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Goals and Objectives for 2024

Its been quite some time since I’ve written a non-tutorial blog post, but as the first month of the New Year draws to a close, I’ve decided to write one as a way to align myself with my current goals for the year. Even if my plans change somewhat, writing them down gives me a clear action plan which I can look back and reflect on later.

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I started my developer blog a little under four years ago on March 4th, 2020, during the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Since then, I’ve published 31 articles which have received 95,000 pageviews to date, with an average output of 7.75 articles per year. Some years I’ve been more prolific than others, and in 2022 I only wrote two articles due to life circumstances (recovering from an illness). I would however, like to significantly increase my writing output in 2024. I’m a firm believer that writing is beneficial in a myriad of ways, including improving your programming skills.

The majority of my articles have been in-depth programming guides which normally take a decent amount of time to research and write about. These articles also take time to think up, as they necessitate me having a problem I’m looking to solve, solving the problem, and then creating a guide based on what I’ve learned. When I finish a guide, I’m usually quite happy as the writing reinforces the learning I’ve done (teaching others is always the best way to solidify what you’ve learned!), but at the same time I can go a month (or several) in between guides if I’m not working on any major side projects.

This year, instead of just focusing on large, in-depth guides, I’m also going to start writing shorter articles which cover topics such as:

  • Providing updates on what I’ve been working on or studying.
  • Writing “micro-guides” on various topics that I’ve been learning.
  • My thoughts on recent developments in tech.

Cut Down on Distractions

For me, 2023 was marked by short bursts of productivity, followed by significant amounts of downtime. Starting with the positives first, some of my most productive moments included:

However, aside from consistently going to the gym three days per week (exercise is a must for me!), I found myself spending a lot of time stuck in the same time wasting loop, which normally looked something like:

Finish work —> Browse Hacker News —> Read about unsolved mysteries on the /r/unresolved subreddit —> Doomscroll news stories —> Aimlessly scroll Instagram & Reels —> Repeat.

Read More Books

Cutting down on the distractions listed above will free up a significant amount of after-work time, and in doing so I need to ensure that I fill it with more positive pursuits, the main one being reading. As a former English lit major, I read a lot when I was younger and am familiar with a wide array of literary works. During 2024, I’d like to focus on reading programming books to really broaden my knowledge and skillset. Books are a great way to gain an in-depth understanding of specific topics, and I find that when I’m reading the right book I can enter a flow state the same way I can while writing or coding. At the moment, I’m currently working through the following two (excellent) books:

  • A Common Sense Guide To Data Structures And Algorithms: Level Up Your Core Programming Skills by Jay Wengrow
  • Pro C# 10 with .NET 6: Foundational Principles and Practices in Programming by Andrew Troelsen, Phil Japikse

Learn a Systems Programming Language

I’ve spent a significant amount of time as a web developer and have also done full-stack development, but one area that I haven’t had much experience in is systems programming. We have a lot of great modern tools which create layers of abstraction that make writing websites and software much easier, but becoming familiar with the lower-level concepts which underlie those abstractions is an important skill.

So far I’ve been thinking about dipping my toes in either C or Rust. I’ve also been interested in Zig, but the lack of documentation and constant breaking changes make for a challenging task and so I might revisit it once I’m more familiar with systems programming in general.

Consistency is Key

I’ve been lifting weights for the past fourteen years, and one thing that weightlifting has taught me is consistency is key. As I’m always active outside of the gym, I like to follow programs with a three-day schedule (my current being 5/3/1), and my best lifting progress tends to happen during the weeks and months where I’m on streaks of not missing gym days. The same can be applied to other areas of life, which is why in 2024 I’m planning to be more conistent with my learning. Instead of intense sprints of working on side projects and guides followed by weeks (or months) of reduced output, I’m going to focus on going slower but being consistent. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

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