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Bryan Monzon

websites & triathlons

My Struggle with Focus

I’ve always struggled with focus. I remember day dreaming in primary school when I should have been paying attention. Even throughout college I struggled with maintaining focus. Even at work today I struggle with keeping my mind clear of the dreams and aspirations of the future and rarely do I stay long in the present. I suppose it’s how I’m wired. But I don’t think that reason holds much weight, generally.

Dreams without action, stay dreams. The process of translating the dreams of the future into actionable items today is the difference maker between those that are extremely successful and those that reach a point of satisfaction.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with being content, I truly admire those that have the sense of being satisfied. Personally, I want to always move in a direction that is beyond where I’m at now. If I’m a good designer, I want to be great. If I’m a good developer I want to be even better.

I think the desire to get better was primarily learned through sports. Growing up I had great coaches who always challenged me to be better in the details. It was never just “good play!” It was “good play, Bryan! Next time position feet like this so that you can easily do (something else)”. There was a lot of positive critiques that allowed me to accept instruction and realize that I’m never done getting better.

There have been many iterations of this site. Originally it was just a portfolio site for my terrible work. Then it turned into a landing page that directed you to contact me by email. Lately I’ve only been doing WordPress development, so I don’t have much in the way of designs to post. About a year ago I thought I’d start blogging often, but I couldn’t honestly write more often than once a month. My struggle, is focus.

I still want to blog. It helps me sort out my thoughts but I don’t want it to be a random dumping ground when for when I’m pissed off about something. I would like to focus it and spend a little more time writing things on topics that mean a lot to me.

Once a week is a big commitment. I am committing to writing a post at least once a week for the next year. My plan is to focus on three primary topics. I spend most of my time in code, so the first area will be here. There are some things I’ve learned over the past two years that have turned me into a quality developer and I can offer some ways to make that process easier for people.

The next area I spend time in is coaching. This refers to two areas triathlons and developers. I’ve started down a path of coaching triathletes. I’m terrified of it to be honest. I’ve only coached swimmers and I honestly know very little about running and cycling. I’ll learn and post some things here that will hopefully help other triathletes and coaches. In a totally different world, I coach developers. I lead a team here at Fifty & Fifty and there a lot of things that come up that are worth writing about. If it’s just for my reference, that’s fine. But I think there are some useful things I can offer.

Lastly, is business. I like the idea of starting a business. I am in the process of starting two. One is WordPress focused and the other is triathlon focused. In no way am I an expert right now. I have some experience getting started and I’m interested in working independently of a company. I’ll write about how it’s going, what I’m learning and host of other topics.

I’ve failed at this more consistently than I’ve succeeded and that’s ok. My goal isn’t to create a popular blog, it’s to be better at communicating and processing my thoughts. Today’s post was great practice. maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to publicize my writing.

Fifty & Fifty

New Job Title

Recently I was promoted. That’s not saying much in a company of 12, but it is pretty cool. My title is now Vice President of Engineering.

For all intents and purposes, my job hasn’t changed much at all. I get a fancy title now that really only affects first impressions and a client’s perception/understanding of my role at Fifty and Fifty.

It’s exciting to think about where I’ve come from and where I’m headed. I was chatting with my friend from college, Dairien. He and I were in the same web and interactive media program at the Art Institute of California, San Diego. At the time, Dairien was one of the top programmers in the program and I was one of the top designers.

Fast forward four and a half years and Dairien is now the primary designer for an app called Rise and I’m leading a development team. We reminisced about how much I hated programming and would stress every class about it.

If you’re a young designer or developer, don’t close the door on other skills. If you’re passionate about design, then by all means, pursue it. If you like design because it’s “easier” to learn, then I’d urge you to consider expanding your horizons and grow in other areas.

There has been a longstanding debate about whether or not coders should learn design or designers should learn code. My opinion, do what you’re passionate about. I was once a passionate designer that tinkered in code. I didn’t dislike it so I kept learning. I definitely miss designing full-time every once in a while but I’m perfectly content where I’m at.

Staying Consistent

I’ve been training for 3 weeks now. I’ve only taken 3 days off in that time (once a week). My roommate gave me shit about running on a treadmill last week when it was pretty hot here in San Diego. He said the heat is good for your body to acclimate to and it helps with weight loss.

My rebuttal was simple and it’s based around an idea he told me several year ago. His advice was (paraphrased), “Consistency first. Worry about specifics later.” I need a good habit of working out before I can worry about speed or strength. I listen to music and use GPS watch to track my improvement, though I really just need a clock.

I started out swimming 2 days a week for 2 weeks and last week I bumped it up to 3 days a week. Over the course of three weeks I’ve improved significantly. I’ve increased yardage from 1,200 in a workout to this morning where I hit 3,200 yards.

As far as times, I’m starting to get to a good place. I was able to do a pull set this morning 4 x (4 x 50) descending the interval by 5 seconds starting at 1:45 and down to 1:30. I missed one of the 100s on 1:30 but made the rest. I’m pleased with my progress after 8 workouts. By July, I’d like to feel comfortable doing 200s and 500s and hopefully get my base intervals down to at least 1:25 per 100. That might be a stretch, but if I’m consistent with working out, I’ll be fine.

Running is always the hardest for me. It’s the easiest to get out and do, no equipment or pool to worry about but it just takes it’s toll on a person. I got up to an hour and 45 minutes last night with a 15-20 minute emergency bathroom break. Runner’s trots might be the worst thing imaginable. I feel great on shorter 3 mile runs now. I’ll start worrying a little more about pace in the coming weeks.

Cycling is the easiest right now. As a swimmer, I was always strongest kicking breaststroke. It correlates with cycling well and I just don’t have a problem getting on the bike and working hard. I need to get out and do some hills at some point. Last weekend I went down to my old neighborhood and rode out east. I did about 31 miles on hilly terrain and it tanked me. I was able to finish it all but I could feel a lack of power at points.

Consistency is key for all of this. I’m getting to the point where I can mentally challenge myself with some workout goals and put myself into tougher training situations. It’s exciting to be at this point again. I’m looking forward to getting into some races sooner than later and hopefully having a full summer of workouts. No injuries, no illnesses, and no depressing thoughts.

A little inspiration and more

I’ve been quietly working on some things. I’ve put on hold the whole TriSwim.co thing. After more thought, I need to hold off on the idea until I can spend more time developing the product itself.

In it’s stead I’ve began something else. I think it will be a lot more viable and worth my time. I’ve begun WP Setup. The intention is to offer WordPress setup, support and even some themes. I am specifically interested in setup and support for now.

I won’t go into too much detail now, here’s a snapshot of theme I’m working on. My idea is to make them simple. I’ve had an itch to design for a while. I just needed some time to sketch some ideas.

ashley-v1

I believe that WordPress themes have become too complicated. There isn’t a silver bullet and complex themes require a lot of support.

Here’s to new ventures.

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