Managing your self-learning

Posted on Wed Apr 22 2020
Updated on Mon Jan 11 2021

It feels like there is endless content for a developer to learn. It can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.

I find it is important to have some sort of system in place to help manage and reduce the cognitive overload of remembering what you want to learn.

I personally like to use Notion and the board feature. Its very similar to Trello.

Notion Board with lots of tasks

It’s great way to see the big picture of everything you’re doing and track your progress. Also its nice to look back on it at the end of the year and see all the things you have completed.

I’d like to share some things I have learnt which have helped make using this board more effective for myself to keep on track of my goals.

1) Prioritise

It’s so easy to be seduced by the next new shiny framework and you know what, that’s ok! I put it on the list and make sure I prioritise it. For example, want to learn React? Well you best make sure you have your JavaScript fundamentals in place first! Make sure your “learn JS fundmentals” card is above your “Learn React” card.

2) Break down the task

I’ve got some quite broad tasks on my board such as “Learn TypeScript Fundamentals”. To help stay focused on completing the card. I’ve broken down what the fundamentals are so I can clearly see what I need to cover.

Notion task opened

3) Be specific

This leads me on to my next point. Be specific with that you want to learn. I find I struggle if my card is too broad. For example if I had a card like “Learn CSS”, there is just too much to cover. Try to hone in on something specific like “Learn the basics of CSS animation”. Then follow step 2 and break it down further.

My system is not perfect and I’m trying to always evolve it. I’m curious how others manage their self learning. Do you do something similar?