Learning Habits

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Method | No Comments

A Peek Into Some Daily Routines That Level Me Up

In our industry, we’re blessed with the gift and curse of continuous learning. There are a few resources and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that helped me learned a lot about the craft. I’ve decided to touch on just a little portion of what I do on a daily basis in order to stay in the loop and learn something new. At any time while doing these I’ll get a spark of inspiration that makes me want to build. After this I’m inspired, I get charged and ready to create.

Rise & Shine

It all starts when I start up my browser with my favorite tabs already open and ready to go (usually like 20 tabs at a time). I usually search through my list of articles first. Sites like css-tricks.comnet.tutsplus.com orsmashingmagazine.com are staples for me. If there is an article that’s really interesting I force myself I’ll read them then and there, or if I’m lazy I’ll use my Readability app to capture them later.

Next, I check out the latest design trends and techniques by going to inspiration sites like siteinspire.comthefwa.com or awwwards.com. If I find a site that really interests me , I dig a little differ in the code and analyzing a bit to see what I can learn from it.

If you find something useful, you should archive what you found as well. I usually record my thoughts on my analysis blog or if there’s some snippet of code I like I’ll save it as a gist on Github. Especially if it’s code I know I’ll use in the future, I’ll post a reference it back to the site I found it at. I would usually go back and take all the snippets I’ve found over the years and create my own open source projects for me to use in my own work.

Later on in the evening, when I’m away from the computer I’ll revisit Readability to catch up on the articles I’ve saved or I’ll read a design or programming book to dig deeper into a topic or learn something new. I’m currently reading The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero

The Give For the Take

Articles, tutorials and blogs aren’t the only thing we have to learn from either. Websites can also play as a huge learning tool. Looking at sites beyond the exterior, you can slowly begin to decipher a designer or developer’s thought process (good or bad) and critique it against our own and pick up something new along the way.

As digital natives, I also think it’s important to give back to the community. When I first started out I could remember thinking as I crawled the internet to learn that “All of this is free?” However, people put time and effort into making sure the next person coming along can understand the problems that we face today. If there’s a perspective you can’t find online or if you come up with an idea something nobody else thought of, then share the wealth. Don’t be greedy.

I know there is a ton of other techniques that could be learned too. My thoughts on learning has developed over the years and I know it might be a whole lot different that what it is today. One blog might be more interesting over time and I transition to reading that more than the other. Or I might pick up a new language and dive deeper into that. In any event, the point is to keep digging around the web, always try to incorporate a new technique into your workflow and you’ll never know what you’ll come up with.

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