Welcome to Friday school (or how I developed my own freelance training programme)


UPDATE: I've blogged a fuller version of this as a guest post on Firehead.net if you want to know more: How I teach myself digital skills using cake!

I have a reputation for getting stuff done. This is probably because I'm a lists person. At this point I want to recommend Workflowy as a 'lists with benefits' free app. Not only can you create lists and endless sublists, but you can tag the tasks by priority or date (using hashtags) and assign the work using the @name function. Best of all, you can share and collaborate on a list and export it for use with other programmes.

But enough of the glowing review. Above is my personal training list for January. This is part of my idea to set up my own personal Friday School.

Every Friday, for half a day, I take myself off to a café with wifi, treat myself to brunch, lunch or coffee and cake, and sit down to learn.

My list of stuff to learn for my work is long but here is the overview.


Clicking onto any of these titles then displays a breakdown of chapter titles, video presentations to watch, links to read, tutorials to view, etc. I estimate there is about a school year's worth of work here.

To help cope with that and not give up at the first instance, I've tagged about four Fridays worth of work with the hashtag #january. Clicking on this brings up a much more manageable list and, as you can see, I'm nearly done. Anything that's left over, I'll just retag to #february so I don't stress about not getting it all done to a deadline. I am trying to make my learning fun and not a pressure.

So what did I learn in January 2012?

  • The best part of the Google SEO guide. No snake oil just straightforward ways to make sure content is findable by readers.
  • How much corporate blogging overlaps with journalism skills.
  • Digital video content tricks to take my video efforts to the next level.
  • Storytelling techniques from Hollywood.
  • And today I did my first bit of coding using Ruby, using a free ebook in progress called the Bastards Book of Ruby – an amazing free resource, written by a hack not a hacker, so very easy to follow.

Here is my first bit of coding – I has a proud, as you can see:

First Rubyscript
Uploaded with Skitch!

So, enough. Roll on #february – I finally have some web analytics training lined up, which I've been trying to get around to for 18 months now.

How do you learn your chops?

Hire/commission me: fiona [at] fionacullinan.com