How are you Jun-te on

February 2024.

A monthly newsletter of insights, hacks, and automation tools to help you balance your emotional and logical needs.
Audio Clip read by me =>
I like seeing numbers go up because of the illusion of progression πŸ‘€

As of 26th February:

Things I can't control (I have these muted as these going up are distractions imho but left here for your amusement):
  • YouTube Subscribers => 689 subscribers
  • Newsletter Subscribers => 108 subscribers
  • YNAB Subscribers => 26 subscribers
  • MealCraft Subscribers => 0 subscribers
Things I can control:
  • 11 videos uploaded
  • 1 written newsletter
  • 33 πŸ… on the week of February 12th
  • 34 πŸ… on the week of February 19th
Gamification using Emojis.
I'm a firm believer, that if something works for you, then it isn't stupid. Even if its looks stupid to other people. It isn't stupid.

Here is one of my stupid realisation that makes my monkey-brain very happy.

Last month, I mentioned I started implementing the Pomodoro technique. At the time, the definition of a Pomodoro was a simple 30 minute work session.

The Pomodoro last month was defined by 25 minutes of 'focused-solo' work and 5 minutes of 'meditation'.

Here is an image of my 'farm' at the moment.
There has been a few changes to the Pomodoro technique.

I only get the πŸ…(tomatoes) emoji if and only if I 'code'.

If I do other focused work that isn't code, then I get given a πŸ“(strawberry) emoji. Worse, if I do admin work (book-keeping, emails) I get given a πŸ„ (mushroom) emoji.

The goal for this week (26th February to 3rd March) is to get 35 πŸ…. I am increasing by 1, each week, in hopes to reach the long term goal of 50 πŸ….

What has this small change done?

Focus: The obvious one. Because I'll be coding 35 sessions. That's 17.5 hours of coding sessions a week. That means, provided I keep my promise to myself, that MealCraft product will get more of the attention it deserves.

Motivation : Have you seen the tomatoes number go up? It's very rewarding I'm just a monkey that likes to see progress with a loading bar. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™ˆ. I'm also working towards a long term goal of 50 Pomodoro a week which keeps me motivated for the long term goal. A habit that is slowly improving that is also aligned with my long term vision. It honestly feels like I'm chipping my way at it and making great progress.

Lao Tzu: "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step."

Clarity: My fiancΓ©e doesn't ask, 'How my day was'. She just simply asks 'How many tomatoes I planted today'. I show her my calender and she just goes 'wow'. The only words I need to hear from her to know a job well done. Very rewarding. πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Grit: I was sick for 2 days last week ( don't worry guys just a cold and I have a 'get better' protocol to speed up recovery ). However, in the moments I was able to gain some consciousness. I was able to chip away at my πŸ… target. The closer I was to the goal, the easier it was to chip away at it which built grit and resilience to finish even during difficult times.

Boundaries: Due to the nature of 'progress' throughout the week. This has given myself permission to stop πŸ›‘. Stop to reflect, stop to write, stop to think, stop to game.

What a breath of fresh air.

If a week had a lot of code, I give myself permission to slow down as I can predict I can finish for the week. This allows me to get some πŸ“ if I so wish but even better when I see friends + family.

A hidden benefit due to tracking of 'other focused work' with different emojis. Is that I can also minimise and accelerate other focus in my life. For example, I managed to gather 2.5 πŸ„ which represents admin work. I personally love mushrooms but my twin brother doesn't and he is also an accountant so represents paper work in my brain πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ§ . Anyway, I can use the 2.5 πŸ„ to reduce the number of emails/paperwork I do next week. Less πŸ„ = happier twin brother and happier Jun-te 🀣.

πŸ“ - Ah, sweet sweet strawberries. Any celeste lovers out there? For none gamers, here is poster for the game 'celeste'
You play a main character who is trying to go up a mountain, but up the mountain there are 'distractions' to collect strawberries. The strawberries you collect do nothing to the objective of the main game but just gives 'bragging-rights' to friends. That's what I see my 'strawberries' as. Productive procrastination. I do love me some πŸ“ though.

