This is who I want to be on a Sunday morning: I wake up at 6AM with the sun gently reflecting on my skin. I take a few minutes to stretch, meditate and practice gratitude. I start my day with a run to my favorite coffee shop where I work on my passion projects until 11AM.
This is who I really am: Racoon-like, huddled in my bed in sweat pants covered in melted chocolate until 11AM with a 4-day unwashed hair. I’m binging on The Blacklist, subreddit /showerthoughts or dog gifs. I hiss like a vampire when the blinds finally roll up.
Yeah, execution is everything.
I decided to ask Ms Product Manager Magda for advice and she just said: what gets measured, gets managed.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: diet; my diet is plain terrible. I eat the combination of the healthiest, greenest foods and the greasiest, dirtiest shit you can imagine. For example, yesterday I had a Sweet Green salad for lunch and a huge bag of Cadbury eggs for dinner with Korean instant ramen on the side. Yeah. This my life.
I want to do better. Hell, I’ve been wanting to do better for years. I decided to first and foremost monitor the amount of bad food I eat. I don’t calorie count and I don’t intend to be on any kind of a diet. I just want to limit my bad food intake as much as possible.
I also want to practice mindfulness. I’ve tried meditation in the past and it is not for me at this point in my life – I simply can’t sit still and just ‘not think’ (how does one do that? and why?!!). Instead, I like to practice the Wim Hoff method. It is essentially deep breathing practice and then holding your breath for as long as you can. I feel calming effects of this method right away.
Alternatively, I want to practice more gratitude. I don’t thank the universe enough for the gifts that I get every day. I feel incredibly blessed to lead the life that I have, and I know I am incredibly lucky.
Lastly, I want to keep track of my stretching and workouts. I never stretch and my knees feel it. I also exercise a lot less with my new job, and I want to make sure that my exercise routine doesn’t completely die while I’m busy with work.
Additionally, I’d like to dive deeper into my knowledge on agile. I’ve been part of agile organizations for about a year and a half now and it’s truly changed my outlook on how software should be made. I want to solidify this knowledge with a Professional Scrum Master Certification at the end of the summer.
Lastly, I think that machine learning is disrupting every software product out there. Does your Spotify Discover playlist know you better than your boyfriend? How come Facebook recognizes your dog’s face in your friend’s photo? Yeah, machine learning is also the reason for my binging sessions in Netflix. I want to learn more about it so that I can implement ML projects in the future. There’s a free Coursera class from Stanford that looks pretty legit, and I may try learning this way.
Writing a blog has been one of the best decisions I have made recently. I love documenting my adventures and sharing them with the world. It helps me to do something new every week and it helps me face the uncomfortable. However, it’s difficult to prioritize my writing with everything else that’s going on, and I need firm goals for how much I expect to write.
I also want to learn how to tell beautiful stories through audio. This is part of a larger evil plan that I’m too shy to share here. For now, you should know that I’m jumping on a new podcasting/storytelling project with my dear friend Michelle. You should expect to hear episode 1 by the end of the month!
Lastly, there’s a project that has been on my list for a solid 10 years – learning to speak Spanish. I have undoubtedly improved over the years, but I am still not fluent. I even married a native speaker as a way to learn Spanish, but the plan backfired – my Spanish is no better and now I speak English with a Latino accent. I simply don’t have enough time to prioritize this project in a way that would lead to real results.
Enter: THE spreadsheet
With all this in mind, I created a dashboard to track the 3 big areas of my life that I’d like to improve:
Mind and body health
1. Don’t eat shit. Stay above 8pts/day in good food ranking.
2. Practice gratitude for 10 minutes/day
3. Exercise 3+ times a week
4. Document my lessons from the job search in tech by end of April
5. Read one agile principles book
6. Start a course in machine learning
7. Publish a blog post every week
8. Start a podcast (1 episode done by end of the month)
9. Practice Spanish (15 minute practice every day)
In the first two weeks of the month I tracked baseline data and learned that I suck. Other than exercise, I failed in every category. This is changing though; for the next two weeks I’m decided to go on SUPERWOMAN mode. I’ll hit perfect score every.fucking.day. Wish me luck!