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Stefanni Brasil
Stefanni Brasil

Posted on • Originally published at

Get unstuck on your coding exercise with Just One Exercise

You’re working on your coding project. Everything is going well.

But it doesn’t take too long until you get stuck on your assignment. You try everything you possibly can, with the resources you have.

You are mixing Ruby, JavaScript, Postgres. Doing crash courses, googling. You go to the docs but you don’t even know where to look. It’s almost as if it’s a foreign language.

On StackOverflow, you see the same tips over and over. You’ve tried them all so many times you’re sure you didn’t miss them.

Nothing helps. And you know you tried everything. You tried different paths just to get stuck in the mud. Arrggggh.

It’s as if you’re driving somewhere. You want to set the destination on your GPS. But you don’t even know the name of the place you’re going. Everybody speaks another language and there is no map.

You start going through a crisis. That one that almost convinces you that quitting it all together and moving on is better 😔.

Yep, that sucks.

When you reach that level of frustration, continue focusing on the problem will do more harm than good. It’s time to try something else.

Here’s the thing: getting stuck is human. As Einstein once said:

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck forever. By the end of this post, you’ll learn one simple exercise for you to develop problem-solving skills for your coding career (and for life).

When you’re stuck, switch your focus.

Let’s get this straight: getting stuck sucks. But it’s part of life.

Here are some tips to help you cool down and see things from a different viewpoint:

  1. Switch your focus entirely. If you are really tired, go for a walk. Do something else. No multi-tasking!
  2. When you feel refreshed, draw a map of your problem. Yep, pen and paper ✍️!

Then, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • Where are you now?
  • What is the next single step to get closer to your destination?

Coding is not straightforward and you can get stuck in the first step of a tutorial (been there, done that).

It’s okay to struggle… because if you already knew all of this stuff, why would you need to learn them?

That’s the growing pain of navigating unknown territories. You’ve got to beat your own path and explore. Draw your own map as you go 🧭.

Enjoy the journey while getting to your destination. And if you don’t finish your assignment or task, it’s okay. You always get to try again, my friend 💫.

Remember that exploring with a group is easier. Others might have explored more and can teach you a thing or two. Check out CodeBuddies and CodeNewbies.

Bookmark this post for the next time you get stuck and share it with your friends!
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