Sometimes I look at the sheer amount of programming knowledge I have on my learning list, and get what’s basically a panic attack. Shortness of breath, dizziness, anxiety, can’t move, even a little tunnel vision.
I think these are caused by a few bad assumptions about how I learn:
- I need to learn everything on my list.
- Any time not spent learning is wasted.
- Any info I don’t write down is forgotten.
Some more correct ideas to go by instead would be:
- I should focus on learning the resources I judge will help the most. One article on fundamentals is better than several articles on rare, middling specifics.
- There’s time spent on committed learning, but there’s also time spent exploring new information. There’s also time to rest and play, because without a work and play balance I can’t consistently learn.
- Reading info without notes isn’t as helpful, but it can still help. Awareness of extra knowledge lets me know where to look when I hit an obstacle. Thinking like a glossary is better, and more realistic, then thinking like an encyclopedia.
Of course, knowing all this is easy. Fully accepting and acting on it is another.