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Learning Django Check-in - Week 5

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 09:27

Made some more progress in learning Django over the past week. Have noticed that my best work seems to happen in the morning, just before work. I'm on Chapter 11 now, which is about how Django uses passwords. Most of what I have learned is how to theme the bits that Django gives you for "free", which is helpful for me at the moment because I'm using some of this at work in semi-related projects.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Designing a Well Lived Life: Checking In (December)

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 21:40

Making the last check-in for 2018 for my "Designing a Well-Lived Life" blogging. This is about making small changes during the year to make larger changes.

  • Writing more / designing more: December really felt like a lot of things were converging together at once, but I managed to do a little more editing. The designing piece unfortunately didn't get the attention that I wanted to give it.

  • Programming more: I've been putting my focus here with learning about Django (see earlier posts). Also been doing more programming at work.

  • Engage more with people, not things: I think I can call this more of a success. I have the weekly Coffee House Coders meetings, the monthly Michigan!/usr/group meetings, and have had some more time with folks outside of those events. Calling this a success.

  • Blogging more: Calling this a semi-success, as I've been doing at least once-a-month blogging.

  • Getting out of debt: Ah, the perennial issue. Still working on this and having some success with budgeting, but exploring more avenues for producing more income would be helpful.

  • Supporting creators in sustainable ways: I've had some mild success with this, but I haven't been able to find better ways to do this outside of Patreon, Liberapay, and Bandcamp. I wish there were better ways to do this.

  • Physical health: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  • Kindness: Calling this a success for this year.

  • Mindfulness: Had some success with using mindfulness this year.

For 2019 I'm going to keep doing this challenge (I kind of like it, and it helps with the whole blogging thing). I'm going to concentrate on the following:

  • Administrative focus: I've let a lot of administrative things go by the wayside this year. I have machines that are out of date, and other admin sorts of things that haven't been kept up. I need to give this more attention.

  • Writing more: I really liked writing, so I want to split this off. This can include things like blogging, journaling, and what-not, but I think building more of a writing habit will help me to uncork a lot of the ideas that are in my head.

  • Design more: I want to focus more on designing games, especially the Pepper&Carrot RPG. This sort of fits into the writing piece but I'm breaking it apart so it has its own focus.

  • Programming more: Adding more programming to the repertoire would really benefit both my career and the projects I want to take on.

  • Getting out of debt: The eternal struggle, but it still needs focus. Especially on the budgeting and income creation piece.

  • Physical Health: If the body is a temple then this temple needs some renovations.

  • Mindfulness: Still want to focus on mindfulness this year.

  • Deeper work: Some days I feel like I really can't focus on my work. I'm looking to do more deeper work in my days and not fall into traps of distraction.

I'll blog about my progress throughout the year.

Hoping to have an amazing 2019. And I hope you also have a great 2019 too.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Django Check-in for Week 3 and 4

Sat, 12/29/2018 - 19:20

I've been working through the Django for Beginners book and I have to say I'm really impressed with the clarity of the book. There haven't been as many instances of me wondering what I should be doing, or where some code should go in this book. Kudos to the author for making a book that is really catered to getting folks up-to-speed.

Still making progress through the book. I've been allocating time before each workday (10 minutes) to read through the book and I've found it helpful. Unfortunately the holidays have really cut into some of that time, so I've had to be more creative with finding windows of time in order to practice.

I'm now on the section for the Custom User Model and am looking forward to learning more about how to extend the users for Django.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Merry Christmas

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 08:20

Wishing you the best of the holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Django Training, check in weeks one and two

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 22:34

It's been a few weeks since the beginning of the month and I wanted to check in with the progress of my Django training. Unfortunately the first week was rather rough for me as I felt like everything had to be done all at once. I didn't make any time for learning, and I got more and more frustrated with myself for not making the time. So I figured the best way to make this a habit was to have a trigger. The best trigger I could come up with was to do a 10 minute learning container before I say down for work. This may seem silly, but it's been remarkable how much progress I've made. I'm working through the book "Django for Beginners" and have made it into the chapter on forms. I'm really pleased, not only with my progress, but that I've been able to stick with it and not let myself get down.

I'm learning that it's not enough just to have the intention to do something, but there also needs to be the space made for that intention to happen. By saying "there will be a 10 minute container before I work" I made the space for this to happen.

I'm wondering where else I can extend this way of thinking. I know this worked for me when I wrote and edited "The Mediocre Programmer" but I've managed to get out of that pattern. Perhaps I need to start that again.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Designing a Well Lived Life: Checking In (November)

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:08

Checking in for November for my "Designing a Well-Lived Life" blogging. This is about making small changes during the year to make larger changes.

  • Writing more / designing more: I'm nearing the end of the editing pass for "The Mediocre Programmer" which is exciting for me. I'm in the process of getting someone to help me with chapter 7 (the chapter on burnout) to make sure that what I'm putting in there makes sense from perspectives that I don't have. I'm also starting work on writing more for the Pepper&Carrot RPG (which I'll be detailing in the coming month).

  • Programming more: Again my programming has been happening more at work than it has for myself. I haven't taken the time to really sit down and learn, but I hope to change that this next month by spending at least 10 minutes per day learning Django. I'll document that progress as well through weekly check-ins on this very blog.

