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#100DaysofCode worth it or not? πŸ€”

sarthology profile image Sarthak Sharma ・4 min read

If you use Twitter, you must have seen this #100daysofcode popping up in your feed every now and then. I saw it often but never tried it. This year, however, I made a commitment to myself, which was to make 12 products in 12 months. Might sound weird to some, but it has worked great for me so far.

We have successfully launched 2 products on ProductHunt so far, have completed making the 3rd one, and have started working on the 4th as well. But the challenge is yet to be completed; far from it actually. And that only excites me more. I had a good idea how much of a challenge it was going to be, so the first thing I did was start working almost every single day, and my GitHub contribution began to look like this:

When I was in Taiwan and attending some meetups last month, someone asked me whether I was following the #100daysofcode challenge. I said no, but it still made me stop and think, "Wait, am I?" Because I had already been coding continuously for more than 45 days. And although I was on vacation, in my subconscious mind, the idea kind of stuck, and I started pushing myself to somehow do at least one commit on GitHub daily.

My reasoning was that since I had already done almost 50 days, why not make it official and go all the way to 100? And so I continued making daily commits, even if it was just a minor change in CSS. I started feeling the pressure quickly, soon realizing that this wasn't the most productive way for me to do things. Many times, I felt like I didn't have enough time to think about new ideas or work on something new. So I quit, but this experience made me realize that many others must have felt the same thing I did. I asked my dev friends who have completed the challenge how they managed to do it. Some said it was easy as they had to code daily for work anyway, so that covered 5 days a week and they just had to code on weekends. Some actually tried to game the system by doing meaningless commits on private repos, and one person even went so far as to use a tool to generate fake git commits.

All this made me realize one thing about #100daysofcode:

"It's not about continuing, it's all about starting."

100 Days of Code is a challenge, and like all challenges of this nature (think NaNoWriMo, 100DaysofDesign, etc.), its purpose is to ignite the fire in you. Popular among beginners, #100daysofcode was started to inspire them to start writing their very first lines of code. As a former teacher, I know this for a fact that beginners often spend most of their time watching videos, reading articles, and digesting knowledge they won't be using for months if not years, rather than actually implementing what they learn by writing some real code. This challenge inspires them to do that.

But keep in mind, it's not necessary for you to complete it. You have already won if you've actually started. The point of this challenge isn't to complete it for the sake of completing it, but rather to cultivate a good habit of actually writing code on a regular basis. You have to understand that this is not for the people reading your tweets or scrolling through your Github profile. It's for you, only for you. So don't cheat the system, because sometimes it's okay to fail. At least you started and lost honorably.



Thinking of all this while sitting on a cliff near Jiufen, ⁨Taiwan⁩ I decided to quit on the 54th day. I mean #100daysofcode, not my life. πŸ˜ƒ

Instead, I chose to enjoy my last few days in Taiwan. I went to Green Island near the east coast, and it was the best decision of my life. I had never been this close to the sea, so it was exhilarating for me. Green Island is absolutely gorgeous - just look at the photos below - and I hope I can see it again someday soon!





But after days of carefree traveling, one evening, I dared to open my laptop and revisit an old project. While navigating through its node modules folder, I noticed something I hadn't before, and bam! Just like that, I found an idea for my next product, which is actually the 4th one I'm currently working on. It called Moddoc and it's a tool for developers. (I will share more details soon!)

Conclusion

It's simple, guys. Stop pushing yourself to the point where the stress makes you lose sight of the bigger picture. If it's getting that stressful, 100daysofcode will just make you less productive. So when that stress bar hits the peak value, grab your car, hit the road, and take a break.

Remember, being busy != being productive.

Even if you can't do 100 days of code, do 50 or maybe 20, or even just a week. Just start. This is what matters, THE START.


Thank you so much, friends. Hope you liked my article, and if you did, don't forget to read my other articles as well.
If you have a cool story of your own related to #100daysofcode, please share it in the comments section below. If you don't, how about you start your own journey with me here? I'm always eager to collaborate. 😊

Discussion

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harri_etty profile image
Harriet

I also have a conflicted relationship with everyday-style challenges. I have set myself so many, and failed pretty much every time - life always finds a way to get in the way, and like you, I end up realising that the added pressure to do something every day just to clock a strike on the calendar is counterproductive. Plus, as soon as you break the streak, your impulse is to give up completely.

I much prefer working on improving my habits. Habits don't have to be practiced every day, but if I'm in the habit of going for a run a few times a week, or reading most mornings before work, then that's great. And if I don't feel like it one day, no stress.

That said, I have actually been doing 100DaysOfCode this year but I'm not aiming for a continuous streak. I think I did about 24 days in Febraruy for example and I'm happy with that. I've found that tracking what I'm doing has been really motivating, but if I was forcing myself to do it every day then I'd have given up by now!

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utkarsh profile image
Utkarsh Talwar

You've put it so well. I think that's the most well-balanced approach for most people as well.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Exactly, it’s all about starting.

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dowenb profile image
Benjamin Dowen

I've written much mode code since I stopped 100 days of code challenge, and instead focused on what I wanted to learn (advance my automation journey).

Also I stopped Tweeting daily updates - and started working on larger chunks I should share, like my posts on Dev.To - and a lunch n learn at work.

Still as you say - it was cool to Start :)

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

That’s cool dude. Keep up the great work 😊πŸ₯³

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dowenb profile image
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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Cheers 🍻

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dowenb profile image
Benjamin Dowen

mmm beer :)

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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sarthology profile image
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dowenb profile image
Benjamin Dowen

Now we're talking! Almost Friday!

