10 Habits Everyone (especially Engineers) Should Consider
Initially, I created this list mostly for "Engineers", but I believe 92% of these tips apply to almost anyone reading! The list below is created for gaining the most productivity out of your life, and calling it a success (whatever that means)
1. Learn and Keep Track of Personal Finance
If you get nothing from the content below this one, please at least take this one to heart. Chances are, you are still in your career, trying to get to your retirement using your company-matched 401k. But, some of us may not be as lucky. Whatever your situation may be, this tip applies to you. Our secondary or post-secondary school does a pretty lousy job at teaching you about the daunting concept of money; unless of course you are a financial advisor, then it teaches you how to manage other people's money.
The single most beneficial action you can take for this tip is: creating a budget. Yes, it sounds boring, but it doesn't have to be. The best way I found to have a budget is by signing up for You Need A Budget (YNAB). Yes, it is a monthly payment. No, it will not eat into your finances. This $5/month subscription has put thousands of dollars in my bank account alone. Skip a coffee and sign up here now.
I should mention, that creating a budget does not mean you never spend another dollar ever. It actually means the opposite: you are now allowed to spend money as you please, because you tell the money where to go. If you have $100.00 to spare today, you should tell each dollar where to go (food transportation, donations, savings), instead of the dollars just leaving your pocket.
If you want to be over-invested, you can track your financial goals in notion.so, which brings me to my next tip!
2. Read Books and Make Notes
This blog sounds like high school, am I right? Chances are, you do not have photographic memory; if you do, please post in the comments below and I will forgive you for not following this tip. Whenever you read something non-fiction, you probably won't remember it 1 year from now. Do you remember your 12th grade Calculus material? Nope! And you wrote that one down.
I like to do this digitally, because it allows me to quickly search through and make sections of notes. Sometimes, you want to make notes on concepts, like personal finance in tip #1. That might come from 1 book, or 4 books, depending on how interested you are in the subject.
My favorite application to take notes and write down ideas is: https://notion.so. It's free for personal use, and has an amazing UI and table system which anyone can understand and implement.
3. Share your Knowledge
Know something? Great! Now teach it to everyone that might benefit from it. Unless of course, it's a top secret which makes you millions of dollars/year. Then keep it secret, I understand.
But otherwise, why would you not share your knowledge? Teaching has been proven to help the teacher, more than the student. You become an expert in what you know (even if you aren't an expert when you start), and it can multiply since you are teaching many people at once. This one act can not only make your own life better, but also make the world a better place. Maybe one of your students can help your life by creating an app or product that you end up using every single day.
There are many ways to teach, here are some of the best ways:
- Start a YouTube channel
- Start a blog
Which brings me to my next tip!
4. Start a b/vlog!
It doesn't matter what it's about, maybe its about your life and personal experiences, or about something technical that you are passionate about. Blogging can benefit you and your readers/watchers in many ways. It helps you develop professionally and connect with others (if they ever leave comments on your blog posts). It can also help you with new opportunities in many cases!
If you get yourself out there, people are listening. It might take a while before people start reading your posts, but that shouldn't discourage you (so I've heard). Blogging can be more of a personal benefit as well.
If I wanted to be super-meta about this post, I would tell you to blog about your book notes. Read a book? Write a blog and put your notes up there. You could also charge for a fee for something like this, because most people do not read entire books, and would pay a small fee for concise notes on a book of the most important parts.
5. Try New Things
If you are any kind of Engineer, your field is always evolving. The world is always changing. If you are going to be hesitant to try new things, you're going to miss out on a lot. There are several new ways being invented every single day. If you try one or two of those every month, one might actually change your life.
Just take one example: front-end frameworks. There are at least 1 million of those out there by now, am I asking you to use all of them? Not even close. Try at least one per year. See where the industry is going. Do you like cooking? Try a new ingredient, maybe you will love it.
6. Ask Questions
If you don't know something, ask. If people are putting you down for asking questions, find new people. There really is no stupid question; only stupid answers.
7. Make Lists
If you are someone who is alive, you probably have a lot of things to do every single day. Make a list of everything you need to do (as you think of them) so you can keep track of everything. I can guarantee, that if you do not have a list of things to do right now, following this will increase your productivity by 100%. Mostly because it's fun to ✔️ things off.
Again, I like to use notion.so for this purpose.
8. Focus on your Task
When you are working, you need to be working. In the professional field, most of your job probably involves your mind, and it can only do so much at a time. Close your emails, and work.
That doesn't mean you should ignore everything, find smart ways to filter through the distractions. Set up an alert that if your manager emails you something, you get an alert, but not for other items. This way, you can focus on your task, unless it's urgent or from someone you really care about.
9. Have Goals
Write down 10 things you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months. Do you want to learn iOS development? Publish a book? Start a blog? Just write down 10 things you can achieve realistically, and start with the first one.
You should be flexible with this one, because 6 months down the line, you may want to change a few things, or maybe they become irrelevant.
10. Have Fun
If what you are doing is not fun, you should probably not do it at all. Make it a habit to remove all things which do not provide you joy. You shouldn't spend your precious time on something you don't enjoy doing.
I'm not saying you should drop everything you do not enjoy; but, definitely work towards making your life more enjoyable, most of the time. There's a lot to do before you die, and you should have fun doing all if not most of it.