Over at JFDI.bz (a web entrepreneur group I’m a member of) we occasionally do a “Week of Hustle” – a week where we try to make significant progress on a project. I had five days free last week, so decided to do a personal “Five Days of Hustle”.
Here are my thoughts on how it went.
A set of video tutorials for beginners to learn the basics of C# by creating a very simple RPG.
Based on the outline I started with, there would be 14 lessons. Some of those lessons were big enough that I’d need to split them into two or more videos/posts. The plan was to complete as many of them as possible during the five days.
After five days, this is what I accomplished:
- Wrote the first draft for 11 of 16 lessons/posts (I realized that there needed to be a couple more lessons)
- Wrote 8994 words for the lessons
- Created 10 raw screencast videos (they still need audio tracks and some editing)
Things that went right
- I got a lot accomplished. I made more progress on this project in these five days than I have in the last five months.
Things that went wrong
- I had already written some source code for the lessons, but it was on another VM. For some reason, there were problems moving the code to my screencast VM. E-mailing the code to myself didn’t work either – Thanks GMail for not letting me send source code files to myself, because they might contain executable code.
- At the end of the first day, my word processor suddenly stopped working. I spent time trying to fix it, but nothing worked. So, much of the second day was lost to uninstalling, re-downloading, and re-installing it.
- My physical programming environment is not very comfortable, making long stretches of work a little painful.
- One day, I was so tired that I needed to take a nap for a few hours. I believe this was because I had a large energy drink in the morning and a carb-heavy lunch (with dessert and coffee).
- On the fourth day, I was starting to get frustrated with all the random problems that were happening. It was difficult to stay focused and motivated.
- At one point, the VM I was working in took much longer to boot up. Normally it only takes a few seconds, but that time it took about 20 seconds. Nothing bad happened, but that made me worry about what I would have lost if the VM failed – since it’s only part of my weekly backup procedure.
- By the fifth day, I was starting to run out of focus/energy/motivation/flow. I have a theory I’ve been thinking about for a while that “flow” is the most precious thing needed when trying to create something (well, maybe behind some level of skill). I want to find more ways to either increase the amount of time I’m in this flow, or make it so I can use that time most effectively. But that’s probably going to take a while to figure out.
- It think I work best with a relatively short task/reward cycle. Do a task that should take about one hour to complete, and get a fifteen-minute “reward”. Somewhat similar to The Pomodoro Technique. The rewards I used last week were was watching an entertaining video on YouTube, or playing a bit of a video game I like. However, I think I need to come up with a reward that doesn’t involve more time staring at a computer screen.
Ideas to improve next time
- Get OneBox (Microsoft’s shared cloud storage drive) working with my VMs, or find an alternative to let me share files across them.
- See if there is a complete installer/ISO I can download for Office 365. I want to have it locally, like all my other installers, in case I ever need to re-install it.
- Get a faster Internet connection, in case I need to download large files again.
- Setup an automated backup system for all my projects.
- Find a non-computer fifteen-minute “reward” I can do at the end of each task.
- To reduce the impact of stress, start meditating again.
- Develop a healthier eating plan that gives me more consistent energy (and don’t really on energy drinks or sugary foods). This is part of a larger idea I have for optimal health and energy. But that larger idea is going to have to wait until I have a bit larger income.