Luis Costa

A developers diary - Entry 1

I really do suck at discipline. A couple of years ago I was really into it. I would set strict schedules to myself and follow through with them. This was while I was in college. I don’t know why but stuff was easier. I could follow up with my own imposed time limits. If I wanted to block facebook for 3 hours, I could. If I wanted to work on an essay paper for two hours straight, I could do it.

These were definitely the times where I felt really good. I felt productive and I felt I was doing something good and meaningful.

Then life came along. And it hit me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I got my first - and so far only - full-time job, working as a backend ruby on rails developer, which, make no mistake, was what I always wanted. I always wanted to work with ruby and rails (I love the language, I love the ecosystem around and I love the framework). Within a couple of months after I got that job, I got into a serious and long term relationship. Not long after that, I got my first apartment. With that, came bills and the need to buy food so that I don’t starve myself. Not only this, I had to learn a lot of things by myself which I took for granted when I was living under the roof of my parents (I love you, mom and dad, seriously, holy crap. Call your mom and dad and thank them for their work while raising you), such as cooking decent meals, laundry, tidying up the apartment (for this I have to thank my sweet and caring significant other, which has been a tremendous help in this area), grocery shopping, fixing stuff around the house, etc.

Yes, this is really basic life skills that one needs to learn to survive. But these are skills and I didn’t have, and I that to learn, and I’m grateful I did.

Fast forward a few months, I’m doing much better. I have a basic handle on house stuff, I don’t miss any rent deadlines or bills. Yet, there’s something else that has been daunting me for a long time: I’ve lost all the sense of discipline and hard working capabilities that I had during college. This led me to not work on things that I always wanted, such as writing more, create a youtube channel and contribute to open source.

People say that free time is the killer of creativity, and I have to agree. These last couple of months I’ve been drifting along in life. Watching other people’s success stories on Instagram, on facebook or on twitter, while I passively consume, like a junkie after one more hit, their content. Evenings where I had the time to be productive and to embrace hard work, turned into hours of playing video games or watching youtube.

I came to realize that I had lost the sense of purpose that I had during college. And I think it’s about damn time to get it back.

I came across a recent Hackernews post that went viral where the OP asked how to make a switch from being a consumer to a producer. I identified myself a lot with this. I’ve read every single comment on that post and I decided to do something about it. This is me doing something about it.

I’m going to start and, hopefully, keep up a sort of a developer’s diary on my blog. I don’t really know what the structure will be, but I know I want to do something, and I need to start. This is not aimed at anyone in particular but myself. I want to get better at writing but, mostly, I want to become more disciplined and stop being such a hypocrite when it comes down do it. I’m going to use as a kind of journal and I will try to keep myself accountable to myself but to anyone who may be reading this (if you are, please do comment below, I want to hear your feedback and any advice that you may have). Since this is public, I kinda do not want to fail at this. But I know that I will not to beat myself up if I fail at things.

This entry is a special one. Back when I was in college, I liked to do something on Sundays which was to prepare my week ahead. It made me feel like I was in control of my life, and not the other way around. So, this first entry will be a weekly planning entry. I’m going to share with you my goals and aspirations for the upcoming week, and I’ll report at the end of the week (next Saturday) on the results of this week.

The goals

I like to break down things in smaller parts, so I’ll do that here as well.

Work goals

Career goals

I have been ignoring my career over the last 6 months. That has to change. I’m trying to get more involved in tech meetups related with development and programming in general. Last week I went to my first ever tech meetup (Javascript/Node focused. Even though it’s not my specialization, it’s good to have a broader view on the things happening around you, and we, as web developers, can’t deny that Javascript has been making a lot of noise in the last couple of years, so I feel the need to keep up). This week I have another meetup, this time related with ruby and rails, on Tuesday. I also have other stuff that I want to work on (if possible), so let’s formalize the goals:

Steps I will do help me achieve these goals

About the meetup, I’m going to try to at least contact one person via twitter after the meetup and tell them what I thought about he/she and, if there was a presentation given by that person, tell him/her what I thought about it. For the remaining goals, I will schedule the time for it in my calendar (see the image below where I share what my calendar looks like for the upcoming week) and stick to it no matter what.

