"HACK WEEK": Review

November 27, 2022

I had a lot of fun with the concept of “HACK WEEK”. If you didn’t read my previous post, the idea was to dedicate my free time for an entire week working towards one specific hobby-related goal. However, not everything went as planned, and I have learned some valuable lessons for future editions.

I moved through a lot of work in the first few days, while I was still full of motivation. Two nights in, I finished the first milestone I set for myself: a security upgrade and some quality of life improvements for Noteshare.space. Code, commit, ship. Feels great!

Shortly thereafter trouble started. I got distracted by some blog posts I had read about building a blog using SvelteKit and MDsveX, and for some reason I decided to spend a significant amount of time making a mockup in Figma and then making an implementation in Svelte. Oops.

During the first weekend, I decided to put my nose down and focus on a big new feature (deleting, updating notes anonymously). To kick off, I scoped the entire programming session on Saturday and broke it down into bite-size to-do’s. On Sunday, and continuing the following week, I was able to bite off a few to-do’s in whatever downtime I had. This made starting to work a lot easier.

Since I hadn’t gotten that far during the first week, I extended for another week. Today, it’s the second Sunday, and I’m almost finished with the big feature I started last weekend. While I didn’t manage to ship it within the span of the “HACK WEEK”, I’m confident I can push it across the finish line soon.

I only managed to finish two out of four milestones in the end, which means my plan was too ambitious in scope. I overestimated how willing I would be to hack away the night after a day of work. But it was also quickly apparent that I would not be able to finish all the goals anyhow, which was demotivating.

💡 Lessons learned

  1. Perhaps I need to implement a mechanism to reward myself for staying focused, or for keeping myself accountable to my time.
  2. Next time I might benefit from more clearly blocking my time committed to “HACK WEEK”, ahead of the start of the week.
  3. Writing out a game plan ahead of time makes the tasks more approachable. It allows me to split the “hard thinking” parts and the “low-energy execution” into different sessions, which I can plan around my mood that day.
  4. Writing out a bunch of milestones is ambitious, but I didn’t account enough for the fact that this will wear me out fast as well. Next time, the scope should ideally be smaller and doable in a week’s time.

About me

I’m a computer science engineer with interest in a wide range of topics, including productivity, PKM, artificial intelligence, product development and game design.

On my blog, you will find posts about personal projects, workflow and productivity, and reviews. Find out more about me here.