Describe Your Tetris Effect

Ben Halpern on January 05, 2019

The Tetris Effect occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and ... [Read Full]
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Sometimes I'm so deep in my flow that when I go to sleep, I still dream in code. Literally. I find bugs, wake up thinking that can't be right so I go and check. Sure enough... bug. I fix it, and get back to sleep.

 

I have been waking up in the middle of the night with creative fixes to problems that I encounter in React. I don't know if it is healthy, but I have fixed a quite a few problems that I have encountered.

 

I didn't realize this counted as the Tetris effect! I've never been asleep and thought in code, but it's not uncommon for me to be doing something trivial like showering or falling asleep and suddenly be hit with the solution to a problem I've been pondering for the last workday or two.

 

It's definitely a useful manifestation of it :D

 
 

Absolutely.

Here's my personal formula for getting into "flow state" or "Tetris effect."

  • Have a problem to solve with code
  • Listen to one of the following:
    • Video game music (Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Undertale/Deltarune, something good)
    • J-pop (vocaloid stuff is my jam)
    • Anything future funk, future bass, electro-swing, etc.
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • A container of water nearby
  • (optional) coffee or some light stimulant

Once the stage is set, my mind does the following:

  • What are the first few steps to solve this issue? Do I start by playing detective? Maybe I start writing new module? How about I write a test to account for this bug and the desired outcome?
  • Start working on step 1. If step 2 is already established, do step 2.
  • ONLY focus on accomplishing the task at hand. Nothing else matters. Facebook, Twitter, email, texts, and other notifications can all just go away.
  • Continue until the task is done.
  • Move the task to the CI build, next step, whatever.
  • Grab the next thing to fix.
  • Start over again. What's step 1? Find step one, execute, repeat.

Suddenly, 4 hours pass, and I'll feel awesome :).

Hope this helps!

 
 

Or the Orphan theme (Nascent Requiem), from FFXIII!

 
 

Since I started rock-climbing, I see more holds and nudges in everyday-life.

I dreamt of Angular a couple of times. Funny thing is I have no idea about Angular and never used it.

I was regularly afraid of being shot on the street during "Narcos"-binges.

 

The one that pops into my mind first is that I now use double slashes '//' everywhere to mark any comment or side note I take, handwritten or not. First few times it happened, it was on accident, but I decided to stick with it.

 

Thinking about it more now, Tetris is the perfect analogy for any accomplishment or failure in life. It feels really good to finish something (matching a row of shapes in Tetris) and the more that you do it, the easier it gets. But sometimes you just need a redo and fresh start after failing so many times, but all those failures will help you do better the next time.

Having said that, I suck at Tetris but am decent at code so 🤷‍♂️

 

My tetris effect is trying to parallelize almost everything i do in my life, if i want a coffee and a sandwitch i cannot stay infront the coffee machine or the toaster waiting them to finish, i often think how to use efficiently the waiting times. Call me crazy xD

 

Good one! In those very short free moments, I like to stretch. Most us devs are under-exercising anyway, so it’s usually worth it. Stretching the back, wrists, arms, neck, and doing some quick strength exercises like squats can really help energize me when I’m waiting for the water to boil! And if you want to go the extra-nerd way, you could count repetitions in binary or awkward percentages. 0 squat, 1 squat, 10 squat, 11 squat, 100 squat, 101 squat, 110 squat... occupies both brain and body while waiting.

 

Sometimes after I've spent a few hours gardening, I'll get little flashes of plants when I close my eyes. I'll see them too as I'm falling asleep; it's very peaceful. When I see generative adversarial network (GAN) art, it strikes me as very similar to these "flashes".

I'm no psychologist, but I wonder if it's related to the fact that I've been essentially running pattern-matching on leaf-shaped inputs. I'd like to know if this effect has been formally studied, as well as whether or not these are technically hallucinations.

 

Ever since becoming good at programming, I can no longer look at the world and not feel like this picture..

alt

 

When I first started to code as a child I learnt Visual Basic. No internet or other programmers around, so I used books, trial-and-error, and alot of time. I remember 'thinking' in if-statements and other VB constructs when doing non-coding activities. It was very bizarre and I can't help wondering how it influenced my childhood brain development?!

