The Discipline of Carving Out Time for Career Investments

Doug Lawrence

SVP of Engineering at Convex



"A while back I made a couple of big changes in my life. For one, I started going to bed a little bit earlier and getting up earlier. Another is that even though I love reading I gave in to using audible books so that I could gain information while performing my morning routine. Neither of these things may sound very compelling, but in fact they are investments in my future and require one of my favorite things: discipline."

Actions taken

"Going to bed early, reading, and exercising seem like simple tasks, but there are definitely days when I don't want to do any of them. Sometimes I just put on my clothes and go through the motions until I have completed them. Yet, every day I muster up the enthusiasm, ambition, and energy to get these things done. Why? Because they are investments in my health and well-being." "The same is true for the well-being of your career. If you want to grow, develop, and thrive you need to find opportunities where you can be disciplined to investing in your future. Carve out time on a daily or weekly basis for learning a new coding language, reading up on soft skills, or contributing to a side project." "You can most certainly do this on your own, but in my organization I also help my direct reports with this task. During our bi-weekly one-on-ones I ask the team members about one thing that they can add to their weekly cadence that would contribute to their individual development plan (IDP). Is there a chapter in a book they can read? An online learning class? Or a code pairing they could participate in? Whatever it happens to be, they commit themselves to that act and we do incremental check-ins to evaluate their progress."

Lessons learned

  • "Day-to-day discipline is tough. But I guarantee that if you commit to the longer-term, it will pay the dividends for you and your future. Make investments today and everyday, it will positively impact your career later on."
  • "Sometimes you need to force yourself through the motions. If you do, what I usually find is that once you get going and push past that initial phase, you start learning and the excitement comes naturally."
  • "Life happens, distractions occur. Remember to take a step back and ask yourself: Could I be doing this other thing that is probably a better investment and has more return for me? Be aware of where you are making those trade-offs. Definitely don't beat yourself up over them, just be mindful."

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Doug Lawrence

SVP of Engineering at Convex

Career Growth

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