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How to not plan a project (time management)

Disclaimer: This is another personal blog, because there aren't enough hours in the week to do the research-heavy blogs I enjoy writing. My next 4-5 weeks focus on completing a project and recalibrating my job search strategy.

I am round out the 6-month allotment of career support provided by Flatiron. So, it's important to give myself the time and space to figure out what the next six months should look like.

Five weeks ago, I started Voyage 16 of Chingu. Being unsure of how my work schedule would go, I opted to do a solo voyage, instead of joining a team. Looking back, that was probably the best decision I made since starting the voyage a month ago.

In the four weeks since starting Voyage 16, I found myself struggling to split my personal time between four major activities. As a result, my project has been moving along more slowly than anticipated.

Time Management

  1. Job searching. This includes activities towards getting a job as well as Flatiron weekly requirements. The weekly requirements are to a. write a blog post b. creating 5 git commits c. 8 people I probably could have done the bare minimum, but wanted to commit to the process and do what helped people get hired. Writing a weekly blog post itself is challenging, but logging eight meaningful (approved) interactions each week was the most stressful. Though there are companies I would love to work for, it's been impossible to find the right balance between dedicating time to one great role when that time was needed elsewhere. Instead, I found myself applying to more roles with less preparation.

Going forward, I plan to scale back the time spent on outreach, which I can reinvest on debugging and refactoring. This would more progress with my Chingu voyage and less focus on the number of commits. Another method saving time is to pre-write my blogs over a couple weeks, instead of 3 hours weekly.

  1. Networking. Oftentimes, networking was a fight between informal networking (i.e. at a meetup) and LinkedIn outreach. LinkedIn outreach was easily quantifiable and provided "proof" of the interaction, whereas going to a meetup was risky, because the person you meet might not be hiring. Meetups and hackathons were also challenging because to qualify, I needed to get their first and last name, their role and employer, in addition to "proof" of the interaction. -So the best option has been to focus on increasing my network through LinkedIn and sometimes Slack or Discord. But over time, it even became difficult to nurture the relationships I did build, because there was not an immediate job offer at the end of it.

Instead, I would like to revisit my connections from the past 6 months and focus on strengthening those relationships. I miss attending hackathons and workshops, which help me learn in addition to networking with other developers. As someone who values community, I would like to dedicate time to building mine.

  1. Learning. My self development struggled the most since graduation. When I graduated, my focus was on growing as a developer so that I could build cool projects and succeed in technical interviews. But it was challenging to maintain the momentum from being on campus. Flatiron helped me learn how much I love JavaScript. Right now, I feel ready to dive even deeper into the JavaScript language, frameworks and tools. This might mean stretching my study goals out, but if this means retaining more as I learn, sign me up. The reason my blogs focus on helping beginners get started is because this remains one of the main challenges with online learning tools. In spite of the many tutorials, blogs, books, etc, a lot of my fave resources are those I've stumbled across. There's way too much to distill or figure out. The other day it hit me– most online teachers focus on getting you started, expecting you to figure out the next steps. But if everyone is focus on "just getting you started", how are you actually supposed to figure out how to go from there?

So, please bear with me as I figure it out. My blog format has changed many times over the past eight months. But my blogs reflect my journey in learning how to code- whether it's chronicling what I am learning or what I needed along the way.

  1. Coding. Going forward, I want to do more project work than I've been able to. It was necessary for me to go back and build some of the fundamentals needed to create a project. In attending a bootcamp it's a given that you will skip a lot of material, because there would otherwise be too much to cover over the span of 12 weeks. So after graduating, I'm happy to have focused on identifying the gaps in my knowledge.

But filling those gaps has been a bumpy ride with a lot of false starts and restarts. I wish I had been able to find a developer who could help me focus my energy better, but going through the process gave me a clear view of my weaknesses. As painful as it's been, I'm incredibly excited to build from this point.

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