Personal Review for May-June 2014

Follow up to “Personal Review for March - May 2014”.

This review covers May 18 through June 29. The reason I’m doing this review for 1.5 months instead of the standard three is two-fold: (a) this time period is very neatly bounded by large shifts in my life – graduating college on the 17th of May and starting at my first job on the 30th of June and (b) I need to end this cycle early if I want to get on a standard Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec, Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun three month review cycle.

How Did I Spend My Time?

For these 1.5 months, I was focused primarially on pre-professional prep (learning a lot more statistics and programming) and secondarially on seeing friends and family. Here’s the breakdown:

Activity Total Time Hours Per Week[1] % Week
Sleep 351.5hrs 51.3hrs 30.5%
Social[2] 253.8 37 22%
Other[3] 167.3 24.4 14.5%
Programming 121.3 17.7 10.5%
Breaks 63.3 9.2 5.5%
.impact 25 3.6 2.1%
Move to Chicago 18.5 2.7 1.6%
Exercise 11.8 1.8 1%
Driving[4] 11.8 1.7 1%
Apartment Hunt 6.8 1 4.1%
Write 6.25 0.9 0.5%

1: On average – obviously not all of these activities took place every week.

2: In previous Personal Reviews, this was listed as “Friends”, but the category is the same. This is just a more accurate title as “Friends” always included “Family” too.

3: People have been interested in the past in what such a large “Other” category could entail, so I’ll disclose the precise breakdown in the next section.

4: This involved work toward getting a driver’s liscense.

Individual Breakdown for “Other”

Since some people asked last time, I’ve broken down the “other” category:

Activity Hours Per Week
Tasks[1] 6.5
Daily/Weekly Reviews 5.9
Shower/Hygeine 3.2
Email[2] 1.8
Clean/Pack/Unpack[3] 1.5
Clothes Shopping[4] 1.3
Errands 1.1
Banking/Finances 0.7
Notes[5] 0.5
Haircut 0.3
Prepare Food[2] 0.3
Employment Forms 0.2
Dentist 0.2
Laundry 0.1
Research 0.4
Travel[3] 0.4

1: This consists of doing assorted small things from my to-do list.

2: For both preparing food and email, some of these times were in “Tasks” instead. I estimate that my actual time spent preparing food is ~e1hr a week and doing email is ~3.5hrs a week.

3: Not counting what was related to moving to Chicago.

4: This was a one-day 9hr shopping spree to do a once-in-three-years wardrobe update to prepare for the professional world. Not typical.

5: This mostly involves thinking about ideas and recording them.

What Did I Accomplish?

Pre-professional Prep

I’m a bit dissapointed that – despite making it my primary focus and no longer having school to compete – the amount of time I spent working on learning computer programming only bumped up by half an hour a week. I fell far short from my target goal of being a full-time 40hr/wk learner and didn’t even make the goal I thought would be so easy of being a part-time 20hr/wk learner.

However, the total output of my work was still pretty good, I think. I spent 20.5 hours learning more front-end development with HTML5/CSS including redesigning my personal website to look really beautiful. I spent 60.5 hours learning more Ruby on Rails and 24.25 hours learning Ruby syntax in particular. I also spent 12 hours learning more JavaScript.

Two weeks into my job, I think I adequately prepared myself, though I still would have benefited from doing maybe another 100 hours of work, if only to get some more confidence.

EA Projects

I originally didn’t want to do any EA Projects work, though I did predict I’d find it hard to tear myself away from it. Therefore, it’s not much of a surprise to find that I did about as much EA Projects work per week during this review cycle as I did during the last review cycle.

I wrote two research pieces – “How Much Suffering is in the Standard American Diet?” and “A Re-Analysis of ACE’s Leaflet Study” – to further understand the potential for vegetarian advocacy. I worked on the ongoing EA survey and I also worked on furthering .impact.


At 37 hours a week, I definitely spent most of my (awake) time socializing. I spent more time with my girlfriend and family, which is great. I also spent a good amount of time with my old high school friends – and given that we’re now scattered all over the country, it might be a long time, if ever, that I see them all again… I also got to go back to the Origins Game Fair, which was really neat, and a great opportunity to see some old and new friends from college.

Moving to Chicago

I moved to Chicago and got a Real Job(TM), which is pretty cool, I guess? It took a lot more work than I expected to prepare for this, stressing over getting an apartment and buying furniture and what not.

Driver’s Liscence

I finally accomplished a goal that I’ve been chasing since the very first blog post here more than a year and a half ago – after two failed attempts, I finally got my driver’s liscense! I’m now authorized to operate a motor vehicle, and I think I will respond to this newfound freedom by continuing to avoid owning a car for as long as possible.

I did drive all by myself precisely one time… to go to the dentist’s office. Fun times indeed!

Goals for the Next Review

Back in January in “My Case Study: I (Mostly) Finished Choosing Between Careers”, I outlined that I’d like to have “full-time employment for 40-60 hours a week, but then spending significant portion of my ‘free time’ volunteering and doing EA side projects”. I later clarified in “Personal Review for December 2013 - February 2014” that “[b]y splitting my time this way, I hope to learn a lot more about my earning potential, my ability to do EA projects, and how the value of these two things might compare.”

The next review will be on November 1. However, my lease and internship here runs out by the end of August. So by the next review, I should be settled into whatever my next opportunity will be, even if it’s a permanent position at my current place.

It’s time to bucle down and see if this plan works and what I can learn from it.


Curious how this review was made? See “The Making of the Personal Review: Behind the Scenes” for more.