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codedgar
codedgar

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Stop programming to become a better developer.

Have you ever stayed up at night trying to fix a problem, just to realize the other day that it was just a simple mistake? Or do you feel that everything in your work gets more complex and complex everytime? Maybe it's time for you to stop programming.

"What?! Like... Forever??" No! Not at all. What I'm trying to say, it's that is time for you to rest. Resting, will not only make you a better developer, but it will help you have your mind clear when you come back to code.

Hi! I'm Codedgar and today I want to talk about resting, and how to stop programming for a while, which can make you a better developer.

Do you know how many people say "To become the best, you should always practice, and never stop until you are the best"? For me, that's a big, big lie.

Just think of the following: If you are doing exercise, and everyday you push your body to the limit, eventually, you will exhaust yourself, and maybe have to rest for a long time, making all the effort almost worthless. I did bboying for almost 2 years and I can tell you for sure that you need to find a balance between doing and resting, and it's the same for programming or any other thing you want to do.

I'm going to break down this article in several parts, so it becomes easier to read. First, I'm going to talk about what problems can bring you bad resting, then, I'm going to talk about how to fix bad resting behaviors and health tips that will help you get better at programming by resting correctly.

Disclaimer

"Where does this information comes from? Are you a doctor?" No. This information comes from 2 courses (Prevention of accidents and Working security in industrial environments) that I made in 2016 and 2017, part of my technician degree in electronics, and my personal experience dealing with burnout.

What problems can bring you programming without proper rest

You may have seen a lot of memes out there being like "Haha we programmers don't sleep", and I think this is one of the main problems with us, sleeping is one of the key factors to keep your mind clear and work correctly, but if you don't sleep and keep yourself stressed, you can have permanent problems, such as:

Burnout

Burnout is one of the most harmful problems you can find and I think it often goes unnoticed. In a nutshell (Jumping some details), burnout can bring you permanent problems if it's not treated in time, burnout in people can manifest itself in several ways, including extreme stress and tiredness. If you suffer from Burnout for a long period of time, it can lead to heart diseases and circulatory problems.

General irritation

This one really can mess up your social connections. I used to work on a place that led me to a lot of stress and general irritation, I got home to be angry with everyone and no one could talk to me without me expressing just angriness. People around you may not have the fault of how work is going, but if you are stressed all the time people will notice, and maybe will leave you alone.

Loss of passion

Passion is really important for programming, but if you are constantly stressed, you may start to think "Is this really for me?". And I've heard people that had abandon completely programming just because of this. The end result of your work can also be affected by this.

Loss of productivity

If your stress is building up, not only you, your friends, family, and work can be affected, but your productivity too. The work you did in one day or a few weeks can transform in months. Leading to general demotivation.

Now, we know that we as people, our friends, our family, our work and productivity can be affected. What can we do about this? It starts with noticing and stopping behaviors that affect our rest, which leads me to my next point.

Bad habits that get in the way of resting.

We often unknowingly get in the way of our rest, and even if you don't know it, you may do some of the things from the next points, and I'll help you fix them.

I had a dream of the fix! I'm gonna go and code it!

Don't do this. In your dream maybe it worked perfectly, but you may have to spend a few hours implementing this and therefore interrupting your sleeping, or whatever you were doing.

What can we do?

My dad actually suffer from this. And my mother used to hide the computer cable so he couldn't turn it on after they went to sleep, he complained and my mom told him "Just write it down, and do it tomorrow". She told me this after seeing me waking up in the middle of the night to code something I dreamt about that would fix my bug. And if I'm out in the street, dream with it or anything, I just write it down, and later take a better look at it.

I'm not going off work or to sleep without finishing this

While sometimes this may work for you, it will eventually lead you to rest incorrectly. Just think of this, the later it becomes, the less energy your brain has to actually think on how to finish what you are doing.

What can we do?

Recopilate as much information as you can about what you are doing, write about it, think about it, but don't stay woke all night. If you wake up in the morning with your mind clear, it will take you less time and you won't sacrifice your rest :)

These are just 2 examples to give you an idea, I'm pretty sure you can come up with other ways in which we sometimes neglect our rest. But just as there are bad habits, you can start building up good habits to keep your mind from overworking itself and rest correctly.

Good habits to rest correctly

We touched 2 examples of bad resting, but I also want to talk about great habits to help you rest and don't overload your brain.

Can't figure the answer? Stand and walk for a second

In all my time working as a developer, I cannot find something more relaxing after hours of coding without success than walking and taking a cup of cold water. Walking and standing for a while is great for your legs and circulation. But is also great to take a second to think about what were you doing and what other approaches you can try.