 

I spoke a great amount about code and databases during my sleep while I was on vacation with a friend. It was a stressful time at work so I hope it was just a temporary reaction to that. At least no one else has mentioned it since.

 

Not as a developer, no, but I have had a similar thing happen when I was a wee 20 year old playing World of Warcraft 16 hours a day. When I was sleeping I'd dream that I was in the game playing still, and when I was out in the "real world" I would try to relate everything to WoW.

Not my proudest years, but they were sure fun haha

 

When I was in my first year as Computer Science Engineering at the University, I had a lot of electric-related class where sinusoids were everywhere. I started dreaming of driving cars through sine pathways around other cars, realizing that sound was the sum of different sine waves, the wires on my desks (mouse, power cord, etc) were also some Fourier signals compose of different sine waves. That was crazy.

 

I'm critical and see only mistakes around me (including myself [this is grammatically correct ?]), more and more. People hate me. Hard to explain that you are not pessimist, just a dev looking for bugs ;p

 

I experienced the real Tetris effect when I used to play the game almost obsessively. I thought I was going insane. Turns out it happens to other people to, interesting.

 

It's not only Tetris. Other notorious examples are Sim City, where you start seeing green/Yellow/Blue squares and roads when you close your eyes, and rhythm games (Dance Dance Revolution, Beatmania IIDX, Pop'n Music, Rockband...) where you see notes scrolling in front of your eyes even when not playing the game.

 

DOOM. The number of dreams I used to have where I'd run down a corridor to the shop, then run down the aisles, then run back down another corridor to see my friend...

All doors took two or three attempts to get through with me missing the entrance and grunting.

Good times.

It was a long time ago, so probably DOOM II. I didn't play the first one until after the second, because I always thought it seemed such a pointless game and didn't understand why anyone would like it... until I gave in.

 

My life changed when I learned HTML...

Since then, all I could see are <div>s. I literally see box models everywhere now. For example, I imagine piano keys as left-floated <div>s.

 
 

Strangely enough, I don't know if I've experienced this.

But I do naturally try to fit/stack things like boxes in a closet and dishes in/around the sink in a space-saving manner.

And as I finished the above sentence, I also realized that I did, in fact, use to play a ton of Tetris on my phone. Not sure how much influence that has had on how I organize, but I guess it could be a factor.

 

I've dreamt in xml when I've worked on projects where xml was the data format. Not that relaxing or useful in my experience. Given that sleep and dreaming has a human database defrag and reorg function, mostly I've woken up with new ideas and approaches which I've eagerly written down to try out later after breakfast and coffee.

 

Nine of ten voices in my head arguing about if I should post it or not. The tenth hums it anyway:

Tetris theme
Tetris theme [youtube]

 

I was thinking yesterday: Annual home maintenance? I'd rather it be an event driven architecture than a scheduled job.

Turns out the appliance in question does have an add-on sensor that will alert you with their app.

 

At my first job out of college I ended up working on a web app that correlated responses in medical surveys. I vividly remember dreaming about those crosstab data displays (how one question's responses related to another's) when I was trying to get it working right. This was in 2011 or 2012 maybe.

 

On embedded systems, memory could be short for some things, or you can run out of it very quickly. A couple months ago, a very common practice at my office was to reorder stacks, variables and stuff to fit on 64kb memory. It was so stressful! On the night, I dreamed about it or thinked every time a new product version release came.

 

I don’t consider myself as a software developer in the first place; I’m more of R&D and mathematician, although I write code on daily basis.

Math (mostly linear algebra, differential topology, statistics and logic) made me think quite different from what most developers do. I am not talking about normal humans. Would this be counted as meta-tetris effect for developer’s life? :)

 

Fixed one bug, that bugged me for a long time, in a dream...

 

Y'all wrong, this is the Bleeding Effect! #assassinscreed

 

Irrelevant, but

"Cupcake Match"

Like if you got the reference

 

Teddy Ruxpin theme song while thinking about debugging complex SQL queries

 
 

What about Tetris Effect with Netflix marathons or videogames? 😂

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