The journey

Posted by travislavery on March 17, 2018

I actually did it. I began this program with the intention of completing it faster than expected, and I immediately started to set crazy goals. I pushed myself harder than I have ever pushed myself before. I set aside anything that was not of utmost importance, and focused. I refused to get distracted. I completed this program in 3 months. And I did it while working a full time job.

For this last blog post, I’d like to share some of tactics that I used to keep myself motivated, focused, and productive.

One of the things that I had to on a daily basis resist was tricking myself into an early stop. I’d complete a lab that gave me a lot of difficulties, or finally grasp an elusive concept, and then I’d think “Wow! I sure have done a lot today” or something along those lines, and then think that because I had accomplished something, I should stop. It’s hard to convey this in words, but I think we all understand this feeling of self-congratulation. Most difficult to resist by far, however, is when I’d get stuck somewhere. It is so much harder to keep pushing when you don’t seem to be going anywhere. It was times like these where I would take a short break, call on one of my Game-plans (coming up), and then sit back down at the computer and work. It was times like these that it was most important for me to sit back down and work.

Next thing that had a huge impact on my moral and determination was that I set up several ‘Game-plans’. These plans were designed by me for me, because I know myself better than anybody else does (as do we all). I set up a several courses of action that I could take when I was having a frustrating day, or I wasn’t feeling motivated. The idea was to not have to come up with something to help calm me down or motivate me when I was most likely NOT going to come up with something, because I was already upset and/or not motivated! That way, when I did get into one of those moods, I just had to follow the predetermined steps, each step something that almost always impact me a certain way (ie: Helps me refocus, makes me smile, reminds me why I am working do dang hard in the first place, etc.). I stacked these steps together, so that by the time I finished a plan (normally between 10-30 minutes), I was ready to rumble again. I want to emphasize again that these plans were predetermined! I added to and altered them as time went on, but always I had a few plans ready to go.

Another thing that it took awhile for me to recognize was that even though the Flatiron team have created an excellent program, sometimes somebody else explained things better. There are a bazillion youtube videos, stackoverflow posts, and more documentation than any one human should ever read. Whenever I didn’t understand something, and the lesson and/or lab just wasn’t helping me understand, I’d 1.) click on those dang blue links at the bottom that most of us just skip over, and if that didn’t help I’d go searching. Even though I was not actively working on my code when I took these field trips, overall it would take me less time to finish a lab and to understand a concept than by banging my head on the keyboard until it worked. Admittedly, I did a lot of keyboard head banging, but I made sure a video or article was nearby while I did.

Lastly, I freaking love to code. And I made sure to remind myself of this little fact often, especially when I freaking hated the code.

I haven’t had a life for 3 months now, being as I spent almost all the time that I wasn’t at work programming or sleeping. I’ve managed to convince my fiance that once I was done with this program I’d spend less time down here on my computer, but I still really love to code, and now I actually know how to make the things that I’ve always dreamed of making. It used to be they only existed in my head, but now there is a path to existing in reality- and they know it.

We’ll see if I get my life back, or if I made a deal with the devil of 1’s and 0’s. Cool guy, if I did.