November 1, 2017

Three Steps Forward. Two Steps Back

With the start of a new month, I've decided that it's time to be introspective on my past behavior and patterns in an effort to figure out what has held me back. In many ways, this year has been an exciting one with many new experiences and opportunities for growth that have been invaluable to me. On the flipside however, as I look back at the various goals I tried to set for myself, it seems like I'm still spinning my wheels when it comes to goals that should have been accomplished long ago.

Running this blog

The most obvious example of this is this very blog. Having run a blog for multiple years in the past, I am honestly shocked at how many times I faltered when it came to this blog. Whether it was fear of ridicule or not being able to live up to the impossibly high and ever changing standards I had for myself, the fact remains that this blog has sputtered around at best.

Trying to acquire new skills / knowledge

As many are aware, our field is one where there seems to be something new to learn every few weeks. To be honest however, if it were merely that, I think it could be manageable to some degree. However, the issue is that choosing the right place to focus your time and energy becomes complicated when you add on the fact that...

  • You're self-taught and there is an ever growing list of terminology to learn as you further try to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to not feel like you are miles behind
  • You have multiple interests and you seem to be pulled in eight different directions at once
  • You come to learn that your methodologies have been pretty inadequate which makes you feel guilty for not building the most performant product because some poor guy in a third world country is losing his week's paycheck for that unoptimized thing you shipped

So naturally, you suffer from decision paralysis or try to learn so many different things you don't end up utilizing any of it which means you're stuck back at square one except now two months have passed by and you feel even further behind than before. deep breath

As one might expect, that is a pretty vicious cycle to get stuck in. If it weren't for the fact that I had the opportunity to work on interesting projects at work, I would be in a rough state. So as far as I'm concerned, it's been three steps forward and two steps back for me.

Yet all is not lost

I've read numerous post on this issue and am aware of the general advice:

  • Stop trying to learn it all because you never will
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Instead of simply trying to learn something, pick a project and apply what you're learning to it

It's safe to say I've been pretty bad at following it, but with the new month, now is as good as any time to try to center myself a bit. So here's what I'm setting out to do for November:

  1. I've officially started "The Morning Sidekick Journal" which came as a recommendation for those who have trouble with morning routines
  2. Be more disciplined about approaching tasks / projects in smaller chunks so I can make measurable progress
  3. Utilize the a hybrid of the Pomodoro Technique and Bullet Journaling to allow me to better focus

It doesn't sound like much, but maybe that's just what I need to finally break free of this cycle. Here's to taking one firm step forward.