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.
"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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 :)