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Since When Does Learning Feel Like You’re Being Unproductive?

Volume 98 - three minute read

Dennis Cortés
Aug 10, 2018 · 3 min read

August 10th, 2018

ith moving to a new city and having more time for myself, I’ve started to try and analyze what I want to focus on for the next year. What I want to do, create, learn, and how I spend my free time.

The more I worked on my list of priorities, the more I noticed I felt bad about the topics that required me to learn. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love learning new things. But for some reason, I felt like I should focus more on producing instead of learning. I felt that my output will be more important than what I take the time to learn.

Whether I’m just in my own head or if it’s outside pressures, I typically feel guilty for setting aside the time to learn something new and instead learn while doing. This way, I’m getting something done but also learning at the same time. While this is definitely a win-win, it can be very difficult to replicate each time.

For example, I still have the internal debate with myself about learning more about code. I’m used to coding when I need to update my website or work on a side project of mine, but I limit myself in these scenarios to technologies I fully understand. I short-sell the depth of my ideas because there are things I just don’t know how to do. I adjust and pull back on ideas not for the sake of a better feature set, but because I don’t want to take the time away from producing to actually learn.

While reflecting on this, I’ve also come to notice that I feel ideas and motivation run thin for certain areas of work. Almost like a tank of ideas that has run low because my output is forcibly higher than my input instead of a steady balance.

So what can I do to try and improve this?

While I haven’t been able to find a definite answer, my two findings have been prioritization and scheduling. When it comes to routines, these two areas are typically the best spots to focus on in different ways.

In this instance, I’ve taken the time to write down both things I want to produce as well as things I want to learn and have organized them accordingly. Code, cooking, music, and visual design being where I want to learn and side projects, albums, and writing where I want to produce.

At the time of writing this I’m working on prioritization still, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a good balance while leaving time to decompress as well. However, I have found that because I design and think about code while I’m at my full-time job, it’s better to use weekdays for areas that aren’t related to this such as music and cooking. Then on the weekdays I have a fresh creative mind when learning or working on design and code. Again, still figuring out the details but this makes the most sense in my mind.

Once I figure out my plan and have some time to set it into motion I’m hoping to write a follow up post to address what went well and what didn’t

Is this something you relate to? Do you feel “lazy” for not producing and stuck in the notion of “create more than you consume”? How do you tackle this and the feelings that come with this?

Dennis Cortés
Designer that also codes, illustrates, writes weekly articles, and produces music. Hispanic. Pokémon Master.
www.cortes.us

Cortes Studio

Thoughts, experience, and findings from our team to you.

Dennis Cortés

Written by

Designer that codes, teaches, and makes music • Lead Product Designer @ Mothership • Making http://patreon.com/shyboytm • Prev. @metalab | 🇵🇷

Cortes Studio

Thoughts, experience, and findings from our team to you.

Dennis Cortés

Written by

Designer that codes, teaches, and makes music • Lead Product Designer @ Mothership • Making http://patreon.com/shyboytm • Prev. @metalab | 🇵🇷

Cortes Studio

Thoughts, experience, and findings from our team to you.

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