In 2021 and 2020 I reflected on my experiences and learning as a developer over the years.
21 Reflections for 2021 (As a Developer)
20 Things I Learned in 2020 (Programmer Edition)
Those lists are filled with skills gained, knowledge acquired and lessons learned throughout those years.
This time I’m doing things slightly differently as this list will focus on shortcomings and failures experienced during 2022 and what I learnt from them. This is a list resulting from my own personal reflection on things that didn’t go well in 2022. I hope you will be able to take something from reading them and it will be of help to you!
Here are my 22 learning points for 2022.
- It’s okay to re-start from scratch
- You can’t be an expert on everything
- Honest feedback is invaluable
- Don’t procrastinate on simple tasks
- Done is better than perfect (again)
- Follow your own advice
- It’s good to delegate
- Don't pile on too many projects at once
- It's okay to miss targets and fail
- Don’t do things primarily for reward
- Develop a strategy, not a plan
- Use analytics to improve not to only gather
- Don’t neglect your hobbies
- Accountability matters (again)
- Be disciplined over being organised
- Regular reflection is important
- Imposter syndrome is still real (again)
- Keep up with simple routines
- Keep your task list tidy
- It's okay for priorities to change within reason
- Planning for the sake of planning isn’t a good idea
- God is Sovereign
It’s okay to re-start from scratch
Sometimes we may get too caught up with what we’ve done in the past and be reluctant to let go of something that has taken up our time so far. However, it’s better to realise when something needs to be restarted or re-evaluated from early on. Stopping in your tracks on a path that will eventually lead to a show stopper will ultimately save time.
You can’t be an expert on everything
Over the past few years I’ve learnt about various tools related to website building such as WordPress, SEO and email marketing. While targeting to expand your knowledge in new areas is advantageous, there’s no need to feel compelled to become an expert in those new areas. Sometimes, just surface level knowledge is good enough to get the job done! This has left me neglecting staying sharp in other areas of software engineering that I was previously more comfortable with.
Honest feedback is invaluable
Accepting feedback, especially ones that are constructive, is essential to growth. It can be easy to remain stuck in your ways wondering why things aren’t working when the solution could have been sourced from seeking honest feedback.
Don’t procrastinate on simple tasks
Tasks that have been floating around for a long time and can be done within a few minutes or require little effort should be done as soon as possible. Checking tasks off a todo list can also provide a boost of motivation that can be used to tackle heavier tasks.
Done is better than perfect (again)
A reflection made also in my 2021 reflection posts, is one I have to yet again be reminded of. Better to kick-start things and get it done to a reasonable extent than to strive for unattainable perfection!
Follow your own advice
I write posts to encourage regular keeping up of coding skills such as 8 Creative Tips on How to Keep Programming Skills Sharp and The Under-Estimated Importance of Side Projects For Software Engineers.
It’s easy to give such advice when I’m being consistent and actively following the advice. However, when things aren’t going as well, I sometimes just want to forget I gave the advice in the first place! It can be amazing how much the advice we give to others is a revelation into what we need to do ourselves!
It’s good to delegate
When projects and tasks pile on, consider outsourcing. I was able to publish a few guest posts on the site written by contributor authors. Some of which actually reached out to request if they could write for us! On those occasions it helped lift some of the pressure off on meeting publishing schedules. Delegating and outsourcing is something I want to do more frequently this year to keep the site more active.
By the way contact us if you want to be a guest writer 🙂
Don't pile on too many projects at once
Consistent blogging is… a challenge.. After staying somewhat consistent the first year and a half or so of blogging, it dropped off dramatically since then.
It’s difficult to maintain consistent momentum especially when other work and projects come along. Being clear on a strategy, discipline and remaining focused is a key lesson for me here.
It's okay to miss targets and fail
We can get caught up over the disappointment of not hitting certain targets, milestones and deliverables. It’s important to recognise early on when things aren’t working out and readjust. Reflecting on failure will also teach us lessons we can use to get closer towards success the next time!
Don’t do things primarily for reward
I participated in hacktoberfest 2022 but due to several misunderstandings on how the reward for maintainers worked I did not receive a badge of completion of the challenge. But that’s okay, because having fun participating and the experience gained is what matters!
Develop a strategy, not a plan
Not that planning should be ignored, but a strategy that includes rules of how to tackle a project works more effectively than having a plan and attempting to stick to it no matter what. Having a strategy with rules in place will avoid you spending time on activities that may no longer be as relevant. Strategise carefully on how you will handle changes that are inevitable when working on long-term projects.
Use analytics to improve not to only gather
While the view count of this site has grown slowly and steadily since it became live, the increase does not mean much if user engagement is in decline, which it has been!. Seeing a rising view count might be nice, but seeking ways to improve using the available data matters more.
Don’t neglect your hobbies
Sometimes it’s the little things that matter! Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having targets you are determined to reach, also doing things you enjoy and help you to relax is important. For your overall wellbeing and to improve your productivity in the long term.
Accountability matters (again)
I’m not one to advertise the things I do, but over time I’ve realised this may be needed to have some level of accountability. Keeping things to yourself means you’re accountable to yourself which usually doesn’t work out!
I want to become more open about my projects that will hopefully invite accountability. Accountability matters not just for programmers but for a lot of endeavours you want to take on.
Be disciplined over being organised
Last year one of my reflections was to be organised and have a clear path on tasks and targets while having them neatly arranged on a project management platform like Trello.
However, I’ve come to learn that having a management system doesn’t keep you organised, rather, discipline matters most. The discipline to not get carried away with piling on too many tasks at once or juggling too many projects at once is a constant battle.
Regular reflection is important
Stop and take a breather to reflect on your progress throughout the year. This is critical to not repeat the same mistakes and to work on improving your productivity. The reflection can be done at schedules e.g. monthly, or stop to reflect when things just aren’t moving forward.
Imposter syndrome is still real (again)
This was also a reflection from my 2021 list. Although I’ve become better at leading with it. It also helps to go back and read my post on 5 Powerful ways to combat programmer imposter syndrome.
Keep up with simple routines
This lesson comes from not being active on developer communities in 2022 such as DEV.to, which I was a lot more active in previous years. Activities like going on DEV once a while and keeping up to date with what is going on in the developer community goes a long way. Simply routines like this that are easy to keep up with should not be neglected.
Keep your task list tidy
I use the Trello application for task management. Trello uses work spaces known as boards to organise projects and tasks. Having separate boards can be useful to separate tasks for different projects but when your task list becomes too convoluted you know you have a problem! Deal with an untidy todo list early before it gets out of hand.
It's okay for priorities to change within reason
We can get caught up with sticking to a priority list, but there are situations when a priority may no longer be so. However, this should be done after considering and having good reason to change priorities.
Planning for the sake of planning isn’t a good idea
It’s easy to plan, and hard to execute. Overplanning should be avoided. Take a limited amount of time to brainstorm and plan, and be eager to start executing.
God is Sovereign
Most importantly, I learned to surrender my plans to the Lord. While we may plan we must rely on God to establish our steps and pray for our will to be aligned with His. We can certainly plan, but I learned not to hold on to my plans too tightly as only His purpose will prevail!
Proverbs 19:21 – New Living Translation
You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
Did you find this article useful? See other articles you may be interested in below: