Documenting and Articulating Value

Defining documenting and communicating value is important. Value is the return on investment from a product or service. There are different types of value such as cost savings, revenue generation, time savings, or energy/ effort savings (meaning the energy spent for an activity). What makes value important? It is important because it helps to prioritize development and selling. If you want to create a product or service, finding the activity that adds the most value is best instead of going down a road where a potential prospect doesn’t see value . Basically if you build something that no one wants then you’ve wasted time and money. A good heuristic is to build a product or service that is quantifiably an order of magnitude better than what is currently available. So before starting development in tinkering with products and technologies, brainstorm and sort activities that deliver a return on investment. Then have discussions with people in the industry around delivering that return on investment. Once you get commitment from people in the industry then ideally get pre-orders on the product or service. And then go develop a proof of concept for demonstration. Finally, iterate over that to success.

So how to define value? 

The easiest way to define value is time savings. So take software for example you can stop watch or run a debug log for a process in an application. Then, you can figure out how to make that process more efficient either through improving processing steps or eliminating steps. After, document the time savings.

The other way to define value is through cost savings. Cost savings often is correlated with time savings but there has to be a spend associated. For instance, if we’re saving time and an employee is taking the action, then there is a soft cost savings related to that employee salary. The implication is that the employee can do more in less time. By contrast, although personal use time could be saved, it may not equate to money savings unless there is an opportunity cost for an income generation activity with the time saved. Calculating cost savings for a corporation could be done by first defining the time saved within a process, then get an average salary of the people who do the task and then break that cost savings down by month and year. There could be a range for this cost savings.

Finally, The third way to define value is revenue generation. Another way to think about this is decreasing the steps to generate a sale. So, by improving the throughput to generate predictable sales then revenue over time may be improved. As a result, monthly, quarterly and yearly revenue will increase. This is a little more difficult to identify, but just like any process breaking down the steps into their constituent parts and brainstorming how to automate or streamline them is the way to go. 

When finished with this process of identification then document metrics into an Excel spreadsheet and finally present them in a PowerPoint for feedback. If you get good at this process then getting buy-in for a product or solution is quite easy.

So, how to start brainstorming? Start with yourself. 

List categories within your own life. Some categories could be: 

  • Work
  • House Chores
  • Financial Management
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Side Businesses

Next define these categories more specifically. For example: 

  • Work is as an employee for another company
  • House chores are maintaining my house
  • Financial is managing my personal finance and investments
  • Relationships is friends, family, and co-workers
  • Health is physical and mental health
  • Business is my side business activities or potential future active or passive income businesses that I own

Allocate time and brainstorm costly tasks. Define what ‘costly’ means to you. 

Costly May Mean:

  • Requires a lot of physical effort/energy and are repetitive
  • Have a high dollar cost

Allocate time per category to brainstorm tasks that are time consuming or cost a lot of money from a gut feeling perspective (i.e. I always feel like this is difficult to do or I don’t want to do it). Then, go back through the list and document the current state time or dollar costs. Also, don’t forget to document revenue generation ideas as well. Sort the list from highest to lowest dollar and time cost to define your priority. Finally, for the highest value tasks brainstorm solutions to those that you could build and you will have a good product or service to sell.

Risk Management

Risks are distracting and derailing. Another way to classify risks though are anxieties. Risk management is the process of identifying future risks and documenting mitigation plans short term, medium, and long term so that everyone knows what to do if the risk happens. That’s said anxiety about risk can be derailing and often can pop up from anxious people especially while working in groups on long term projects. So, as mentioned risks can also be classified as anxieties so it’s important to prioritize the risk based on the impact severity and probability of the risk’s occurrence. Otherwise you waste time chasing and worrying about unrealistic risks. Also even though some risks might be highly probable some risks can have more of an impact than others. So determining who your key stakeholders are and the risks most important to them ensure that you focus correctly. Further defined the impact to the risk with the second and third order consequences if that risk is not managed properly. It’s best to have a system or at least a spreadsheet documenting these risks along with the other attributes to evaluate the risk. Risks can be identified in meetings or just when you’re sitting around not doing anything. Risks that are spinning around in your head are distracting and not useful. If risks are keeping you up at night then having those anxieties might become a risk Itself. Allocate sufficient time to listing out risks on a daily basis then dedicate specific time to defining a mitigation plan. A mitigation plan might involve several different stakeholders and resources. Identify and fix problems when they are small. If done properly in consistently then you may run out of risks and then life won’t get boring. However, there’s always externality that you can expand into that will continue to require medication. You don’t control everything you know.

