Monthly Archive: May 2014

Day 7: Goals Accomplished

I registered for the NASM personal trainer test. I read 100 pages of the NASM book (200 down, 300 to go). I worked on my flashcard app and struggled — am still struggling* — with UICollectionViews. I blogged four times and drafted a post for Medium.

I also established a Twitter account for this blog, ate somewhat better, slept a little more, spent time with family, met with a few former colleagues, finished reading Effective Objective-C 2.0, finished reading Apple’s Mobile Human Interface Guidelines, and booked a vacation stay in Italy.

Somehow, amid all of this, several people told me I look more relaxed.

I’m happy to hear it.

I do feel relaxed, in a productive-flow way. When I’m in the zone, working on something I enjoy, I’m happiest. That’s why it’s vital for me to stay productive even when I’m ostensibly relaxing and traveling. I’m always finding my way to what’s next.

* UICollectionViews are basically places that hold content within an iPhone or iPad app screen. They can be small or large, and you can scroll through the content in them and choose one or more items. The difficulty for me is in correctly setting up sizing and scrolling, although I’m making progress.

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Day 5: Racing Ahead, To What?

Yesterday was excellent. I finished reading Effective Objective-C, a book that improved my coding instincts despite my newcomer status. To wit:

  1. I find myself more open to the idea of using blocks;
  2. I consider how to move as many properties as possible to the .m file’s class-continuation category, instead of leaving them in the public .h file;
  3. I name my objects and variables more clearly;
  4. I have a good conceptual understanding of memory management;
  5. Probably several other things I don’t consciously remember.

This book is also so excellently produced that I even enjoyed turning the pages and noticed the quality of the ink.

I also finished reading Apple’s Mobile Human Interface Guidelines, which helped steer me away from implementing a horizontal picker control — an inelegant solution for helping users navigate in my app. Instead, my awesome Thinkful mentor let me know about Collection Views, and I’m looking into those now via Apple documentation, the Collection View programming guide, and WWDC slides.

This highlighted an important principle for me — I knew I was doing something not-good in implementing the horizontal picker. I felt like pieces weren’t fitting together, like I had a toolbox with half the tools missing. I want to remember this feeling, because it probably means “wrong track” most of the time. The sooner I  recognize it in the future, the less time I’ll waste.

Caveat: I know there are times when I might not have all the information but am actually on the right track. In my experience, the right track feels different, because the new pieces of information I stumble across tend to make sense across the fragments and illuminate the spaces in between.

New Adventures, Day 2: A Little Procrastination, a Little More Action

Day 2 started well — I read 60 pages of the NASM textbook, which I need to finish so I can take the personal trainer exam by July 1. After that, I relaxed for a few hours and then went to a Memorial Weekend barbecue.

When I came home, instead of reading the Apple Mobile Human Interface Guidelines or working on my flashcard app, I booked a trip to Quebec City. I did need to book the trip, but I needed to get the other things done more, in advance of tomorrow’s session with my awesome Thinkful mentor.

I also noticed that my Coursera Intro to Marketing course had a hard deadline of May 26 (tomorrow) on the first quiz, so I dedicated an hour to reviewing the slides and passing the quiz. Luckily for me, I watched the videos last fall, so this was a review for me. Nonetheless, it was procrastination.

Now, at midnight, I am reading the Mobile Human Interface Guidelines at last. I’ll spend another half hour reading, then go to bed and finish tomorrow morning. Not ideal, but I will hopefully pull some inspiration for the next iteration of my flashcard app, which I need to implement before 9pm Monday. It’s a self-imposed deadline, but an important one for me to feel continued forward motion.

Embarking Now

I resigned from my job April 29. I loved it for many years, but I needed something new and different.

My last day was yesterday.

Today I woke up at 8am and lounged in PJs. Same routine as every Saturday.

Except it wasn’t the same. I created a Flickr account for posting photos from travels to new places. I created this blog to document my journey toward a new purpose and pursuits. I read a Kindle book from my queue, The Quantum Doctor.

I realized I can do whatever I want. And this freedom-to-act won’t end on Tuesday, when I’d usually go back to work. It’ll only ramp up from there. But it’s up to me to keep it going. So:

  1. A good routine will be key. I’ll keep waking up early, at 7 or 7:30am.
  2. Good health and nutrition are non-negotiable. I need to get back on track here.
  3. Tackling the hard tasks will be a priority. Easy tasks can wait.

My major goals for this week are to register and study for the NASM personal trainer test, work on my NASM flashcard app, and blog at least three times.

It feels weird but incredibly great to be in this place of open road. It’s not the road I imagined two years ago, but sometimes to go forward, it’s necessary to do something different and unexpected for a while.

I don’t know what’s next. And that’s the great part.