How to keep your knowledge up to date

Hello. In this post, I will share with you some of my habits that turned out to be leading to success. I am working on exciting projects, increasingly difficult problems are waiting for me to solve every day. I enjoy every minute of it. ­čÖé So here are my 9 habits I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone wish to improve in their profession:

Never stop learning

Let's get precise on this. There are some rules you need to respect when really devote yourself to lifelong learning.

  • Rule 1 : Finish what you start
    When you decide to develop a new skill, make a plan of how will you reserve the time required every day. I am learning how to develop Android Apps as my most recent self-development project. I identified "coding confidently in Java" as the first step. The approach of its achievement is reading a book one hour at every evening, watching 25 minutes related tutorial at lunchtime and using SoloLearn App wehenever I would otherwise check my Facebook feed. I had to exclude Facebook from my life temporarily which may seem bigger sacrifice than it really is. ­čÖé So this way I can steadily work towards my goal and should reach the next level when I will replace all of┬áthese activities with actually start developing my first application.
  • Rule 2:┬áBe ready to change your plan
    You may not go all the way down your learning path as you planned. Using the same example, Google announced Kotlin to be Android's official programming language. All right, so I need to append Kotlin to the end of my Android App development learning checklist definitely. For now no changes but let's get back to it later.

Work on yourself every day

This may seem obvious but this is what makes it even more easy to slip. Every day means every day no matter what. When you are excited about the new skill of yours, it is easy to get going. Once the initial excitement is long gone, you'll find yourself on the desert crawling towards the oasis inch by inch. This is what makes it valuable once you get there.

Remain open

Once you start to perform the way you intended at start, be careful not to think you know it all. I learned how to use Photoshop 5 years ago. I indeed took it very seriously and was eager to know all there is to know. Recently I realised I have no clue how to use libraries in Ps CC. The Libraries panel is keep opening in certain situations and I close it straight away habitually. It has somehow never occurred to me until now that I actually should learn how to take advantage of it. Don't make this mistake.

Be creative about solutions

Finding better, quicker, easier and more efficient ways to solve problems is the key of long term success. Clients will challenge you every day with unexpected ideas and demands. Let me illustrate my point. When I was first presented with the demand to synchronise a PrestaShop store with a Microsoft Dynamics Crm database, it seemed close to impossible. 2 months later it was done and it could have been longer if the CRM version update was not delaying my work. I have a policy of not saying impossible until I tried all possible ways. It may take long time, so the real question is time and money. Remember, there is always a solution!

Add as many tools to your toolbox as you can

If something "would be cool" to have in your work flow, one of the following options is very likely:

  • someone is already working on it
  • somebody already presented a solution (and sells it)
  • there is a community project somewhere out there in which you are welcome to participate
  • it is there for free available to you to use it (once you learn how)
  • you are in the blessed situation to be the first to discover the need for this (so don't wait, quickly become any above listed)

In the first 4 cases, the best you can do is to get confident to use the cool feature in your work. Make sure this approach becomes your habit.

Do not keep it for yourself

If you are working on interesting projects, solve uncommon problems, have ideas, go and share them all! Yes all that is worth sharing. This is the idea behind this blog. I wanted to start my blog since I started working on creative projects. As always I decided to build my knowledge in the topic. First I have read the best books on writing and listened to podcasts and audiobooks on content marketing. I learned then how to make my writings easily digestible. So here I am to share what I believe to carry the most value.

Stay motivated

I've heard many times that burnout is valid concern in one's life. I actually have heard it as many times that I almost believed it. ­čÖé Don't make this mistake. If you enjoy what you are doing now and constantly working on making it better, you will enjoy it a decade later too. The secret is, that what you will be doing 10 years later has not much to do with what you are doing today - even though you are still in the same field.

Motivation can come from different sources:

  • Books
  • Audio programs
  • Seminars
  • Mastermind groups

The best source of motivation is your personal success. Nothing can take the place of achievement when it comes to feeling empowered.

Know when to take time off

If you enjoy what you are doing, often don't feel like stopping at all. It is healthy and good. If you have friends that are worried about you working too much, simply ignore them. Getting excited about your work is very different than counting minutes in a boring office. That is not a problem.

Turbulence occurs however when you get tired according to your own scale. Not having enough sleep or not paying enough attention to your family is bad for you and you need to be aware of the early signs of these matters. Give permission to only the closest people in your life to remind you if it starts happening and listen to them. 

Break your habits

In the book: The Innovator's Dilemma, the authors helped me to understand what causes big companies to fail almost overnight where some young folks find a better solution/product in their fields. You should read this book. Until you do, I tell you what I believe to apply just as well to your life like it does to BlackBerry, Nokia, Google or Apple. This is simply this: if you have a solution that is working very well, you have a market for it and you are successful selling it, you better hurry finding a better way. This is because if someone else comes first, your market may disappear overnight.

The solution is:

  • do not take your success granted
  • be ready to┬áreplace your best sellers
  • look for ways of improvement

In summary

I am glad that you have read this post. I hope you have learned something new and interesting. Please share any ideas, good or bad, recommendations or related story in the comments below. I am looking forward to it. Thank you.

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