Sometimes trying to document all the risks and resolutions at once is time consuming and some people are better at identifying issues and risks while others are better at fixing issues and defining mitigation plans. So people who complain a lot and are very negative fall into the category of ‘good at risk identification’ while people who are positive are usually fall into a category of ‘good at defining mitigation plans and solutions’. Therefore, consider allocating a meeting for risk identification where people who are good at risk identification can brainstorm and list risks. Then later setup a meeting with people who are good at defining solutions and mitigation plans to document resolutions to the risks identified. Before that though be sure to document the impact and prioritize the risk with key management stakeholders before figuring out which to focus on mitigating. 

Risk Mitigation Process:

  1. Allocate a meeting or consistent time to brainstorm and document a list of all risks
  2. Document date identified
  3. Document probability of occurrence
  4. Document impact of risk with second and third order consequences
  5. Sort based on impact and probability of occurrence. This prioritization will determine the order that medication plans will be defined
  6. Define mitigation plan
  7. Define contingency plan if mitigation plan fails
  8. Continue to identify new risks with the team overtime
  9. Review risk register at each mile stone of a project and update risks as either result or continue to flush out risk definition impact and mitigation plan

If you’ve liked this post and want to learn more about risk management please like this blog post so we know you’re interested to learn more about risk management.

Focus on What is in Your Control

Life is hard and often doesn’t go your way immediately. There are seemingly infinite externality that can block you from what you want which can be frustrating. However, if you spend all of your time dwelling on what you cannot control then all you will have is unhappiness and resentment. Instead, of focus on what you can control – your responses to impulses. Act. Acting after thinking about your response to impulse and externality will help you move incrementally towards whatever you want. Accept the possibility that the outcome may not be what you want but be optimistic that if you act in the best way consistently then in the long term you will have more of what you want and less of what you don’t. Document your goals and every day journal against your progress towards them. Build a roadmap to your future at the stepwise action level. If the list of steps are specific enough and tested then ultimately you will achieve your imagined outcome. Be disciplined and frugal. Focus only on the main essentials and remove anything superfluous. Continue to improve your skills. Find those who are more knowledgeable and listen to their wisdom. Absorb as much content as you can and continue to innovate. You must succeed. People need hope now more than ever and you are going to give it to them by your example. Focus on what you can control – your words and your actions. Your responses are what matter the most. No matter how bad you feel or the outcome of any situation that doesn’t give you the right to make bad choices. If you can strive towards your goals and accelerate past what is known to what must be learned and uncovered then you will be best off. If you can put yourself in situations you feel uncomfortable and perhaps fail but learn from it and make better decisions then you will be unstoppable. Record your experiments and your experiences. Build a library of roadmaps and procedures. As you scale your organization others will join you and you will improve their lives. But focus on the scope of your control your values and beliefs. These are your algorithms and your heuristics that will guide you as the going gets tough. As you gain more support your scope of influence will increase along with your scope of interest. Focus on things both high and low level. You mustn’t get too focused on a tree that you miss the forest. Do what is best for yourself and others – think about both. It is essential that you learn how to let your mind run but guide it to the priorities. The you plan do, analyze, and revise the more you will learn what those priorities are and refine them. Focus on what you can control and don’t forget its all in your head. 



Robot Sensors

Robot sensor are necessary for a robot to react to an environment and take that data in decision making towards a goal. 

There are many types of sensors for various applications and it is important to understand each. 


Tiny temperature ICs provide a voltage difference for a change in temperature.

A good example of this is a mars rover. If it detects a decrease temperature change it could decrease wheel speed to prepare for ice. 

A robot designed to fight a fire can detect the hottest area of a burning building to most effectively fight the fire. 

Temperature sensors cost from $1.80 up to $534. 

Example of a $1.80 temperature sensor. 


Example of $534 temperature sensor. 

Electronic Temp Controller w/ 2 Temp Inputs, 4 SPDT Relays, 2 Analog Outputs, NEMA 4X Enclosure Product Image



There are two types of light sensors: 1. Photoresistor 2. Photovoltaic

Photoresistors resistance change with light inversely – meaning more light leads to less resistance and less light leads to more resistance. 

Photovolaic cells convert solar radiation into electrical energy; a cell that can be used to create a solar robot. 

Light sensors cost anywhere from $3 to $250. 

Example of a $3: 


Example of $250:

A good example of this is a day and night change where the robot may take different actions at night time such as turning on a flashlight to help people it is with to see. 

A robot exploring a collapsed house in a disaster zone could use light sensors to help it navigate better through the home or move towards a light source if it is such in a tight space in that house. 


This sensor detects sounds and returns the voltage equivalent to the sound level. 

More complex robots can use the same microphone for speech and voice recognition.

Sound sensors generate a very small voltage difference which should be amplified to generate measurable voltage changes.  

An example of this could be a robot that studies wildlife that would move closer towards objects that increase the sensor’s sound amplitude. 

Sound sensors range from $4.40 to $869. 

Example of a $4.40 sound sensor. 

Example of an $869 sound sensor. 

Product Image


Robots can use sensors to detect chemical properties.

ph sensors can detect the acidity or alkalinity of the environment; a function that is useful to test rivers or soil. 

Also, gas sensors can test for carbon monoxide which is poisonous to humans. 

Chemical sensors range from $32.47 to $651.

Example of $32.47 chemical sensor

Example of $1885.54 chemical sensor


Force measures the pressure required to apply to a task like pickup or assemble items so that the part doesn’t drop from the grip but not so much pressure that the robot crushes the part. Other robots use vibration or shock sensors to balance and stabilize itself. 

The force sensor range $0.50 to 

Example of a $0.50 force sensor. 

Example of a $1,700 force sensor 


This sensor requires physical contact against other objects to trigger it.

Capacitive touch sensors are used for human touch with screens such as iPhones or Android phones. 

Push button switch, limit switches, or tactile bumpers that can be used for obstacle avoidance. 

When the switch is hit the robot will take an action such as reversing, stopping, or turning. 

Contact sensors are easy to implement but the downside is that for the robot to make a decision it has to hit the object where as a proximity sensor may be more appropriate. 

Contact sensors are between $3.50 to 

Example of a $3.50 contact sensor 

Example of a $360.80 contact sensors. 

Tower Light Incandescent Assembly, Instrument, Surface Mountable, 3 Light, Flashing, Steady Light Mo

Proximity Sensor

This sensor detects the distance of nearby objects without physical contact.

A proximity sensor transmits electromagnetic radiation or field and the receiver receives then analyzes the return signal for interruptions. 

There were a few types of these sensors: 

  1. Infrared (IR) Sensor – IR light is beamed out to find an obstacle then the light is reflected back with the IR receiver. Some can be distance measurement. 
  2. Ultrasonic – generate high frequency waves and receives an echo of the object interruption. Also can be used for distance. 
  3. Protoresistor – it is a light sensor for for detecting proximity. As the object comes closer the amount of light changes which in turn changes the resistance; a change that is detected and processed. 

Proximity sensors range from $3.53 to $207.58

Example of a $3.53 proximity sensor. 

Example of a $207.58 proximity sensor


Cameras can be used to capture objects and use software to match them to known objects through deep learning or matching to an outline.

Cameras range from $13.47 to $8,379.99+  

Example of $13.47 camera

Mini Camera 1080P Infrared Night Vision Detection Dv Dvr Security Camera without Wifi

Example of $8,379.99 camera. 



End Effectors

End Effectors

There are two different classifications of end effectors: 

  1. Gripper – could be a mechanical or a non mechanical and used to grab and pick items.
  2. Tool – A tool is like a welding and the factor or a welding tool, or a painting tool or even a sanding tool.

There are a few types of grippers. 

There are robots that can pick things up with two fingers. There are two finger and three finger grippers. Two fingers can hold items while three fingers are used to manipulate items. It is much easier to grab an item with a three finger gripper. I wonder if I could effectively create a five finger gripper like a person has or perhaps other configurations. Theoretically, I could have more fingers on a gripper and I wonder how much utility I may get from increasing the number of fingers on a gripper. Vacuums or magnet end effectors are effective for picking and placing solid objects that don’t need to be manipulated. I plan to experiment with each different configuration of gripper to assess which are best for each application.

It is important to consider grip strength and how to grip items without breaking them. Seems to me that depending on how delicate the item is I may need to have a padding in the gripper finger to avoid breaking the item. Although padded it would still need to be firm enough to grip the item otherwise the item will slip out of the gripper.

As for tools there are a few types such as welding, painting, and maybe even construction tools such as hammer screw, etc.

