25 September 2019
It is my belief that everything you do in life should have at least one “why” attached to it. That may seem basic, but I want to really unpack what I mean by that. Many people spend their time doing tasks that they think they know why they’re doing it, but they don’t truly self reflect on it. This post will outline my whys for creating this website, and for everything I will do on it in the future.
For a few years, I’ve had a journal of my own. With varying success, I’ve been able to continue chronicling the happenings in my life, my thoughts, and my plans. However, I have long since realized that there are a lot of great projects and experiences that may be worth sharing. Even if it’s one person who takes just one thing away from this page, I’d consider this a success.
So, how did I do it? Being the college student I am, with the objective above in the forefront of my mind, I wondered if there was a I could make a website for free. There are plenty of web design platforms out there, and yes they do a great job, but I wanted this site to be similar to the cost of a my physical journal, $10. So, I set out looking for a way to build a platform for myself. I knew this would inevitably mean I would have to get savvy with developer skills and brush up on my computer literacy.
Through work and school, I had to utilize Github from time to time. When I found myself with some extra time after work during this past summer, I decided I needed a way to fill that time productively. I began brainstorming, and I quickly settled on stretching my tech capabilities. Now I have since learned a very quirky trait about myself, and perhaps it is much more common than I think, but I knew I never would be able to teach myself a new coding language on my own unless it was necessary to serve an end. Here’s the deal, I could’ve spent all the extra time I found on one of the many websites that teach programming languages, but if there wasn’t a good reason to learn it, I’d never stick to it. So, I set out to build this website, because if I was going to spend all this time challenging myself, I might as well have something to show for it.
Oddly enough, I didn’t Google how I would build this site, at least not at first. Thanks to my job, I have become more in tune with tech and web development (we operate many marketing sites for our software). So, I began thinking about how our websites run. If anyone is unsure about how a website works, you need someone to host it. What this means, is that your source code needs to sit on a dedicated server that allows web users to access your site (via your domain). Knowing that Github offers a largely free service (and is built on the idea of open source), I wondered if Github could serve my website to users, just as it stores and serves code to users. A quick google search yielded Github Pages. A little while later I found Jekyll. A quick tutorial from John/Data Optimal, and I was well on my way to building a website. I just needed to buy a web domain.
With $10, I bought a domain from Google, who offers a bunch of free services for websites in addition to the domain name. I synced up my domain to Github, found some open source code that got my website from a blank page to a rough product of what you now see here.
In short, my first why was that I wanted a challenge, and boy did I find one here.
My next why is pretty simple. I wanted a way to document my experiences, in work, school, and life. There are plenty of projects that I’ve been a part of, both current and in the past, that are worth sharing. This site will help me do that. While my work varies in technicality, there are often lessons to be learned in even the minute of tasks.
Much of school and even work consists of one thing to the next, with an annual review of your performance, but what if we increased the time we review ourselves to become more often? One of my favorite podcasts, of which I’m sure I will touch on more in the future, is Ed Mylett’s podcast. He has an episode where he talks about how often he self reflects or “checks in” on himself. He argues that some of the most successful people will turn their days into 6 hours, giving you four days compared to a “regular person’s” one. The point of this is to shorten the time in which you get things done, and the time in which you check in on your progress. Asking yourself about what you did in the past 6 hours to reach your goals is an amazing way to keep yourself focused and on track, perhaps hyper-focused.
In order to facilitate this “check in”, a good way is to write it down (or type it!). It’s no secret that writing things down not only helps you reach your goals, but it helps you organize your life and remember information. No one is above taking notes, and if you’re not doing it now you better start. This website should serve as a great way to “take notes”, just on a more macro scale.
Again, we all need to analyze our whys. If you can do so objectively, you will find your time well spent no matter your place in life. Please, continue following along or jump in when you can, this is an ongoing project.