Making Sloppy Progress

Big Personal Projects

breaking down problems part deux

Last week I began working through Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick, and Kevin Wayne. Or I should say, trying to work my way through it again. I believe this is my first honest-to-goodness attempt at fighting through it. For me it’s a heavy book and can be a real challenge to understand, not because it’s poorly written (on the contrary, nice work!). I’m really digging into the meat of it now, breaking down different algorithms and learning how they work, how well they function, etc. It’s been really enjoyable taking my time, but I’m beginning to get concerned about the pace I’m moving through the book. My current process has been (when I feel like it) crack open the book, read through how an algorithm works, read it again because I didn’t understand it the first time, watch a youtube video explaining what I just read, rewrite the code in Go (it’s written in Java) and then run it, chart the comparisons of different tweaks I’m making to it… do you see where I’m going? I’m distracting myself from finishing. At this current rate, I won’t have finished the book before I’m dead.

So, yesterday, I took a step back and reviewed what my goals really are. I then started breaking the problem down chapter by chapter section by section. This is a skill I’m still working on, and I’ve written about successes with it in a previous blog post. Once I felt like things were broken down into bite-sized pieces I set myself some due dates (yay).

I feel pretty good with the dates, they’re pretty reasonably paced (I think), and will hopefully serve is a regular reminder to keep pushing forward. We’ll see how that goes!

About Me

I'm a father of three and a software engineer for both hobby and trade. I enjoy tabletop role-playing and board games - especially of the heavily social variety! I also occasionally participate in game jams with friends.

I'm particularly interested in self-improvement in all of those things. I enjoy progressing through a new skill and learning ways of maximizing my time and focus.

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The best way to reach me is via email. When I'm in a coding mood I've usually got some kind of personal project going on my github.