What I Learned From Taking Some Time to Learn

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

Every year around this time, I take some time off of work to relax. I need time after the crazy holiday season to decompress, and just have some fun. We usually go somewhere fun and are generally lazy most of the time.

Not this year.

This year I decided to treat this week as if I was a work-from-home developer. I wrote more for the site and spent a lot of time learning Swift and Javascript. For the first time in forever, I had the energy and the time to devote hours a day to these interests. It was amazing! So what did I accomplish?

I spent the most time learning Swift. I'm using Treehouse to learn, and it's going well. I've gone though some of the more advanced lessons a couple times so that I can actually learn what's going on rather than simply regurgitating the code they're writing. I will say that Swift is hard. I don't know if it's because I'm still pretty new to this whole development thing or if Swift is actually hard, but it's definitely been a lot harder to pick up than HTML and CSS. Way harder! That said, I have put about 30 hours into it this week and know a lot more today than I did last weekend. I've also started working on the app that I plan on releasing this summer. I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but I'm very excited about it. I even have an "ugly as sin" version of the app already running on my phone. It's not feature-complete, but it's extraordinarily satisfying to have an app on your phone that you know you made from scratch.

When Swift was kicking my ass and I wanted to quit, I headed over to Codecademy and breezed through some Javascript lessons. I put much less time into this (maybe 3 hours total), but it was a nice break from Swift. My Javascript skills have always been lacking, so I was nice to give it another go and find it incredibly simple in comparison to Swift.

Finally, I was able to devote more of my time to this site. I wrote more than usual, and even spent a couple days out of the house, writing on my iPad. I'm really happy with how some pieces turned out, especially my Mail Pilot 2 review, which I think is the best review I've ever written.

So all in all, this was a very productive week. No, I could have had more fun this week, but fun wan't what I needed right now. What I needed was to get a jump start on doing the things that are going to make me money in the future. This site is a small part of that (you can donate here :) ), and being an honest-to-god iOS developer is another big part. I go back to my normal routine tomorrow, but I'm reentering that routine with a different perspective.