Last week I attended a talk entitled Career Superpower by James Whittaker, Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft. This talk was about personal growth in one’s career path. One of the ideas that hit me hardest was, you need a long-term goal and get closer to it every day; here is how I plan to.
I believe to develop a daily routine that helps me get better every day isn’t easy and I cannot achieve that without knowing what am I actually doing every day. Therefore I came up with this coordinate system: a point represents an event, with x-coordinate indicating the total time spent on it, and y-coordinate what I call “force”. In this context I define the force of an event to be the ability to accelerate me towards my goal, or to paraphrase it, how helpful an event is.
Here is a hypothetical example: at the end of a day, I sit in front of my computer and think about my day. I just had a relaxing but not very productive day:
- baked some macaroons,
- watched 4 episodes of Modern Family,
- spent an hour and half on some coding project,
- ran a 5k in 30 minutes.
- In addition, I should have gone to a local EclipseCon, but I was too lazy to.
If my long-term goals are to become a coding expert, and to live long and prosper, my diagram of the day may look like this:
Notice that a negative x-coordinate means failed to do something that was planned (either by myself or someone else).
The purpose of using this diagram is to have a big picture of my day. In the long run, the goal is to keep more events in the first(spent a long time improving) and third(avoided a big waste of time) quadrants, and out of second(missed a big opportunity to get better) and fourth(wasted time) quadrants.