πŸ… - Now that I'm choosing different emojis for different workloads. I wanted to change the original tomato emoji which originated from the Pomodoro technique. A Pomodoro being a type of tomato. I was thinking about other emojis in the spirit of productive procrastination, emojis such as πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»,πŸ’Ό, πŸ’». However, the more I thought about the humble πŸ… the more I thought how much of a fundamental ingredient it is for so many recipes. Doing the product work for MealCraft is also fundamental to my business. In that spirit of that, I thought there was no better emoji than the humble πŸ….

All this talk about ingredients has surely made me hungry. I wonder what I'm cooking up next with all these ingredients...Maybe I can craft something with all these emojis?... Maybe a meal... πŸ‘©β€πŸ³πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ‘€
No more League...?
Fundamentally, what is the reason I play League?

1) I like to see the skill rating ( a number ) go up.

2) A great excuse to see friends who all like League and bond over a common goal.

For me, I love continuously improving and playing with my brothers and friends. However after my CSGO days where I reached the top 1% in skill rating and 3000 hours πŸ‘€ I added a handicap to my 'gaming career'.

The handicap was to 'only play with friends'.

So for my new game of League. I decided to only play with real-life friends.

This was a trade off I made in CSGO to become the top 1%.

Play with people you like, or improve individually and essentially make new friends who are more your skill level.

However, I have yet again reached the stage where the game limits your play with certain individuals due to the skill-disparity.

Not to say my brother or friends are bad πŸ˜‚. We all have weakness and strengths but improve at different rates. The improvement only happens with more hours invested to the game. Hours, not everyone wants to give to the game.

As you can see, my 'only play with friends' rule is very limiting and even more double whammy with the fact the GAME blocks me from playing with certain friends.

However, because I play less due to the game blocking me. My gaming social circle also plays less. ( wait... I was the reason people play as well? 🀣 - oh the circle of life ).

This causes the skill-disparity to only increase and thus everyone to play League less.

The goal isn't to remove League in my life altogether. Tell a kid, which I am, that they can't have candy and what happens?

So how do we maximise the games played within the social circle as well as minimise my total game played time by me to reduce the skill disparity as well as still make the number go up?

1) I like to see the skill rating ( a number ) go up:

I changed the skill rating to no longer be my individual skill rating. League offers a 'clash' tournament. Clash is a competitive team-based tournament system that is provided by the creators of League. What this means is, provided you can get a team of 5. You guys will have a 'team skill rating'. 🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣. No longer does my individual skill rating matter. It is now the team skill rating.

2) A great excuse to see friends who all like League and bond over a common goal:

The nature of Clash means that objectively we have a common goal. Clash is currently set to be on the last weekend of every month.

Have you guys ever tried to orchestrate 5 people with different lives and responsibility to come together for a weekend at the end of the month ??? It is difficult. Much easier with my calender system 🀣 but still difficult.

The rule we collectively made is that we'll add it to our calender and if one person can't make it. Then we don't show. If all 5 shows, let the magic happen.

This way, EVERYONE gets the itch of League at the end of the month. As well as being spontaneous in the sense that we don't know if we can orchestrate all five of us to be free on that particular weekend. Currently our next match is set to be on May 2024🀣.

This has given everyone the 'itch' to be ready for League by the end of the month. With people improving their 'skill' as need be to improve the 'team skill rating' as well as balancing that not everyone can play all the time.

In reality, this could mean we never play League 🀣. It is driven no longer by my individual skill level but the team skill level. The vision is bigger than myself.

This solution perfectly balances the need to help the individuals in the team to improve and play more for the vision. As well as causing me to play less at the moment. If I however, become the limiting factor for the team skill rating. I will be more proactive for the team.
Clarity in house chores
Funnily enough, this time last year, I wrote about how 'I automated' house cleaning by making a list in google tasks and doing it periodically.

I then 'automated' it by outsourcing by getting a cleaner within the (time money energy) TME balance.

There are others problems when one gets a cleaner where an individual needs to become a 'manager' of a cleaner. However that'll be a topic I'll save for another time.

For the problem identified this month, my fiancΓ©e felt that I "don't help around the house".

I found this intriguing. As from my paradigm I felt that I was doing enough.

Were we both not helping out the house and the poor cleaner was keeping us at bay every two weeks?

After the initial ego trip I decided to look at it objectively.

Both parties involved felt like they were helping, but both parties felt like it wasn't enough for the other party.

What's going on?

