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What has made me more efficient

Throughout my years of programming, I have gone through different phases, phases that have shaped me as a developer and the personal side of being a developer. At first, being efficient was a challenge: When you are just getting into programming you want to do everything at the same time, and your thoughts are just like constant explosions in your brain.

What I am going to share today is not scientifically proved nor a fact, it is an opinion & perspective on how things have turned out for me.

When I started programming, I used to ask myself a lot of things, "How does that website work?", "How can I make a login page?", "How is a programming language created?". There were just so many questions that my brain didn't get enough rest. At night while laying on my bed, these questions used to come up and bother me thus making me sleepless. Learning how to control this kind of behaviors was a difficult task but not impossible, and at the end, it was necessary to control this because my life-balance was out of balance.

When programming started to be clear, fluent & more natural in my mind, then the issue was not only about the questions but now there was a new issue: I wanted to be always coding, at first, I thought that was a good idea, like "Yes, I'll stop coding at 5am, to then wake up at 10am and keep coding" and for a while it gave some results, but I knew there has to be something wrong, If programming was so tiring in the same way I was exercising it, then nobody would be a programmer.

What I have learned

Routine is your best friend:

I discovered that my efficiency improved in impressing ways when I started getting a routine, not a routine in programming but a routine in general. I started waking up at the same time everyday and I started falling asleep at the same time everyday. If I forced myself to have period of times where I could code and period of times where I had to stop coding.
For example: I would allow myself to code anytime from 9am to 8pm but after 8pm I would have to get a distraction of some sort.

Issues can wait

Many times we run into issues and we feel like we have to solve them right away, and trust me, I know the feeling of self-satisfaction when we solve an important issue or when we solve something we didn't understand why it was happening in the first place. Sometimes this behavior of wanting to code code and code leads to "solving, solving and solving". But really, issues can wait. In the same way you should have a routine, you should be powerful enough to tell yourself "I am going to fix this tomorrow" or "I am going to fix this over the weekend". This will provide you with life-balance and code-balance.

Read, don't code.

Many times, when I am going through my period where I don't allow myself to code (ex, after 8pm or before 9am) but I want to code, and I want it so badly, I just start reading articles about coding, things such as best practices, new trends, discussions, and more. Reading about coding while not coding is actually really good, it makes your brain have a better flows of ideas & solutions to possible issues you have, and since your brain is not working so hard as it is when coding, you can perceive and understand the readings better.

Get an uncomfortable habit

This is a weird one but perhaps the second most important one for me. When I am coding, I always have a bottle of water that I throw from hand to hand, kind of passing a ball from one hand to the other. I do this with a bottle of water, with my wallet, with anything that has a curve pretty much. This is because when I am coding & thinking I feel anxious and I feel the need to get that anxiety out of me. At first, it seemed like I was crazy just throwing things from one hand to the other, after a while, it became a way to have my mind thinking and my body doing something without having to walk or do something even more distracting.

Finally & the most important for me

Get away from electronic devices

It's hard to get away from body electronic devices (like your phone or your laptop/PC) these days, we are always on social media and when we are programmers, we feel the need to be on our computers even to just read the email or to have it turned on. Being a programmer and having a lot of interaction with electronic devices is bad. Your job, coding, already requires you to be in front of your laptop, that energy is transmitted to your body and mind, it overcharges you (If you don't believe me, keep yourself coding one day until 12am and then try to sleep).
In the same way you should have a routine, you should have a schedule for your electronic devices, for example: I don't use my phone while coding, or no that much,

  • I only use it after coding.
  • I only use my laptop during weekdays, I don't code or try to not code or have some interaction of some sort with computers during the weekend. Try to get an schedule or some sort of established-interaction time with your electronic devices, it will help you keep your life outside out of the technology world.

The end

These are some tips that I'm glad to share since they have helped me and they have shaped me into a better programmer, many programmers that are just getting started with programming feel like they have tons of energy, and they want to code and code and code, and this is not wrong, but it's not efficient in the long game. As I initially said, my advises are not scientifically proved so feel free to ignore them, but I highly suggest you to check them out and perhaps try them.

I think everything is based on how you manage your time which is something I recall multiple times in this post.

How do you feel about it? Do you have any tips? Comment below.

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