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Yes, You Should Have Hobbies Outside of Code

ashleemboyer profile image Ashlee (she/her) Updated on ใƒป2 min read

I came across an excellent tweet last night by Twitter user Amycruz:

This is such a great point. I see many devs talking about how hard it is to cope with the insane amount of information online. On the one hand: it feels a little bit competitive. Who can learn the newest framework the fastest and build a super cool app and start making money? On the other hand: it's hard to choose which things to learn in what order because you're scared of falling behind.

Let's start by acknowledging we'll never learn everything. First of all, it's impossible. Second of all, it's not necessary. Learn the skills you need for the job you want. Then, you can fill in the gaps as needed. However, all of you learnaholics like myself might be wondering how to fit your extra learning into that mindset. The answer is balance.

You must balance learning with other activities. Without balance, you risk burnout, as is the case with most things. So, find some hobbies! I personally enjoy knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, and reading memoirs. Creative hobbies are very beneficial. You can meet new people who share the same hobby, have interesting things to talk about yourself in job interviews, and clear your mind for a while from stressful things.

Have any non-code hobbies you'd like to share? Drop a comment! :)


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Image by Olliss on Unsplash.

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ashleemboyer profile

Ashlee (she/her)

@ashleemboyer

Disabled Web Developer โŒจ๏ธ | HOH ๐ŸคŸ | Live Knitter ๐Ÿงถ & Live Coder ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป | she/her

Discussion

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I'm a massive bookworm! There's nothing as nice as curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee.

I also love photography, which helps when I need pretty pictures for a side project but is also one of the most calming things in the universe.

My newest hobby is actually belly dancing! It makes me feel great, have much more confidence in myself, and gives me a fun activity that gets me out of my chair.

 
 

Nice work. You're kinda into that B/W thing ain't you? Me too. ๐Ÿคฉ

Yes! Some of them are analog, developed by me. But that was years ago, it's a quite expensive hobby nowadays so only digital now and a few analog rolls.

I used to play with my mother's developing kit, but digital is just so efficient and much more forgiving of my mess ups. :P

 

I also love photography, which helps when I need pretty pictures for a side project but is also one of the most calming things in the universe.

This makes me reflect on my own photo taking adventures. I am always in a hurry. I usually snap whatever I see that is good.

It seems to me that I have to take my time to really get some good photographs

 

I love a good book and coffee. Drinking decaf for a while, but hey, I can still make it taste pretty! ;)

 

Hey, decaf is still coffee! It totally works!!

 

I've been getting into woodworking lately, and am currently building a coffee table for my wife.

Inspiration

Plans

Progress

Tabletop

Barn Doors

 

Things I do besides coding:

  • I spend a lot of time with my wife, watching movies, TV shows, going out, doing little weekend trips etc.
  • I like traveling and visited ~55 countries so far.
  • Been reading at least one book a week since 2008. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever I can find.
  • I love playing chess and poker and also like studying the theory behind both, especially since they are so different from each other.
  • I'm also nearly always up for a good round of board, miniature or RP games.
  • I have a PS4 and a Nintendo Switch and while I don't play as much as I used to, I still try to get in a couple hours here or there.
  • Occasionally I dabble in electronic music.
  • Back home I also used to skate- and longboard, but Bangkok doesn't really lend itself to these activities, so I try to go the gym a couple of times per week.

That said, I also do have a lot of coding-related hobbies:

  • I'm involved in running 1 user group and 2 conferences.
  • I like to tinker with my Raspberry Pi or M5Stack and just ordered a Fomu to look into Risc-V development.
  • I love all things retro computing and gaming, as well as compilers and interpreters and there's an almost never-ending supply of reading materials around all of those ๐Ÿ™‚
 

I am very interested in your time management skills! You seem to get a lot of things done!

 

Nothing special, I generally just do what I feel like. Some weekends thatโ€™s binge watching TV shows and some days after work I feel like coding until midnight or 1am. I donโ€™t follow any system and in fact go against a lot of common advice: I go to bed too late (generally 1:30-2am), wake up around 8:30ish, and often donโ€™t care if an activity is considered โ€œproductiveโ€ as long as I enjoy it. I also stopped doing to do lists, except for the rare case where I really need to get a few things done in a couple of days.

 
 

Awesome! What a beautiful pony. :) I rode a loooooooooong time ago and it is so fun.

 

I also like knitting! Mostly crochet. I also like hand-sewing a lot. You may think it's super slow, but it isn't. It definitely takes longer than machine sewing, but I really enjoy it.
And cooking. I absolutely love it and I'm lucky I can do that a couple times a day. It requires a lot of attention and care, so it really helps take the mind out of the code for a while.

 
 

I hope to play a musical instrument again someday! It can be a really peaceful experience.

 

again ? Uh , maybe u was playing on guitar , yah?

I played clarinet once upon a time and really enjoyed it. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

 

Video entertainment. Both the interactive (video games) as the non-interactive (films and series). I prefer the ones with strong stories.

My reading is mostly IT related. So that doesn't count as different hobby, but it does fuel my creativity.

And when there's a cool new LEGO Idea's set out, I build that.

