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The Github Streak Dilemma: useful or not?

Gamification as a way of self-reward and motivation can be great, especially for people like me that are lazy.
Being able to see that something that you did gave you points, badges or similar can help in keeping high the motivation to continue with a project.

Today I want to talk about Github contributions and why I think it's a useful 'gamification' tool but why you should also avoid getting too caught up with chasing a streak.

As you can see the image below, I finally reached 2000 contributions in the last year on Github, distributed evenly between my time at the office and my time at home working on my blog and side projects (sadly not much Open Source contributions yet).

my github contributions

Since late August I've been on an almost perfect streak until I purposely decided to not push it too far and take a full day off.

Chasing the 'green squares' as a way of self-motivation helped me to continue working on my side projects but it had reached a point where I felt like I was coding just to get that square green and not really for the project itself.

I got too caught up in chasing the streak that I forgot the whole reason I started it.

The whole point of this short post is that I think trying to get a streak is a good thing but don't let it become your goal. I would emphasize the word trying, do your best to find some time throughout your day to work on side projects/open source and don't worry too much about your stats on Github.

The day I broke my streak on Github I did it purposely because I wanted to tell myself that I wasn't trying to chase a long streak, because I know that it would have been harder breaking it after 3 or 6 months.

Now when I look at one those green squares I know I did something useful towards one of my projects and not simply opening a Github issue with the title 'Fix stuff' (oh yeah I actually did that once) just because I wanted to keep the streak going.

What are your thoughts on chasing a streak on Github? Are you trying to get one, to keep the current one alive or you simply don't care?

Thank you very much for reading. Follow me on DevTo or on my blog at inspiredwebdev for more.

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Top comments (5)

shiv1998 profile image
Shivaansh Agarwal

I also sometimes do that, just for the sake of maintaining a streak. But Man! your streak is amazing. For me maintaining a streak proves to be helpful when I'm not having a great day and not in a mood to do coding. It just keeps me going. At the end of the day I've a sense that ya, I've done some coding even when I didn't feel like doing it.

jeffsnff profile image
Jeffrey Seneff

I did this too! After my coding boot camp, I was chasing, what I like to call, the Green Dragon, based off South Parks Purple Dragon when I got back for a little vacation. I literally did what you said but instead of doing an issue, I would be laying in bed getting ready to fall asleep when I relaized I didn't code that day. So I would go in, open up a project, mess with the CSS a little bit then push it.

I didn't get as far as you, but I did realize sooner that I was making a mistake, taking on too much and wasn't enjoying coding any longer. I took Christmas off which was great 4 day weekend for me and now I am trying to figure out the best plan for me. I am dumping projects I no longer want to work on and setting priories to stuff I want to work on.

albertomontalesi profile image
AlbertoM Author

That's good that you managed to figure out your mistake quickly so you didn't get dragged into chasing a streak for too long.

jeffsnff profile image
Jeffrey Seneff

The sad thing is though, I feel like I should be. I feel if I am not giving 100% all day everyday that I am not doing enough, and won't get a job because of it. I still feel like I am ch2ating myself as well if I am not always doing something ( looking busy ). It is a big problem that I am dealing with that I know everyone is dealing with as well.

asfand_687 profile image
Asfand Yar

GREAT Streak and congratulations!
I was recently teaching someone about express js and needed to view rahe code from my github repo, that day I realised how useful github can be for the developers, you can access your code from anywhere, that's crazy.
But when I looked at my activity stats, I told myself, this is not how a good developer's github streak looks like. I started the streak, it's been 15 days straight I am making contributions daily, it makes me feel good but my learning is maximum right now, gaining more confident. I think every developer should try maintaining their streaks or at least they should code daily, aspiring developers should also consider mixing github streaks with learning, IT IS AMAZING!

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