Although it would be fun to create my own end effectors I’m more likely to scale my robot faster if I purchase them. Robot IQ is a good example of a company that sells end effectors. I saw recently that they were demonstrating their robot parts at a convention. Specifically they were demonstrating picking items a suction end effector and a wood sander.

If I end up building end effectors sometime in the future the mechanical grippers of a few different types seem to be driven by gears and would require buying a 3D printer; a project for later.

I also need to build a robotic arm if I want to manipulate anything which I’ll start designing in a separate post. 

The end effector required really depends on the application and in manufacturing oftentimes there are ones that will pick up an item on a conveyor belt and then move that item to another place or another conveyor belt where another robot with a different type of end effector will manipulate it or move it. Manufacturing is a really good application for robotics because items will always reside in one place and they can be easily retrieved and manipulated. Additionally, there is one narrow task that the robot must execute over and over again. There is no general intelligence or function with these robots so procedural programming can be used.

Basic Robot Mobility Project Design

Basic Robot Mobility Project Design

Before I start to think about applications and more complicated functionality I want to focus on creating a robot that can move around autonomously and avoid objects. 

So, I’ll create a prototype so I can get the basic movement structure and functions down. So far I’ve spent about $900 on a POC but have spent a few hundred dollars more trying different parts and approaches. 

At a high level there are two different robot types that I ultimately want to create. 

  1. In house personal robot – 24 x 24 in (width x length)
  2. Outside carries items with possibly large tools mounted on it  – larger 24 x 48 in (width x length)

Material Base Options: 

  • Metal
    • Aluminum 
  • Wood
    • Cedar
    • Plywood
  • Plastic

I could get a flat aluminum chassis but my concern is cutting metal. 

Hypothetical Metal fabrication sourcing steps: 

  1. I’d have to research the options that are available 
  2. Next I need to compare cost determine how long it would take them to build something I would need to create a design
  3. Then I’d have to give them a call to setup an appointment 
  4. Give them the design 
  5. They would have to build it 
  6. I have to come back and get it
  7. May have to come back for revisions or do it again if I provided incorrect design

Therefore, this all seems like a lot of work and cost for just a proof of concept.

Plastic would be good to use but that would require a 3d printer to form the parts I’d need. It will take a fair amount of money and time for me to make that work. Therefore, it seems like a good long term idea but not for the short term. 

Therefore, wood seems like the better option. 

Sourcing Parts

For parts in general I could either purchase the parts from a vendor or I could build them myself. 

Building parts by myself would be nice but I don’t have the expertise yet. Eventually I want to build parts with plastic with a 3D Printer.  

For sourcing parts in general if I want to focus on 

  • Item cost
  • Shipping cost
  • Delivery time
  • Size
  • Supplier
  • Supplier link to item
  • Scalability – how easy is it to switch out the motor
  • Order Scalability 
    • Evaluate if the manufacturer limits order size if order size is limited i may need to select a different vendor if I want to quickly scale the robot fleet
  • Qualitative features
    •  How easy is it to fit the motor mount to the base and surrounding wall
    • What is the cost for each material option? 
    • How much flexibility do I have to iterate over the design? 
    • Build versus buy 
    • Build myself versus hire someone to build for me

Motor Mounts

There are a few options for mount Options:

  • Super Droid Motor Tube
  • Motor Mount Plate
  • 90 degree aluminum channel bracket
  • Aluminum channel 
    • 18 in
    • 15 in
    • 9 in
    • 6 in
    • 3.75 in 

Unfortunately I found that the Aluminum Channels and 90 Degree aluminum channel bracket don’t fit with my IG42 122 RPM Motor. So, I ended up going with Super Droid Motor Mounting plate. The Super Droid Motor Tube would have been preferable but it is out of stock at the moment (3/1/2022)

  • Mechanical Build Steps (In Progress)
    • Base
      • Get 24 x 24 base of <wood, aluminum, plastic?> 
      • For 2 parallel wood chassis side
        • Measure 2 inches from corner
        • Measure 10 inches from the corner and draw a perpendicular line from measured line from previous step
        • Draw outline from 
      • Screw motor hub to wooden chassis base
      • Screw motor to motor hub
      • Unscrew nuts holding frame to tire
      • Deflate tire
      • Screw wheel to shaft
      • Slide traction lug to shaft
      • Connect motor to shaft 
      • Screw traction lug to shaft to connect motor
      • Link two 12v batteries together
      • Connect 2 motor to motor controller (2x)
      • Connect motor controller to arduino 
      • Program arduino microcontroller
    • Middle
      • Connect drawer track to base
      • Create drawer with four sides and a base
      • There should be two drawers
        • Bottom drawer should slide above the motors. 
        • Drawer should allow for wires to be sectioned into them
        • One For for arduino and other electronics on bottom
        • One for raspberry pi and other associated electronic components above. 
      • Create a second layer above Arduino
      • Secure Raspberry Pi to second layer
    • Top
      • Connect range finders sensors to each side of the top so that I can sense nearby objects. 

