June 2, 2013
Push yourself to learn
The first time you do something, it’s almost always the hardest. After you’ve done something more than once, it becomes a matter of repetition.
Your first trip on an airplane was probably a bit daunting, especially if you were travelling alone. Similarly, your first trip to the gym can be terrifying. Your first time at a new dentist’s office. Your first date. Your first day at school. The first time you filed taxes. All of these experiences are a tremendous build up for something brand new, exciting, difficult or terrifying.
Once you’ve figured it out, however, you can repeat the process with precision.
My first UITableView was a several-hour marathon. I had to double and triple check that everything was connected between my code logic and views. I constantly had to reference Apple’s documentation. It eventually took an exception being thrown for me to realize that my prototype cells had to be named properly in the storyboard file.
But now? I can whip out a UITableView in a matter of minutes. Because of this, I’ve found myself using them quite heavily. Why wouldn’t I? It’s quick and easy. It gets the job done. Despite that, I’ve realized that getting the job done shouldn’t be my only goal.
It’s easy to fall into these repetitive habits when we design and build products — especially mobile apps.
Now, I push myself to try something new with every project. If I haven’t learned a new trick, tool, or process when a project is complete, I consider the project a waste.
I, like many, have tons of ideas for new products. When it comes to designing or building these new ideas, I push myself to start with the hardest part and challenge myself to complete the work that requires using new APIs, design styles, or features first. This way, even if I lose passion in the random idea I was building on a Saturday, I end up always learning something new.
I encourage you to set your goals before you start any new project. Set the bar high. Build something great. But most importantly, try something new in your next project — you can always push yourself to learn.