4 min read

Investing in yourself

Investing in yourself
Photo by Mathieu Stern / Unsplash

It is hard sometimes to find time just for yourself even when it feels like we have all the time in the world. I do fight with procrastinating every day. Not because I don't wish to do something new or try out something fresh that would open my mind to new horizons. We all have been there. You know what I am talking about.

Is it bad to have time off? To just not do anything? Judging by the number of "gurus" and "life coaches" out there, yes. We should all suffer from burnout and keep grinding. So here is the first part of my writing about how to invest in yourself. Keep yourself and your health in check. If that suffers, everything else in your life will feel the impact. Even that "grind" that everyone is saying is the way to have a "full" life. I am talking here from experience. When you get to that breaking point, it is a long way back. And no one, no one will ever thank you for that "extra" mile. At best what you can expect is that it will be reflected on your end-year review, as a possible point of improvement. How you could have handled it better during that "difficult" time on the project.

Thus, take care of yourself. Find time to talk walk or take a vacation. You deserve to spoil yourself. And do something that you enjoy doing. You know what works for you, so pick an activity that will recharge your batteries. I hear often: Step away from the computer and don't code on vacation. Again, gurus and personal help geniuses. For me, this is sometimes a way to improve my mode tenfold. Digging into some project outside of work, something fun, something where I don't need to deal with opinions. Where I am solely focused to learn and see what lies ahead. Those days from our youth before we learn about linters and all the crazy tools that make our code pretty. Before we even understand how most of the basic things fit together functionally. But the topic for the future. Take a walk, do a fun side-project, or visit a country. Whatever is going to help you to get out of that bad place you see yourself getting back into week after week.

Now that you have your energy and health in check, time to look at where to invest next. Diversify that personal portfolio. For me, that would be learning something new. Whatever that new may entail. Be that some tool, language, or even something not related to your daily job. I still remember when I started making models. The rush of adrenalin when it was done. The simplest of things can improve our overall state, which I mentioned in the previous paragraph. And you will also be better off from it. I am constantly playing around with several different things. Most recently I built and home server which I wish to use as my learning platform for the next things that will get me that next rush. That was many projects in itself. Weeks of research on what parts to get, ordering them, assembly, installing Proxmox, learning about it... And I still have so many things there. I am now diving deep into so many open-source tools that I wish to see if I can replace some of the tools I am using.

This had nothing to do with my work, it was just me being inspired by people doing the same. And desire to get back into that world again. Other projects, and my work as well, will probably benefit from the knowledge you gather through these kinds of journeys. The amount of knowledge you can consider "transferable" across "domains" is sometimes staggering. I know that the things I learned in one domain would help me solve problems down the road. Sometimes even years later. You also know those situations. Where you're stuck in some brainstorming session about some "end of the days" issue. And while pondering, somewhere from the depths of your mind, something will try to get your attention. You know this, ssss, it was in that, ssss, experiment you did, ssss, 5 years ago. Remember, while you were wondering why there is so much hype around that thing? I can't remember how many situations like those I had throughout my career. And it always makes me feel great about the time I spent playing around with something or the other. I never, ever, regretted learning something. And neither will you.

The next thing that I think is important is to invest in the people you surround yourself with. The ones that will push you forwards, not letting you stay behind. That will generally challenge you and make you competitive, while also making it fun. I am the kind of person that will be at their best when I have someone to bounce ideas against and debate certain topics. Where I will pick the brains of my "opponent" to understand why they think in that way. And then come to new realizations and challenge my own set of beliefs. Or challenge theirs. I still gladly recall some of those hours-long debates from the past. And gladly reflect on them with the people involved.

Cutting out toxic people that drag me down is also one thing that helped me improve my overall mental state. I had the opportunity to learn that really young and over the years I established a rule for how I approach this. I never do this on the first mistake, or even a second one. People have 3 opportunities to mess up my life in a meaningful and tangible way. Then they're out. Sometimes I hear that it may be a "harsh" way to solve problems. I also learned that is not worth of my mental health. And as stated at beginning, your health is on your first place. And clear focus helps by putting yourself at first and formost place.

Visiting conferences, meetups is also a great way to expand your network. I have met some really awesome people on the conferences in past and exchanged ideas and thoughts. Our proffesion is one of constant learning. Having a good community is a great way to improve by leaps and bounds in short period of time. Mostly as I mentioned in some of my previous blogs, we need to challenge/reaffirm our opinions and knowledge. Or come with our own ideas and see how it is accepted.

This is some of the things I believe are good way to have a long and burnout free career, with some fun elements. From personal point of view, if any of them are lacking you will notice on yourself really fast. And these rules also reflect nicly with my rules for a new job.

Until next time, spend some of your most precious resource on yourself. Time.