Habits and routines

A few days ago, I got a message on the public board asking about my daily habits and favourite books. Let's think... The oldest routine that I've been following is doing sports. I had a very happy childhood, and I was very lucky as a kid because my parents got a condominium in Barcelona with a sports area: a swimming pool and a tennis court. I spent my childhood swimming in summer, playing tennis all year long, and playing football in a team for 4 years from age 9 to 13.

My favourite channels were Cartoon Network, Fox Kids, Nickelodeon and Eurosport. When cartoons weren't appealing, it was normal for me to watch football matches from the Turkish league or some kind of weird winter sport. My favourite games were those with a net and racquet. I played padel with my dad on the weekends when I didn't have football matches, and in the summer we played badminton and tennis table in my grandad's home village.

When I grew older and realised that I wasn't talented to be a professional player of any kind of sport (I wish I could), I started going regularly to the gym at the age of 16 to fix my back problems. I haven't stopped going since then. 2023 will be my 17th gym anniversary. It reminds me that I'm not that young anymore...

Nowadays, I don't watch or follow any kind of sport, but I continue the practice religiously. If I'm not at the gym, you'll find me swimming or playing some kind of racquet sport. During this month, I'm swimming 1.600 meters per day and lifting weights 5 times per week. But if you ask me in a few months, I'll probably be doing something different. I also adapt my training depending on pains and injuries.

My relationship with computers started young and eventually became a habit. I remember that one Christmas, I wanted a PlayStation and I got an Intel Pentium IV instead. I cried because I didn't know how could I play GTA with that thing. I remember my uncle—a computer scientist—configuring that machine while I watched Windows screens with indecipherable English messages. I was sitting close to him and pissed off about not getting the PlayStation.

I used the computer to do homework and to deliver projects at school (when WordArt was a thing). I didn't enjoy spending time with that machine until my dad bought a 56 kbps modem. That day was where all it started. Since that moment, I wonder how many consecutive days have I spent without the internet. One of the sweetest memories that I have is when everyone at school created an MSN Messenger account. We could use computers to communicate after school without verbal contact and without spending money on SMS. That removed a layer of shyness, it was cool for introverted people to be more open and honest. When someone signed in to Messenger, you saw a pop-up, and your brain released one of my first delicious Dopamine Software Doses™.

After 18, the use of the computer increased progressively, until nowadays, when my work requires to be around 8 hours in front of a screen. When I travelled around South East Asia, I averaged 20 hours per week programming (it's the sweet spot in my opinion). I felt creative during that time, and for me, building a product from scratch was discovering a new world. I still think that humans are meant to create things, but I'm also starting to assume that the chances of you becoming the new Pieter Levels are pretty low. Anyway, it still amazes me, how people can create a business by buying a domain and writing some lines of code.

Travelling around Asia made me a different person. During my time vagabonding the world, I didn't want to force myself to do things, just to follow my natural interests. I wrote when I felt like it, coded when I felt like it, did sport when I felt like it and rested when I felt like it. I discovered that my natural inclination is as follows:

  • I wake up naturally between 9:00 and 10:00
  • Eat breakfast
  • I code for a couple of hours
  • Swim ~1.000 meters
  • Eat lunch
  • Nap
  • I code/write for a couple of hours
  • Go to the gym for an hour
  • Shower
  • Eat dinner
  • Sexual activities
  • Go to sleep between 1:00 and 2:00

My natural routine gets messed up when working for others, as I can't decide my schedule, and I reckon that is one of the reasons for me being eventually frustrated and unhappy. Freedom is becoming more important as I'm getting older.

If we talk about books, I have a horrible memory, so probably I miss wonderful books, but here is a list of books that somehow stuck in my brain as I'm writing this post and that I would recommend:

  • The Bed of Procrustes (most reread)
  • The Tartar Steppe
  • How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
  • Rework
  • Post Office
  • Brave New World
  • Los asquerosos (Spanish only)
  • La flaqueza del bolchevique (Spanish only)

I'm not a big fan of recommending things though. In my opinion, books are similar to StackOverflow answers. If I collect a list of good StackOverflow answers without providing any kind of context, you probably won't relate to any of them. Most of the books tried to solve a pain that I had at the moment prior to read them.

Additionally, I don't think that if you follow these routines or read these books, you would become, produce or achieve my results. Your path is unique and I recommend you follow your desires and inclinations. Even if you did the same thing as person X, you might never achieve the results Y of that person. I wish it could be that easy, but there are too many variables involved.

Hi, I'm Erik, an engineer from Barcelona. If you like the post or have any comments, say hi.