Journey to My New Career: Working After Work

By Ryan Furrer

Gloomy picture of table at coffee bar with laptop and notepad

I know I'm not alone in saying that working after work is exhausting. It's a necessary evil so I can become a Jr. Web Developer in a timely manner, however, that doesn't make it any less tiring.

I also know that I am not alone in working this way. Some people are working 2 jobs and learning on the side. I commend everyone for working after work because it is truly admirable. It doesn't matter if it's 1 hour or 5, you are putting in the time.

I wanted to talk a bit about my schedule these days. Perhaps someone is thinking about jumping in but hesitant to because of the time commitment. Perhaps you are learning just like me but struggling to do as much learning as you want. Either way, let's talk about it!

Work Schedule

I work a modest 8:30am - 5:00pm job. While it pays the bills it is getting harder and harder to actually go to the office every day. Not because it's a difficult job, not because they're not paying me enough for my work, but because I wish I could put those 40 hours a week into my future career.

I'd also like to point out that I am incredibly fortunate to have a 10 - 15 minute commute. This allows me (typically) to achieve something before I even go into the office.

Daily Routine

  • 6:30am | Wake up and let the dogs out 6:45am | Meditate for 10-15 minutes

  • 7:00am | Sit down at the computer with my cup of cold brew coffee (prepared the night before) and do something productive such as:

    • Jump into some code from the night before

    • Continue my current Treehouse course

  • Check out what's new on dev.to or Twitter

  • Jump into some code from the night before

  • Continue my current Treehouse course

  • 7:45am | Get ready for work and leave by 8:15am

  • 8:30am - 5:00pm | Work work work work work

  • 5:30pm - 9:30pm-ish | Get home and do stuff

    • 5:30pm is typically the latest I get home from work - some days I'll stay a little late to finish up a task. After I get home until around 9:30pm is when I do stuff such as: House chores, taking care of my dogs, going for a walk, preparing and cooking dinner, and of course, work!

After 9:30pm I hang out with my girlfriend and our dogs and we'll watch TV or read or just talk. This is time that I cherish and value so highly each day, even if we get just 1.5 - 2 hours of it before we go to bed.

Outside Commitments

Sometimes I wish I could devote 100% of each and every day to getting job ready, however, that's not life. To be honest, I'd be a lot more lonely if that was the case as well.

Other commitments such as family, maintaining my relationship, my dogs (as seen above), keeping up with my weight loss - these are all things that detract from my coding. Do I sweat my time away from it? No way!

Enjoy your life. As much as I just want to have a web development job already I'd rather be happy along the way - it's all about balance.

Taking Breaks

Everyone needs a break now and then. I'll be honest, sometimes I feel guilty for not coding regardless of how important it is to take some time off. If I'm sitting down to code for 2 hours, it's more like 1 hour and 40 minutes.

I'm a firm believer in the Pomodoro Technique and if you feel you are struggling with productivity and efficiency with your time, I highly suggest you try it out. I personally use an app called Tide (available on both iOS and Android) to help keep track of my Pomodoros.

Longer breaks are a good thing too! I usually take at least 1 day off each week which leads me to the Two Day Rule.

Two Day Rule

The Two Day Rule is very simple: Never take two days off in a row.

I personally know that if I take more than one day off in a row, those 2 days can quickly & easily turn into 3, 4, 5, or more days off. That simply cannot happen on this journey.

Motivation

The feeling of motivation can be incredibly powerful. Without motivation, we may never had made it to the moon. Without motivation, Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have created the physique he did. Without motivation, I would not have started working towards this new career.

Motivation is wonderful tool - but that's all it should be treated as, a tool.

If you depend on motivation to get shit done, you'll never get it done. Motivation may act as a catalyst to launch the changes you want and need to make in your life, but it takes diligence and determination to see them come to fruition.

My motivation is currently:

  • Enjoying my career

  • Creating a better life for myself and my girlfriend

  • Making more money

I've been reading Atomic Habits by James Clear lately and the quote below (and at the top of this post) struck quite the chord with me.

Don't let lack of motivation keep you from working towards your goals. If you wait for motivation to start losing weight, start learning code, whatever you want to do, it'll never happen. Just do it.

Grind Mentality

Grind mentality is not a smart mentality.

Yes, everyone should be able to work hard and push through challenges when they need to, however, the belief that you need to grind 24/7 like all these "influencers" on Instagram and YouTube do in order to be successful is ridiculous.

This is my mentality that I am working with and I've gotta say, it's working quite well. I am greatly looking forward to seeing all of this hard work pay off.

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