What I’m thinking about today:

“I look at every decision in my life as turning left or turning right. And which one is going to put me closer to my end goal. And that’s the turn I take.” – Matt Fraser on the Brute Strength Podcast, The Man Behind the Medals

Yesterday I finished Daniel Walter’s 10-Minute Focus guide and I was reminded of a few techniques that I used previously to maintain efficiency and focus, but I hadn’t put those into practice in my current situation (unemployed, learning new skills for a career switch, less time constraints). I’ve been feeling sluggish, less engaged, easily distracted, and afraid that I’m not taking full advantage of this valuable time. So…here are the changes I made, and today I felt a huge improvement.

Here’s what I did:
– I chose 5 tasks
– I created blocks of time within my planned hours of study, 12pm – 6pm These blocks were 30 – 45 minutes with 15 minutes between them for “diffuse thinking” aka recovery time (FYI, I highly recommend the course Learning how to Learn which discusses this in depth)
– Realization…I can’t learn everything at once. There are only so many hours in the day and putting tasks in my calendar helped me prioritize my time and brain capacity
– I hid my phone in the other room and refrained from social media
– During breaks I ate a snack, listened to music, started a new book

What I learned today:

Brilliant mathematical foundations exercises: When looking for patterns, look from all available perspectives. For example if there are rows and columns, is there a pattern emerging based on the column being even or odd or divisible by a certain number? What are the relationships between the rows?

Peak (book on the science of expertise): Mozart’s perfect pitch (ability to identify notes and where they are on the scale) was thought to be a genetic gift, but a study found that children could develop perfect pitch with about a year’s worth of training ( and Motzart’s father was a musician who diligently trained his kids). The brain however is only adaptable to this until the child is six years old. 

Goodhart’s Law states that “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

Java learning:
– Today’s section was on Sets & HashSets (Udemy’s Java Programming Masterclass for Software Developers)
– History of the term “Hash” according to Wikipedia, The term “hash” offers a natural analogy with its non-technical meaning (to “chop” or “make a mess” out of something), given how hash functions scramble their input data to derive their output.
– Note to self: Wikipedia might be a good place to find definitions / more details of concepts that aren’t clear from the course videos. 
– Benefits of making a class final – can not be subclassed. This is useful when creating an immutable class like a String class.  Immutable means state can not be changed after its construction. 
– “\t” insert a tab
– “\n” insert a new line in the text
– Set implementations include HashSet (stores in a hash table but doesn’t order), TreeSet (stores in a red-black tree, and orders based on values and is much slower than HashSet), and LinkedHashSet (orders based on insertion, only a slightly higher cost than HashSet). 
– Set union uses addAll to combine unique elements from two sets (won’t show duplicates) For an object to be considered a duplicate, they have to compare equal (referential equality, both references point to the same object).
– Coding challenge idea – using a simple challenge constrict options, forcing myself to get more creative.