Scheduling your time

Scheduling your time
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Hello everyone, I am kinda new to the community. I’ve been following, but I am posting for the first time ever.

I am already working as a Software Developer for a rather major company, but I entered as an intern and moved to a junior within a year or so, it is all good, no complaints of any kind. However, I still want to learn new stuff, that is mostly not work-related or at least pretty far fetched. There is no debate if I need or want them, it is more of an issue when and how do I find the time to learn them, and how effective it is.

Before landing this job I was working a standard min wage job downtown that had nothing to do with software developing and I have a degree in business that is useless in the software world (mostly). And I found it pretty easy to sit for a half an hour after work, relax and then start learning, either reading a book or doing some tutorial or whatever, for another 2-3, at times even 4-6 hours. The weekends were easy too.

But now that I have landed this job (I am doing mostly frontend react stuff and some backend with Django). I find it frustrating sitting after work and learning new frameworks and programming paradigms. I constantly hit a brick wall when it comes to learning something harder than basic principles. Or even losing my interest to finish the project at all.

And really, I blame it on timing and planning my schedule. I think I am still stuck with the idea that I have to read/learn every single day, even when on vacation.

So I’d like to ask you for some advice (maybe?). How do you plan your free time, when and how do you work/learn/read, etc.? I think, since I don’t have any real life friends that are in the same position or even something similar, that this might help me.

(Also, excuse me if this is not the right place to post this, it seems like it is, but then again, sorry if I am mistaken)

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My fav thing to do, is sit on a cafe patio, sipping mocha’s, while reading programming books, preferably on programming theory <3

Since my son was born (he’ll be 12 this year), Sunday mornings have been the time that I sit in cafes and either read or code. Years ago, it was coding every Sunday morning but over the past few years, it’s been mostly computer books that I have been reading. As a new parent, it was a hard fought battle to get this time for myself!

Now I spend 2-4 times a week in a cafe for upwards of 2 hours at a time reading. I prefer reading theory but lately, have been brushing up on CSS and learning frameworks like React. Once I’m done those books, I’ll get back to reading my books on theory, leadership, and project management .

You have to set aside the time for yourself! It sucks when you have no focus during that time so it’s good to have other things you can turn to if you have zero focus (for me, that was blogging or data entry). I used to code while I was out and now have set that aside for only when I’m at my standing desk at home.

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I love going to see my fav football/soccer club in Germany on every weekend (because on weekday I have to work). After work I’m listening music drinking some tea or see some movie if there’s a good movie.

I’m fully comfort with React Node and GraphQL but my company wants me to learn Angular (but I did know a little bit about Angular) which is cool I can learn more depth any frontend framework. During my work also I’m trying to learn Angular GraphQL maybe 2 hours.

For me just ask myself what I want to do except coding. Travel alone once a week maybe, or just playing around if you like a cat or dog. Or you can join a meetup in your local. I make some new friends not just talking about the best practice code, but I make some networking :smiley:

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It’s really difficult for most people to finish a long day of work, then come home and immediately do more “work” in the form of learning. Most of the time, you want to come home and unwind by watching tv, reading something light, or spending time with friends or family.

Spending time after work to learn new frameworks for your job is important. You have to do it to progress in your career. The trick is to motivate yourself to do these things, even if they’re difficult or boring.

There is no magic wand or magic word to instill the discipline to stay focused, but the good news is that you already have that discipline. You mentioned that while you were learning to code to get your current job, you would sit and code for hours on end.

This means that you had the discipline. Maybe it’s hibernating right now because you already have the job, and it’s very draining to code for eight or more hours a day, then go home and do it some more. Maybe if you reflect on your career aspirations, it can reignite the motivation to keep learning.

My advice is to start small. Unless your company is breathing down your neck to learn something very fast, start by coding in smaller chunks of time, and separate them with longer chunks of doing something easy, like listening to music, playing a game, watching tv, etc. Then as you continue, you hopefully get more motivated and can spend more time coding, less time on other things.

Keep a to-do list or checklist of what you need and want to learn. Just like the FCC curriculum, it’s more enjoyable when you can cross something off a list and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Good luck in your journey. I’m sure you can make it!

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I want to address two things:

  1. This:

I find it frustrating sitting after work and learning new frameworks and programming paradigms. I constantly hit a brick wall when it comes to learning something harder than basic principles. Or even losing my interest to finish the project at all.

If you aren’t struggling you aren’t learning anything significant. Learning a new framework or programming paradigms is hard. If it’s easy then you probably aren’t learning anything significant. I like to embrace the struggle, as you can learn 500 ways to fail to solve a problem before finally getting it going, and you will learn 500 ways to fail, to evade in the future. That’s experience, you don’t get that by getting things working the first time perfectly, that’s just 1 possibility of many.

I’d say embrace the struggle, embrace searching the entire web for solutions, debugging problems, gaining that experience in the trenches. If someone comes to you later with a problem, and you already fought it for days, you will be able to offer advice, reasoning, with that experience you learned.

Now I said I’d address two things, the second thing id address is the actual overall question How to schedule your time.

The simple answer is I don’t schedule learning, I just fit it in when I want to. I don’t believe you can force yourself to learn, because you will want to get distracted, and won’t invest yourself into the problem (kinda going back to the idea of you not embracing the struggle, and you giving up on most projects) Of course you can say “I’m going to learn X this weekend in my freetime!” and find yourself sleeping in and hanging out with family instead that’s fine! Your time is your time, it’s not like you have to meet some magical standard. (very much an imposture syndrome thing)

So to sum it up, don’t think its a scheduling issue, its an approach and attitude issue. If you want to enjoy the grind of learning tough things then only you can change that mindset. Failure is what gives you experience, enjoy it as much as you can. Yea your going to be frustrated bashing your head into those walls, but that’s all part of it, the only way you “fail” is you give up! Now if you just really can’t figure something out that’s fine too!, save it for another time, and enjoy life. You don’t have to be an expert beyond what you want to be.

PS. I personally love the challenge and struggle of programming, but I consider myself a very competitive person, but in the sense that I believe anyone can learn something given time and grit. If you got the time, and got the grit to grind thru it, you can learn anything. But this doesn’t mean I think you should go spend 24/7 learning, I believe that is the mindset you can use to learn what you want or learn what you need. It’s a mindset you can use when you want, not a lifestyle haha. Just don’t fall into the idea you must learn these things. Learn them because you want to learn them and are curious to learn them.

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You could try learning in the early morning when your brain is still fresh and your memory has lots of room for new stuff. Get up a little bit earlier than you do now.
Make sure you take care of preparations for breakfast and all other things the evening before, so learning is all you have to care about in that extra time.

After work hours your brain is filled with all the information and new knowledge from a whole workday. That alone makes it more difficult to learn. Doing something physical outside the house and taking some rest will help to refresh your brain a bit if you want to study in the evening.

You don’t need many hours to study, you need a relaxed brain with room for new stuff, lots of focus and no distractions. And an every day habit of doing the same thing helps to achieve all that.
If you get that, even 1 hour or 0.5 hour a day will get you far.

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Guys, thank you for your time and wisdom. I will try to take note of what you said.

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Hmm… Did these advices really helped you, OP? I want to do something about my life, because I can’t put myself together, to be honest. The only schedule I saw in my life is a schedule at my office.

Of course it is hard to take time after work and learn other things. It depends on how you look at it. If you see this as an additional effort, it will be rather difficult for you. Do you have fun with it and be happy? It is more of a hobby for me. If you need it for your job, your employer should give you the time to learn.
I really enjoy learning new things and being able to use them. I don’t worry about the time anymore. If I have time and desire it is good and if not it is also OK