  • Engage more with people, not things: The holidays provided many opportunities for this, but that's kind-of-cheating, wouldn't you agree? :)

  • Blogging more: I did a few blog posts in November. Expect more of this in December.

  • Getting out of debt: Still slowly chipping away at the mountain.

  • Supporting creators in sustainable ways: Patreon and Liberapay seem to be the way that I can move forward on this. I'm still trying to support musicians on Bandcamp as well. I'm sure there's more that I can do but I haven't taken more time to find them.

  • Physical health: I need to give this more attention. At the moment no progress to report.

  • Kindness: This past month we released a Code of Conduct for Pepper&Carrot. The discussions gave me some practice on trying to be kind. But this is definitely an area that needs more focus.

  • Mindfulness: I've been meditating every day this month, but once the meditation ends I'm not finding myself being terribly mindful. Part of that is just the stress of the day, and part of it is a feeling of falling behind in what I want / need to accomplish. I'm looking to allocate more time to do more deep work, and also commit myself to focused learning (Django) and writing (Pepper&Carrot RPG).

Categories: LugNut Blogs

The Any-Benefit

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 20:40

I've been re-reading to "Deep Work" lately and I've really taken to the idea of reducing the number of "Any Benefit" things that eat up my time. These are sites / services where the lure of them is that they provide some benefit that makes them attractive to keep around. What differentiates something that is "any benefit" vs. something that's important is that the site / service justifies its use by offering a possible or potential benefit for its use. This is often true of sites like Facebook or Twitter where folks believe that they need to have a presence in order to keep up with what their friends are doing, or because they feel they'll be missing out on something. The same is true for sites where the perceived value is higher than the actual value received. So I've been slowly pruning things in my day-to-day life. Things like Reddit got removed from my RSS feeds because I wasn't really checking it, and didn't see the benefit. There have been other sites that got the axe as well because the amount of effort that it took to maintain the interaction on those sites outweighed the potential benei received.

Slowly I'm implementing bits of this book into my daily life. Really finding this book helpful for getting myself back to a more focused state.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Consistency is key

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 08:26

Some of you might know that I'm working on a book called "The Mediocre Programmer". I'm in the editing phases of the book now (cleaning up the language in the book and hopefully releasing something that isn't a confusing mess). One of the things that I've committed to is doing at least 10 minutes per day on the book. This has netted me a short book of about 26,000 words. I've been doing this since April 1st (The significance of the date is not lost on me), and have worked on a routine where I do at least 10 minutes of either writing or editing. I'm currently editing the last chapter now and it's been interesting to see how I've managed to go from "I can't possibly find time to write this" near the beginning of the year to "I'm about ready to open the beta to the rest of the world". All because I did a little bit each day (10 minutes isn't that much of my normal day).

This is in stark contrast to some of my other projects that I've worked on where I feel I need to clear off 30 minutes to 2 hours to even start on them. That gets me more into procrastinating about them than anything. But 10 minutes? That's easy enough.

The other secret is when the 10 minutes is up I sometimes want to keep going and keep the flow.

Building a habit where I'm consistently starting is paying off for me. I'm hoping to continue this trend.

Categories: LugNut Blogs

Designing a Well Lived Life: Checking In (October)

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 09:12

Checking in for October for my "Designing a Well-Lived Life" blogging. This is about making small changes during the year to make larger changes.

  • Writing more / designing more: I'm still working on editing my book "The Mediocre Programmer". I wrote more blog posts in October, in part because I had a few thoughts on the closure of Google+ and the resulting feelings of grief I had. I'm also working on some other projects (a code of conduct for Pepper&Carrot in particular) and am starting to read more RPGs to get myself back into thinking about designs. Part of this is in trying to apply some of the thoughts in "Deep Work" which I'll talk more about in a future post.

  • Programming more: Still doing most of my programming for work, but am working through the "Teach Yourself Godot in 24 hours" book to learn more about Godot. Also have been helping some other folks with learning coding, both at Coffee House Coders, and in private sessions.

  • Engage more with people, not things: I've been meeting more folks at Coffee House Coders, and have shifted my focus toward engaging with people at deeper levels (eg: on chat platforms). We're hitting the colder months so this will be more challenging, but I'm still keeping this in mind.

  • Blogging more: Mentioned this above, but I've been blogging more this past month.

  • Getting out of debt: Still slowly chipping away at this mountain. I'm trying to be more mindful about what I pick up and what comes home with me. Sometimes I'm successful.

  • Supporting creators in sustainable ways: Still working on this. I've made a more conscious effort to try to buy directly from creators and to use platforms like Liberapay where they have a more monthly cadence of support (as opposed to "per creation". Ahem.) There's still more work to be done on this front, and I hope that we can get to where creators aren't having to work as hard to fund themselves.

  • Physical health: I got a flu shot, so now I am invincible. Oh, alright, yes, this one has gotten no attention at all.

  • Kindness: I've been working more with kindness toward myself, but tend to think of myself last when it comes to my kindness. This is something that I need to keep in mind. I've been approaching my other interactions with kindness. Hopefully I have succeeded.

  • Mindfulness: I've been working on at least getting 5 minutes of meditation per day and being more aware of what I'm doing. This has helped when I've gotten into distraction loops (understanding that I'm essentially playing a slot machine to see where the next dopamine hit will come from). I've not been great at this (I've still gotten stuck) but I'm understanding the patterns that are emerging.

Categories: LugNut Blogs