air born

Planning for hobbies

I have noticed that I tend to procastinate quite a bit when my goals are self-motivated. I hype-plan and but rarely put in enough effort for the regular work needed to accomplish my goals. I want to fix this with some kind of plan.

Side-note: Procastination may be linked to perfectionism.

I refuse to listen to any productivity guru. Everyone's brain works a little differently. Figuring out what works best for me through experimentation would be faster instead of trying 10 “well-researched” approaches. Not to mention the demotivation you go through after failing at these techniques. Planning should be fun and not regime.

Anyway, I do not intend to come up with some kind of a silver bullet right now itself. Instead, I will try to plan for my current goals:

The first three goals are simply about giving enough time to them once a day. Harmonica practice can be done once a day for an hour or twice a day for half-hour each. For fitness, I would like to do both strength training as well as some cardio (as much as I dislike cardio). I can do 1.5 hours of either of them once a day. Meal prep is something I can do on the weekdays. I feel like this will also take 1.5 hours of work on those days. Stories and myths are enjoyable and provide a nice break from my usual systematic nature of work and thought. I would like to do this as I go to sleep every day.

Both the courses will require significant attention and learning from my end. Some of their topics and concepts overlap. But that does not really mean any less work. More than anything, I want to enjoy this as much as possible. Some of my most enjoyable memories in college are of crashing into an online course (usually CS) and just consuming everything. Completing all exercises and going the extra mile. The novelty and charm (of the unknown) was too tempting. I can feel that some of that magic is gone after working so many years in this industry. The computer is not as much a black-box as it used to be. But there is still much more to learn. I can feel myself plateauing at work. I need to go deeper into the stack. More than what I my job requires me to do. I have a feeling that I will need this knowledge some day. And even if I don't, I still want to learn and build. I don't need a reason as long as I am having fun. Anyway, I want to dedicate at least 2 hours every day (on average) to this.

I also love writing. Especially the kind where I explain something to someone (ig that makes me a mansplainer lol). I don't know why I have this urge. This is also why I think I put so much effort into my technical proposals and designs at work. Something I have been planning to do for a long time has been establishing a newsletter where I push out reviews of famous papers in the field of computing. I don't know if anyone is interested in reading something like that or not, but I still want to give it a shot. I will continue to do this for a whole year and see if I enjoy doing it. I think I will dedicate most of my weekends to this. This will require at least 20 hours every week if I want to produce anything worth reading.

My full-time job these days involves doing so many different things that noting it all down here is tedious. Needless to say, it is not easy to manage multiple hobbies while also excelling at work. I need to put in at least 10 (sometimes 14!) hours per day to get things done. I could take it easy there and focus more on my hobbies, but I am just not that kind of guy. My work is a service I am paid for. I will do it dilligently. Besides a good engineer should care about everything he produces. Caring about your work goes a long way towards providing contentment in life. This is true for me at least.

Finally, I cannot ignore the usual (and unusual) flow of life. Daily chores will not go away and sleep is essential. I also want to maintain the little social life I have built over the last year. These activities together might consume any number of hours in a given week. I can regulate sleep to some degree (without sacrificing health) but chores and socializing are much too irregular to be accurately accounted for. Therefore, I will not include them in my plan at all. If I happen to spend time on these activities, I will simply (and happily) cut down on one or more hobbies for that week. I don't think it will not hurt me too much.

I have a rough idea in my head, of what might work. I am going to try an approach for a week and update this page based on what I learn. But penning this down should hopefully trigger some motivation to follow through and come up with a solid routine.