Additional Notes: 

Consider making the base easier to maneuver.  

Should have a drawer that pulls out the back so it is easier to manage motor and electronic components. 

Would be nice to extend the robot size for lager use cases or shrink the robot side for indoor use cases instead of two robots. 

Next I must determine the controllers and sensors

MicroProcessor vs MicroController 

Microcontroller is better for managing a motor while a raspberry pi microprocessor is better for more complicated logic and interpreting sensor data.

I plan to use an Arduino microcontroller for managing the motors and a raspberry pi to process sensor data and send commands to the arduino microcontroller to move the robot. 

Arduino Programming Steps

  1. Set each relevant GPIO pin to a variable
    1. Syntax: int ledPin = 13;
  2. Use the DigitlWrite function to set the rotational motor direction through either the parameter HIGH or LOW
    1. Syntax: digitalWrite(pin, value)
    2. Help Document:
  3. Define motor’s speed as using analogWrite function and pass a parameter as integer value between 0 to 255.
    1. Syntax: 
    2. Help Document:
    3. I infer the integer represents a percentage of the motor speed 
  4. Define duration wheel will rotate with delay() function
    1. Syntax: delay()
    2. Help Document:

Raspberry Pi Functional Design 

If I want the robot to travel x vector then a sensor must determine the distance between the robot’s current point and the desired end point.

Then, calculate the seconds to travel that distance at a constant RPM.

Then pass three parameters into Arduino function: 

  1. String value of either high or low (i.e. forward or backwards)
  2. integer value between 0 and 255 (percentage of rpm)
  3. Integer value in seconds for delay (i.e. duration in seconds from current point to desired end point as calculated at a constant RPM) 

To summarize, the raspberry pi calculates the distance between current location and desired end location. The python application in Raspberry Pi calculates the seconds to destination at a fixed RPM. Finally, it calls the function to turn the wheels and delays next step for a variable time.

If the robot travels to the destination my concern is that it will hit the wall. So, experiment iteratively by subtracting time and assess where the robot stops.

The robot also needs to determine the direction.

It must analyze the environment. 

How could the robot determine the optimal direction distance and how could the robot rotate so that it picks the best and point?

Route planning is my next task. 

I hypothesize that route planning requires multiple data points.

Consider using a camera.

The camera can generally tell me what obstacles are in the way

Additionally, a sonar sensor can send a signal out and receive it back to calculate the distance.

A Python application in Raspberry Pi can calculate the distance and then pass the parameters to the function in the Arduino to move the motors.

Perhaps I manually set a fixed end point and then the robot optimizes the best route there. 

I think I need to create a floor plan for a particular area and then the robot simulates the route. Then somehow translate that simulation to real life. 


I’ll start with a SunFounder Ultrasonic Module HC-SR04 Distance Sensor to get the distance between objects and perhaps I can use a floor plan for route planning.

Specific Parts, Pricing, and Vendors

Part Summary Item Cost Qty Total Cost Vendor Vendor Links
1/2 inch thick 2×2 Plywood HP $17.99 1 $17.99 Ace Hardware  
Caster SWVL PNEU 220 $49.99 1 $49.99 Ace Hardware  
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2019 Quad Core 64 Bit WiFi Bluetooth (4GB) $139.50 1 $139.50 Amazon
2WD Electric Power Hookup Kit $29.95 1 $29.95 Super Droid Robots
Motor Mount Plate – IG42 $1.99 2 $3.98 Super Droid Robots
Interstate 12 Volt 12 Ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery (SLA) – 0.250 Faston $36.00 2 $72.00 Super Droid Robots
Robot Claw Dual Encoder Hookup Kit $24.49 1 $24.49 Super Droid Robots
RoboClaw 2x15A Motor Controller $99.95 1 $99.95 Super Droid Robots
IG32 and IG42 Motor Plate Hardware Kit $3.95 1 $3.95 Super Droid Robots
Robot Drive Wheel – Traction Lug 10 x 3.50-4 Tiller Tire $18.90 2 $37.80 Super Droid Robots
ATR Shaft 8mm Bore for 10 inch Tire $21.90 2 $43.80 Super Droid Robots
Parts Shipping $48.45 1 $48.45 Super Droid Robots  
IG42 24VDC 122 RPM Gear Motor with Encoder $61.95 2 $123.90 Super Droid Robots
PWM to PIC Hookup Kit $6.20 1 $6.20 Super Droid Robots
15 Amp Connector Set $3.98 1 $3.98 Super Droid Robots
Smart Fast Charger for 12V Lead Acid Battery, 10A $57.90 1 $57.90 Super Droid Robots