Take one day of the week to rest completely.

This may be hard to achieve if you are working on several projects at the same time. But if you take one day for your brain to cool down completely you will start with the right feet the next day.

Do exercise!

If you are all day sitting at your desk, most of your physical energy will be untouched, so at the end of the day, you might have problems sleeping. So what I recommend, is balancing the mental effort with physical effort. Do a sport, go to the gym, or bboying too!

Take your time

Yeah, I know, deadlines are scary and all. But don't overwork yourself. Try to find a pacing that feels easy on you, this way you won't overload of work even if you have a ton of things to do.

Conclusion

Coding is great, but it requires a lot of mental effort. And if you add an extra layer of stress on top of it, it can become a nightmare easily. And these tips are meant to help you start your day full of energy and with zero stress, which will increase your productivity, passion and overall mood. Making you a better developer in the process :)

Discussion (15)

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shaijut profile image
Shaiju T • Edited

Thank you, 😊 yes this is very important. Also I think we should share this advice to Junior developers who have just started their career, at first they are very excited as a developer and sit long coding, without thinking about the eyes, hip and overall health.

What we can do ❓

  1. Add as advice for Junior Developers on boarding process in all companies.
  2. Stick a sticky note or something near your work-space to advice yourself to take some break.
  3. In dev.to left sidebar tags, add sorted health tag above or below Javascript tag.

Great write up. πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘‹

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codedgar profile image
codedgar Author

Yes! I feel like this is not important for everyone who's starting. Just because when you are starting you want to do everything and be the best fast.

Also I think that companies should help you having burnout in mind and help you have a day off to chill, we used to do that in one of the companies I worked for!

And your ideas are really great, a sticky note saying "don't forget to take water πŸ˜›" can really make the difference πŸ€”

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

I concur, having a good work/life balance is super important.

Bringing work home just leads to grief in my experience.
Sometimes it can creep up on you tho.

These are some great tips/things to look for. :)

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codedgar profile image
codedgar Author

Yeah, sometimes something can happen that leads you to working from home even in not working hours πŸ˜ͺ

But if it doesn't happen to often it may not be a problem πŸ˜„

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kevinhch profile image
Kevin

Hi, I read this post, very good advices, I'm pretty sure I will be the only one who will say this but, but depends on you, I mean, if you want to be a Senior Frontend developer you will need to work so hard to be the best, because you are not the only one who has the same target like you.
You can say "You need rest, stay away from programming, sleep 8H..." but I'm pretty sure is somebody (maybe more younger than you) who is programming, reading and learning more than you or maybe faster than you, and if you don't want to stay behind you need to do the same or better than the other, because both are working for the same target.
Now imagine you want to be Senior FullStack, or IT engineer or Sysadmin, you can't stay resting at home, or sleeping because you are not working alone for one of this targets, that's how I see that.

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codedgar profile image
codedgar Author

I totally get your point, and it's exactly why I didn't say a quantity of hours when talked about sleeping! It depends on what you are doing, and how much it requires your mental effort.

Even if you want to become the best of the best, you still need to rest correctly, or you will suffer of permanent damage in your body. I feel like going into your 30s with having headaches everyday, heart problems and being always stressed it's not a good trade for your health. Even if it takes you a bit longer, your body and mental health will thank it, at the end of the day, it's a matter of balancing the mental effort with the rest πŸ˜„

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azzenabidi profile image
Azzen Abidi

I felt like someone was reading my mind. Love the tips! I am still struggling to get that life-work balance without feeling guilty. I am getting better at it but still have a long way :))

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jrohatiner profile image
Judith

So glad you posted this! Taking good care of ourselves should be a top priority.

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madza profile image
Madza

By just seeing the title in article feed I genuinely though the actual article would start with a phrase "Now, When I have your attention..." xddd

Good one, btw :)

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eleftheriabatsou profile image
Eleftheria Batsou

Great advice! I'm trying to share with my peers the same thoughts as you wrote in this article :)

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mirkan1 profile image
Mirkan

Great advices

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markoshiva profile image
Marko Shiva Pavlovic

Great post.

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ceg9498 profile image
Emily Gagne

Hi Codedgar,

Thanks for the post! You have some really great tips on what to watch for and what to do.

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topitguy profile image
Pankaj Sharma

Hey buddy, thank you for this! I never forget to exercise daily, it really helps..

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Awesome article I agree on the need to rest to become better.