Writing this edition of Take a Moment was actually quite a struggle. Normally I already have a hard time with being creative, coming up with topics, or filling up the content properly. But this week was a bit different. Over the past month I've slowly started to create a habit of spending at least 30 minutes per night on either this newsletter or other personal goals. I was very happy with how it went as I didn't manage to do this before and I thought I was finally making good progress at making working on personal goals regularly a habit.
But for some reason I just didn't feel like it for most of this week. Either I felt like I was too tired, made the excuse for myself to do it tomorrow, distracted myself with other activities, or just left it. By no means is there a wrong or right in this scenario, and neither would there be in your case. But for me it just felt really weird to fall into such a slump after feeling like I made steady progress for quite some time. ☹️
After some days I started to ask myself the following question, which is also this week's question that I want you to ask yourself:
What am I doing it for?
To be frank, as developers we often want and try to do a lot. Maybe even too much. The following tweet that I coincidentally came across this week described it perfectly:
Sarah DrasnerIt's a three day weekend!
Me: finally, a chance to recover a bit.
Also me: you should use this as an opportunity to feel bad about not getting further on all your side projects and work!00:53 AM - 15 Feb 2021
While it is perfectly fine to be ambitious and set goals for yourself, there will be days where the motivation or energy is just not there for it. Or we just want to do something else. But then we are either left with a feeling of guilt or we force ourselves to chase our goals, which ultimately can reach to something like a burnout.
This was exactly the spot that I was in this week for working on this newsletter. And after a few days of procrastinating, I started to wonder what the exact reason is that I'm trying to work on this newsletter. Despite having a clear idea when I started the project, it took me quite some time to recall the exact reason since I was in this slump. 🤔
Ultimately, I think one of the most important things in these scenarios is to have a clear reason for your goals and be aware of it. If you have no clear answer or the reason is quite vague, there's a high chance that you will just drop it since it feels too far away. But on the other hand having a too concrete of a goal is also not always good, since everything beyond that one concrete goal is unknown territory.
For me, reasons for starting and working on this newsletters were to create a habit of working on my personal goals regularly, improve the organisation of my thoughts and being able to properly communicate them, and just enjoy writing. Another reason that I actually forgot and perfectly fits the whole concept of this newsletter, is that besides sparking self reflection moments for my readers to also create them for myself. And this was exactly such a moment! 😊
However, after making those goals concrete for myself again, it definitely wasn't like I immediately got back all my motivation back and all went well after that. But at least everything started to slowly come back again and now I'm able to deliver this post to you guys! 🥳
So for this week, I want you to look at your goals and Take a Moment to ask yourself what you're doing it for. Do you recall the exact reasons? Do those reasons give you energy and motivation? If not, are they really worth your time and effort?
I believe that becoming a great developer starts with becoming a better developer today compared to yesterday. The best way to be a better developer is identifying what you can improve upon and taking action to improve; become self reflective. And the best way to be self reflective is periodically stopping in your tracks, taking stock of everything that happened in the past and the present, and make a plan for the future; taking a moment.
To accommodate this, I’ve created Take a Moment: A newsletter focused on becoming a better developer by forcing you to stop in your tracks, take a moment, and self reflect one question at a time. Every other week you will receive a post like this in your inbox: one self reflective question and complementary descriptions around it for context.