Use a skill-building planner to improve your programming skills!

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Many programmers are losing out on a simple method to advance their programming.

Just picture athletes, businesspeople, scholars, health-conscious individuals, and vacationers. They are one of the many different types of planner users. To keep organized and prioritize work, planners are often used to increase productivity.

But that’s just the beginning.

You may use a planner to:

  • Instead of meandering aimlessly and coming to a dead end, stay on the straight and narrow route.
  • Track development
  • Stay inspired.
  • Overcome impostor syndrome

Why don’t more programmers use planners if they provide so many advantages?

They ought should.

Whether you’ve been programming for a month, a year, a decade, or more, we all share the same belief that there is still plenty to learn and that we must always improve.

Therefore, programmers of all levels need to make use of a skill-development planner. It’s a method for improving more quickly and genuinely enjoying the ride. I had to learn this lesson the hard way when I was a long-distance runner.

Developed from a Need

I remember my first half-marathon for all the wrong reasons. I was so out of shape that I felt miserable the whole race. In addition, my finish time was awful since I didn’t train adequately.

However, the experience gave me a valuable lesson about the power of a planner that I continue to use to following talents, including programming.

I made the decision to run another half-marathon because I was certain I could improve my time. The second time around, I changed a lot of things, but two stick out: I followed a running schedule and maintained a running log.

The plan was helpful since it included all the information, including how many kilometers I needed to run and at what pace.

The diary, which was little more than a legal pad and a pen, provided a superior function. I used to jot down a few notes every night about my running session, including how I felt while I was running and any variables that may have had an impact, such as the meals I had that day.

A plan and a notebook are essential components in the skill-building process, as I would later discover.

Together, the information from my plan and the reflections from my notebook enabled me to track my development, hold myself responsible for working out, and eventually improve as a runner.

In my second half-marathon, I not only significantly surpassed my goals but also had fun throughout the preparation and race.

Simply simply, how you use a planner and notebook together may greatly influence the results you get. Since then, I’ve developed additional abilities, such as programming, and put this planner/journal paradigm to the test.

What I can tell you is that if you want to get results quickly and effectively, implement the planner/journal approach into your programming process.

Let’s explore this paradigm and see how it might advance your programming.
Same Process + Different Skill = The Results You Want

I reflected on my earlier running days and the routines that aided in my rapid learning when I started learning to program. I thought of the planner/journal model. I reasoned that what was successful with one talent may also be successful with another.

I was correct.

As I set out to study and improve my programming skills, I re-applied this planner/journal combo (with minor adjustments). Once again, it was the deciding factor.

I maintain a thorough journal of the programming tasks I aim to do each day and each week. The planner portion of my planner/journal concept is made up of these specific components. Personal evaluations of my work and skills are included on the journal side. Examples include:

The errors I made today and the lessons I took away
gaining knowledge about successful tactics
Methods that increased or decreased my productivity

These reactions are helpful because over time, similar remarks tend to surface. So I’m always on the hunt for patterns. Whenever I see one, I know it’s time to adjust. Or, more importantly, I am aware of what I should keep doing.

Using a calendar and notebook in combination may help you keep on the right road, track progress, stay inspired, self-assess your work and talents, and combat impostor syndrome.

Let’s examine each separately. I’ll just refer to this planner/journal concept as a “planner” from now on to keep things simple.

Select the Direct Route

People who develop their talents often go down several pathways only to come to a dead end time and time again. It takes a lot of time, is stressful, and is exhausting to develop skills.

These are some of the benefits that a planner may provide. Maintaining organization and concentrating time and attention on what matters most may both be achieved with it. You may avoid many random and fruitless roads and dead ends by planning your days and weeks wisely. This will help you remain on the straight path.

This is not to claim that utilizing a planner will prevent you from ever feeling irritated or stalled. The difference is that having a planner will make it easier for you to choose what you must accomplish each day and why. This may significantly lessen irritation and the amount of starts, pauses, and restarts along the road, allowing you to make the most of your time spent developing your skills.
Are You Moving Forward?

You could be putting a lot of effort into honing your expertise. But the real question is, are you improving?

This is a crucial inquiry to address and a second justification for the need of a planner. When it comes to properly developing abilities, effort is insufficient. To be sure your efforts are paying off, you must have precise metrics through which to evaluate your results.

It’s simpler to gauge improvement in certain talents than others. If you’re a runner, you either take more or less time to complete a five-mile run. As a result, gauging development is not too difficult.