 

In terms of completely non-computery based activities I like to grow my own chillies and veggies ๐ŸŒฑ and maintain a couple of little greenhouses (even that I've had urges to integrate arduino/pi tech into), I also enjoy cooking. Inside the realm of computer based stuff I also have the nerd prerequisite clichรฉ hobby of gaming ๐ŸŽฎ.
Edit: I forgot guitar!๐ŸŽธ

 

Crocheter, Knitter, Spinner, etc...if you can do it with yarn, I pretty much do! I am enjoying your posts, Ashlee, and you make a very good point. Burn out happens when we neglect our needs for other things like work, care-giving, etc...(the list is very long). I am a caregiver, so I have learned the hard way how important it is to spend time with friends and family, practice a hobby, basically do all the things for ourselves necessary to support life like eat, shower, shave, exercise, etc...Thanks for the reminder and thanks for voicing how overwhelming it feels to think you need to learn every new language, framework, etc...to be an employable web developer...that's been really bugging me. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

 

Nothing super exciting in terms of hobbies or stuff outside of work. Just going to the gym, swimming lessons, snowboarding in the winter, reading (although most of the reading I've been doing lately has been programming related ๐Ÿ™ƒ) and the usual hanging with friends. I must admit, I enjoy OSS and contribute whenever I can.

Rugby was a big part of my life for a long time, but I stopped playing in 2006.

Since then I've tried other sports such as dragon boating, ultimate Frisbee and soccer but I must admit, they all pale in comparison to rugby. I had a bad calf injury last fall which prevented me from playing indoor touch rugby last winter, but now that I'm all healed, hopefully I can lace up this winter to run around with my old teammates.

 

I am absolutely addicted to playing music. I play the guitar, the trumpet, the piano, blues harp and have taken up singing pretty recently. I still spend a lot of my free time reading about new coding concepts and all, but as you say, it's important to mix it up with other activities. I also have the advantage of being able to learn new technologies on the job, so that's a big time-saver.

 

This is a great truth I recently had to learn the hard way after a severe burn out. So I took up painting again, and a strict enforced a "no-coding policy" after work hours. It greatly helps doing other stuff.

 

Running and gym all year, ice hockey during winters, golf and hiking during summer. Dog always involved in everything with wife's support. Couldn't agree more how important it is to have other hobbies aside from programming. That is atleast a necessity for me but I do not judge if someone spends all their time coding and practicing.

About coping with the amount of information. Yeah it's a really hard thing to master but one you should really learn. For me it has always been very easy to just focus on stuff that I am more interested in than the other. Once I truly get exited about something I can spend days/weeks just diving deeper into that area. For example at the moment I'm very interested about creating hexagon grids with CSS ๐Ÿ˜„

 

I work out, read fiction and autobiographies and watch a lot of tv.

 

I've been watching a ton of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu lately ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

 
 

I've been a fan since the start. It's awesome ๐Ÿ˜„
Right now I'm binging 30 Rock. Also hilarious!

 

I collect foto with strange things on the street. Like that:

 

Woah! That's a really cool pic. Thank you for sharing. :)

 

Well, aside from being a full-time dad to two beautiful handfuls, and a husband to an equally beautiful wife, I do like to dabble in card games. Magic: the Gathering and Vampire: the Eternal Struggle being the two weapons of choice.

 

Having young kids and openly enjoying quality time with family puts things into a different perspective.

Other than that, I enjoy photography and occasionally find me totally immersed by endless Lightroom sessions.

Cooking gives me back mental energy as well. ๐Ÿ’ฏ The fact you'll have to eat anyway in combination with enjoying to "deliver" it is a huge win. ๐Ÿ˜œ

 

Skateboarding and biking which is great since I can't motivate myself to do any other form of exercise.

 

These are good for sightseeing too! :D

 

This is absolutely correct. I used to play the drum but couldn't be doing it since I moved to study. Also, it is true that the amount of study is chasing and hinder me doing anything else, but I think it will be eating me alive someday if I keep doing it like this.

Will volunteering and meetups be counted? It's the only activity I am doing other than study. Thank you for the great article.

 

I've started getting into a pixel art course recently and after I finish that I'll get into drawing. I also want to combine those tho with video games, making video games is much more interesting than your average coding project and since there's no pressure on me I can just work on my own pace and enjoy it.

 

I canโ€™t agree more. I love photography and thatโ€™s what I do when Iโ€™m not coding.

 

I think that any kind of daily exercise is a must. It boosts your health, helps you empty your head and you feel waaay better afterwards.

 
 

Dungeons and Dragons! We play (almost) every Sunday afternoon 1-5 pm. I treat it as my sacred time and do not allow myself to schedule any work/side-project activities in this timeframe.

 

I needed to find non science and engineering interest. I do spend to much time reading and thinking about technology, space and programming. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

 
 

Mostly watching some TV series which get me out of work mood and doing my side-projects, learning stuff I want to learn, still deciding on gym to apply to so that's in the works, too.
Would be playing with my dog and 2 cats but far away from them now (working in capital of my country, yet they are 4 hour drive away).
For the most part summer involved long night walks with some good lo-fi music in headphones.

 

I do mountain climbing. There's nothing more peaceful than climbing a mountain and meet nice people at the top.

 

I sometimes like to get on my bicycle and have a nice ride. It helps me to calm down and think of various algorithms and ideas.

 

I almost forget what is my hobbies.