Being Clueless with Structure | journals with wutania #1

First week of August, marks the beginning of the fifth month of me working fulltime as a software engineer at GitStart. It also marks the start of the fifth month simultaneously trying to make progress on my project immi watch. It also is the fifth month where I swapped social interactions with edX/ Coursera courses. I’ve also tried to get back on my Goodreads reading challenge which I totally left out for a few months this year…

Reflections

While it should be a weekly reflection, this is the first time this year I’ve tried to reflect outside of my bi-weekly therapy sessions, and I have decided it is something I would like to continue to reflect upon in a more business / career / personal growth manner.

Graduating in the peak of a pandemic, I am definitely starting my quarter life crisis early with the surge of “me time” I have over the past seven months.

What do I want to do? Where do I want to be? What skills do I want to have? What is blocking me from doing what I want? What do I want? What are plans? Can we even follow through plans?

Pretty clueless, yet starting to understand there is no looking forward or pondering, there is only the present, and taking action.

I’ve also learned that… working from home does not mean you never leave home. Making time for walks outside or exercise is equally as important as being productive while you wfh. In fear of COVID and in the name of laziness, two weeks ago I spent 10 days indoors not going out at all. By the end of it I had to really block time on my calendar and try hard make myself go for a walk. Just having sunlight on my skin made me feel much better, and not dread work for the next day.

Working on a startup while working at a startup is hard. Especially when you have been working from home all the time, where time before, during and after work seems to be the same. There is no rest and no change of scenery, there is just you and the computer. To keep your passion and stay motivated is hard. Having more discipline to exercise regularly, to be stricter and follow your daily schedules… all seem to help it a little bit!

And I’ve also realised a lot friends have started their own podcasts, their own substacks over the past year. I’m amazed by how they can product such consistent content, and how they can stick to their voice (and have so much to say!? haha). The only way I can find out what my voice is — is to start writing about my reflections, goals, and thoughts in between. And maybe something will stick :)

Professional Goals

1. I want to do product management better

My role at GitStart has slowly transitioned from full stack engineering to more product management where the company has a need, and I have an interest. I’ve been trying to do more product stuff (creating a template for product specs, doing more product specs) in the past month, however, I constantly felt like, I had to code a bit to still be “productive”. To define personal growth in a growth stage startup is difficult, and to give yourselves clear OKRs where there is nothing to reference from is also difficult.

A few things I’m going to try out:

  • Make clear goals for each week (oh, structure!)
  • Stick to my weekly schedule… put my days in blocks and spread out the key things I am trying to achieve at work in those time blocks.
  • Proactively schedule a checkin with our CEO weekly to reflect on the work being done in the past week.
  • Make a list of top product management tools for next week’s journal. (Try the tools, and compare it!)

2. I want to be better at using Twitter (lol)

It seems to me that I need to structure my questions, my reflections and my thoughts more. To create your personal brand on Twitter, unlike LinkedIn where you just post about achievements, in my opinion it’s more about your humility, your humour, your thoughts. And why I want to do this? Because I’ve witness too many fun projects, cool friendships coming out from just interacting with each other authentically on Twitter!

A few things I’m going to try out:

  • Spend 5–10 minutes per day trying to engage with other people on Twitter by sharing my thoughts on mental health, women’s health and software.
  • Ask at least 2 engaging questions per day.
  • Maybe even send a dm to a random person to ask a professional question per week!
  • Reflect back monthly to see if there is growth :)

3. Continue my weekly journals!

I aim to spend 1 hour per week reflecting and writing, and spend time everyday to bullet point thoughts and points I’d like to write about. Let’s see how this thing goes!

Thoughts in between

  • Every thing is interlinked

For example, the courses I have been taking on Coursera seems to be connected with one another, unintentionally. In early May I took a course on edX about “Strengthening Community Health Workers Programs” as I would like to learn more about healthcare in the low resources communities that immi is also likely to be overlapping in. I barely knew anything about community health workers before, but now I understand how it is a crucial part of healthcare, and though it seems to be a huge investment of low return in terms of governmental finances, it in fact has a very high ROI, in fact a more comprehensive community health worker program can guarantee a much robust healthcare system, ensuring more preventable diseases to be prevented, and primary health services (which are more expensive to maintain) not to be overwhelmed. This linked to the next course I am currently taking, where I am learning about Major Depression Disorder and Public Health, where one of the assignments I had to finish was about if I were implementing a depression diagnosis scheme on the community health workers level, how will I plan it etc. Without taking the first course, the response for me on my second course would’ve been less engaged. Though not intentional signs of synchronicity appears on its own.

Another example is the relations between books I am reading and the current state of the world/ my mind. I picked up the book “A Gentlemen in Moscow” in the past two weeks solely because I love reading historical fiction (if not non-fiction), and this was very high on the list on Goodreads. Throughout reading the book, though it’s historical fiction in nature, it depicted how Russia was like entering USSR-era, which mirrors other books I’ve read about early communism China. And for the main character who was a Count and then being put on house arrest and it quite mirrors my personal struggles lately. Being in Hong Kong since 2019 summer, being quarantined over the past 7 months because of rising COVID globally, graduating in the peak of a global pandemic… there’s a feeling of hopelessness, there’s a feeling of being stuck; but the stories of the ex-Count teaches you to navigate and find peace within your boundaries, and eventually plan your way out to break through.

It’s definitely easier to see “coincidences” once you are exposed to one thing. But it just makes me wonder, if I hadn’t have a previous experience of taking a course, or reading a book, or hearing a story from a friend, how would my mind react to a certain events or situations when I encounter to it the first time? And isn’t it amazing that every small interaction literally carries weight and will help you interpret future events differently!

End

To try to keep a journal within an hour of writing, I have to end it here… as I started off pretty spontaneously, these are my rough reflections, goals and thoughts in between. If it resonates with you, this way of journalling — to make sense of what’s going on in this crazy world, to create structure and measure growth, while being completely clueless — maybe try journaling with me!

See you next week.

Best,
Tania

i write code and throw parties. currently coding @gitstart.com and writing a bilingual mental health newsletter