After careful reflection I decided to blame my old friend speech. Personally, I believe speech is a great way to communicate at the start. However it is expensive in TME balance. Where speech is influenced heavily when we have limited time and energy.

Orthogonally, I had a conversation with a manager in McDonalds where they felt I was taking too long for a delivery. In which I sent them a 'google maps' location history where it showed my traffic delay and thus I wasn't taking 'too long' on purpose. I gave the manager clarity through my google maps system. This was indisputable evidence that 'I wasn't taking the piss'.

I then realised we were lacking a system to communicate chores around the house.

Independent of Eden, I now take a before and after photo of every section I clean in the house. This is because I do most of my cleaning or emptying the bins during my 5 minute break of my Pomodoro.

Eden then gets bombarded on her phone with every little chore that I have completed. Bonus feature is that the before photo adds a level of accountability for me to do a good job 🀣.

This has made a world of difference. There was indisputable evidence that I did clean certain sections in the house and Eden could evaluate what I did and didn't do.

This is a big difference as Eden would look at a section that I didn't clean and assume I didn't do anything in the house. The added clarity allowed her to see the areas in which I did clean and didn't clean which in turn made her feel better too.

A system of taking photos might seem stupid or silly to do. IMO, the trade off is a potential fight vs a 2 second photo before and after I do some cleaning.

I'll happily take the photos.

This hasn't happened ever since the photos. However, I have also told my beloved if the photos of the cleaning is not 'up to her standard', for her to tell me via the photos. If she also asks me to do 'one off' chores I also send her a video/photo of me completing it. She now knows, if I don't send a video/photo it isn't done either.

This level of expectations management has truly soften her frustration levels when she comes home as she has a clear idea what has and hasn't been done.

I'm not here to argue who is right or wrong here or who isn't or is doing enough. Creating a system, especially in a relationship is difficult enough.

I share this in hopes that you guys can do the trade off before a fight.

Our relationship doesn't have to be 50:50. I'll do the things I'm good at and she picks up where I lack. We share common goals and sometimes we forget due to the chaos of life and comfortability. With a little bit of clarity we are both kinder and more effective together.

I'm lucky to find a partner who doesn't get annoyed at me sending images of a bin that's not done and 5 minutes later showing it is done. πŸ˜… Whatever works.

P.S. A kind reminder, that this newsletter was first started to keep things DRY (don't repeat yourself) with my fiancΓ©e. Thank you for making me more proactive and helping me find unique solutions. 😘 (She is a reader πŸ‘€)
5 am club...
I also mentioned this last year πŸ‘€ Maybe my life is just a bunch of cycles πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ‘€

Last year, we tried to implement 5 am club into our lives. This was very difficult with willpower.

The systems of a rising sun alarm clock and a set plan of what to do in the morning has helped but hard to implement when you have the choice to not get up.

Enter McDonLADs.. again. Oh how McDonalds is helping my life in more ways than just money 🀣.

For new readers, last year me and my fiancΓ©e tried to wake up at 5 am by going to bed early. This is because we made a realisation that since we are tired from work, we don't spend good quality time together in the evening.

Thus, if we just sleep first, then wake up early. Our mornings are more intentional and get more of what we want done. Even if that is watching one episode of TV in the morning or going for breakfast together at McDonalds

McDonalds have agreed to change my shifts to 5am start and 12pm finish everyday. This means they can only schedule me shifts on these times, whoop whoop.

Which means, I have to get up early and get to bed early.

How much easier it is to say 'no' to your friends when you say you have 'work' the next day.

How much more dates in McDonalds we get, due to Eden loving Mcdonlads' Breakfast at 5am BEFORE she leaves her work at 7am. πŸ‘€

I'm happy to report, except from some intentionally planned evenings we have gone consistently to bed at 20:30 and wake up at 04:30. In fact, it has become such an ingrain part of our system that even if we sleep late, we wake up at 04:30 without meaning to. 🀣

This has resulted in:
  • Improved sleep score, due to consistency (same wake up and bed time every day)
  • 5 hours of potential work before 12pm as well as going to Mcdonalds for breakfast with Eden.
  • One intentional episode of Grey's anatomy or a game of Valorant at 19:30 with Eden
  • All clients calls finishing at 18:00 as I have to get ready for bed.
  • More hours spent intentionally vs 'the weather' choosing for us.
I would like to thank Mcdonlads to add the urgency and accountability to ensure I wake up at 04:30. Nothing like thinking you'll get fired to wake you up in the morning 🀣😏. Regardless of how you actually feel about a job, a job does know how to kick you up in the ass to move.

