This blog post is either the stupidest or the best thing I’m doing this year.

Hi reader! I’m Zigmas, I’m a software engineer by day, and a thoughtful guy also by day (I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things). I have been thinking about what I’m doing with my life, what I want to be doing in 5 years, and I decided that these don’t match up, so it’s time for some changes. Here’s my plan.

72 hours

That’s how many hours a week I have outside of my day job and sleep. That is almost to 2 full work weeks. Meaning I am capable of doing more outside of work than at work. A lot of time to spend on improving myself, working on cool projects, and meeting interesting people.

Well I don’t spend my time well. I haven’t for a number of years. I will find any little excuse to procrastinate, or “relax”, by playing games, watching movies, pacing around the room in circles or looking at cat memes. And I find it hard to quit these habits

  • partly because I don’t track my time usage very well,
  • partly because I have learnt to associate being anxious with all doing all the time-wasting activities,
  • and partly because there is no external pressure to spend my time productively, only my own ambitions, and they’re clearly not strong enough to overtake my procrastination habits.

The last point is especially important. I need to be put under pressure by a deadline or a promise in order to deliver.

That’s where this blog comes in. I will to track my progress towards being a more capable and productive person with weekly updates, one every Sunday. Like a progress report, except I’m reporting to the whole Internet, this post being update #0. I expect the good people of the Internet to hold me accountable and roast me on Twitter (or any other social media I create in the future) every time I miss one of the weeks without a good excuse.

With all of that said, here are my main goals for this experiment (for now).

Getting rid of time wasters

I engage in many activities that I should ideally avoid, but undoubtedly I’ve sunk the most time into chess and Youtube.


I picked up chess in university, playing exclusively online for more than 5 years now. Just the playing time alone is close to 70 days (well over 1500 hundred hours). That is an average of almost an hour a day. Just playing! It’s probably easily triple that if you also count the time spend on solving puzzles, reading blog posts, watching hundreds if not thousands of hours of chess content.

Also you know that you have a problem with an activity when you start skipping meals to do it.

You might be thinking that chess isn’t nearly the worst thing to be spending your time on. I don’t disagree, doing drugs would be worse. It is a massive waste of time though (for me).

  • I have a lot of chess knowledge. 5 years of chess knowledge. I can’t use it outside of chess.
  • Chess doesn’t make me money. I’m not interested in teaching it or streaming, and I’m nowhere near good enough to be winning tournaments.
  • I absolutely despise memorizing positions and lines. That is a massive component of the game though. And I’m not fast enough for playing bullet chess well, which is the one way to get away with not knowing large amounts of theory.
  • Chess is not something I really do in social settings either. Playing online is very much a lonely activity. The only message you will get is someone accusing you of cheating or calling you a loser.
  • It’s even more depressing when you remember that the game is deterministic, often resulting in the same long sequences of moves to start the game, and machines have been playing this game better than any human could for well over 20 years.

The only reason I enjoy playing chess at all is because rating go brr. Not a good reason in my book.

With all that in mind it’s an easy decision to make: I’m quitting chess and chess content for fun outside of social settings or any chess-related programming projects. As proof I present my online chess accounts on and Keep me accountable. Today is the 30th of July 2023, I will make sure to explain any future chess activity in my future updates.


Chess is something I started playing only in university, but my relationship with Youtube started way earlier than that, at least 12 years ago. I’ve grown up watching science and Minecraft videos. I attempted to learn card tricks from Youtube. I bought a unicycle because I saw it on Youtube. If you can think of a Youtube genre, I’ve probably watched it at some point in my life.

I don’t have an exact number, but I spend a ridiculous amount of hours watching videos on Youtube. The truth is that there just isn’t that much useful content. At this point in life I can’t justify gaming streams, short binges, meme videos, or random vaguely interesting Recommended videos.

I also don’t want to completely remove myself from the platform. I still use Youtube a lot to both learn, get new perspectives, and get inspired to get out of my comfort zone.

So I’ve decided on a 1 hour limit each day. Simple to track, and simple to adjust the amount over time. The 1 hour limit will make me prioritize what I watch a lot, because just my subscriptions tab has more content appearing daily.

For now I will trust myself to track my time expenditure manually. In the long run I intend to use browser extensions that sync across all my devices and automatically track and limit my time usage on the website.

There are 2 main exceptions to what to the 1 hour limit:

  • Listening to music doesn’t count towards the 1 hour limit. I use Youtube Music for this anyways, so it shouldn’t make tracking time more difficult.
  • Podcasts in audio-only form are also exempt, as long as I do it during some other mentally straightforward activity like making food / eating / exercising. Again I should be able to listen to most podcasts outside of Youtube.

Starting new habits

I want to spend the reclaimed time wisely by improving in a few main categories.

Time tracking / planning / review

For starters, I need to measure to know how I’m doing. I intend to have planning sessions at variable levels of frequency:

  • a daily session to note what went well throughout the day, what didn’t and what I have achieved, and then plan out the next day with specific tasks that I want to achieve.
  • a weekly session to plan out and summarize each week. In software terms, think of it being a one week sprint, so I will concern myself with new features to work on as opposed to broken exact tasks to achieve those features.
  • a monthly session to once again summarize my weekly sessions, and come up with a theme for the upcoming month. For example, for August right around the corner the theme will be exercise, so that I focus on preparing for my marathon soon.
  • a yearly session reflecting on the year and reviewing my long term goals. For this I really like the template provided by YearCompass.

Health and exercise

I have a marathon that I’m running soon, and I don’t feel prepared yet. So I commit to the following goals:

  • 50km run over the week.
  • 2h of exercise average per day

Project work

I have a list of programming-related projects that I want to work on. Some of them are not strictly programming projects (like this blog, or a Youtube channel if I create one), some of them are just for fun or public benefit, and some of them I expect to actually generate me some revenue. Regardless of what I work on, I want to be consistent. I commit to spend 2 hours every workday, and 4 hours a day on the weekends towards my projects.


In addition to projects I want to spend time improving skills and knowledge. I commit to spend 1 hour each day.


It’s not my main priority, but I also want to work on meeting and communicating with people. I aim to initiate one conversation outside of my comfort zone each week. I’m intentionally leaving this definition broad so I don’t have an excuse to not do it. :)

Goals specifically for this week

For this upcoming week I want to celebrate the revival of my blog and work on it a little bit more. There are still some missing features after I’ve changed my blogging setup, and I have a number of posts I have planned. In particular keep a lookout for posts about my new blog setup, as well as my progress on working on a VSCode extension VSCode Kanbn.

So what’s left?

That’s 7 hours for Youtube, 14 hours for exercise, 18 hours for working on projects, and another 7 hours for learning. I expect to spend maybe 15 minutes a day on the planning and review sessions, a bit longer on the less frequent ones. That’s at most another 3 hours.

That leaves me with 33 hours to cook, eat, travel, do household chores, plan for the future and relax. Or, that’s 4 hours a day on average, which should be more than enough.

May the experiment begin. See you in a week!