суббота, 2 июля 2016 г.

A flashback into the previous summer vacation, or How I will be more effective this time

Two years ago I had an academic stop-out, hence there was no difference for me between summer months and the other ones. Before that, I just didn't care about my efficiency during July and August: I was doing what I wanted to do at a specific moment, and enjoyed that until last weeks of the summer. Then I realized how many projects I had in my mind and how few of them I completed but it was too late. I spent the previous summer in a much better way in terms of efficiency. My regular activities included:
  • creating new content for CodeFights in full-time mode;
  • playing blindfold chess against my dad (8 games in total);
  • attending an awesome course in French grammar (8-9 lessons in August);
  • training for programming competitions (I chose an unusual strategy by making short (most usually, an hour length ones) but frequent (I trained on 51 days of July/August) sessions of coding and spent the time trying to come up with ideas of solutions while being on public transport).
  • jogging (six attempts totaling 52 kilometers - not as regularly as I would like but still not that bad. It turned out that enormously hot weather is a much bigger problem than exams: during the single month of June 2015, I made the same number of attempts and showed results very close to July-August ones);
Impressive, right? However...
  • Doing very similar things throughout two months is boring. When you are bored, you are not as effective as you could be. Good news is that our platform has improved a lot since then, work shouldn't be monotonous anymore.
  • Blindfold chess is very tiring and time-consuming activity. Our games lasted for two-three hours on average. Moreover, this way you improve only your calculation skills but the strategical thinking is no less important, let alone the knowledge of openings and endgames. To sum up, now I'm going to spend the same twenty hours differently in order to get better in more than one aspect of the game.
  • Yes, the grammar course was amazing but each week I had to go to the language anti-café which is located far from my home, and Vasileostrovskaya metro station was closed at that time, therefore on each such day I spent around 3 hours on the way there and back (in total). It's also worth noting that although French language is not only about grammar, my activities amounted to grammar exercises that summer. I stopped doing even them once the course was over. Now my goal is to revive the acquired knowledge and to put it into practice... without leaving home. Certainly, I could read, write and listen to native speakers before. Now I have an excellent opportunity to speak to my French-speaking friend as well whenever we both have time, so I can work on all four language aspects without leaving the chair I'm sitting on now.
  • I couldn't crush the barrier preventing me from making any substantial progress in competitive programming starting from the first year at the university. I haven't taken part in any contest from the beginning of 2016 and I'm not going to. These 7 years were great, but it is time to go further.
  • Finally, you can't be effective if you don't make short breaks from time to time to distract yourself from daily routine. Last year my "summer break" started in the end of October. It will be fixed this time.

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