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TJ Fogarty
TJ Fogarty

Posted on • Originally published at

What Do I Know?

A couple of years back, I began to let the waves of new tech wash over me, knowing the tide would go back out again. I started to relax a bit more, and accept that the stuff I knew was enough for what I needed. "What's the rush?" For that, I count myself lucky.

That's not to say I stopped learning new things -- far from it -- but I came to accept that I'll never know everything. I started with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript over 10 years ago, and I'm still using them today. I'll probably be using them for the next 10, too. All the while I'm tacking on new bits of experience and knowledge. Slowly but surely.

I found my work journal from a previous job, and it kinda shocked me the number of things I was doing on a given day. I never really stopped to assess what it would all lead towards, or how I could eventually spend that experience to sell my skills. For example, on one day I was working on 3 different projects, troubleshooting with clients, reviewing code, attending meetings, and writing a spec for an upcoming job. That's a lot of stuff I would cast off as "just work", before spending my nights tangled in envy at all the cool stuff people were building in the open-source world. I was envious because I filled all my social feeds with such amazing people, and I compared myself to them.

I'm not an internet-famous developer. I'm not a Vue or React expert. I haven't created a library that's used by thousands of developers.

But I know stuff.

If I hadn't kept a log of my days, I don't think I would have realised how much I've been exposed to and developed from. I can't underestimate the value of writing stuff down with pen and paper. I don't need to charge it, I don't need to be connected to the internet. All I need is a few quiet minutes to reflect on my journey thus far. I can build a piece of software, and not understand every software engineering principle, but I'll learn some more of them eventually with practice. Just because I can't put an exact name to all the stuff I know, doesn't mean I don't know it, if that makes sense. Know what I mean?

Top comments (7)

akram profile image
Akram Saouri

I can relate to that TJ, and I wish I was able to log my days/progress too, can you tell us how you were able to commit to that over the years? even when times are rough or you have nothing to write, nice article

mgasparel profile image
Mike Gasparelli

I have been using Microsoft ToDo for a while now, and what I've started to do is create a task for every bit of work I need to do. I have a hectic job, so a task might be as simple as "reply to Bob's email". Each morning, I review my tasks from the prior day and set up my list of ToDo's for the current day. At the end of each week, I create a new list to archive all completed tasks from the week, this way I have an easy way to go back and see what I accomplished in a given week.

I've tried many methods of keeping track of my stuff over the years, but I finally found a system that works for me. The killer feature in Microsoft ToDo is "My Day" where you are able to promote tasks into a special area for the current day. This helps you focus on the important things and not get distracted or overwhelmed by a big backlog of tasks.

I think leveraging the tools that already worked for me to keep me on track, and finding a way to use them to keep that "journal" is what really helped me commit to continuing.

teej profile image
TJ Fogarty

Thanks, Akram. It took some practise and patience, but every morning before logging in to my work machine I would write up any tasks for that day. Any tasks from the previous day would be carried over. As the day went on, I would add more to the list.

It doesn't have to be tasks, either. I also would write some notes about the work I was doing. Some idle thoughts, or ideas. It's ok if there's nothing to write. You could always write down why you have nothing to write :)

catheri31794832 profile image
Catherine21 • Edited

Going to come back to read your blog post once I've gone through the React 16 every challenge. Because some of this just bounced right off. I also like to mention about resumesplanet they are providing excellent services regarding professional resume. I'd also recommend prettier. I just switched to it and it is LIFE CHANGING. Set it up to format on save and you'll never want to code JavaScript without it again.

buinauskas profile image
Evaldas Buinauskas

Are you having a imposter syndrome? :)

teej profile image
TJ Fogarty

I always get days where I don't think I'm good enough, but I think many people get that feeling from time to time. I'm not sure I'd call it imposter syndrome, as in I don't have such a fear of being exposed as a fraud; I have some faith in my employers that I was hired for a reason, even if I lose sight of that sometimes.

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