I strongly believe that a daily journal is one of the best habits you can pick up if you are trying to improve your coding skills, especially as a beginner. In this short blog I would like to discuss my reasons for this and hopefully, encourage some of you to start keeping a journal yourself.
The great thing about this habit is that it’s a really easy one to pick up and maintain. I probably dedicate 5 minutes (max) per day to writing in my journal what I did that day with regards to coding. I like to do this right before I go to bed when everything else has been done. I find this night-time ritual useful for many reasons. The first of these reasons is that it acts as a record of my accomplishments. Learning to code can be a very slow process, and sometimes it feels like no progress is being made at all (especially in the early stages when you know how much lies ahead of you). The daily journal acts as a reminder of where I used to be on my journey, and where I am today. If I’m ever feeling demotivated or overwhelmed by the amount of information I feel like I need to learn, I can just go back a couple of weeks in my journal and see how far I have come in just a short amount of time. This gives me much needed encouragement to keep going.
The second reason I swear by my daily journal is that it motivates me to code every single day. There are some days where I really don’t feel like doing any coding, maybe I’m tired or just not in the mood. My coding journal motivates me to at least do something that day so that I don’t have to leave a blank page. I will admit that even with this motivation there are still some days when I don’t write any code or study any new concepts (everybody needs some time off), but I truly believe that I have my journal to thank for many days where I got a lot done when I otherwise wouldn’t have sat down to study at all.
The final reason I love my daily journal is that it allows me to record my daily time spent coding and compare each week with the last. I think it’s important to be consistent with learning in order to make any real progress. I have a target of 15 hours per week of study time. Some weeks I do more, some weeks I do less. Each day in my journal I write the number of hours spent coding and then total the hours at the end of each week. This gives me a really easy way to see if I am putting in enough time or if I need to up my game.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a daily journal then my advice would be to go for it, I couldn’t recommend it enough.