It has been a while since I last posted – mainly because I’ve lost some momentum after going on a vacation in the beginning of August.
So this post is to record what happened during the 67 days when I struggled to regain my momentum to finish the coding projects.
I probably only coded about a third of these two-month time. It may sound dubious, but I found it so hard to go back to my coding routine after taking a break from coding while on vacation for 10 days.
After I got back, I had some friends visiting too. So I became increasingly overwhelmed by the fear of not being able to complete my challenges/projects as scheduled. After all, I’m planning to finish everything by the end of October!
Interesting, the more I’m afraid of failing to meet my own deadline, the more I became demotivated and started to procrastinate; the more I procrastinated, the less confident I became of being able to tackle the coding challenges. I kept telling myself: maybe you have already forgot all the CSS/HTML tricks you’ve learned!
I’m now already back on track, of course. Looking back, here’s what I did to overcome my fear, and become unstuck in the middle of the way —
- Realize that failures are just a necessity on your own to succeed. Acknowledge that fact helps you focus on your goals, and on breaking the daunting tasks into smaller, conquerable bits.
- Keep asking yourself what’s that 20% of effort you can do to achieve the 80% of results. I read the book “the art of doing twice the work in half the time” by the founder of the Scrum methodology, Jeff Sutherland, and became very inspired by the sprint approach — i.e. committing myself to completing certain tasks by a set time frame. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their efficiency in both personal life and team environments.
- What really excited me was, by planning some personal sprints for the remaining FCC challenges and projects (for me, it was 10 day per sprint), I realized I could still complete the front end certificate at the beginning of November — a little bit of a delay, yes, but not a terrible outcome.
- Forgo the desire to be perfect, again focus on delivering the most important results. For me, the “advanced scripting challenges” sounded very daunting at first, and I got stuck on one particular challenge (the cash register one, I think) for a long time. At that time, being more and more frustrated, I told myself it was ok to look for hints (I’ve been very strict with myself, and tried to solve everything on my own). At that moment, I realized getting unstuck and move forward was more important than solving “everything” on my own.
- Honing my skill in defining the problem. The more I learn to find solutions online by myself, the more I realized how important it was to learn to properly define the problem you’re getting stuck on, in as accurate and general a term as possible. Most of the time, we got very hung up on one particular approach we thought of to solve a certain problem, without taking time to step back, revisit the problem, and therefore branching out to other solutions that may be more efficient in solving the same problem.
- therefore, I learned to keep asking myself to take a step back, ask a more “meta” question of what I’m trying to achieve with my codes. I found that this “meta” approach has helped me to find solutions online quicker, and have a more divergent, creative problem-solving approach.
I regret that I have lost some time during the summer time to complete certain challenges and projects as scheduled, but I’m very grateful for this experience of getting stuck, then unstuck. It gave me lots of lessons of how to keep on keeping on, and more confidence in my own ability to rebound.
By the way, even after I took a long break from coding, all the essentials of HTML/CSS/JS still came back to me fairly quickly. The coding DNA has become ingrained in me, after all.