A job accountability is one of the best urgency in your life. Glad to have it back as a tool to get me up in the morning and ensure a great sleep.

Sleep is a form of discipline, a discipline that I messed with once in my life.

Me in my manic state: "Dad I can't fall asleep, I have a problem I want to solve and that's all I want to do"

Dad: "Sleep after you solve all your problems then'.

Me: Okay... ( The problem in my delusional state was however world peace ).

5 days of no sleep, 2 weeks in an mental asylum and 3 years of recovery later. I'm proud to say that SLEEP is one of my strongest pillars in my life. SLEEP, to me, is non-negotiable as the trade offs are loss in reputation and literally my sanity.

I'm very grateful that today, sleep is one of the easiest disciplines I have. A luxury that I'm aware that not everyone wants to prioritise.

Going to bed early isn't sexy. Not bringing my best foot forward to the world isn't sexy either. I choose the latter.

I don't know if I can ever achieve 'world peace' like in my delusions but helping people balance their emotional and logical needs feels like I'm getting closer one client at a time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who gives me attention via my work on YouTube, client calls and my newsletter.

There was a time, no matter how loud I shouted. My voice would have never reached anyone. Let alone help anyone.

Today, I share my mistakes and my story in hopes that you can learn faster than me.

Thank you again for giving me one of your most precious resource, your attention.
MealCraft update and advice to solo technical founders
Last month I made the big jump, in my own mind, to work on my business myself.

Readers of this newsletter already know that I was working on it by myself but that's the thing about belief.

You don't know its a belief until you see it yourself.

After making this jump, I reconnected with one of my Camp Hill (sixth form) friend. He became a doctor working for the NHS and has built an app for GPs.

He built an app knowing zero code and it is currently launched and selling to GPs. The app is called GPNinja (GP Ninja | We take the friction out of General Practice).

He told me he built the app using an app called FlutterFlow.

I was hesitant to make the jump and switch my architecture again, however after a much needed and thankful push from James. I decided to make the jump and give it a try.

Jun-te: "What if Flutterflow causes more delays?"

James: "De-risk by increasing the number of hours you spend on the problem then."

NB: He is also the reason, I pivoted my πŸ…to only be code to ensure an accurate portray of my work input.

After using it for 4 weeks, I must say I am very thankful for James to give me the push I needed to switch.

Making the minimal viable product (MVP) was a lot easier with this tool with added benefits that my old work can and will integrate gracefully due to my orthogonal architecture.

Due to the change, I am able to show some outputs to you the reader of ( see next section ).

Word of advice for engineers who are about to build their first start up:

As a technical engineer you know how we should do things and what industry standard is. For this exact reason, I believe this is the reason that will cause you to delay in building your product.

Easy to say out loud, hard to implement. Don't believe me? Do you think you can do 20 push ups? I think I can..., Now do it.

Was it harder or easier than you thought?

There is always a difference between your thought and reality of execution which is than masked with memory.

Heck, I know this is true as I'll be surprised if any of you actually did the 20 push ups.

The very fact that you are an experience engineer means that you don't instinctively write spaghetti code.

I need you to embrace the spaghetti code, if it means speed.

This is hard to do, for an experienced engineer.

The very fact that you are an engineer means that your value comes from not writing spaghetti code.

You probably have habits in place that make you do good practise without even thinking.

Embrace the spaghetti. Embrace the incomplete.

It is very common, for solo technical founders to spend a lot of time designing their architecture and building their ideal architecture instead of the product. Due to this, I believe it is actually better to build a MVP if you don't know how to code in the first place.

However, if you don't know how to code. Your belief will be the fact that you can't build an application because you can't code. ( We all have belief problems πŸ€— )

Thus, what does embrace the spaghetti mean to me?

It means to leave some problems alone and solve it later...

For the last 5 years, I've learnt to own ALL my technical problems and take full responsibilities. Even responsibilities that are not my own. This is what made me valuable engineer.

This does not make me a good business owner.