Measuring development is made considerably more challenging by other talents, such as programming. You can solve a number of programming issues, for example, but it doesn’t always indicate that you’re becoming a better problem-solver.

Focusing on little steps—that is, incremental improvements—each day is the answer. Pick one to three things you wish to achieve or accomplish today as your goals. They need to be manageable and compact. A tiny step would be getting the issue to work on paper. Another is choosing the appropriate algorithm to apply to a task.

Choose the tiny steps you wish to do every evening to get you ready for the morning or the following day. Then, consider how far you’ve come toward making these little leaps, whether that was something you did or learned, at the conclusion of the day.

Let’s say, for example, that the issue is still open. But you discovered the appropriate data structure to use. Or maybe you discovered a fresh strategy that you can use. You are making progress; that is development.

You will get the results you want by making these incremental steps, which add up over time.

Finding your daily accomplishments is important for another reason: they’ll keep you motivated. And this brings us to the third important aspect of employing a planner.

Remain inspired

My programming development has greatly benefited by making even minor improvements every day. Any amount of development that is made is in front of my eyes, and that inspires me.

For instance, something I had trouble with yesterday makes a lot more sense now. Or I perfectly put into practice a notion I discovered the previous week. These little achievements motivate me to wake up and work hard every day.

Another justification for emphasizing modest progress By doing this, skill development becomes much more doable. It is manageable to choose the appropriate algorithm. A small section of a program may be refactored. It is manageable to create variable names that are relevant and unambiguous.

These little steps are precisely how talents are developed: gradually, step by step, one tiny step at a time.

Self-Assess

We often speed through tasks in an effort to get to the next issue or program, so we don’t take the time to review our own performance.

That is incorrect.

Self-evaluation is important since you want to be sure you’re moving forward in the most efficient manner feasible. Contrary to popular belief, the technique is simple.

As mathematician George Pólya puts it in his book, How to Solve It, programmers may evaluate their work by “looking back.”

“Reconsider and re-examine the outcome and the route that led to it,” is what it means to look back. After you’ve found a solution, you should complete this action before moving on to the next challenge.

The goal is to develop a program or solve an issue. Then, and this is crucial, take a moment to review your solution, make any necessary improvements, and solidify your knowledge before moving on to the next issue or application.

Yes, your answer could be accurate. However, is it also effective and efficient? Or, to put it another way, is your answer optimal? Is it possible to make it better by using a new data structure, better variable names, or an other algorithm?

Spend some time considering your job and talents as you respond to these questions. You may make progress by looking back.

Get Rid of Imposter Syndrome

To overcome impostor syndrome is perhaps one of the most crucial reasons to maintain a skill-building planner. Imposter syndrome affects a lot of individuals, including my former self.

It came out that I was engaging in comparison-based behavior when I developed impostor syndrome. When you contrast yourself with others, you are aware. When I first started programming, I often felt inferior to those with degrees in math or engineering. When I read accounts of others who claimed to learn programming “fast,” I felt even more incompetent.

Because it directs your attention and energy toward factors outside of your control, the comparison game is unpleasant to play. It also takes your attention away from what counts most—your success.

There is another choice. Compare yourself to yourself rather than to other people. That’s the goal I’ve set for myself. A tiny adjustment might have a significant effect.

Utilizing my planner daily has been a crucial step for me in that process. By doing this, the contest has been reduced to a contest between me and myself. I do this by organizing each day, then assessing my productivity and skills.

A planner keeps the trip inward and focuses the emphasis on what you can control, such as your daily effort and the little progress you make every day.
Use a Daily Skill Planner to Make It Happen.

We have something in common if you’ve gotten this far: we both want to become better programmers. This post’s suggestions will assist you in doing that.

If implementing these concepts on your own seems like too much labor, here is an utility that will do the grunt work for you: Daily Skill Scheduler My husband, Paul, and I collaborated to develop and produce this hands-on, useful skill-building planner.

You may efficiently and successfully develop abilities with the aid of the Daily Skill Planner’s four-part structure. Additionally, it is intended to include the advantages discussed in this article:

  • pursuing a straight path to the desired result
  • Monitoring your development
  • sustaining motivation by emphasizing small steps
  • evaluating your own skills and efforts
  • overcoming the “Imposter Syndrome”

I hope this article has inspired you to maintain a skill-building planner, whether or not you decide to use Daily Skill Planner—even if it’s as simple as using some paper and a pen, like I started doing years ago.

My challenge to you is to maintain a calendar for a week or two and use some of the concepts discussed in this piece. Just look at how far you’ve come after this little phase is through. The result will likely impress you.

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