New Time Spending Habits, Part 2

Continuing where Part 1 left off, this blog post is another check-in from leveraging the patterns defined in the post titled Trading Money for Convenience. With the holidays and other personal events, this post is a bit thinner. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Learning Bursts Deliver Greater Value

I spent nearly the entire month of November preparing for a certification, resulting in the outcomes described in Passing The AWS Solutions Architect Professional Exam. This tradeoff felt pretty good – I “cashed in” the 20+ hours a week that I normally spend on low-impact activities to pursue something that had been on my goals list for the entire year.

During the study period, I found myself going through a diverse set of mental states. The start felt choppy and clunky. I was very much out of practice when it came to deep learning. It took the better part of two weeks to get back into the groove and rediscover the joy of self-paced studies. Even in the final week, where I was spending several sequential full days of study, I would wake up excited to add more technology tidbits to my noodle.

My hypothesis is that these dense bursts of learning deliver greater value than trying to schedule out, say, a quarter or an entire year of studying. It feels like a blend of just-in-time learning with the rigidity of structure, deep focus, and outcome based prioritization. I’m borrowing this theory from the power of the Pomodoro technique: intense focus followed by bits of rest.

Remembering Balance

Once I passed the exam, I took a break. I spent a week on holidays with my spouse and came back refreshed. Later, my family flew down to visit me. As a reward, I’ve fired up one game and have been playing that during the holidays. This feels like a fair tradeoff and is something I’d like to repeat throughout the year. Plus, it’s a safe activity during the pandemic compared to social or public events.

I’m using a stair-step approach to slowly walk down the game time:

  • Initially, all 20 hours a week.
  • Then, just 10 hours (half) per week.
  • Finally, back to 0 hours per week for the next focus block.

I’ll make sure to describe the transition and outcomes in the final part of this series. Here’s to a happy holidays with friends and family! ๐Ÿงก