Steady 👑

Do something every single day to get towards your goals, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

I’m a huge proponent of this idea, but in practice it’s very difficult to apply. It’s fine for short periods of time, then life happens or issues with motivation arise.

I haven’t coded since Sunday. It’s now Thursday. Life happens I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That being said, I’m still aiming for daily. I can’t think of anything that can contribute more to my goals than this sort of consistent effort, I’m just having trouble with the consistent part.

Motivation is the main culprit here.

Surprisingly, too much of it can actually be a bad thing sometimes. While it pushes me to code late into the evening or through the weekend, it can be ravenous with regards to my basic needs or any other projects that “get in the way”.

Sleep? Unimportant!

Healthy eating? Optional!

Social life? Stackoverflow!

Of course, this isn’t sustainable, and it’s kind of ironic given that my app is supposed to help keep my life balanced! Every time I improve it I just get more motivated! Can you say infinite loop?

Right now Motivation is negotiating with Sleep Debt and that’s going surprisingly well! For the last 12 days I’ve had plenty of sleep, and I have a lot more energy during the day as a result. I’m laying the groundwork for some healthier habits, which is key if I want to go daily.

Slow and steady wins the race. The slow part is optional, but steady?

Steady is king 👑




Tracking my Sleep 😴

As promised, here’s some data on how much sleep I need, since Monday Feb. 20.

Instead of editing this post daily, I figured out how to embed charts directly from Google Sheets!

This is the first time I use an iFrame and I don’t like it at all.

 

Week 1:

I managed to lower my sleep debt throughout the week, a feat that was previously exclusive to weekends. Although I my days felt short and unproductive in the first part of the week (the weather was also abnormally warm, so it was difficult to fall asleep at night), I found myself having plenty of energy on Friday, and on the weekend I didn’t feel like I had to sleep in a ton to catch up on sleep. So far so good!

WeeK 2-3: I forgot to write something here… oops

Final verdict: sleep is good! I feel a lot better and a lot more energized now! Seeing a graph was very helpful though. I’ve stopped logging my sleep in the spreadsheet, and I noticed that my sleep debt started to climb a bit at that point. The data was losing its context because of the way it was displayed in my app, and as a result it was less useful. I made the right choice to work on the stats features next!

My relationship with sleep 😴

I think it’s pretty fitting that when I started writing this, my sleep debt stood at 16 hours and 41 minutes. That’s the amount of time that I’d need to sleep, non-stop, in order to be fully rested. It’s been a struggle for me for the last 7 years or so, and most attempts to fix the problem have been pretty ineffective.

The situation looks something like this:

We need sleep to function, and getting the proper amount is probably the single most important thing we can do to stay at the top of our game. It affects literally everything: mood, concentration, digestion, the immune system, vision, creativity, motivation…  I could go on, but I think you get it.

Despite all the clear benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, it’s still extremely tempting to burn the midnight oil, sometimes even beyond midnight! The short-term gains seem much more tangible than the vague idea of “being in better shape” the next day. To make matters worse, when you stay up later, you still become more tired. If you do the math, when someone who needs 8 hours of sleep goes to bed an hour later, they actually need to sleep an extra half hour to make up for it. It can quickly snowball.

I’m kind of fed up with being tired all the time.

I’ve been able to keep my sleep in check for a week or so, but if I have a lot of energy by 10-11pm on a weeknight, I just keep coding and the cycle repeats itself.

For science, and my own wellbeing, let’s try something new.

Starting Monday, I’m going to post a daily sleep journal on this blog. Nothing fancy, just a few lines a day grouped into one post, but I feel like making a commitment here, on a blog I’m trying to nurture and build up, is going to give me the motivation I need.

I’m going to commit to keeping a very low sleep debt (under 2 hours) for at least 3 weeks. This way I can prove to myself with hard data that being well rested actually makes a big difference in my life. I want to make the long term benefits of sleep seem more tangible.

If any of you want to join me in this brave endeavour, feel free to make your own commitments towards sleep, and try to stick to it for a full 21 days (the time it takes to form a habit.) Be aggressive about it if you have to, and use all the strategies at your disposal to help you succeed.

Lets hope this works, and see you next week!