re: Keeping the shiny away! VIEW POST


Great question, Tim.

You are definitely not the only one facing the challenge of wanting to spend time learning something that isn't related to your primary goal at the moment.

I know people who have enjoyed learning two different languages at the same time because it helps them see different ways of accomplishing similar goals. Note: I am not one of those people. My point is not to eliminate that option. It could work for YOU.

I have found that the key is to make sure you're making progress at the pace that you want. Then, trying different ways of working until you find one that helps you achieve your goals.

For example, my goal was to ship a side-project by the end of January 2020. I, then, said that I would spend 1 hour per day after work and a few hours on the weekends to hit that goal. After a few weeks, I realized that I wasn't hit my January 2020 goal. So, my process of "1 hour per day + 2-3 hours on the weekends" wasn't working. An hour per day was barely enough time for me to get my head into the project.

The next iteration on my process is to put less pressure on myself during the week and focus on making progress on the weekends.

I like your idea of 1 day per week. It's similar to Google's infamous 20% rule. At my current workplace, the engineering team has "Engineering Learning Fridays".

Another idea that has been helpful for me is pairing with someone on a regular basis on that language (helps with accountability).

Ultimately, for me, what's been most impactful is to find a way to align my interests with my primary goal. In my case that meant finding a job or project at work that needed me to learn X skill-set to ship.

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