2020 Week 42 review (11-17 Oct)

Sun Oct 18 2020


I'm reinstating the weekly review habit

The six categories I'll use for the near future

At present, I'm using the following schema to categorise my goals, and I'll be rating myself every week on how well I did on each of these categories.


This is about maximising my ability (and maneuvering myself) to do difficult, interesting and impactful work. It is also about being a productive employee (i.e. not getting distracted when working from home)

  • grinding Leetcode
  • practicing mock interviews to improve how I explain my code
  • looking through past projects and optimising how best to explain them/remembering any technical or engineering decisions I made

Side projects

These are medium-term, ongoing, regular commitments that I expect to benefit me somehow

  • keeping my blog updated
  • writing paper with Gabe
  • building board game engine with Joshua
  • path tracer


This is not just about maximising my gains and looking shredded + massive: I also want to increase my flexibility and fix existing imbalances such as APT and internal shoulder rotation. Also other things like eating and sleeping well, and not having too much screen time.

  • buying the home gym
  • building and sticking to a routine
  • going to bed early/consistently


These are "for fun" things that I don't expect any ROI on (ergo the purpose for learning/practicing these skills is purely to be good at them)

  • guitar
  • longboarding
  • programming
  • gardening
  • learning a language


This is about reconnecting with old friends, keeping in touch with my friends, (especially the ones overseas) and spending time with my loved ones.

  • Weekly review with Celine
  • Meeting with friends

Bonus category: serendipity

Rating myself on this category makes sure that I always leave myself open for new and exciting things and don't tunnel vision on my existing projects

I'll rate each category on a four-point scale:

  • Excellent (exceeding expectations: better than I could've asked for),
  • Good (meets expectations: about as good as I could've asked for),
  • So-so (some good, some bad --- OK overall, but room for improvement),
  • Bad (didn't meet my expectations --- could have done better).

Anything better than "Bad" is good.

Review of the week


I got through to the final round at OGP, which was great because I thought that I had bombed it for sure. (Got the notification on Tuesday).

However, I still don't have a good productive working routine at IMDA. It sounds completely backwards, but I may need to decrease my working hours (yet be much more productive during them). That means I need to do the following:

  • being well-rested
  • not checking email/phone/Telegram
  • not taking naps

For the next week I might start off slow, working only four hours a day three of which must be productive. In order to be productive, I will impose upon myself the following restrictions:

  • Three hours is six pomos. I will therefore work for six pomos straight and allow no interruption (apart from the breaks programmed in by the pomos) after the daily standup.
  • I will turn off all messages, emails, and so on, pausing all notifications from my phone apart from WhatsApp (look at an alternative to RescueTime for Linux).
  • I won't do any work after lunch (1pm).


I've been starting Phrakture's starting stretching routine: I do it in the morning while having the standup, which is great. I have identified two main problems that I'd like to fix:

  1. (very bad) Internal shoulder rotation
  2. Anterior pelvic tilt

To fix internal shoulder rotation I will make sure to do face pulls and shoulder stretches every day, and pay special attention to
incorporating a lot of horizontal pulling motions in my fitness routine (more on that later). To fix anterior pelvic tilt I will henceforth not be slagging off core work: I will settle on a routine and follow it carefully without cutting any corners.

This week I've been doing bodyweight exercises quite religiously, which is good. However, I've not been really following a routine/putting enough attention to ALL the parts of my body (I basically only do vertical push and pull)

After some deliberation I've decided not to go for the full BB + rack, instead going for the DB setup. After having read the research (ergo a couple of eloquent-sounding Reddit posts that cited the actual research) it looks like I can make gains without having to invest in a full power rack setup. And since I'm striving for minimalism, I want to do more with less. So I'll be trying out a bodyweight-focused routine and use DBs to pick up the slack. (I might also get a weight belt so I can do weighted dips).

My sleep is still not great because I always sleep late, especially during the weekend. It is especially debilitating during weekdays because it affects my mood and motivation. I need to find a way to force myself to go to bed early: possibly getting melatonin, or getting Celine to get me to bed early.

According to my iPhone, I'm also using way too much screentime---aimlessly browsing 4Chan--- the goal is to get screen time down to two hours/day next week. (Which is still honestly plenty).

Side projects

Side projects have been good this week: I've been all in on pair work with both Gabe and Joshua and we've really been getting pretty good results. There's still a lot of work to be done for both side projects, but I'm happy with the projects.

I would have liked to update my blog more this week but I wasn't really good about that. I really want to start writing my Oxford posts and my "How to write a First-Class Oxford PPE essay" post series, but have been putting it off because it's so much work and I'm lazy.

I might actually check myself into a hotel room to do a staycation and write the Oxford posts by hand, compiling notes but deliberately not bringing a phone or a laptop so the only thing I can do is read and write.


Good --- made sure to reconnect with old friends, and try to KIT with Oxford friends. Met Joel, Joy, Jon Lau, Jon Chuang (lots of Js this week), and the rest of the OG.

The weekly check-ins and daily talks with Celine have been good--- we're both happy with this level of contact, and everything has been smooth-sailing so far.


I'm learning to longboard (to get more confidence when commuting). So far so good, but still have times when I fall, particularly on heel side turns. I had a close shave today where I almost cracked my head open. I really should get a helmet (so I can start practicing tricks/ go downhill safely). I think it's a bit too much to be wearing one when traveling around the neighbourhood, you look like a square.

I also have borrowed a guitar from Jon Lau and am just playing around with it.

I'm deliberately trying to be not so serious about these things; instead of "deliberate practice", I'm doing "deliberate dilettanting"; I'll practice only when I want to practice instead of making a chore out of it.


Went bouldering with Sihong which was good. It's good to be saying yes to things that I wouldn't normally do. (It hurt my fingers a lot, though).

Very serendipitously, I asked Jon about the bass, Jon said that he would lend me his guitar and so today I've been practicing learning my first four chords. My fingers hurt like hell.

Spoke to Eliza and she was telling us about her newfound love for growing plants. I told her that I had a plot of land outside my house and asked her if she was interested in growing something on it? And she said yes so we're going to scope out the plot and see what we can do to grow something. (She also shared something I found very funny---apparently the prices of plants have gone up a ton, and people are now trading sexual favours to get rare potted plants, which is pretty insane lmao)

Overall rating this week

  1. Career: so-so
  2. Physical: so-so
  3. Side projects: good
  4. Relationships: good
  5. Skills: good
  6. Serendipity: good

What are my goals for next week?

Three big goals/wins:

  1. My first priority: prepare for the final round interview
  2. Create a productive work schedule
  3. Create a healthy sleep schedule

Other priorities:

  1. Keep up the momentum of my two side projects
  2. Create and follow workout routine
  3. Finalise home gym purchase