Monthly Review: September 2016
About 4 min reading time
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- Productivity pulse of 63 (166.6 hours logged) (+7)
- Average of 7h 22m of sleep each night (+1.1%)
- Average calories of 2,382 (-0.4%)
- Average steps: 4,089/day (+43.4%)
- Money spent: 118.2% of income
- Books read: 1 (+0)
- Blog posts written: 1 (-1)
- I get more steps when it’s the weekend (37%)
- I’m more productive when it’s Wednesday (38%)
- I use Skype more when I complete more tasks (34%)
- I complete more tasks when I wake up earlier (32%) and when it’s Wednesday (25%)
- I spend more time asleep when I wake up later (42%)
- I have more perfect days when I get more steps (38%)
RescueTime top 5 categories:
- Software Development (34%)
- Social Networking (15%)
- Communication & Scheduling (14%)
- Entertainment (6%)
What sticks with me the most about last month is how much money I spent. I feel it was justified, but I was still way over budget.
My dad turned 50 this year, so I took a few days off and headed to Texas to surprise him for his birthday (and boy was he surprised!). I took a few days off from work to fly down and it was nice to get away from the office for a little while. Unfortunately, plane tickets are not cheap.
While visiting my dad, my car was in the shop getting a few repairs; new tires and a new fuel pump to the tune of $1,045. Ouch. My dad and I had briefly talked about how it might be possible for me to get a good deal on a new car this month with the model year ending. I decided to investigate my options, and ended up trading in my 2008 Kia Optima and leasing a brand new 2016 Kia Forte. I didn’t put any money down, and didn’t get as much as I’d hoped for my Optima so my car payment is $100/month more than it was before, but as a lease I don’t have to worry about paying for major repairs. With my Optima being 8 years old with just over 103,000 miles on it, major repairs were about to become inevitable so I decided to cut my losses before I ended up sinking even more money into it.
The new car also meant getting new car insurance. Up until now I’d been insured with my mom, but now that I’m living in New York and not Maine, that’s no longer an option. I was surprised to find that even with the new car, my insurance didn’t go up. It actually went down a couple dollars a month! I did, however, have to pay the equivalent of two months when I signed up, so that was another big expense. And of course, because I didn’t plan on getting a new car at the beginning of the month, I got the new car after having made the payments for the loan and insurance of my old car, ultimately paying for a vehicle twice last month. Ugh! Short term, probably not the best decision, but in the long term it’ll work out better, I think.
One advantage to traveling was that it gave me ample opportunity to read on the plane. Between my flights there and back, I started and finished Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, which was pretty interesting. I also made it well into Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products by Leander Kahney which thus far is a fascinating biography. This bout of traveling is the first time I’ve read on my Kindle for extended periods of time and I found it far more comfortable than reading on my iPad, so I’m glad I invested in the Kindle a couple months ago.
I noticed some big changes in Exist trends as well, most notably above is the huge increase in walking. I don’t expect this trend to hold, as the average was skewed by just a few days. I visited two amusement parks with my girlfriend this month which involved a lot of walking, and I walked a lot at airports while traveling. I also went to a wine festival with my parents in Texas where we walked quite a bit. Ignoring those events, I don’t think I walked much more than usual.
Exist also had a number of new trends related to cooler temperatures, though I think that’s more a reflection of the changing season than anything else, but I’ll keep an eye on them. Exist added food tracking this month which I’m really excited for. It has some trends already, but I didn’t include any in this review as there’s only about 2 weeks worth of data so I expect they’ll change a lot in the coming weeks.
Looking forward to October, I’d like to stay very under budget to help make up for last month. While traveling last month gave me a good opportunity to read, I didn’t read much otherwise, but maybe the cooler weather of Fall will be just the kick I need to form the habit again.
I’m also going to start taking a deeper look at my productivity at work. While I generally feel like I get a decent amount of stuff done, there are days where I’m met with a lot of interruptions or small tasks that pull me away from my major projects. Juggling them all is really difficult at times, but I’m finding Todoist to be a big help in that regard. I don’t always remember to put the little tasks on my list, but I’m getting better.
It helps that Todoist integrates with Exist as well, so on days where RescueTime may not show a lot of productive time, I can see if I finished a lot of tasks. The interruptions caused by the small things typically lead me to do something unproductive between them or before getting back to the bigger projects. At least if I capture what I’m accomplishing I can try to learn something about how I procrastinate.