I’ve been blogging on SubdueTheSloth.com off and on for a little over a decade. When I started the site, the primary purpose was to create public accountability to help drive the development of a SubdueTheSloth Fitness App. It’s an approach I’ve used in the past on other projects like DianHua Dictionary to help push me through difficult or labor intensive tasks by gaming my allergy to public failure.
So what happened? Life happened, for lack of a better answer…and maybe I took some allergy medicine.
Burnout? Yes, I have a full-time job as a Software Engineer, and I frequently suffer burnout in and around significant deadline pushes. As it’s a small business with only myself and one part-time contractor, there is nowhere to run and hide. For example, in Summer 2020, I did a year’s worth of hours in a little over 3 months (not exaggerating, sadly).
Priorities? Yes, Family -> Health/Fitness -> Work -> Side Projects, in that order.
Technology Changes? Yes, in 2015, I was approaching serious alpha testing with our iPhone GPS app for Running, Hiking, and Cycling. In Fall 2015, Apple announced the first Apple Watch. It was obvious an iPhone App made no sense in isolation but also that the Apple Watch was woefully incomplete. Development stopped…
Distractions? Absolutely. I won’t detail all of the projects I found myself chasing, but suffice it to say, there were times I should have looked at my priorities and said no. There were also the various health issues and injuries, some of which are ongoing and others that are relatively new.
My back injury in May was a significant impediment to normal day-to-day functioning, but I’ve been able to get back to a place of less pain than I had even before the injury.
Excuses? Yes, these are all excuses, and one of my distractions in 2021 really brought that into focus for 2022.
In the most cliched move any developer could make, I wrote a Personal Productivity application late in 2021, a web app I currently call Snowball. I may talk about Snowball in more detail in the future, but for the purposes of this post, the main takeaway is that it allows me to track a lot of data. I’m not always perfect in my tracking, but it’s become a fairly consistent habit, as long as I’m at my main work computer.
Now that I have a full year of data in Snowball, I was able to do a self-assessment of my 2022, and It. Was. Abysmal.
Isolating SubdueTheSloth, I only tracked 70 hours for all of 2022. 70 hours, even including launching a Mastodon server in December.
I spent at least 165 hours monitoring our retirement accounts. What if I had just invested in $SPY and $BND and put that time into SubdueTheSloth instead?
I only spent 15 hours studying Chinese and Spanish in 2022. Honestly, what on earth? If anything, my Chinese improved slightly over 2021. I want a recount!
I’ve never made New Year’s Resolutions, but I think it’s time to try something new. The data shows what I’ve been doing the past 10 years hasn’t been working.
#1 :: Track My Workouts in SubdueTheSloth Fitness by Summer 2023
Given my 2022 hours, this is an absurd step up in effort, but the current Apple Watch development was starting to gain momentum when I last stepped away from it for a work deadline. One major change I’m making, though, is bringing ChatGPT with me to future coding sessions, a change which I hope will increase my productivity by removing some of the friction of documentation reading and Google searches.
#2 :: Run at least 1 Race
I haven’t trained specifically for and run a race since 2015. Even if I just go out and run 21 minutes in a 5K, I want to race at least once this year.
#3 :: Cook
Believe it or not, I can probably count on two hands the number of times I’ve cooked meals in 2022. This resolution is as much financial as it is nutritional. Due to the pandemic, I rationalized my irresponsibility as benefiting employees in the food service and delivery industries, but it’s time to get my financial house back in order.
#4 :: At Minimum, Run 2x and Lift 2x Weekly
I would like to do more, but this is going to be the bare minimum. Considering the back injury in May, I wasn’t terrible with running, but it was a rare week that saw me lifting more than 1x per week even prior to the injury.
#5 :: Continue Machine Learning Study and Experiments
Some of the features eventually planned for SubdueTheSloth Fitness require Machine Learning. There are some areas where I need to fill in gaps in my knowledge and gain experience to be able to design and deploy ML more effectively.
#6 :: Study Chinese 5x Per Week
My goal is to increase my reading vocabulary, including character recognition, to the point that I can read a relatively easy book without the assistance of a dictionary. I probably know a little over 1,000 characters even though I’ve lost a lot the last few years. Adding 500-1,000 more would get me close to where I want to be.
#7 :: Study Spanish 2x Per Week
French in High School soured me on Romance Languages, but it’s a useful skill that I think deserves the effort.
#8 :: Home Projects
Our house needs a lot of work, and I already have two significant projects underway.
Now the question is, how do I hold myself accountable? You know, I bet I could write a new Snowball feature to help with that…