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Daily Theming, Updates and Reviewing Year-End Goals



Front End Engineer

As I write this post I have a Udemy course playing in the background with the teacher discussing HTML tags. It's a great refresher and has brought a few tags to my attention I wasn't aware of before. While watching the videos I had a brief recall to being back in school, my lack of focus then and how I would drift off into day dreaming or drawing, and yet always passed top of my class. I thought, maybe that little mental disconnect allowed me to remember more some way, so let's try it again. I opened my notebook next to me to find a good space to just sketch while the videos role. The front is full of notes on JavaScript and React that I should revisit and share on here. The back reminded me of my list of year end goals for 2021. Both of these prompted me to instead write an article. Hah.

Daily Themes and a Small Update#

Daily Themes worked for me, and still do to an extent. I haven't spent time creating a "daily theme schedule" any more. I've been "working" for a startup as their IT guy of sorts and pseudo-web developer. I've been working on a React/Firebase application that will act as their leaderboard for sales. It's been a great challenge, particularly with certain requirements that have been made. On top of that, I've been diving into some of their client WordPress sites to help push them to launch. I'm also in charge of their GSuite, FTP/SFPT access, Password Managers and other general IT Admin related tasks. There are a few things reminding me to take a step back and focus on myself, pushing my own education and career. This startup is very new. We've been operating for roughly 3 weeks at this point. I have been with them for about 2 of those 3. I was offered this role after attending one of their daily stand ups where it ended up being just me and the CEO. He asked what I was up to, explained my situation, and he offered some small contracts to help me along while things are moving forward. I accepted and got to work on it. This contract was for the leaderboard. We kept a Google Meet open so he could jump in anywhere I had problems. Later on he got off a call and asked if I wanted to be their IT guy. Why not! It's something I'm used to, I enjoy this company and the people in it, I'm in.

Fast forward a bit, we haven't signed any contract or paperwork to officially agree on anything and haven't discussed how/when I would be paid. He set the amounts he'd pay me for the contracts and the hourly pay for the IT role and I agreed. This week they have been focused on finances and getting more operations put together, so fingers crossed something good moves forward there. It would end the stress of finding work and I would have the pleasure of continuing working with these great people. I'd also be more freely open to write about the work and share updates to it here! What they're doing is quite exciting and I'm itching to go into details about it. All that said, without a contract agreement, without a real "green light" for ensuring payments for work, I need to continue my grind of learning and searching for work, so I'm stepping back on the amount of hours I'm committing to them, unless something comes up that needs immediate help. All this to say, it's slightly interrupted my Daily Theme flow, but for potential good reason. I am strongly hopeful for the future with this company.

Goals For This Year#

On to goals. Watching these videos and trying to let my brain drift while I soak in information, flipping to the back of my notebook I see a list of goals for this year I had set probably around February and have since forgotten. I'd say they're fairly straightforward goals:

  • Improve Physical Fitness
  • Improve Mental Fitness
  • Secure Long Term Job
  • Pay Off Debt
  • Increase Investments
  • Fix Teeth
  • Create Residual Income Source
  • Record 5 Songs
  • Apprenticeship in Blacksmithing

Fairly straight forward, I broke down most of these into more detailed sections to really define what I want to achieve this year.

Physical Fitness#

  • Lower Body Fat
    • I track this metric over weight as more research comes out showing how flawed scales such as BMI are near useless, not accounting for muscle mass and such. I'm sadly probably around 28-32% bodyfat in my current laziness, a far way from my prime 13% only 4 years ago.
  • Increase Muscle Mass
    • With the lack of physical activity it's no surprise my muscle mass has dropped significantly. Increased muscle mass = higher metabolism = more body fat burnage.
  • Run 5k: Cardio has always been my weak spot. I want to change that.
  • Baseline calisthenics:
    • 50 consecutive pull ups
    • 100 consecutive push ups
    • 50 consecutive pistol squats
  • Increase stamina: Greatly need to increase stamina to get back into MMA
  • Increase bone strength: Stronger bones = better fighting

Mental Fitness#

  • Learn 2 Languages: My wife's family speaks primarily Spanish. There's no excuse for me not to know it by this point, particularly from growing up in southern New Mexico. I also want to add Japanese, as I hope to travel to Japan in the near future.
  • Solve complex algorithms: I struggle to solve simple algorithms. A tad bit important in engineering world.
  • Read 25 books: I want to read more. I enjoyed reading growing up and it's been sorely lacking for some time.
  • Meditate 20min/day: I used to meditate daily in high school. I woke up early just to spend 30min to an hour meditating. I believe it helped my mental health a ton.
  • Improve focus: I've always struggled with this, unless I'm playing an instrument, drawing, reading something fun or gaming. Even with gaming I can lose focus fairly easy to be honest. I need to fix this.
  • Increase memory: Mental RAM. The more capacity, the better learning and task handling.
  • Write 2 articles a week: Writing is good for you. It's good for your brain, your speaking abilities, your vocabulary and mental well being. I've slacked on this a ton lately.

Residual Income#

  • Maintain a Blog (trying!)
  • Lessons/Mentoring: I'm aiming to keep this free
  • Music: I need to work on those songs!
  • RS: My colleague's start up I have since stepped away from
  • Dividens: I have some small investments, this goes hand in hand with my "Increase investment portfolio" goal
  • Video Games: I'm not sure what I wanted here. Maybe it was to make some small video games or maybe it was to start streaming, or maybe both.

Revisiting Goals#

Taking time to look over these goals has been a good insight to where I am with what I had hoped to achieve this year. All in all, half way through the's not looking too good. The stress of finding income has bogged me down from working out. Poor excuse, but the mental drain has been a hard fight. I haven't put much effort into learning a new language, though I have read a handful of books with a handful more to go through. I haven't spent much time with algorithms as my primary goal is frontend design. Meditation has been hit or miss but it's not where I want it to be for sure. Focus is quite a bit spread out still and memory is improving some. I've had fun working with the Dual N-Back test to help on this front, though I haven't used it in some time so I may have lost some of those benefits. I'm pushing to write more, though I am no where near my 2 articles a week goal.

On the income and bills front, I still haven't found a full time job which is incredibly frustrating, though I am hopeful for this startup I've been contributing to. With that I haven't been able to pay down debt yet or schedule much needed dentist appointments. My blog is...going. It needs a ton more effort, clearly. I haven't put as much effort as I would like to in music. I spend maybe an hour a day gaming, so I could start streaming.

The Rest of the Year#

This insight has been painful but I'd rather be honest with myself and where I'm at. It's not looking good right now, but time is tricky like that. Good things can come at the flip of a switch, so I will remain hopeful. Reviewing what I wanted to achieve may also help me structure my schedule a little bit better. I think I need to cut down on some of these goals in the mean time to really lean it out and make it simpler to follow, easier to knock out a couple goals than try to do them all at once.

The next post will be about what I cut out and why, where I'm going to focus my efforts and the path forward.

Cheers to the future friends, good things will come.