Skill-A-Month — push yourself into learning new things you’re putting off

Staying on top of things you want to do is difficult, especially when this requires a long term time investment when developing new skills. I’ve struggled with this for a while now especially since pursuing a career as a Software Engineer ensures a lifetime supply of new things to learn just to stay on top of your game. On top of that I have other personal things of interest that I’ve always wanted to pursue.

I’ve played with a notion of Skill-A-Month for a while now and just like with everything else I’d find some ‘good’ reason why to move it to a next month. Now I can’t say that all is bad since through time I have developed some habits that can be called productive but there’s still a whole list of things I’m putting off.

One thing I really wanted to avoid is the current timing where this might seem as a New Year’s Resolution, and it’s not since I don’t really believe in waiting for the right time to do something ( or I try to at least ), but I don’t want to use that one as another excuse, so here it is, on the 1st of January I’m making the Skill-A-Month public with hope that this will make me stick to this path.

Why Skill-A-Month

We live in a world overloaded with information and possibilities and it’s easy to get distracted. Starting something and pushing it to the end is harder that ever, especially with all the distractions we’re constantly surrounded with.

Also we’re faced with new challenges all the time, life just throws them at you, some might be pleasant but some are also sad and hurtful, but that does not mean we should avoid them or not learn more about them. The more we know about something greater the chance we’ll be able to deal with is successfully. Taking a time to understand something should definitely help in the grand scheme of things.

This is a hypothesis only but I believe that one month is a sweet spot to try to learn a new skill, dive deeper into a certain area of interest or just challenging yourself with something.

Now some will argue that one month is not enough to learn certain skills, like learning a language, playing and instrument, learning to be a software developer but I strongly believe that one month is enough to dive deep into a particular skill or area and gain significant level of knowledge or proficiency that can motivate someone to pursue it further.

Structure

Every month I want to choose a skill, challenge or some area of interest that I will focus on, and really focus on. This means nothing else can creep in, no other skills, interests, nothing. Now obviously there’s life to live and my current routine does not fall into scope of this but the end goal of this process is also to change parts of my daily routine in time.

I plan to thoroughly track my time and progress every month with followup articles in the course of a month explaining what I’m doing and one end-of-month article that will summarize the process and results.

End Goal

There are several things I want to achieve with this, first obviously starting to pursue things I’m interested in. Secondly I want to really see what can be done in one month. Thirdly I want to learn new tricks on how to achieve things faster, document the process and hopefully help others that are struggling with similar things

The goal of this is not to achieve mastery but to achieve enough proficiency to either hold a meaningful conversation about a topic or showcase a skill. A hidden goal is actually to show that we can do much more in one month that we anticipate if we can just truly focus on one thing at a time

Skills