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Cover image for Coder's biggest and most hidden enemy. Creeping up on you right now
Michał Gacka for 3dayweek.dev

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at 3dayweek.dev

Coder's biggest and most hidden enemy. Creeping up on you right now

It's to a programmer like a pandemic to a society. It creeps up on you. Slowly. There are some tiny signs of it at first but... who would bother? Then it becomes more and more obvious but to an untrained eye, it still seems ignorable. I mean, it's not like it's that bad, right? Life's a bit harder: it gets harder to focus, things are getting a little bit out of control, few bugs here and there creep into the application. But for sure, that can't yet justify the effort that would have to be applied to resolving it, can it?

Until - in case of a pandemic - we wake up as a society with overloaded hospitals, a badly-hit economy, and a lack of organizational structure to deal with the exponentially arising problems.

"It creeps up on you. Slowly. There are some tiny signs of it at first but... who would bother?"

In case of clutter and disorder, a programmer wakes up with a couple of glasses, dirty plates, a few used face masks, unnecessary gadgets, a few useless cables, and an endless list of how-did-this-even-get-here items on their desk, laptop's desktop overflown with icons and files that should have never made it to the front of his workspace, code-base with hundreds of ignored linting errors, and a general feeling that it would take more energy to sit down and put a few hours into the project than to pick up a new career.

If there's one thing you should do today, let it be this: unclutter. Your desk, your computer, your project. And yourself. If you can, just pause anything else you're doing right now, set a timer for 1 hour, and try to clean as much of the unnecessary mental barriers that exist between you and the joyous motivation to write code that you hopefully still can remember is possible. Your future self will thank your now-you. Trust me.

"...a general feeling that it would take more energy to sit down and put a few hours into the project than to pick up a new career"

Not enough time? Do the same thing tomorrow. First thing in the morning. Start your day by offering yourself the gift of a clear, uncluttered work environment that will surely translate into higher efficiency, less stress, and ultimately a happier life.

If you have previous practice meditating or practicing mindfulness, I believe it is helpful to try to apply the same kind of techniques to observing when we decide to cut corners and start piling up the clutter that ultimately creates new corners - unnecessary obstacles to overcome. Try really paying attention to that feeling when you type ": any" to avoid having to come up with a type for that variable or when you sit down to work in a dirty workspace instead of decluttering and cleaning it first.

"Start your day by offering yourself the gift of a clear, uncluttered work environment that will surely translate into higher efficiency, less stress, and ultimately a happier life"

And then try to observe how pleasurable it is and how positively it affects your motivation when you feel that your workspace and your code are clean. How good it feels when all your TypeScript variables explain their structure upon hovering. How calm your mind is when you sit down at a clean, spacious desk with that beloved cup of warm coffee. How good life feels when you are the one in control.


Here's a quick challenge for you: post in the comments a picture of your desk or your laptop's desktop (or both) right here right now. Without cleaning or changing anything 🤨🧐😀

Top comments (8)

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m3h0w profile image
Michał Gacka Author • Edited on

Turns out dev.to doesn't accept images from my phone directly because of their resolution, so maybe a desktop screenshot is more realistic 😀

desktop screenshot

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luvforairplanes profile image
Micah Stauffer

17 Notifications... that would drive me crazy.

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m3h0w profile image
Michał Gacka Author

Haha <3 Thanks for pointing it out. I learned to ignore this feature many years ago and haven't noticed it since 🙃

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alexanderjanke profile image
Alex Janke

Well.. not really clean but could be worse I guess

Desk

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m3h0w profile image
Michał Gacka Author

Cool setup! <3

I think I'd personally feel a little claustrophobic in it since for some reason my brain really enjoys the tidiness of the empty space on my desk 🙃

Big plus for the timer - something I've been trying to stick to many times and never became really quite a habit.

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alexanderjanke profile image
Alex Janke

Yea.. it looks a bit worse 'cause of the wide lense I had to use. Makes it look a bit "closer" and "smaller" than it is in reality.
I try to keep things somewhat close though because I don't like moving everything across the room all the time. One example would be that box thingy in the bottom left corner - that's a steering wheel for racing games 😅 Sure I could detach it from the desk anytime I don't need it but eh.... laziness kicking in. The timer is a google home "hub", so I can adjust my room temperatur, lights and so on.
It's a gaming setup first in my mind though, work second 😶😅 Glad you like it <3 I shall clean it up a little bit and take a picture further away so the lense isn't distorting the picture as much

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strikeraryu profile image
Aryamaan jain

I like this docker look in windows 🔥
Desktop

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takunda profile image
Takunda Madechangu • Edited on

Lol,

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