Relationship goals

Next week I have scheduled a walk and (possibly) a quick swim at the beach near my house with my significant other. Let’s hope the weather is nice to us! She’s been having a rough time lately with her college workload, so it’s nice to have some downtime for ourselves, to talk, have fun and be goofy for some time. That will be happening probably next Thursday. I’m excited about that!

Fitness/Health goals

Ever since I left college and got my full-time job, I’ve tried to pay more attention to my diet and exercising. I’ve been failing miserably at the diet part, but I’ve been able to keep a consistent exercise routine for myself, so that’s nice.

This week I really do want to take my diet seriously. I need to lose about 11 lbs, and I also want to increase my stats on the main compounds lifts (deadlift, bench press, squat and overhead press).

I’ve been following a program that is on the /r/fitness subreddit’s wiki which is called the Phrak’s variant of the GSLP template.

I’m running a Monday/Wednesday/Friday full body split, where I do 3 of the main 5 big lifts for three sets of 5 exercises. This week, my goals are:

Steps I will do help me achieve these goals

Like I mentioned, I have an excel sheet that I access during my lifting session where I’ll input the weight and reps for each exercise. I will add a column to input my weight and write down my weight every day before I start my lifting sessions. About my diet goals, I’m going to have to force myself not to eat anything in the morning (other than my post workout protein shake) and during the afternoon. If I want to lose weight, I need to do it, there’s no way around it. I need to enforce discipline in my lizard brain.

This week my focus is going to be to try and stop being such a compulsive consumer and be more self-conscious of where I spend my time and focus. These are the goals:

Steps I will do help me achieve these goals

For this, I’m going to rely on two apps: StayFocusd to block these websites during the day and Rescue Time to see if I can achieve these goals. I’ll share with you the results by the end of the week.

General life goals


Let’s review the goals for this week, ordered by priority:

[ ] Take significant other to do some exercise with me, by the beach, possible on Thursday. Have a good time, no work/college talk allowed.

[ ] Finish that refactor and discuss the first draft with the co-worker.

[ ] I will be able to bench press 55kg (121 lbs) for two sets of five repetitions followed by one set of at least 5 repetitions.

[ ] I will be able to Deadlift 90kg (200 lbs) for two sets of five repetitions followed by one set of at least 5 repetitions.

[ ] I will be able to Squat 90kg for two sets of five repetitions followed by one set of at least 5 repetitions.

[ ] I will be able to fast every day until launch and between lunch and dinner.

[ ] I won’t eat anything after dinner is done.

[ ] I will weigh myself every day and keep track of the weight in my workout excel sheet.

[ ] Attend Ruby meetup this Tuesday and try to make new friends and/or connections there. Show passion and interest in everyone, be interested in what they have to say.

[ ] I will finish writing the video script for the upcoming video for my youtube channel (it’s not public yet, videos are still unlisted, I’ll write more about it later on).

[ ] I will work on my blog every day for at least 45minutes.

[ ] I will continue working on my Github’s Trending Page crawler ruby gem.

[ ] I will have a total cumulative study time of 4 hours for my driver’s license by the end of the week.

[ ] I will continue reading the book The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now during my commute, instead of browsing Reddit or Instagram

[ ] I will limit my consumption of social media contents (Reddit/youtube/twitter/facebook/Instagram) to 1h/1h30 a day, during the evenings only.

Yes, it’s a lot of goals. If I can’t complete all, I’m aiming at completing at least the first three items. That would leave me happy already.

Here’s a screenshot of what my schedule looks like this week (Monday - Sunday).

Here’s hoping for a wonderful week to you!