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What did you learn today?

Mads Brodt • September, 2021

2 min read

When you're learning to code or working as a developer, it's easy to lose track of your progress. You might feel productive most days, but when you look back, not have much to show for it - and that can be incredibly disheartening.

I believe that the best way to improve as a developer is to have lots of small wins. A small win can technically be anything, but if we take learning JavaScript as an example, a win could be as simple as "made a button write something to the console on click". Small wins keep you motivated and create a feeling of progress, which is exactly what you need in this industry.

The only problem with these small wins is that they're easily forgotten. As humans we tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive, so when you're stuck on a frustrating coding problem, that's what you'll remember. Moreso than that cool feature you implemented, or that new trick you just learned.

That's why I've started performing a small reflection exercise every single day:

Write down at least one thing you learned today.

For example, today I learned about the object-position CSS property. It's a way to select the focus area of an image that's restricted in width or height, so you can choose what the user will see when an image is cropped. Very handy!

What you learned can literally be anything - the important part is to celebrate your small win. And as a secondary benefit, you're much more likely to remember something when writing it down. So this exercise will both reinforce your learning, and you'll create a backlog of small wins that you can look back on when you start doubting yourself or feel like you're not progressing enough.

Win/Win 🔥

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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