What's bad about coding? You can work for hours with nothing to show for it

Last Saturday, I spent several hours working on my website’s code. I added some new meta tags to lazy load images, tried to remove JQuery dependencies from my scripts, added enhancements for accessibility and structured data, and even created a pull request for the theme that I am using (Beautiful Hugo). Basically, five hours of my day were eaten up by completing those tasks. Although this was another example of getting too absorbed in your side projects, I was actually proud of myself.

I Can't Do Anything for Fun Anymore; Every Hobby Is an Attempt to Make Money

When I was a kid, it was easy to merrily invest myself in any activity that I found interesting. Building robots, learning to play guitar, and making short films were things that I would work on after school everyday. I did all those things simply because I enjoyed doing them. Now, as a young adult, I feel like I completely lost that spontaneity and simple mindset. Every project which I take up has become an attempt to make money.

Success from Things You Don't Care About

I had just finished a YouTube that I spent a week working on; a couple of days working on the graphics, a day of voice recording, and a few more hours coming up with a nice thumbnail. I uploaded it, and eagerly awaited the YouTube algorithm to award my quality work with a burst of views and watch time. I sat and waited in anticipation. Hour one went by, nothing. Okay, maybe it’s just a little slow today.

Learning to Declutter and Clear Your Mind

I’m a mental hoarder. If you were to look inside my head, you would find all types of mental clutter. Boxes labeled “random shower thoughts”, trashcans full of personal bullshit, and a closet overflowing with reminders, ideas and useless information. This creates a negative impact on my ability to recall and recollect. I often find myself in this awkward situation where this was something I know I took a mental note of, but I just can’t remember what it was.

I Want to Do Everything so I Do Nothing

One of the most challenging areas of self discipline in life is time management. I often find myself in situations where I do not have enough time to complete all the things that I want to do. And it’s not because I am procrastinating; the second I get home from work I jump right into some new side project or video. The problem is that there are simply too many things that I want to do right now, and learning the personal discipline to say no to myself is challenging.

Complacency After College

Up until graduation day, everything made sense. I’ll go to class, get good grades, then land a decent paying job so that I can move out of my parents and “start my life”. Amazingly, all of that happened fresh out of college at 22 years old. Back then, a couple of my peers have told me, “Damn dude, you’re living the dream.” In reality, I felt like I was far from it.

Getting Too Absorbed in Your Side Projects

When I start working on a side project, I fall into a really bad habit of getting too absorbed in it. The second I get home from work, I will start coding and testing for hours until I have to force myself to go to bed with only six hours of sleep at best. All the while, my laundry starts to pile up, my kitchen doesn’t get cleaned, and my social contacts get neglected from any meaningful conversation.

Happiness and Anticipation

I am beginning to see the relationship between happiness, anticipation and dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for reward-driven behavior and pleasure seeking. (Psychology Today). When we get a hit of dopamine, we feel good! Anticipation is the simple act of looking forward; usually to a pleasurable experience but it could also be negative. In my previous post about Proven Ways to be Happy Again, I mentioned this thing called hedonic adaptation.

Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happy Again

During the winter holidays (peek depression season), I took a free online course called The Science of Well-Being offered by Yale University. It was actually recommended in a HackerNews comment that I came across in a thread about different MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) to take. Other than my obsession with self help porn, I took this course because I wanted to learn on how to be happy again with life.

Ebooks are not social

If you are trying to be more social, consider investing in traditional books over EBooks. I know this sounds crazy, and no, Amazon did not pay me to say this. Ebooks are missing an important aspect that we have always took for granted in traditional book. There is no easily visible cover! This means people have no idea on what you’re reading. With traditional books, its out in the open for everyone to see.
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