A programmer should always be aware of modern technologies and constantly self-educate. But how and when can you do this after a working day when there is no power to study? Let’s talk to the techies below to find out!
Geena, software engineer
For a programmer, learning is extremely important. It should occur on an ongoing basis and correlate with specialization. The acquired knowledge should be constantly applied in everyday life. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.
COVID-19 has shaped our lives, and many IT companies sent employees to work remotely. This, of course, has its pros and cons. The disadvantages include an unstable schedule and the accumulation of fatigue: spending time at work, you, unwittingly, simultaneously perform household functions. Time for additional study is sorely lacking. But with a strong desire, you can find a number of opportunities for organizing self-study. For this you need:
- Align the schedule and complete the work exactly 8-9 hours after it began. You can even proudly slam the lid of your laptop. During the day, you need to allocate exactly 1 hour for self-study. Choose exactly the part of the day that is most productive for you: morning, afternoon, evening, night.
- Make a detailed study plan: what courses, books you should read, how many pages or sections you should study each day, what final result you should get. As an example, set yourself a goal not just to read some material, but to write a program in a new language that has certain functionality.
- To excite the employer with your training and persuade him to pay for additional courses, or, at worst, to allocate part of the working time for self-study. A good employer is always interested in trained personnel. That is why it is important that the new topic is closely related to your direct work responsibilities.
The main thing here is wise time management: if you do not linger at work, you will not get tired, and, accordingly, you will have the power and desire for self-development. These tips helped me, in particular, to learn bash scripting for MAC Packaging despite a very busy schedule.
Calvin, head of frontend development team
Technology is advancing so fast that while you’re reading this article, there may be several new developments. And this means that every programmer must constantly improve their skills. Here are some tips on how to make time for upskilling.
Write down the expected learning outcome
Think about the results of the training. Is it really important at the moment, or can you put it off? Why do you need new skills right now? What practical value can they have?
Approach learning like a project. Fix goals, decompose into small tasks, track progress. If a person does not understand why he needs this or that long-term action, he is unlikely to bring it to the end – everything will interfere. And if it does, it may not get all the potential benefits.
Start living up the schedule
Freelancers often don’t plan their day and consider it freedom. In fact, if there are no hard boundaries between work and the “rest” of life, this will quickly lead to burnout. There can be no question of any self-education in such a situation.
You need to use a planner and clearly allocate a schedule for work tasks. In the remaining time, there will probably be an hour or two to study new material and work out practical tasks. Might be worth sacrificing a couple of smoke breaks.
Turn off notifications
You don’t have to reply to incoming messages right away. Set a time to check e-mail, Telegram, Facebook and other communication channels – for example, twice a day. When a person is in extreme concentration mode, notifications can distract him for completely unnecessary reasons, and it will take at least half an hour to return to focus. All this can be considered wasted time that could have been saved for study.
Turn learning into play
Gamification helps keep the incentive going. Many studies show that game motivation doubles the level of engagement in learning. There are a number of applications like SuperBetter that allow you to set goals and get “achievements” for reaching them. And the Challenge Timer uses the ” Pomodoro Technique”: large tasks are divided into smaller ones, and the execution of each of them cannot be interrupted or paused – otherwise you will not go to the next level and not get a bonus. With the help of these simple life hacks, you can reduce distractions to a minimum.
Have a good rest
Many people like to write code at night claiming that this is the best time for creativity. It may sound trite but the failure of the normal living rhythm is bad for productivity. Just try to live in a normal biological rhythm. Perhaps you will cope with the main volume of tasks much faster than before, and time for study will appear “by itself”. Before going to bed, it is better to arrange an hour of screen silence – this rule works not only for children, but also for adults. Even those who consider the gadget an extension of the hand.
The very word “self-learning” includes the concepts of independence and responsibility – for one’s development and future. Usually, when a person is passionate about his work, no problem appears since self-education is not a heavy duty but an exciting activity. Even after work, switching to something new can be more exciting than any sci-fi film or book.
Looking at multiple studies of top motivating factors for IT professionals, job content and development opportunities come first, along with job compensation. A company that thinks about the future and understands that it is closely related to the level of qualification and involvement of employees must create conditions for their learning and self-learning.
So, my advice is more for the companies:
- when drawing up a training plan for a year (or some other period), include in it not only those areas that the company needs now but take into account the wishes and aspirations of your team;
- when planning a load, include time slots that an employee can spend on learning new material;
- when setting goals, think about the fact that an employee who is constantly loaded at 120% does not always want to spend his free time on self-study, so in an attempt to get the maximum result here and now, you may lose sight of the prospect.
Frank, head of PR-department, internet platforms
The world is changing. And professions are rapidly becoming obsolete. Therefore, in order to remain in demand on the labor market, you need to constantly learn something. However, finding time for self-education is not easy. Especially if you work 8 hours a day, and there are things to do at home, children. More often you are happy to carve out time to sleep!
But there is a way out. Here are a few recommendations that, without prejudice to life and current tasks, will allow you to know more than others and be ahead of the competition:
Sort out your subscriptions
If you receive a lot of information on your mail and you don’t even remember why you receive it, take the time to analyze subscriptions. Perhaps there are the right ones among them, but you do not read them. Feel free to delete anything that is not useful. It can be countless recipes, life hacks or beading lessons that you have been dreaming of getting to for 5 years. Objectively evaluate your strengths. And get rid of the excess.
Leave useful information. It can be news or free training lessons in your field of activity, articles by an expert you respect. As a result, you should have so many subscriptions that you only need to spend 10-15 minutes a day on them. You can easily master such a volume during a short break or on the way to work.
Read and listen on your way to the office
Give up mindless feed scrolling in favor of obtaining the necessary information. Of course, it is useful to relax, but do not forget that the brain is lazy. Therefore, control how much time you spend on social networks. And you can find time for training on the way to work. Read literature that might help you. It’s possible even with the smartphone in your hands. And if you drive a car, get used to audiobooks.
The rule of 25 minutes
As it was mentioned above, the brain is lazy. And a person tends to be distracted for nothing. Therefore, it is important to control yourself. Make it a rule to set a timer for 25 minutes and during this time do only what you have planned. The advice is universal and suitable for any business. Including self-education.
These are basic things. Start with them, and you will understand that you have become less distracted and more aware. And remember: for what is really important, you will always find time. You just need to want.
All in all, how to carve out time for self-study while working full day?
- It is important to have a study plan: what exactly you want to achieve, what books you should read, how many topics you should study each day, etc.
- If self-study is related to professional activities, then you can ask the management to allocate part of the working time for this activity.
- You can also ask management to assign you to a project that interests you in terms of acquiring new knowledge.
- Set yourself a timer for a certain amount of time and do only what you have planned during this time.
- Sort out your subscriptions – unsubscribe from mailing lists that do not provide anything useful and only take your time.
- Read and listen on your way to work.
- Disable notifications that do not require immediate attention; Set aside some time to check email, social media, etc. so you don’t get distracted.