Keeping up with the web

Video transcript

So in web development right now there is something new coming out every two weeks and it can be a real challenge to keep up with it. I have found that the solution is to be selective as to what you listen to.

I’ve got a lot of podcasts on my iPhone and sometimes I’ll be listening to a podcast and I’m 10 minutes into it and I’m not even excited about what’s being said, and I’m not enthusiastic about the conversation, yet I’ll continue to listen to it because I’m afraid that I’m going to miss out on a vital piece of information and that’s not the right attitude.

So I’ve started to become very selective. If I’m 10 minutes into a podcast and I’m not enjoying it then I’ll stop it and move on.

They say, “Don’t learn for the sake of learning,” and there’s some truth to that. The best type of learning is when you’re learning things that are pertinent to the challenges that you face now. So the best way to learn is to decide, “Ok, I want to build this application!” or, “I want to build a web site that’s going to solve this problem!” Then seek out the information that is going to help you along that path.

So, you know you’re suffering from information overload when it becomes ‘noise like’ when it feels like it’s just noise. The issue isn’t that there’s too much information, the issue is that there’s so much information that we couldn’t possibly process all of it!

What you need to do then is re-access your expectation as to just how much you really need to learn.

You hear a lot of web developers say that it’s so overwhelming these days, there’s so much to learn, we need to design for tablets, mobile phones, tv’s! But, I think we love it really, don’t we, deep down? I know I do anyhow. That’s what really turns me on about this industry. You can just keep learning. You could go on, and on, and on, and learn something new every day! So let’s embrace it.

Now, something that ties in with information overload, and the approach to learning in general, is, being careful not to fall into the trap of judging things positively or negatively based on quantity. Quantity doesn’t always equally quality.

I signed up with Lynda.com and I have this habit of looking at the courses and I’ll look to see how long each course is and I’ll assign a high value to the lengthy courses and I’ll look negatively upon the courses that are only, say, 15 minutes long.

This also ties in with how I allocate my study time. I feel like I haven’t achieved unless I’ve set aside 4 hours worth of study time, but that doesn’t equate to 4 hours of quality study time. I’ve found that you only need to learn that next piece of information that’s going to progress you to the next step and that can be done in just half an hour.

So when you have a window of opportunity, take aside, even if it’s just half an hour, if you really focus within that time it can be enough to take you to that next step. You don’t need to know everything you just need to keep yourself in the present moment and learn enough to keep things moving and to keep the discovery process going.

So although we may have this fantasy of wanting to be Neo in the Matrix movie, you know when Neo is plugged into the machine and he’s getting the down loads, and he’s like, “I know kung fu.” It would be great wouldn’t it if we could do that and be like, “I know python.” But where would the fun in that be?

The fun is in the process, the fun is in the challenge. It’s like climbing a mountain, once you get to the top of the mountain what do you do? Well typically you’d take in the scenery, you take a deep breath and you’d have a sense of accomplishment. After all, this is why clients are going to pay good money for your services, because you’ve put the time and effort into figuring something out that a lot of people wouldn’t even attempt.

So I hope you got something from this video to sum it up I’d say be selective, if you’ve been sat through something for 15 minutes and you’re bored out of your mind then the chances are that’s not what you need to take in right now. Hope you got something from that. Catch you on the next video. Peace.

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