Skills Required for Robotics Engineers

 Robotics is an interdisciplinary field that has a varied degree of study. 

What does a Robotics Engineer do?

The first step is Mechanical Design; giving the robot capabilities of powerful and precise movement. For instance, the highly advanced robots used in healthcare and automobile industries.

The second step is Electronics; bringing these robots with powerful physical capabilities to life using cutting-edge circuitry.

Next learn IoT so robots can communicate with each other. 

What skills are required? 

  • Math
    • Algebra
      • Ordinary Differential Equations 
      • Advanced Linear Algebra 
    • Calculus
      • Vectors
    • Geometry
      • Differential Geometry
  • Science
    • Physics
      • Electricity
      • Torque
      • Center of Gravity
      • Mechanical Advantage
      • Gear Ratios
      • Angular Momentum
      • Trajectory
      • Bernoulli’s Principle
  • Mechanical Engineering
    • Joint Mechanisms
    • Bearings
    • Heat Transfer Characteristics
    • Mounting Positions
  • Electrical Engineering
    • Electric Soldering Skills
    • Control electronics
    • Power amplifiers
  • Computer Engineering
    • Computing Hardware
  • Microcontroller
    • Arduino
    • Raspberry Pi
  • Software Skills
    • OpenCV
    • CAD
    • ROS
    • Matlib
    • Machine Learning
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Docker
    • PosGres
    • SQL 
    • Cloud File Storage
    • Cloud Compute Frameworks
    • Linux based operating systems
    • Node.js
    • C++
    • Java
    • Python
    • Pytorch
    • Tensorflow
    • CUDA

High Level Robot Features

Develop an Operator Interface

Mobility or Locomotion

Manipulator or End Effector


Sensing and Perception


Without sufficient consistent energy even the best strategy is useless. A strong indicator of a prosperous economy at a macro scale is energy production and consumption.

Therefore, that idea can be translated to an individual on a micro scale as well.

That said, I notice as an individual my energy and inclination tends to fluctuate. If I had more energy I know  I generally would be more active, feel healthier, and move faster towards my goals. Therefore, I’d like to brainstorm ways that my energy may be depleted unnecessarily or not replenished effectively. 

What are the challenges to managing my energy and directing it to the most important tasks? 

Energy Spent Inefficiently

My intuition tells me that most of my inefficient energy output is due to mental energy. Specifically, I mean practicing speaking more succinctly with my inner voice so that it minimizes the energy output required to come to conclusions. This can be practiced by recording myself speaking out loud about almost anything and incrementally repeating the same topic again but communicating the meaning in less words. If I practice this routinely then I infer I will naturally speak and think more succinctly thus decreasing my energy output and get more accomplished in less time.  

Wasted Energy On Non-Priority Topics

I spend more time than I want losing focus on social media, YouTube, or just thinking about hypothetical situations that will never happen. 

These activities are not productive and I simply shouldn’t waste mental energy thinking about stupid things.

But I think there is more to it than that. When I take in any information my mind expands upon it while I am not thinking because I believe there are internal systems that are designed to identify risks, issues, and threats and feeds those hypothetical scenarios to my conscious self to plan for. However, if the scenarios are not probable then I waste my time thinking about them and not on the activities that improve my life. 

For example, watching people argue about politics and call each other names on YouTube is a distraction. For some reason I gravitate towards these topics and outrage marketing seems to be addictive. Knowing about current social events is interesting and good for conversation, but focusing on them too much and digging into a political stance by focusing on how much an opposition infuriates you is not a good use of time. If I get different points of view about a topic and understand a group of people better then that is useful but generally political arguments on TV are self serving and used to make an opposition look bad while reinforcing the speaker’s beliefs.   

