Everyone has a few areas where they need to improve.  Most people (the learners anyway) who continue to look for ways to improve will find that these areas change over time.  At times it will be things like communication, other times it may be knowledge or trade skills, and all the while you keep improving adding more tools to your tool chest (or perhaps becoming more adept at using those tools).

Well anyway, I recently identified some areas where I need to improve, and since they are interesting and this blog is my little “journey” I wanted to share them with you.

1. Abstraction. I struggle sometimes taking all this stuff that I know and then distilling it into a few key abstractions.  One of the things to help with this is to start with the end in mind.  By thinking about the question you are trying to answer, the criteria for success, or what you are hoping to accomplish you can help figure out what is the path or questions to you need to answer to get to that conclusion.

2. Think before speaking.  Yes, I know — “open mouth insert foot”.  I am not one to hold back what I think.  Normally this isn’t such a big deal, but I think at times it has caused some real problems.  I am trying to get better at this, but not saying anything unless I have carefully thought through my words (event if that means an uncomfortable silence).

3.  Communicate through multiple mediums.  Not everyone can learn things verbally, and not everyone has time to read what you write.  Having things in email (or some other written format), and discussing them (such as in a meeting) provides the best framework for getting a message across to the parties involved.  Sometimes I only do one of these and as a result not everything I am trying to communicate comes though.

Those are some new areas of focus for me.  Luckily I get to practice most of these every week, so these combined with better self discipline are where I am going to channel my improvement efforts over the next few months. Make sure you are taking the time to improve yourself and pick areas where you can get better.

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