Hacking My (Dot) Life

End of Year Review

As this blog title states this is my End of Year review.  Last year I gave myself the following list of things I wanted to work on and how I did:

  1. Update the blog once a week.
    • This didn’t happen, despite me thinking about posting and even mentally drafting things in my head. I do want to post more consistently and am working on setting up an actual schedule with real topics.
  2. Finish FreeCodeCamp.
    • I re-started the FreeCodeCamp tutorial as they had added more classes to make things more succint.  As I was getting halfway through the Javascript portion, I felt like it wasn’t the path I wanted to go down.  I wanted to focus on art, layouts, color and learning javascript felt like torture, as I didn’t get the WHY. I still plan to finish FreeCodeCamp. Just not now.
  3. Start making small sites for profits.
    • I did collaborate and worked on one main site and dabbled in helping a few others. I realize a big deterrent for not finishing these projects was that I am thinking of the time I’m putting into them vs. other things I’m sacrificing in order to complete these projects.  I’m not motivated to finish a few of these projects, I feel guilty for feeling this way and in turn it’s getting in the way of my wanting to put myself out there as a designer and promote myself and work for others.  
  4. Focus on design, color and composition.
    • I’ve spent a lot of this year on learnign about design, color, learning about the design world, etc. I took Skillcrush’s Visual Designer Blueprint and LOVED it.  It’s made me a bit more confused as to the niche I fall in, as I love to design, play around with UI as well as code.
  5. Not focus on learning a subject. Learn based on what I want to make.
    • I have been learning about things I’ve been curious about. However, I’ve been consuming a lot of information and not creating as much as I am learning.
  6. Go to a few tech meetups.
    • Being a single mom with not so much free time made this a bit hard to accomplish. I did subscribe and follow a few youtubechannels/podcasts about the industry which I listen to during work, on my commute, and while I’m doing chores at home.
  7. Go to a tech conference.
    • See #6.
  8. Start using Github on the regular.
    • I don’t know what possessed me to erase my github projects, but I did sometime this year and don’t know why. 
  9. Update this blog and add a portfolio section and customize the design. Bye, bye stock layout.
    • Now that I’ve taken the Blueprint, I’ve been working on this for the past few weeks. To be completed by the end of this year.
  10. Get business cards printed.
    • With my name changing, not sure how I wanted to lay out mypage/brand myself, I decided to hold off on this.  To occur soon.
  11. Read more programming/design books.
    • This, yes. Has happened, though I’ve been reading a lot about entrepreneurship, changing my thoughts to positive thoughts, and about never giving up. 

For a split second as I was reading the goals I set out for myself last year, and seeing that I hadn’t met most of them made me feel as if I had failed. For that second I was disappointed in myself. What did I do this past year? Waste it?

But I didn’t. I am proud that this year, like last year was a hard year. And I stuck with this. I didn’t quit.  I may not have produced as much content as I wanted, but I consumed a lot of knowledge that will help me lay the groundwork for my future.  I needed to really get my head in the game, I learned about myself, the things I need to function.  One of those things is knowing (at least on a basic level) how an environment works before I jump in.  It’s the way I am, I’ve always thrown myself into situations where I don’t know anything about a field.  I love that I can jump into the unknown, however, it has caused me a lot of stress in the past and the learning curve has been so stressful and filled with fear that it turned me off from it.

I don’t want that to happen in this case. I didn’t research design agency life, but I did do a lot of research on what it’s like to have a side hustle; how to have work/life balance; the purpose of design: am I designing for art’s sake or to problem solve; What should I be charging; Should I freelance or work for someone right off the bat; What kind of problems do I want to work on aka who’s my target client; Should I generalize or specialize; Design or Develop; Would I benefit from learning to make passive income, etc.  I’ll share the channels I follow in a future post.

I know to some this might seem like a waste of time, but creating for the sake of creating, seems like a waste. I wanted to invest my time in learning the above referenced things so that I don’t waste time making too many mistakes. I’ve already gone down a lot of paths the past 2 years and not completed much.  I’m also taking into consideration that I took the Skillcrush Blueprint, spent 3.5 months on it and spent cash that I didn’t really have and invested in myself.  Was it worth it? Yes. But now I need to take what I learned and monetize it. That’s what these last few weeks will be for me in 2016. Get this blog up and running, and make it work for me.  My goal is to have it make enough to cover the Adobe cloud subscription I want to sign up for. Working with Gimp and Inkspace is good, but I’m spending so much time learning these programs that It’s taking away from actually creating anything.

 

4 comments

  1. Loved reading this post! It is really helpful to hear the different things you have been trying and what has been working out well and what hasn’t. The detail about FreeCodeCamp was also really helpful. I’ve heard about it but haven’t checked it out yet.

    What books and podcasts are you reading/listening to? I am reading through Job Duckett’s HTML & CSS book and for podcasts have finished Learn to Code With Me and am working my way through Code Newbies (I love both!). Always looking for more things to add to my to-do list.

  2. I just found your blog as I was searching for reviews on Skillcrush’s Web Deisgner blueprint. Reading your post I feel like I’m the exact opposite! I’m also going through the Free Code Camp curriculum and I’m currently in the advanced Javascript algorithm section. I am finding them challenging, so I’m not breezing through them by any means, but I feel like i’m in my element when it comes to coding and learning more about programming and algorithms. But when I look at front end as a whole, when it comes to design I’m completely lost. I know html/css more or less, but I would like to practice them more on my own sites but I often find myself staring at a blank piece of paper and having no idea where to even begin. So I’m really thinking I might give the Skillcrush a shot. I previously was looking at their WordPress track because my main goal is doing freelance work, but I feel like WordPress and php overall isn’t really the problem.. I can and have been picking that stuff up pretty quick (I started my own blog just to get a hang of it), but once again I have no concepts or designs in mind. :/ Anyhow I think I will give Skillcrush a shot, it’s fairly inexpensive and they do have a money back deal so why not!
    -Carlos

  3. Hi Valkyrea, I’ve been looking at reviews of Skillcrush and some critics (for web development, not visual design blueprint) say you can learn the same material via free online courses. What are your thoughts of just the visual design blueprint?

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