|Farza||Oct 19, 2019|
Hey lads. This is gonna be an interesting newsletter LMAOO. To start, here I am squatting in front of a McDonalds in Pakistan.
I really enjoy documenting my life. When you document your life you’re able to look back in time and reflect on the past. I’m a big believer in reflecting 24/7. I don’t think you can grow if you’re unable to learn from your own past. And the past doesn’t have to be 3 years ago. The past could be the last 6 hours. The past could be 30 minutes ago. The past could be you reflecting on opening this email. Why did you open it? Does it bring you happiness? Does it bring you knowledge?
Your brain is a computer. It’s running software. By reflecting 24/7, you’re able to update that software constantly.
I usually document my life in one of four ways depending on the situation:
I make mini vlogs on Instagram (used to use Snapchat) almost every day (follow me @farza954). The goal? Just to document my humor and how it evolves. I find a lot of things funny. I could be sitting in an empty room and I’ll probably find the pattern on the walls amusing. So, Instagram is a way for me to capture those things I find amusing and save them.
I have over 4000 stories saved that go as far back as 2012, when I was 16.
Here are 3 random stories I made this year. The last one is actually my favorite one I ever made I die every time I watch it.
I have a handwritten journal I write in usually once every two days. Each entry usually spans 2-3 pages. This is where I get emotional and write my deep thoughts on paper. How am I feeling? Who do I wanna punch in the face hard as fuck right now? Did someone hurt my feelings today? If things are great - why? What’s next? What’s my 10-year plan?
I make vlogs on my phone usually twice per week, 30-60 min each. I’ll literally pull my phone out, start walking outside and start talking to myself. Why? Well. Usually when I make these vlogs I’m working through a difficult problem or decision. By actually talking to myself out loud and seeing my face on the video recording I’m able to better process my thoughts right there on the spot. Trust me. You can learn a lot from your face and the different movements your face makes when working through something difficult. Here’s a kinda embarrassing to show 45 sec part of a 50 min vlog I created a few days ago when I was feeling a little down. By making this, I was able to talk through all my issues and come up with a plan for myself! Note: I refer to myself as “we” in the video sometimes. I think not referring to yourself as “I” occasionally can really help distance you from your own emotions and help you make a better logical decision.
Note: I know I seem kinda down in this vlog but don’t interpret it like that. I’m really committed to the idea of starting something new. I just don’t know what that is yet. Hence - you have me feeling uninspired and stuck. I’ll get out of it, I always do ;).
I keep a daily digital journal where every day I do my personal standup and document my plans for the current day and what I accomplished the previous day. I like using DayOne for this :). I keep it really simple. Here’s a standup I wrote last year back when I was working on BuildSpace w/ my boys Evan and Alec :).
The Missing Piece
All these methods I use to log my life have been great fun. I learn a lot by watching vlogs of myself or reading old journal entries.
But, again - your brain is a computer. It’s running software. The faster you’re able to add quality updates to that software the faster you’ll grow as a person. That means if you constantly understand + improve your actions on a daily basis you can more quickly update your software.
This highlights a key issue with my framework. It doesn’t help capture the daily day-to-day activities that essentially make me who I am. For example, I’d love to know when I was reading a book, driving to Starbucks, writing code, hanging out w/ friends, etc. Then, I’d be able to look back on my day and have a really good idea of not only everything I accomplished, but everything I did. With this data, I could see what I liked doing, where I felt I wasted time, where I felt I could improve, things I never wanna do again, etc.
This is something I’ve been trying to do for MANY years. And every time - I just never stick with it. It’s hard. You have to constantly remember to write down what you did pretty much every hour. More importantly, there is no decent way to visualize the data. For example, here’s my attempt at trying to document my day a few days ago:
It’s just an ugly blob of text. I don’t want to read all that. It has no structure, no timestamps, nothing. It’s just hard to browse as well when you want to look at multiple days. The problem is twofold: it’s tough to stick with it and it’s tough to visualize what you wrote.
So, yesterday around 11PM EST I came up with an idea. Why not just make DataDog for my life?
That’s DataDog. It lets you see the logs of your application. It gives you timestamps, log levels (how important the log is), and the log itself. It makes it really easy to look through logs, find issues, and debug your application.
Again, each row in that gif is a log, and every log has a level. There are 6 common types of “log levels” in software. This answer from StackOverflow explains it nicely. (Ignore “Trace” logs).
I knew no tool on the market did what I wanted. So. I started making it :).
6 hours later, it was done - “FarzaLogs”. A way for me to help me debug myself.
So - what are you looking at? Let me explain.
These logs literally explain where my day went.
Every row has a timestamp (in EST), a log level, and the log itself.
I can easily look at the log level and understand how intense it was. I can quickly look back at past logs and reflect on the ones that have levels like WARN or ERROR. I can look back and understand how I spent entire days just by looking at my INFO + DEBUG logs. Was I happy? Where could I have had more fun:? Which part of the day sucked? How can I avoid that next time?
“How do you post the logs to your site?”
Good question :). I made a simple iOS Shortcut. It lives right on my phone’s home bar.
Here’s what the flow looks like.
I just tap it. Enter my log.
Choose the log level.
And then it hits my API which will save the log to Firebase :). EZPZ. It’s super lightweight, takes me 30 seconds, and is fun. And it’s already so helpful. I looked back at my logs from yesterday and am already performing some software updates to myself.
If you want to use this, reply to this email. I’ll hook you up with a version hosted on a different website so your logs don’t get mixed with mine. I only made this for me and I’m not tryna make this a full-fledged product. But, hey, who knows :).
See you lads next week!