They say Hindsight is 20/20


As we enter into a new year, I can’t help but reflect on the last. What I did, what I didn’t do, with a focus things I’d like to accomplish in the coming 12 months. I’ll spare you the details of my self reflection. Though, I would like to share the method that I use for my approach. I am aware that this is a tech blog, some might feel that personal and self growth have no place here. Well to them, I say “thanks for the view”! 🙂 This is Unparalleled Adventure after all, and what would an adventure be without some reflection? For those of us in the industry, unless you want to stagnate, it’s important to set goals, reflect, and to take steps to get better. Self reflection and employee growth isn’t always on a company’s radar, which is interesting, because capital growth and ROI often are. For me, it seems there should be a positive correlation between employee growth, and growth of a company. However, I digress. If it’s not part of your companies yearly mandate to reflect and set goals. You should mandate it for yourself! Often times developers want to become super-star 10x developers overnight. This isn’t realistic, and can lead to disappointment in ones self. The reality of it, is that it takes time, and lots of work. Becoming a great developer is a lot like optimization, you can’t optimize what you don’t measure. So in order to progress, you need to reflect, and take stock of where you are, set some goals to progress, and most of all have a vision for where you want to go. For some of us, this can be quite an eye opening experience. If you’ve never reflected and looked objectively where you are at, you might surprise yourself, one way, or the other. If you’re struggling with the how to reflect, and set goals. It can be helpful to understand someone else’s approach.

Over the years, I’ve adapted a model that I feel has worked (for the most part) for me. As like anything in life, it doesn’t need to be followed to a tee, nor should it be written in stone. Instead it should grow and adapt, as you grow and adapt. You should follow what works, and disregard what doesn’t. My method may serve a a jumping-off point, or give you enough perspective to turn and run in a different direction. I’ve built the model I use off of what has worked for me in the past, removed what hasn’t, built on foundations learned in school, as well as tactics and practices I’ve picked up from books, conferences, podcasts, and some creative ideas I crafted myself.

If you’ve ever read the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris, you’d have seen the break down and categorization of Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. Healthy being what directly affects the health of ones body. Wealthy being what directly affects the health of ones bank account. And, Wise being what direct affects the health of ones mind. For a few years, I crafted goals like I’d been trained in school. Short-term, Mid-term, and Long-term goals. I want to exercise more in the next 30 days. I want to learn to program in the next 6 months. I want to have my vehicle paid off in the next year. Regardless of the quality of these goals. I always struggled with a way to categorize and relate them. What does exercise, programming, and having my vehicle paid off have to do with each other? This problem was only magnified by my ability to be overly self critical. I felt that they didn’t make sense, and in turn it didn’t make me want to work towards them. After reading Tools of Titans, I decided to categorize my goals into the three categories. Healthy – goals that pertain to my physical health. Wealthy – goals that pertain to my financial health. Wise – goals that pertain to my mental health. I still kept the Short, Mid, and Long term lengths, and decided on one of each goal per category. This gave me a total of nine goals. Which wasn’t bad. I made them SMART goals, based on their time frame and I went from there.

The problem was within categories, the goals didn’t relate. The Short Term goal didn’t run into the Mid Term goal, which in turn didn’t do anything to help me get towards the Long Term goal. The second pitfall, was that my short term goal would get completed, and I would have nothing to work on that was “Short Term”, while I worked on the longer term goals. This year, I’ve decided a good structure is to have a “summary” for each category, and 3 SMART goals that work towards the summary per quarter. This leaves me with 3 months of goal to focus and work on, and in the next quarter make an adjustment. I’m hopeful this breakdown will give me more to work with, and allow me to work a little closer to my goals.

So, that brings us to the goals for my blog. In the two years I’ve had this blog, I’ve posted a whopping 14 posts. I’m proud of that, but it’s not the amount of content I would’ve liked to have posted. Though I never put a measurable goal, I would’ve liked to have closer to 50 posts. This year I dug in and set a goal, my goal for 2020 is 12 posts. It’s only 1 per month, so it’s seemingly doable. I’m hoping that 12 posts will raise readership and subscribers, and in 2021 I’ll be able to put more fingers to keys and share more of my learning.

In 2019, I had a total of 2 041 views, with 1 442 unique visitors. The post with the most views was The one where we reverse engineered Microsoft’s C++ Unit Test Framework (Part 1) it had a total of 714 views! The series as a whole did quite well, totalling around 1500 views. My posts that talked about architecture, design, and advice I wish I would’ve listened to each had a whopping 1 view. (Probably was me reading it. :P) It’s obvious what people are interested in, and to be honest, it’s what I’m most interested in too. The code, digging into the details of the code, and doing obscure things.

I look forward to the next series of posts!

Until then, Happy Coding!

PL

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. — Soren Kierkegaard

 

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