7-day programming challenge recap

Yesterday I successfully completed my 7-day programming challenge working on MembershipNerd. I had set out to start a new project, and work on it at least 30 minutes for seven consecutive days.

How did I do?

I tracked 10.5 hours of work on MembershipNerd during those seven days. That is exactly three times the minimum of 3.5 hours that I had set as a goal for myself.

On top of that, I also wrote five blog-posts about the progress or particular problems I was having:

I particularly enjoyed “solving” the UnicodeDecodeError, because that seemed to be something that nobody else had solved before, at least I didn’t find anything online.

What have I accomplished in seven days?

From the 5+1 tasks that I had planned, I was able to complete the first three. I did start working on task #4.

Before I started, I asked myself the following questions (answers on a scale of 1 to 10):

  1. How confident are you that you will complete your daily goal of 30 minutes per day? Answer: 10
  2. How confident are you that you will complete the challenge successfully? Answer: 9
  3. How satisfied and happy do you think you will be when you successfully complete your trial? Answer: 8 - very proud and happy
  4. Why / about what will you be happy? Answer: Because I have always read about people doing these challenges, and I have never actually tried it.
  5. How disappointed would you be if you fail? Answer: 7-9 - very, because I would feel like a failure that I cannot even complete such a short challenge.
  6. How much agency do you have, i.e. how much control over the success? Answer: 10 - full control

Question #4 feels worth revisiting now:

How satisfied am I, now that have successfully completed the challenge?

My original answer was an 8, which I described as “very proud and happy”. So, how happy do I actually feel today? I would say it’s about a 5. I am glad that I started the challenge, but I don’t feel particularly happy or proud. I do feel a sense of satisfaction.

I remember having heard about psychology studies where people were asked to forecast their emotional state when they succeed or fail at a certain future task. And I seem to remember, that they also overestimated their feeling of success (as well as their disappointment).

What now?

I took a day off of working on MembershipNerd today, but I will finish the minimal version that I had originally planned. I plan to basically repeat what I have done the first time: start a second 7-day challenge and work on MembershipNerd at least 30 minutes for the next seven days.

See also