Learning Log Week 4: It's more like a month because of burnout.

July 19, 2019

"Week 4?" Come on, Radhika. It's been four weeks since I last wrote to this blog!

I was experiencing a lot of burnout. I talked about it more in my newsletter.

Regardless, I've been back for a week now and it's time to update on the past week only.

A lot of priorities have shifted.

Revamped priorities

After my burnout, I decided I needed a separate space for work and home. I joined a coworking space half a mile from home this week. A lot of this week has been devoting to getting used to this habit and just showing up. I also had a lot of email to catch up on, and some irrelevant job-related stuff.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to drop some things from my plate:

  • Learning Python (I'm never going to be good enough at it until I start using it for something in particular)
  • Streaming (Useful, but so exhausting)

So, here are my main focuses now:

  • Getting as good as React as I was with Vue (building a good production project, and going through a full course again)
  • Same with Node (same things here as well, prod project and courses)

Some side focuses that still exist:

  • Algorithms (nowhere near every day, I got to the core competency level that I wanted, but I don't care as much as I did before)
  • Meetups (still haven't gone to one since moving to the Bay Area)

I think there was a lot of trauma around my work before. There were also a lot of folks who encouraged me to just be curious. I don't think it's smart to generalize while job hunting. I will generalize more after I am in my next job, and secure in my daily work.

With that, here's my schedule now that I'm used to the coworking space a bit more:

Morning Block (Arrive around 9AM)

  • Inbox Zero + Twitter notifications catch-up
  • Go through the relevant course of the day until time is up

Lunch (Go home around noon)

Afternoon-Evening Block (Until 8PM)

  • Arrive around 2PM
  • Work on projects or something else practical code-related

I think that's a good balance, and I think I can keep up feeling productive with the huge time block in between.

So, with that, let's move onto what I've actually worked on in those blocks this week --

Go through Andrew Mead's Node course

This course is so good. It's hard to justify working on courses when your GitHub commits look empty, I think. It's hard to not say "I know Node. It's JavaScript, but on the back-end." It also doesn't help that I've tried faster courses and just immensely hated them.

"I'll learn Node. It'll only take 5 hours!" I fall for this trap every single time. I try and avoid the stuff for ultra-beginners because I like to think I'm past that, then I settle for some sort of halfway knowledge.

On the other hand, I learned Gatsby relatively easily (albeit slowly) using the official docs, which was still shorter than a whole video series on it. I probably still don't know a lot about Gatsby. Hmm.

It's hard to suss out the complexity of different topics. I think instead of filtering based on the topics, I should focus on the style of the tutorial -- regardless of the medium.

The marker of courses I enjoy is a sense of thoroughness & starting from principles, but ONLY when there is a project being built at the end. I like when every line of code is explained, but we only write lines of codes that serve our purpose of building this project.

Maybe the Python book was difficult because it didn't follow this pattern. It wasn't so much about the concept of it being a book, as much as it was just because the first half of the book revolves heavily around blind exposure. I find that really difficult to comprehend.

Regardless, my plan is to go through Andrew's Node course until I no longer find it useful. After that, I will go back through his React course, from the start, if only because it's been so long.

Some Projects

I've built a bunch of small projects over the past few weeks.

  • Colors & Cookies, a React (some server stuff, too) app that I hope to grow into a clicker game. Official description is "An idle clicker game based on Earthbound, joy, and rainbows."
  • highestscores, a Node app that just messes around with some data parsing with JSON.
  • Conway's Game of Life, terrible & live in Node.js!

That's it.

My main focuses over the next few weeks will be --

  1. Working on Colors & Cookies. A lot of this involves clicker game design stuff, so I'm not sure how I can actually program this constantly.
  2. Working on making Timeline into a full CRUD app.

There's a lot more I want to do, but I'm not going to go too crazy right now. I want to get some stuff done.

...

That's it for now! Hopefully next week is as good as this week. I really like how visible my progress was this week.


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