We’re always looking for bright minds!
See open positions

Challenge Yourself: Your Personal Development Is Key

5 min read

Here at Tesonet, we encourage our peeps to discover, exercise and rely on their inner resources. Besides being industry professionals with a can-do attitude and willingness to share our knowledge with others, we’re proud of how diverse our hobbies and backgrounds are. So instead of casual Netflix-and-chill rituals, many folks tend to spend their free time on personal projects. If executed well, this practice can truly enhance your daily routine with a spark of inspiration and self-improvement.

There are loads of tricks and tips online on how to find the perfect inner and outer harmony for your work time and space. Well, at this point, we better stay with the “stop talking, start making” attitude. So, if you’re really up for testing the waters with a new idea at the end of the day, let’s go through a few practical steps that might be helpful.

The Culture of Everyone’s Success

Nothing screams freedom like the opportunity to work on the ideas you’re passionate about. The mindset of empowering employees to explore their intellectual thoughts is essential for the innovation and growth of every modern company. It speaks of complete trust and encourages everyone to become an integral part of the company’s culture. 

Some wouldn’t believe that Gmail was a side project. Paul Buchheit was working at Google when he built this revolutionary free email service blowing away Hotmail and Yahoo Mail very soon after its launch day. So Paul came up with the idea and had all the means to fulfill it to the fullest besides working on his daily duties. Probably you’ve heard of Google’s 20 % time policy of allowing engineers to spend a portion of their time working on something outside of their core focus. The practice shows that innovative features (Google Maps included) can be built when using this rule. Well done, Google!

Another great example is Atlassian, an enterprise software company best known for its issue tracking application Jira. They expanded the idea of side projects and decided to introduce their employees with ShipIt days: 24-hour hack-a-thons where peeps are invited to drop the wild ideas they came up with and make something awesome together. As Atlassian states, they tend to mix the teams by ignoring the artificial borders drawn by organizational charts. This means that folks get to work with people they might not even know and invent out-of-the-box solutions while using unconventional skills. 

And so there are many more examples of side projects that started from a place of passion and ended up becoming the success for everyone. Here at Tesonet, our brilliant minds are for sure the most precious assets. Oh, and we’re so geeky about all the innovations, self-development and creating all things intellectual that we even have the full support and even financial grants for the patenting process. It can be a simple technical solution – the main point is to do something novel that will make life better for yourself and others. 

Use a Hero Strategy

We bet you’ve heard of this story before: a hero or heroine trying to figure out the world and in desperate need of something. A goal, a dream. Suddenly, there’s an unexpected journey, promising adventure that leads to testing the character’s strength and skills. After a triumphant battle, the hero returns home safe and sound but way much stronger and smarter.

This is a classic narrative template that inspired loads of stories from ancient myths to modern TV series and films. But here’s a crazy thought – apply it to our daily routine and professional lives. Every one of us has their own personal aims and through such a journey we improve physically, intellectually and emotionally. 

So simply set a goal of what you want to achieve and define the skill you want to master. Write it down and make it very clear what you want to learn and explore. There must be passion behind that idea, a story that drives you and leads to that goal. If it’s more about the journey, try to figure out the check-in points where you’ll be able to evaluate your progress and if you’re still feeling a desire to work on that project. For instance, if you want to teach students to code or you’re determined to post Javascript code challenges every week, write down your own objectives. The core thing here is to balance your natural curiosity and learning opportunities. 

Some might say that it’s better to focus on the process rather than the finished product. And honestly, we don’t argue: what works for some, might be a formula of fiasco for others. So yes, the journey is important and to track your progress is especially motivating. But having a specific objective as a destination will secure you from wandering.

Motivation vs System?

So how to start? Well, just do it. Now. Motivation can be a bad metric. Time after time, everyone loses it and, if the motivation itself isn’t your goal then why should you chase it? It’s discipline and schedule that produce the greatest results. Better build a system that works for you and start your journey.

The I’ll-find-the-time-somehow approach clearly isn’t the best way to reach your goal. Especially, when you come home from work and aren’t in a mood for some extra duties. So firstly, schedule a time to work on your project every week and hold that time sacred. Trust, this will work way much better than constantly looking for motivation. 

Starting something huge might be terrifying and procrastination can be your second name here. Now, to avoid this think of the whole project as a series of chunks to be completed step by step. Break your project down into smaller manageable tasks and prepare yourself a roadmap. Think of this more like a guide that leaves some freedom to shift priorities and update slots according to the situation. You might wanna use task management applications that will help you to visualize and track the overall process and keep you going. 

Some flashy animations, cool-but-not-so-essential-features might inspire you and help to enjoy the momentum. However, they are very tricky to get stuck with and, honestly, only enhancements. So again, the roadmap or the plan will help you to avoid this situation.

Simply Have Fun

Self-development should be fun since you’re investing your extra time and energy into this. So try to work with yourself, not against yourself. And even though it ain’t easy to find the best technique that suits you, the only way to find out is to give a try to all the different approaches.

An amazing thing that keeps you going is all the small victories that you accomplish. So every time you reach a checkpoint, give yourself credit for it and consider it as an achievement and success that pushes you forward. One after another and you’ll be steady on the road. 

Since personal projects can be perfect incubators for talent and unique solutions, talk to your team lead about your ideas and maybe it’s even possible to set a few hours per week among other usual tasks for your project only. Just fuel your aims with ambition and you’ll find the way to start working on it. 

And again, motivation comes and goes in waves so it shouldn’t be relied upon. Don’t hesitate. You don’t need that. Your actions are your own, so own them.