Thinking about people that I don’t like or dwelling on past mistakes that distracts me from important activity to achieve my goals is not good. It is just not useful. That said, if something bothers me enough then I will do something about it and create a proactive plan so that it never repeats again. However, instead of getting to the point where I make myself crazy a better approach would be to start with the problem solving and proactive approach when issues are small instead of waiting until they feel big to handle. I think part of this is that I feel comfortable in my own life in general and things are overall quite good. Therefore, sometimes it takes stress to make me act which is a bad habit to get into. Instead, consistently find ways to just get a little better daily in relationships, health, efficiency, effectiveness, and knowledge. If develop a mindset of incremental daily improvement then I will just generally have more success however I want it.

Not Recharging

Pushing myself past my limits too often leads to inconsistent progress. Therefore, its better to make consistent incremental progress. As I see that my efforts are effective, make minor changes to increase output. The challenge here is that if I lose momentum or interest and stop making consistent progress for too long then I feel like I have to catch back up. That is the wrong approach because as I push myself too hard I will eventually need to allocate all of my time to resting which means that progress stops. Perhaps I should allocate one day per week to just resting. That said, this is challenging for those that have to work during the day and then allocate time for a side business during the weekends. So, it is best to be more consistent about sleeping, eating healthier food, and limiting substances such as caffeine. I wonder if drinking beverages with too much caffeine concentration impact my sleep. I noticed recently that if I cut out caffeine completely that I had much more deep and REM sleep than the previous days. That said, caffeine enhancing substance because it allows me to focus for a period of time on a specific thing. However, I do notice that if I drink a high concentration of it then I eventually crash and feel really tired as well as have headaches. So, the question is why do I need caffeine? I seem to need it when I feel really tired or I feel like something is really important. Consider just using it in those situations. Therefore, when I really need to do an important activity and need a boost in energy then it can be useful. However, if I take it on a continuous basis then I will need more and more for it to be effective. If I take more then consequently I will sleep less or at least in poorer quality – which then requires me to take more caffeine. I think that will help me sleep better and be more recharged. 

Not Maintaining Activities That Promote Good Physical Health

Get a consistent amount of sleep, exercise daily, and eat a healthy diet. 

A healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables, meats, and produce. Eat these more consistently.  

Although I like eating unhealthy foods such as Pizza, Burritos, Cheese Burgers, and Butter Chicken, they decrease my energy and focus. Since I like eating these foods trying to completely cut them out of my diet is not going to work as deprivation only leads to pent up desire. When I have pent up desire for something I will eventually binge and it will be worse for my overall energy and weight goals than if I just had a little once in a while. Although I may be able to stop myself from eating them in the short term (a few days or weeks), eventually I will eat these foods. Therefore, allocate at least one day a week to eat unhealthy foods. Don’t make this diet the majority through as I will feel tired, unhappy, and unfocused and not really know why I feel this way. Additionally, having one day in a week that I can look forward to to satisfy a specific craving will help me make a decision to not give into my craving for that day and put it off. Developing a muscle to delay gratification is really important for success in anything as it requires you to sacrifice what I want in the immediate present for something that I know to be better in the future. These value judgements may be difficult at the time but thinking in the mindset of incremental improvement how could I take a first step to improving? A good way to practice delayed gratification is to set a long term goal to delay a food craving until once a week or month or even not at all. Then, improve delayed gratification incrementally. If I impulsively want to eat pizza for example then when I have the thought that I want to eat it tell myself to wait and track the time I wait until I have the thought again. Each time I have the thought track a count for that specific day. I should be able to see incrementally the time between cravings and the number of time I feel an impulse decrease. Over time if I practice redirecting my impulses and waiting then I will be more likely to succeed in delaying a food craving to once a day. The example I gave is for food and weight loss but it could translate to anything.  


Sometimes I get sick which is sometimes out of my control. I may have gone somewhere where other people were sick or I may just be run down. That said, I can limit externality by taking vitamins, keeping my house clean and organized, sleeping sufficiently, and eating a healthy balanced diet. 

When I do get sick rest to course correct and regain my energy. When I feel the need sleep. When I don’t sleep consistently enough I am completely ineffective and inefficient.

My energy patterns seems to be cyclical. So, in some ways I may not have complete control over that cyclical pattern. However, when I do have a lot of energy I capitalize on that opportunity and focus on priority tasks and don’t waste my energy on non productive tasks that don’t accelerate me towards my goal. 