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picocreator profile image
Eugene Cheah

In legal realms, there is the concept of following the "spirit of the law", as oppose to the "letter of the law" πŸ€“

And I feel like its important to remember, the spirit of the "100 days of X", which is sadly commonly forgotten πŸ˜”

Especially for programming, where you should be spending a good chunk of your time planning before coding.

So perhaps a better way to phrase the challenge - a dedication for the next 100 days. To for at least a short moment everyday to either

  • πŸ€” think and plan out your coding
  • ⌨️ do actual coding
  • ❀️ focus on life priorities (eg: love ones)
  • πŸ–οΈ recharge oneself to focus back on the above

However because only 1/4 of what listed above has actual "historical commits". The challenge is more of a personal one then a public one to get into the habit. Which is easy to forget, especially when others obsess over the actual commits. And damn, it can be rather easy to justify oneself you are doing the challenge by the above standards (which would be against the spirit of it).

But as you pointed out, forcing yourself to commit code.... can pretty much result into junk code : which in a larger project will be rejected through code review 😒

So I would dare say, as long as your continuing thinking, even after the holidays (as obviously shown via this article) on how to improve your coding craft.

In my books : you are fulfilling the 100 day challenge πŸ‘

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Thanks Eugene. You actually put it in a right way. The spirit of challenge should not die.

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kovah profile image
Kevin Woblick

Pretty interesting story. I can totally understand that you quit the challenge.
Personally, I am not into those challenges at all. Not event the Advent of Code which is somewhat human with only 24 days. The thing is, that coding is - besides my actual job - only a hobby. I do not make any great money from it and I only do it when I want to and not because something needs to be finished. Why should I force myself to code?
To be totally honest, these challenges reflect a big problem with the development community: people make themselves a lot of stress for something that is not worth anything. Neither the argument of testing your abilities and achieving something, nor the argument that it may be something great to present in your resume, seems reasonable if on the other hand you push yourself a bit more into burnout.
Nobody cares if you complete a challenge and nobody cares if you don't even start it.

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Guillaume Martigny

There's indeed a lot of competition on the dev community. I mean, you learn a lot by clashing against others, but don't sweat it.
Sadly, the limit between "healthy comparison with other ways" and "I got to be the very best" is blurry.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Agreed! Though for beginners, starting do matters. 😊

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Tom VanAntwerp

The public-accountability aspect of #100DaysOfCode (or anything similar) does nothing for me. Maybe some people get motivated by feeling the pressure to perform. But for me, zero.

It's not like all my Twitter followers are waiting each day with bated breath to see that I did something. If my wife isn't interested enough in my commitment to eating right and exercising to chastise me if I don't do it, then what can I honestly expect from Internet strangers?

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Totally make sense.

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peterwitham profile image
Peter Witham

I did try 100DaysOfCode but I eventually quit working on it. Not because it is a bad idea but because it just does not fit my pattern of creativity and development.

Once I started to force myself to work on my project I realized I was almost dreading the end of my work day when I would work on it, mostly because as my product matured there was less and less to work on.

Now maybe it is because I did too much too fast? But as a daily coder, let's be honest, over time we get faster at the regular things we do. This mean't I would end up doing in 1 hour a day more than I would of if I was not a long timer coder.

I guess I would say that my opinion is, it's a great idea for those that either need to get the motivation going or want a way to commit to something. But if you code for a living every day, it can lead to basically just extending your day by yet another hour.

I do still follow the tag and try to help inspire those that are doing it when I see them starting to loose momentum. So maybe for me it turned in to 100 days of motivational support for others :)

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Wow, That's great Peter. How do you exactly help them?

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peterwitham profile image
Peter Witham

I hope it helps them :)

I try to motivate and suggest ways to keep it moving forward. Probably doesn't help that much, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Perhaps there should be 100DaysOfMentorship

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Hahaha, that would be lovely idea. πŸ˜ƒ

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gmartigny profile image
Guillaume Martigny

I'm way more productive after a break. I stop coding for weeks, even month and come back every time. This kind of challenge, course or whatever that force any particular behavior is bad.
I strongly agree with your statement and the next trending hashtag on programming should be along the line of #stopLearningStartDoing.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Oh I like it. Let’s start this hashtag 🀘🏻🀘🏻

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gmartigny profile image
Guillaume Martigny

I forgot to add challenge at the end, for it to take on πŸ˜‰

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John Alcher

I personally think that consistency will always be the common denominator for improvement for any skill. 100DaysOfCode kind of forces you to finish the challenge through accountability, which might work for some and not for others. In my experience, tweeting everyday felt like a chore and doesn't really add up much value to my learning. So I decided to just work on projects everyday with the occasional blogpost to share what I've learned. Here's the result so far:

Have I become a better software developer? Definitely, I saw an insane amount of improvement on my mindset and general quality of my code. Did my social life took a hit? Yes, to an extent. Did I find enjoyment and fulfillment throughout this endeavor? A big yes! And I do think that's all that matters in the end :)

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Wow man, really impressive I would say.
πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

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alchermd profile image
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abdurrahmaanj profile image
Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

XD with an interesring project ongoing, you don't count days!

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gmartigny profile image
Guillaume Martigny

But, shouldn't you ? πŸ€”
Burning yourself up because you code every days is not a good idea.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Exactly πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ƒ

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travisboss profile image
Travis Boss

I did the 100 days of CSS challenge and I learned a lot from doing these challenges especially learning how to animate in CSS. I am better for it.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

That’s great travis. 😊

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jackharner profile image
Jack Harner πŸš€

Remember, being busy != being productive.

This is great advice. I need to focus more on what's going to make the most impact and not just the stuff that makes it seem like I'm working.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma Author

Oh yeah !! 🍻