Making Time: Learning New Things

One of the hardest things about being a web developer is finding time to learn new things. We spend a lot of our mental capacity each day solving a multitude of problems and yet we still have the biggest problem to solve of all, finding spare time.

Task and Commit

For the longest time I struggled with finding time in between work and family life to do the things that I liked doing, while still being able to add new skills under my belt. It wasn’t until I started making a list of things I wanted to work and forcing myself to complete that list each week that I really started to make progress.

You don’t have to do anything special, even a 30-minute block of time can make a huge difference and starting small you can always increase those blocks by 15 minutes or so.  Some nights I’ll spend a few hours working on something new, and on Sundays I am always going through Team Treehouse videos and making sure to complete a track section.

Preventing Burnout

Don’t be afraid to take a break from your learning to have some fun time. Play some CS:GO or ride a bicycle. A lot of studies show that the only way to increase your memory and skills is to exercise as that adds new grey matter to your brain which in turn allows you to absorb more data.

Learning How to Learn

It is also important to know the styles in which you learn the best. I am a watcher doer so I have to either watch a video of someone working on a problem or I have to throw myself deep into it until I solve it. Knowing your learning methods is critical to effectively make use of your time. There is no point in watching a training lesson if it does absolutely nothing for you, if a book is the best way, then stick to that.

Have Fun

Make sure that what you are learning is something you are actually interested in. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people get started on a new technology only to not progress simply because they did not enjoy the material. If it is something that doesn’t get your brain juices going, skip it and move to something else that does.