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The 5-minute Trick

Mads Brodt • September 1, 2021

3 min read

Learning to code is hard. In fact, learning any new technology / programming language / framework / library is hard.

It's also important - that we keep learning. The development industry is always evolving, and the way we create websites today is vastly different from how we did it 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. That's why being able to learn new stuff and adapt to changes is critical: to increase your hireability and make sure you're always doing the best you can.

But then comes the tricky part, because how are you supposed to stay on top of everything and actually pick up new skills?

The answer is consistency.

You simply need to tap away at something, bit by bit, for a long time. It's the only way to properly learn and store new concepts in your brain. Especially difficult concepts like coding.

That raises the next question, though: how can you stay consistent? It's a great idea in theory, but you need a strategy to carry it out.

Enter: The 5-minute trick.

And what's that, I hear you ask? Well the name is something I just coined, so you won't get far Googling it. But it's actually a pretty simple strategy I've used to improve my skills for years.

The idea is that, whatever you're learning or want to get better at, you set aside 5 minutes every single day to work on that thing. Easy, right? And when I say work, I mean actively working on it (not just consuming a video/article etc.).

The point is to force your brain to enter "learning mode" every day. And 5 minutes is the perfect number, because no day exists where you don't have 5 minutes to yourself. Regardless of your responsibilities, job, family etc., I believe that 5 daily minutes is doable for everybody.

How you use the time isn't as important, and depends on what you're learning. If you're learning to code, 5 minutes is enough to get you to open your code editor and write a few lines of code. It's enough to have you play around with one new concept you aren't familiar with. And here's the key: Now that you're in "code-mode", there's nothing stopping you from keeping it going.

So if you got the time, absolutely keep crushing it and blow right past the 5 required minutes. That will only accelerate your growth. On the flipside, if you've had a busy day/week and have to stop after 5 minutes, that's fine too - you'll be back tomorrow.

I find this strategy incredibly useful to help me stay consistent. By building the daily habit, picking up new skills become second nature. And that's exactly what will help you excel in your development career 🔥

I'm Mads Brodt — a developer, author, teacher, creator and blogger. To keep up with all of my writing, follow me on Twitter or sign up with your email above 👆

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