at a higher level than just my journal notes, see some evolution over time.

As usual, let me know if you have any thoughts on the writeup, or just want to say hello!

What I'm Doing

I was a little bit unproductive coming out of last week, I realized that my momentum dipped relatively drastically for a couple of days after Write of Passage ended and I wasn't as consistent with my writing as I would like. Plus I'm already recognizing that some of the writing projects that I really want to do (namely teaching programming) are ones that will take some time, planning, and probably shouldn't be locked to a specific schedule, and aren't quite the same type of writing that we worked on in the course. In order to compensate for all of that and then some, I was inspired to start a three month challenge for myself to publish a post to my blog nearly every day. This will definitely be difficult, and I talk about how I'm approaching it in this kickoff post from yesterday. For today I wrote a tutorial on a basic Anki workflow, so on track so far, but will see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Basically finished with the rearchitecting work started last week on my app, it took me longer than it should have, but I'm taking this time to learn as much as I can about how different people are architecting and building apps, and trying to apply a couple of those practices to mine in order to build up that skillset. It's still crazy how different Android development is outside of Facebook.

Still spending some time on the web development side of things as well. Been going through more of Frontend Masters (really liking Design for Developers) and a few other resources for React + Node. Also working on adding a section to my site for raw notes that I have taken on different things (inspired by Nat Eliason). Should have a basic version of that up in the next day or two. I did get some work done on my blog today, adjusted styling a bit and added a few elements that were definitely needed.

Also, just wanted to add, I was playing Stardew Valley with my family over the weekend. It was really nice taking that time to slow down and just enjoy playing a game with the people I care about.

What I'm Thinking

I had some insight into why I had such a productivity slump earlier this week. I think it was because I had stopped using Toggl and doing time tracking! It is so easy to fall back into bad habits and spend time on things unintentionally when there is no pressure to make a decision about what you do next. I would end up losing hours to social media without even thinking about it, just because I would start looking at it during transition periods between other activities. But if I know there is a timer running saying that I'm coding, I am much less likely to spend more than a minute or two at a time doing something other than coding until I turn that timer off. Might need to write more about this at some point...

Still thinking about how to balance all of the things I'm working on. Ideally I want to find the time to do all of the daily habits, writing, reading, app development, web development, and game development that I want to do, while also spending enough time with my family, but it's going to be a careful balancing act. Some things will definitely have to be more of a priority than others, and I will have to develop steadily better systems to make sure all of these things continue to move in the right direction. I'm not ready to totally drop any of those things yet, but I might have to figure out a schedule of when to focus on what to maintain my sanity.

Things to Read

Articles

Life in the Time of Corona - Will Mannon

Probably one of my favorite pieces of writing about the Coronavirus so far. Will doesn't go into the numbers or the science like I have seen from many other articles around the internet, instead he approaches it from how it impacts every single one of us on a human level. He does a great job presenting the thought provoking reality that we are, every single one of us, experiencing history being made.

Neuromyths: debunking misconceptions about our brain - Anne-Laure Le Cunff

I will admit, I believed in at least one or two of these myths until reading this article. I need to do some research on my own still, and I'm looking forward to digging into some of the materials in this space, but needless to say I have adjusted some of my thoughts on the way people learn. If you are interested in brains or education I would recommend taking a look, might be some that you still believe in there.

Also, I’m realizing this is the second time in as many weeks I’m recommending a NessLabs article, maybe I should stop doing that and mix it up a little, but yeah, go check out her stuff, it’s good!

Books

Wheel of Time Series - Robert Jordan

Not a recent read, in fact I finished this series about 4 years ago, but right now, while people are quarantined, I think what people need more than anything is a book to take them out of their own heads and into a fantasy land. And what is better than one book to do that? How about fourteen books! Although certainly not perfect, this is an amazing series, but it isn't for the faint of heart. It took me about 8 months to get through, and it was only on my third attempt in as many years that I gained the momentum to finish the whole thing. But if you are a fan of high fantasy, this could be a great way to pass the time.

Things to Watch

Shu Omi has some amazing resources on using Roam Research. That one is probably one of my favorites, but for anyone getting into Roam, I definitely recommend checking out the rest of his channel.

Location of the Week: Ushuaia

I got to visit Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, just about four days before flying back and quarantining. It was a really pretty place, and my hotel room had great views of the boats heading in and out of the harbor. We were only there for two nights, but the big event we did was walking with penguins!

This is the season for molting, so they looked extra fluffy and adorable, although they certainly aren't very lively during this time. I have of course seen penguins before, but never this many, and never up quite so close. Technically we were supposed to stay away from them (early social distancing training?), but some of them were right next to the path and couldn't really be avoided, so ended up getting within one or two feet of several penguins, which was neat.

Signing off until next week
- Aengus McMillin