November 2020 Retrospective

November 2020 Retrospective

Published December 13, 2020
David Nguyen


  • I created my Youtube video!
  • Tracked 345 hours. Up 56% from last month 🤯
  • Completed my first month of working full-time again.

Last Month's Goals

  • 🏢 - Learn Knockout.js
  • 🎨 - Create 1 YouTube Video
This month reminded me of a saying: "If you want to be more productive, have a baby." No, I didn't have a baby, but I get it. Between my projects and my full-time job, I had no time. I was consistently tracking 12–13 hours every day. It forced me to use my time optimally.
And, to be honest... I'm drained. I'm exhausted. This retro is late because I couldn't find the time or energy to put it out. Why didn't I just stop working so much? Because I'm an idiot. There is a part of me that likes the idea of working non-stop. I grew up romanticizing the idea of the "grind.” I kept telling myself to push through, that this is just growing pains.
Well... I definitely hit a wall, but that's okay. You live and you learn. Luckily, for me, most of my pains are self-inflicted. My new team has been awesome. They are extremely supportive. The pressure I feel is all coming from myself. I also decided to drop one of my projects, so that will free up a good chunk of my time. I want to spend more time resting and reflecting this month. I still haven't found that thing/area to focus my life around. I miss having a clear goal like passing the Azure exam or getting a job.
I'm thrilled I got my YouTube video out this month. At first, I had this huge plan to do a long educational video on Azure. However, I quickly realized I don't have the video/editing skills to pull that off. So, I did it in a format and shot it in a way I know I could.
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I still can't believe I tracked 345 hours. That said, it makes sense. I'm getting better at tracking my time, and not all the time tracked was "working hours." A good chunk of it was personal time (productive, but personal). The biggest chunk though is definitely my full-time position. I'm clocking a bit over 40 hours a week. Then, side projects and personal time is the next biggest chunk. I like that I'm consistent with my [Fitness] time. This is critical. As my workload increases, I want to make sure I keep up with my workouts. This is what keeps me sharp and ready for "battle." Don't let it slip.
A note, [Study] time is underrepresented. When I'm working out and listening to an audiobook, I'm clocking it under [Fitness]. So, [Study] should be higher. A category that definitely took a hit was Toastmaster. I haven't been attending as many meetings because of work. I need to get back on that.
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It feels good to look at the yearly chart, but man… I thought it would have plateaued. Part of me is wondering if this is sustainable, another part is wondering how far I can push myself. I'm not going to lie: there are days when I was just EXHAUSTED, but it felt like a good kind of exhaustion. A “job well-done” type of exhaustion. So, we'll see.

Next Month's Goal

  • 💎 - Set goals for each quarter of next year. Break them down into specific areas.
Again, I'm not sure what my next steps are. This shouldn't be happening. I have an annual plan. I have things like create 50 blog posts and 25 YouTube videos on there, but I'm not feeling up to it. I can't tell if I've been lazy or it's no longer the direction I want to pursue. Actually, you know what? I need to remove the word “lazy” out of my vocabulary. I meticulously tracked 345 hours in November. I'm not lazy. Let's figure out why I no longer feel strongly about my goals. (This happens a lot.)
Why did I want to create content in the first place? I wanted to create content because I wanted to become a better speaker and writer. That's still true. I also thought it was a great way to reinforce what I learned and share it with people. Furthermore, I love people like Graham Stephen and Ali Abdaal. Finally, long-term I know it can be very profitable.
If all this is true, why am I wavering? After producing my first video, I know how much work it is to create a good video. I'm not certain that's something I want to invest my time and energy into. Filming and editing is great, but is it for me? I don't know, I haven't answered that yet. Also, I believe as long as I dedicate myself to anything reasonable, I'll be profitable. So, I want to make sure it's something I at least enjoy. And, I'm smart enough to know that chance of success is very low. So, it better be something I enjoy even if I make no money from it.
I want to pick things I can do daily. I want to be purposeful with the few things I choose to do. One of the things I have been doing is writing on HackerNews more. I am really enjoying that. I will continue doing that.
Hmm, let's also think long term. I don't see writing and speaking abilities going out of style anytime soon. I think its settle. I'll stick to my original plan. I'm going to drop one of my other projects. That should free up sometime. I'm going to dedicate myself to writing and speaking more.
One more thing, let's tentatively set my mission to provide jobs to everyone who wants one. ☮
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