Work on a side project

https://unsplash.com/?photo=-HPhkZcJQNk

I recently took up a lot of side projects as I got more comfortable building my writing habit. I used to excuse myself by saying that I don’t have time for anything other than work and school. When I committed to challenge myself by writing once a day, I found that I had plenty of time during the day to sit back for at least 30 minutes to an hour and write whatever I wanted.

It’s very liberating. Sometimes frustrating, but once it gets going, I find that it gives me a very rewarding feeling and takes out a lot of the anxiety I felt throughout the day.

It’s funny though. I can write about anything I want to, and yet I seem to limit myself at the same time. I feel like there are definitely out of boundaries topics that I don’t even want to get into. I’ll start out a draft, pick one idea and start typing, and feel some sort of… discomfort. Your words don’t come out as freely, and you don’t have a clear stance on what you’re writing.

No matter though, I find it easy to just save it as a draft and move onto my next post. This one feels much more natural to write about!

Reading

I think a lot of my time has been going to reading these days. It could be other peoples’ blog posts, linkedIn articles, listicles, or anything that I feel like I could learn something out of it.

Think about reading as a free mentorship. A quick peek inside a person’s head. What kind of ideas do they have, and what can you learn from reading this? Everyone has something to say, and you’ll be surprised at what you learn from other people.

Don’t you want to learn from the most successful people in the world? You don’t even have to actively seek them out. They wrote books filled with their knowledge and experiences. When have we ever had so much access to such valuable books?

I usually try to look for PDFs since I’m a broke college student. I’m guilty of hoarding books and articles because I want to keep it around just in case I want to read it again in the future.

https://unsplash.com/search/reading?photo=7bYARiDY7lQ

Problem Solving + Analytics

I’ve also been trying to get better at problem solving and thinking analytically. I find it hard to tell stories from just looking at data. I’ve realized that one of the most important traits that job seekers look for is your ability to translate data into information. It’s actually very challenging to look at some numbers and find what it’s trying to tell us.

You also have to craft it into something so that people who don’t want to look at numbers can have an easy understanding of it. You have to answer this: What’s the point? What are you trying to tell me?

This was my weakness when I first started presenting my findings. I would plaster numbers and graphs up on the slides and just state that “this week there has been growth” or “this week our numbers have declined”.

They can clearly see that. What they want to know is the significance. They want you to tell them what all these graphs and lines going up and down mean for them. What are some action-ables? What is the next step we can take according to this data?

To solve this, I’m always trying to read https://stratechery.com/ . I haven’t gone too in depth with reading, but I think it will help me get better at thinking about strategies for companies. I also looked online and found https://rework.withgoogle.com/ where they have guides for getting better at adopting an analytical mindset.

The fact that so many resources are free amazes me.

Marketing

I know somewhere down the line, I would like people to take a look at my posts. It’s important to brand yourself and market yourself to people. How will people find you when they don’t know who you are?

A lot of people make the mistake of sitting idly and just writing content, thinking that people will just accidentally find their little golden blogs and just explode onto the scene. It just doesn’t work like that.

Who knows, maybe I will be lucky to be able to do this while sustaining myself. This is honestly an awesome job. You just need to learn and reflect and write it down. (Okay it’s not that easy but it’s quite straightforward.) You’ll get better at anything you do with enough practice and consistency.

To get better at digital marketing, I signed up for Google’s free digital marketing course online called https://digitalgarage.withgoogle.com/

Super interesting, I hope to keep myself busy with this!

Coding

I always wanted to learn javascript for the sake of learning… I just wanted to be able to read other peoples’ code and be able to understand it. I also know that there are so many interesting things you can do with this knowledge, so I signed up for a lot of free classes and tutorials online.

It’s definitely frustrating at first, but once you kind of get familiar with jargons, it gets a little better. The learning part isn’t the hardest part for me… It’s the choosing something to build part that confuses me and makes me give up every time.

It’s definitely the biggest challenge on my list, but I found a really cool site with a very smart teacher who is active and helpful.

https://watchandcode.com/p/practical-javascript has a small community but everyone is dedicated to learn. They always motivate me with their ambition to learn.

I wish…

There are so many free resources with just a bit of digging. I think side projects are super helpful because it always keeps you busy with something to do, and it also helps you explore different interests. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your “passion” while working on a side project.

Besides, if you don’t like it, you can drop it and go to another one! It’s always a win-win situation for you.