And how to mitigate them

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As software developers, we enjoy a high level of autonomy. As long as we achieve our goals, we have the luxury of allocating our time as we see fit.

If we are not careful with said freedom, we run the risk of spending time on activities that offer minimal benefit to our work. It is easy to be carried away with these activities because they provide the illusion of moving forward.

These time traps are everywhere. They sneak up on us. Recognizing them is the first key step in mitigating them.

It is admirable to produce the highest quality work…

Yes, we are talking about people-to-people networking

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As much as we value technical competencies as software developers, we have to acknowledge that soft skills are equally as important, if not more important. We can be stubborn enough to ignore this reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences. If we do, our career progress and satisfaction will be unnecessarily impeded.

“Reality continues to ruin my life.”

— Bill Watterson, cartoonist of Calvin and Hobbes

There is a multitude of benefits when you have healthy relationships in the industry. These include:

  • more pleasant daily work
  • more chance of skirting around the unnecessary corporate bureaucracy
  • easier to get a new…

What formal education should have taught me but did not

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I’ve been working as a software developer for about a decade now. If I had a time machine and had to give my younger self one piece of career advice, it would be this:

Soft skills are as important, if not more important, than technical skills

When I was just starting out, I was completely convinced that technical skills are what makes or breaks a software developer’s career. I had the naive impression that developers who are great at building software would be the ones that get ahead faster. And wow, was I wrong.

As a work newbie, I quickly…

Let’s just stop talking about becoming “better” and “happier” for a minute

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If you want to read about how to live a happy, successful and fulfilling existence, there are massive amounts of self-help books and “how-to-be-better” listicles out there. This article is not one of them.

Like anyone else, I am not a perfect specimen of the human race. I am not an enlightened being. I can’t give you the magic formula to happiness. No one can.

Life is about putting together pieces of your own unique life’s puzzle. Life is about playing the hand you are dealt one card at a time.

What I can tell you is some of the…

Keep those tendencies in check

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Just like many other people who are not in the finance industry, I started learning about personal finance by reading. I read books, blogs, and news articles. I also learned a great deal from trial and error. Self-made mistakes sear lessons in my mind more permanently than lessons I passively consume.

I learned that it is not wise to merely imitate what we read.

Personal finance is just that: personal. A finance strategy that works splendidly for one person might be a horrible idea for the next. Applying cookie-cutter suggestions without understanding ourselves first is a recipe for disaster.


Stop feeling guilty for being curious and playful

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Everyone and their grandmas know the 10,000-Hour Rule from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. Basically, it says that we have to stick to something for a very long time to be damn good at it. I am a strong believer persistence. There are no shortcuts to becoming competent at something: business, a particular sport or playing a musical instrument. Being amazing at anything requires considerable investment in time, effort and sometimes money.

Some self-improvement literature also tells us that dabbling is bad. We are told it is better to pick a few activities that we want to be great at. …

When you and your hair need to move on

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There is a German idiom “Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei”. Literally translated it means: “everything has one end, only a sausage has two ends”. What it really says is that everything comes to an end.

My relationship with Herbert* has come to an end.

Herbert was a short and stocky man in his 60s. His 6-inch white braided beard underlined his creative quirkiness. It was a pleasure watching his reflection as he floated around with artistic purpose around his little studio. He danced and pranced with scissors and razors. …

A productivity mindset you can apply to almost anything

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Changing the game is a mindset.

— Robert Rodriguez

As a software developer, I constantly ask myself: what distinguishes an outstanding developer from a mediocre one? From my observation, it has very little to do with formal education, age, gender, and even industry experience. It has a lot to do with mindset.

Developing software is very much like cooking. All legendary chefs must first grasp the common fundamentals of food preparation and kitchen processes. Only with these fundamentals then can their unique personality traits shine through. …

Taking advantage of your seeming lack of motivation

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“I don’t feel like going to the gym but I need to lose weight.”

“I don’t feel like writing but I want to be an author.”

“I don’t feel like going to work in the morning but I have to show up.”

Do these thoughts sound familiar to you? I can surely identify with them.

When we don’t feel like doing something we think we should do, we assume that we are lazy or unmotivated.

To remedy our perceived apathy, we shovel money to the personal development industry in an attempt to fix ourselves. We jump ecstatically during motivational events…

Bruce Flow

Polymath by calling. Software developer by profession. Student of the mind by nature.

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