Other times I don’t feel completely in control. I think that my mind is rebalancing from the times where I was overly in control of my body and mind. I hypothesize that there is a distribution of power between internal systems. When I consciously put too much focus on one and not another my body naturally needs to overcorrect for this because I am consciously doing something that is detrimental and I’m just not consciously aware of it. Alternatively, it could be just a natural consequence of overuse and overwork of a specific system. When that happens the system may shut down and need to rest. Or, this is just is the cyclical process that my body takes and I have no conscious control over it and never will. Given that theory it is therefore necessary if I want to get to my goals more consistently to develop and maintain good habits when I feel complete control consciously so in situations when I feel like I am not completely in control then I will take the right action subconsciously. Therefore, perfect practice when activities are easy and the stakes are low is paramount because in pressure situations when I feel stress I will default to my highest level of preparation. 

Motor Controller

A motor controller controls the exact speed that you want the motor to turn. 

There are two different general types of motor controllers which enable a manual or automatic means of starting and stopping motor or making it go forward or reverse selecting and regulating  the speed. 

For direct current motors the controller may vary the voltage passed to the motor to regulate the speed. 

It also includes overload protection for the motor or over current protection for the motor and wiring. 

Motor controllers are either manual, remote, or automatically operated. They may include only starting and stopping or other functions as well.

The motor controller is connected to the battery or power source and controls the current flowing through to the motor.

How to select the motor controller? 

First determine your motors nominal voltage. In my case I have 24V motor that I am using for my project. 

Then, ensure the motor nominal voltage is within the motor controllers range. The motor will only consume the voltage required to power. However, if the motor’s nominal voltage exceeds the range of the motor controller it will burn out the controller. 

Consider the continuous current required for the motor. If you choose a motor with 3A and a motor controller with 5A continuous current the the motor will only consume what it needs. However, if the continuous current is more than the motor controller then it will burn out the controller. 

Reading charts for motor specifications is difficult. However, ” I ” means the rated current. 

There are a few motor controller brands on SuperDroid Robots namely: RoboClaw, RoboteQ, Sabertooth, SyRen. 

It seems like the difference between the controllers are: 

  1. The amount of continuous current that may flow through the motor controller (i.e. 10A, 12A, 15A, 20A, 25A, 30A, 60A, etc.)
  2. Number of motor channels
  3. Control Input Types (i.e. USB, Analog, etc.)
  4. Weight
  5. Size
  6. Supported Language
  7. Supported Microcontroller Types (i.e. Arduino, Raspberry Pi)


Sleep is an under rated productivity too. I am an order of magnitude better at anything I do when fully rested and significantly worse with a lack of it. 

Sometimes I feel I have no control over my sleep which is frustrating. That said, focus on the areas that I can control to incrementally improve my sleep duration and quality.

Fitbit is a good tool for analyzing sleep. With fitbit I can see how long I’ve slept and how much REM, Light Sleep, and Deep Sleep I get. When I get at least 1.5 hours of REM sleep I usually feel good. Anything below that I feel anxious and confused.  

Also, I can track my resting heart rate. When I’ve eaten too much for dinner or am just restless my resting heart rate will go up the next day. When I’ve gotten quality sleep with a good duration (usually at least 7-8 hours) then my resting heart rate goes down.

Use zzzquill to get to sleep faster. Start meditation and relaxing an hour before going to sleep. For example, if I am to wake up at 5 am pst then I must fall asleep at 9 pm pst to get a good nights rest. Start relaxing and take zzzquil at 8 pm to reduce my heart rate enough to fall asleep. 

Avoid eating at least 3 hours before sleeping to avoid indigestion and heart burn that may affect the quality of my sleep. More specifically eat dinner at 5 pm PST. Avoid drinking water at least 1-2 hours before sleeping. 

Additionally, caffeine may be a root cause for restlessness while trying to fall asleep. Avoid caffeine after 12 pm as much as possible. 

Other times I am worried about something or trying to solve a problem instead of focusing on falling asleep. To mitigate this listen to positive affirmations, listen to something repetitive, or read something slowly to relax my thoughts and fall asleep.  

If I have not slept well the previous night don’t sleep in. Instead wake up at my intended time so I am tired the next day and will get back into my sleep cycle. 

Also, avoid making impulsive decisions when tired. When I haven’t gotten enough rest I tend to spend money or eat impulsively. Be conscious of this and make it a point to eat more healthy in the appropriate quantity that day.

Avoid napping where possible as it impacts my nights sleep and can throw off my sleep cycle. 

Incrementally improve these areas and I will sleep better. When I sleep better my life will improve overall.