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I work in the IT services industry and find it a bit of challenge to invest time to self learn some of the hot technologies/frameworks out there in the market and build my competency. Knowing that in an increasingly digital world,I'll soon become obsolete if I don't upgrade my skills in digital platforms(Front end frameworks, smartphone apps, Cloud Computing, Big Data and the likes...) gives me the jitters.

No matter what or how I try, I don't seem to get past the line, in staying focused. Either, I am swept away by workload tsunami or simply have far too many personal commitments.(I am married and a father of twin children). I know I am not lazy and realize that I have the will power. But I simply can't find a way which is very frustrating.

So how do I motivate myself to develop additional skills/build my competence while doing justice to my personal and professional lives?

Awaiting responses that could potentially save me from obsolescence.

P.S: I found this stack exchange site really useful after going through some of the questions and answers. This is my first post here and I have searched multiple times before posting this question but I didn't find any relevant results. Please feel free to mark this as duplicate if need be and point me to a right source. Thanks

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When learning a new programming language, framework, or similar technology, I usually pick a fun or useful application to build with it. That way, as I'm reading up on the new technology, in the back of my mind I'm thinking about how I can use bits of what I'm learning to implement some part of my application.

For example, a friend of mine wanted to learn Visual Basic. He knew that I was trying to improve my sheet music reading skills, so he decided to create a simple application that would display notes on a musical scale, I would type the corresponding note, and it would check my answer. (It was great!) So as he was reading, say, about how to display an image, he was thinking "I could use this to display the notes".

You mention your twins. Why not learn a new technology in order to create a simple computer game for them? It doesn't need to be anything fancy; It could be a trivia quiz or tic-tac-toe, but they will love it because it was made especially for them. You can customise it with pictures of them, or things they like. They'll probably enjoy seeing the application evolve, from the time you first figure out how to display something until the time it's finished. Or maybe you can create an application that will be useful to yourself or your wife, perhaps something related to a hobby.

When you have an application in mind, you'll be more engaged with the technology you're trying to learn. You'll be an active reader, constantly thinking of how you can apply what you're learning. You'll have a motivation to keep reading. ("Daddy, have you gotten any further with my game"?)

This approach helps with all types of learning. Want to learn a new language? Think about something you'd like to do with it, like go on a trip and speak to the locals. As you're learning, you'll be more engaged because you're thinking of how you'll use the knowledge.

  • Thanks for such a lucid explanation. Building an app and dedicating it to my kids just sounds like the best approach towards keeping myself updated and having a sense of purpose. I am going to try it, and let me pos about my progress in the coming days! – BiscuitBoy Nov 26 '15 at 9:12
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I cannot tell, what to do to feel more motivated, than you are. In fact, nobody can. In my opinion, there is only one source of motivation and it comes from within. More or less, I was in similar situation: a lot of work, a lot of commitments after work. I realized that I don't want to learn about anything, that shows off in IT industry.I decided not to get familiar with BigData, functional programming and so on. Instead of this, I decided to dig into linux related topics, but the point is, that this gives me fun. This is my motivation to find time to learn myself about it. Anyway, I hope, you will manage.

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