Creating Structure

Design Your Own Learning Boot Camp: A 13-Step Guide

I tweeted the link to this post and I’d like to discuss a particular point made in it:

6. Set your hours. Define your dates.

It’s easy as an ambitious learner to feel guilty when you’re not spending time learning. To eliminate the anxiety that you’re not doing enough, specify when you will be learning, and when you can feel comfortable clocking out. For example, you can choose to set weekdays from 7am-9am and nights from 8pm-10pm as your key learning times. The key is to schedule less than you think you need, but to non-negotiable stick with your learning times.

Also: make sure to set beginning and end dates for your boot camp. This enables you to delay gratification and put your head down and work hard, because you have set a date when you can stop.

This point really hit home for me. I’m an easy-going type of guy that tries to not take things too seriously, but if I decide I want to be good at something I spend hours upon hours researching and reading and OBSESSING about a topic. It’s been the same way with this web development thing. If someone did a certain tutorial in 2 weeks, then I have to do it in 1 week. If someone finished two courses on a certain subject then I need to complete 4. If someone got a job as a developer in 1 year then I want to do it in 6 months.

Obsession is a gift and a curse.

I have a saying: “A person’s greatest strength is often their greatest weakness.” The same obsession that drives me to outshine my peers and compete to be the best can also fill me with dread and anxiety. What exacerbates this problem, at least up to this point, is that I was unsure on exactly HOW I wanted to learn. It’s not like school where you have a set curriculum and then you can choose to do extra credit.

I’d like to avoid the anxiety associated with “Am I doing enough???” To that end I’m going to set MINIMUM benchmarks that I want to meet each day and then try to SURPASS them. The minimum benchmarks will still be ambitious, however once I meet them for the day my mind can relax…and then I’ll study for another hour and congratulate myself for going above and beyond.

Today’s benchmark? Complete Chapter 6 in Hartl’s Rails Tutorials and watch 3 videos on Team Treehouse.

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