Changing the format: from three month quarters to six week sprints

I took a quarter long summer break from my Personal PhD project and I am ready get back into it again!

One thing that I am changing for my second year of Personal PhD is the format.

In the previous year I did 4 quarters each 3 months long, where first 2 weeks were prep, 10 weeks were studying and 2 weeks were wrap-up time. The built-in prep and wrap-up time is super important. Because I get to decide my curriculum I can make the length and rhythm of the periods to be the most optimal for me.

The prep time is for figuring out the curriculum for the next period. It is for trying out few different resources before settling on a specific curriculum.

Even with the best intentions a side project inevitably get delayed so the wrap-up time is a life saver. It’s a time to catch up, finish the last chapters, write up a post summarizing the period. Its a chance to start the next period on time instead of feeling down for delaying it.

From the last year I found that a quarter is a very long time and working on several big things at a time is harder. Also a quarter length project is not agile enough. With shorter periods I can focus on one topic at a time and choose topics as need arises. Also with shorter sprints I can plan better around vacations. From what I saw from last year, I am usually totally disconnected during vacations and get very behind on studying.

So going forward I will do shorter sprints. Each sprint will be six weeks long: one week of prep time (finalizing curriculum and trying out few resources), four weeks for studying, and one week of wrap-up time.

I still plan to write updates, one at the beginning, one in the middle and one in the end.

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