On Saturday week and a half, I’ve been on finals gala of Get Noticed contest. Unlike last year I won’t write a summary about the event itself. Instead, I’ll share one really simple thing with you.
On gala, I’ve been rewarded with special prizes by two sponsoring companies – Microsoft and Objectivity. Awards were really neat and second one contained a card with two sentences. Exact same sentences as in this post title.
Most of us work 8 hours a day for 5 days in a week or going to some kind of school. After that, we have our free time and we can do whatever we want with it. Some people use part of this time for self-development, some don’t.
Developing your soft or hard skills after work is not required to be good at being a developer (or any other activity). You may be tired, bored or find other reason for not doing it. There are a lot of reasons to just rest and do nothing. And while rest is really important, and can be in my opinion considered constructive to some degree), it’s also kind of addictive. It really easy to make a routine from being lazyass. I know that because I’ve had routine like that for a ling time.
Imagine a simple and possible situation where on each of those 7 evenings a week you’re going to sacrifice one hour of your time on something productive, in my case, it’s mostly related to coding but it can be anything at all as long as you develop yourself during this. And again – boring, tired, don’t want to do that stuff.
Truth be told it wouldn’t be surprising that if you’re doing SQL, NET or Java for 40 hours a week you are tired and you don’t want to see it anymore. But what about doing something different? What about trying to rewire your brain to do things differently? Are you doing object oriented programming? Try to write some functions! You’re seeing SQL relations even when you’re dreaming? Try NoSQL or even graph database then. You’re doing LINQ for hours and really like it? Go deeper, go so deep you’ll never use that knowledge in everyday work, just for fun. Or when you really don’t want to look into a computer screen at all go to the Toastmasters meeting, learn carpentry or try meditating. And at the end of the day ask yourself a simple question – “Am I better/smarter/happier person compared to when I woke up?”.
And at the end of the day ask yourself a simple question – “Am I better/smarter/happier person compared to when I woke up?”.
For me, there is really a few thing better than being fulfilled and feeling better. And apart from satisfaction, new experiences and/or knowledge – it opens up your mind. Because some people that have a certain degree of expertise in for example in SQL can bring down every problem to tables and relations and most of the time being fixed on something will make you blind to a real and easy solution.
So let’s go back to sacrificing 1 hour a day for doing something constructive. It’s not much and most of us can fit that in our schedule. Add 1 hour somewhere else during a week because few minutes there and few minutes there can pile up to that and we have 8 hours per week where we’ve done something. Something fun, but also something productive. And in my case, those 8 hours (well, I’m doing more than that) are being spent on coding, bloging or related things. That means I’m spending at least additional 20% time on code than just 40h a week in my job. And on that scale, it’s a lot.
And doing things differently means I’m used to learning new stuff. I’m not sitting in one project, one framework, one DB and so on. My mind is malleable because I’m learning new technologies and ways of thinking on a daily basis.
There are no cons on doing something. Every day we’re spending about a third of a day in office, third on sleeping and if we’re counting route to work and daily responsibilities we’re left with much less than a quarter of a day of our own, free time. Sure it’s possible to grab a beer, watch some stupid show or spend all of that on killing boredom. So how about instead of being bored
So how about instead of being bored, instead of doing pointless things we’ll take each of those seven evenings in each week and use them well?