Investing for the future.

At the beginning of this year I created some charts for myself. These charts were to track my progress for 4 different skills I wanted to learn/expand in 2021.

These 4 things were german, piano, reading, and coding, specifically Python.

When creating the charts I laid out the 52 weeks of the year and drew out 3 tiers of achievement.

Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

Level 1 provides me with an attainable goal. This was the last level I calculated and was reached by hedging against my initial projection, and then hedging again. As far as I am concerned, I can achieve this level without trying too hard. Let’s take the reading goal as an example. The Level 1 goal is a mere 20 books. 20 books in one year comes to about 1 book every 2.5 weeks. Not too difficult at all. This goal is the most important of all. Setting a target which is both challenging but wildly attainable requires thinking and a lot of self-awareness.

Level 2 is more ambitious. If I am able to achieve level 2 it would be a great achievement and put me in a very strong position. This is an order of magnitude larger than level 1 and, in order to be achieved, would require consistent work throughout the whole year.

Nothing complicated.

Level 3 is one step further. Not impossible. But very difficult given the fact that I am not working on these things full time. It would be impossible for me to achieve level 3 for all of my goals but this is not its purpose. Level 3 provides the overarching aim and, as has been the case, shows me which of these categories is my priority.

Piano and german have already lost their momentum. I have played some piano but playing is disruptive and requires a headspace I’m not in the mood for. Learning a whole new language meanwhile requires a framework and structure which is impossible at the moment and, to be honest, I can’t be bothered.

This leaves Python and reading.

If nothing else, this system has allowed me to enjoy and value reading once again — that alone makes it worth it. I am on track to complete level 2 but I believe I can get level 3 (52 books in 52 weeks) and make up for lost time when I stop working 35 hours a week.

And Python. I have never done any coding before in my life and it is through conversations with friends that my curiosity was piqued. The mixture of creativity and empiricism, as well as the sheer possibilities it offers, attracted me and made me want to master it. Python seemed the obvious place to start, and so did YouTube.

YouTube provided limited opportunity for learning coding, as the videos are made to get views before they are made to educate. Though it helped in learning some of the vocabulary used in coding, in terms of actual learning it was useless.

I was then turned onto CodeAcademy by a friend. After using it for free for 1 week I thought it could be really helpful and was interested by some of the other courses they were offering. I paid for the whole year (only £150 or so) and have been working through it ever since. Though I am still of course very limited in my knowledge and in the focused time I can give to my learning, I am starting to feel the progress.

I am working through a data analysis course which is simple enough. The concepts make sense and I have completed some of the projects.

But it’s not enough. I need to give more hours and give more attention to my learning in order to get to where I want to be by the end of the year. Hence I am writing this article/blog etc.

Each week, or whenever the fancy takes me, I will update this page with my progress, outlining my learning and what I have achieved in the week. This will both give me something to be accountable to as well as forcing me to reflect on what I have learned and consolidate the neural roots in my brain.

This week I will finish the data analysis course I am currently working through and then I will move onto another project which is a bit more deep in terms of its content.

I will keep this rough and ready, not worrying about the presentation. That is not the purpose.

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