Today, I don't have the capacity to solve ALL my technical problems. Hopefully tomorrow, I will.

I will re-evaluate when tomorrow comes for today I've got things I can deal with first.
Let's embrace the spaghetti together...
If you go to you'll be welcome by a blank page. After a few seconds you'll hopefully see a 'loading icon'.
Hopefully, my audience is patient enough to be able to wait to see the page AFTER LOADING.
Now technical founders... how are you feeling? Shall we fix the loading screen? πŸ‘€

Breathe in and breathe out...

I know you guys all have solutions to solve this problem.

However what is more important?

The instant loading screen of a webpage to improve SEO and experience for the end user OR the minimal viable product functionality for the end user ???

Embrace the spaghetti... Embrace the loading screen...We need to work on the MVP...
Ignoring the fact that we might have lost some users on the loading page ( ***internally screaming*** ) you'll be welcomed to the log in page in which you can create an account.
Within Flutterflow, there is a built in login page. The email does not have to be verified (...yet) so every single user can go to the website and put and it will log you in. ( Embrace the spaghetti ).
The kind readers will then be presented with a 'Your Recipes' page.

Annoyingly I made this page first so the first landing page is 'Your Recipes' however it'll be better if we navigated to 'Your Ingredients' page. ( this one is a low hanging fruit and a quick fix, you may fix it with a πŸ“ time Jun-te...).

To navigate, the icons at the button will allow you to go to different pages. Please go to the 'Ingredients' page.
The only way you'll know you've landed on the right page is by the 'Title Bar' located at the top. It should say 'Your Ingredients'. Once you have entered this page, a user may add an ingredient by pressing the '+' button located at the bottom right.
Here the user can add an ingredient. For PC users, the 'enter' key doesn't work on your keyboard. You have to actually click 'Create Ingredient' with your mouse 😲.

( Embrace the spaghetti, Focus on the MVP, Breathe in... Breathe Out...)
After a user has created an ingredient, they will be navigated back to the 'Your Ingredients' page which will allow you to see your ingredients with a picture of Florence?!?!?! (Breathe in... Breathe out)
If you then navigate to the Recipes page and create a new recipe, similar to how you created an Ingredient.

You'll be able to give a name to your Recipe. Here I chose a Shashuka since I chose eggs and tomatoes for my ingredients.

Please 'tap' on the picture of Florence with the title of Shashuka to be able to map ingredients to your recipe.

Here, you'll be to add Ingredients from a drop down menu to your recipe. The ingredient is then saved to your recipes.
Finally, after you added the ingredients to your recipe and head over to the 'planner' page. You'll be able to see todays date and also the next 7 days representing your week.

In each day, you'll be able to add your recipes that you have created which will then auto populate the shopping list at the bottom. Currently the shopping list is just re-writing all the ingredients you have for a certain recipe.

There is no function yet to work out the total number of tomatoes you need altogether. (...yet).
The keen observant users will notice that there is '10,' written in front of each ingredients. Behind the scenes, I've added information for 'quantity' of each ingredients and at the moment the default is 10. I have plans after this newsletter is written up to be able to allow users to change the quantity of an ingredient and thus a more accurate shopping list.

Hopefully, by the end of all this I haven't lost all the technical people or even worse potential users 🀣.

Every pain point and technical bug does not need to be fixed... yet. We, or I, need to prioritise the functionality of the MVP first.

I hope this showcases my inner beliefs and the hurdles technical founders might have to go through when going through your own journey.

Thank you for embracing the spaghetti with me.

I know it wasn't easy...

You can't solve all the problems but I get to choose which problems I solve today.

I choose to prioritise the πŸ…s and not the πŸ“s of the world.

Please do email me with feature request and initial thoughts of the product. I would love to hear from you.

Officially speaking, MealCraft is not launched but still accessible via the website and soon the app store...

I believe in the principle of do it live.

Like my YouTube career, no one is watching anyway. πŸ‘€

Do things that scare you and learn from it.

Good luck and have fun with whatever you are working on guys, I certainly having a blast doing mine AFTER I do it. 😁

Not before, before it is just FEAR. 🀣
As always thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. I very much enjoyed writing it.

It took 11 πŸ“ to write the first draft of this newsletter.

I would love to hear what you guys have been up to.

All the best and much love,

Jun-te Kim
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