So I’ve read less than half my goal but, jokes aside, I don’t consider it a failure. I’ve read more in 2017 than in the previous two years!
Tips to read more
Social media has taken a toll on everyone. I discovered myself more than I like to admit browsing endlessly streams of jokes, links, articles (I’ll just save it and read it later…yeah sure), tweets, photos and so on. But I also discovered that I could just stop. I trained myself to stop being a social media zombie and read instead.
Everyone imagines that to read you have to be sitting on your favorite couch, beside a fireplace, drinking hot chocolate while outside the snow falls covering the ground. How romantic. Yes, there are situations like this and they happen in the movies. We live in the harsh reality, we should be guerrilla readers.
The trick is: read everywhere, even if a single page or paragraph. In a queue? Read. Waiting for the doctor? Read. Stuck in traffic? Listen to an audiobook. To the dentist? Run! 😀
My friends know that I swear by Safari Books Online: the thing that I like the most is that it enables me to access and download all the books on my smartphone, so that I don’t need to bring with me yet another device (I’m looking at you, Kindle. It was nice, but you know that it never worked between us)
So have I stopped? Of course not. But only stupids don’t learn from their mistakes.
So for this year I’ve decided to start from January to December (so that I can track my results in Goodreads better). And since I don’t think that I’ll be able to read a book a week, I’ve decreased the target to 40 books. That’s a bit more than last year.
Happily, over the years I’ve learned that it *is* possible to take critical feedback (and, more broadly, failure) less personally. Of course I still feel disappointed when I fail, or when someone I respect tells me that what I’m doing feels off-track or isn’t going well. We all want to succeed and we all want the people we like to think well of us. But disappointment is different than self-doubt. It’s the difference between thinking: I could have done better and I’m incompetent so I’m not cut out for this. The former is about judging your performance on a particular task, and the latter is about judging your character. If you can stop doing the second thing, then critical feedback will not feel so personal.
The truth is, programming is a creative work. When you look at other creative professions, there are small bursts of creative output that provide the bulk of the total output. The rest of the time is either busy work, clean up, or goofing off.The modern workplace assumes a 40 hour week because “that’s just what it is”. With the efficiency gains of technology, almost nobody is really working a full 40 hours. And frankly they shouldn’t.
The way you write is everything. Don’t correct people — ask them for clarification. Assume they know something that you don’t. This is a really important thing! Assume that your co-workers are smart and are doing a good job.
Written communication can be tricky — it’s missing a lot of the social clues that let people know what you’re thinking. It’s easy to put people on the defensive, so take the time to try to use empathy words. — “us”, “our”, “we” are much better than “you”, “your”, and “mine”. You’re all on the same team, after all.