Journal

This weekend was nice, but definitely emotionally difficult. My partner and I are close with our families and normally spend a ton of time with them, and actively making the decision to stay away because we love them and want to have more time in the future is persistently challenging. It’s nice making quick drive-by stops and video calls, but it definitely is not the same as just hanging out like we used to. To distract ourselves, we switched up decorations and redesigned the layout of our main apartment room.

I am sure that I’m sounding like a broken record on here at this point, but I feel like I am struggling to keep up with everything… so that means it’s time for some visibility analysis! 👀🎉

Below is a breakdown of each core area of focus that I am striving to make headway within, and some details about the activities associated with those areas:


Learning

  • Structured skill learning
    • Learning Log progression items
    • Tutorials
    • Courses
    • Books
  • Soft skill and mentality learning
    • Reading books and blogs
    • Listening to podcasts
    • Practicing mindfulness and self-reflection
    • Self-exploration through writing exercises (like this one!)
  • Exploratory active research
    • Reading blogs
    • Self-directed curiosity

Producing

  • Working on completing projects
    • Personal projects
    • Team projects
  • Working on increasing quality and consistency (documentation, testing, linting)
  • Working on completing tutorials

Writing

  • Writing blogs
    • Reflecting on my technical progress to identify what has worked and what has not, planning for my next steps tomorrow and beyond
  • Taking notes
    • Reflecting on conversations from the day to identify chunks, action items
  • Producing social media content
    • Not doing very much of this right now, but I’m actively trying to be more mindful while consuming social media and paying attention to how to craft engaging posts

Networking

  • Social one-on-one/small group networking
  • Social media networking
    • Twitter
    • Linkedin
    • Discord
    • Meetup
    • I have seen Instagram highly recommended, but I’m going to work on Twitter first as that seems to be the de-facto social media handle people offer

Job Seeking

  • Researching company types and structures
  • Researching specific companies
    • Researching values, direction, decision makers, viable connections, current challenges
  • Researching positions and desired skills in the market

Personal Marketing

  • Designing and building my Portfolio
  • Designing and writing my resume and supporting documents
  • Developing a personal story and brand
  • Increasing online visibility
    • Engagement in online spaces and groups
    • Backlinks to projects and sites
  • Social media

Now that it’s all written out, it sure LOOKS like a lot, too. Especially when you consider that these initiatives don’t include:

  • Working a mentally-intensive full-time job as an electrical controls specialist, developing applications for fleets of mobile industrial equipment
  • Taking care of my health (sleep, exercise, diet)
  • Spending time and energy keeping my home and finances in order
  • Spending time and developing my relationship with my spouse
  • Socializing with family, friends, and otherwise maintaining non-professional relationships
  • Personal hobbies
  • Relaxation

I want to make sure that I push forward on ALL of the above items, however it’s not sustainable to be trying to work on all of them all the time.

From one of my mentor sessions, it sounds like input I’m getting from external sources is over-emphasizing the need to develop a strong brand as a Junior. It feels like it would still be valuable and certainly not be a negative thing to have, but that I should weigh it as less important than, say, doing the legwork on researching prospective employers, or shipping projects.

Some kind of more official schedule or pattern to keep all of these plates spinning together is increasingly essential as time moves on. The truth of the matter is that, without formalizing things, initiatives ARE falling behind and plates are being dropped. I have mentor homework now, too, so it’s critical that I do not tarnish those relationships with perceived inaction from not focusing properly. I’d like to think on this for a few days and revisit it to see how my perceptions hold up.

Tasklist