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Quirky thoughts about developing your dev stamina

How long can you code before exhaustion settles in?
How long before you remember taking a break?

So we're in the middle of a deadline rush and I can't think of a better time to sit back and consider this.

Normally, to beat mental exhaustion, I look into relaxation and meditation. Sure, these are worthwhile.

There's a catch though: these at first sight appear to be the straight opposite of mental training. They're about shutting the brain as much as possible, right? (oversimplifying this, but hang on)

Would mental training help?

The closest may be code gyms. If you haven't tried these little puzzle solving apps (mainly used to train for interviews), giving it a shot is definitely worthwhile.

Still, I think training for actual performance in actual programming tasks would be... ...different.

Code gyms are about internalizing logical puzzles and solving them real fast. They're about doing little brain twisters in limited time, with usually nothing caring that you then get off for the rest of the day (cause job-seeking, hey)

Training stamina for everyday coding tasks is going to be something else.

Until then, a tip for you!

Start looking into an issue BEFORE you make a branch for it. This will help you keep rested while working, and also keep your PRs neat. Here's why:

  • Start looking into an issue...
  • Make a PR
  • Run into another, connected issue.
  • Start fixing it, all the while not fully focusing on it...
  • End up fixing 4 issues, and rolling them into one PR. And, guessed it: feeling mentally wrecked.

Another cause of brain tiredness in crunch time is because crunch requires keeping mental notes... or doesn't? When the kanban (your Trello, Jira, ...) feels too much, downscale: pull stickies/favorite local notes app (notepad, even) and write things down.

Stay focused, keep your brain as clutter-free as possible.

You can do it!

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