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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

If it's Saturday and you won't be coding again until Monday, how do you get your mind off your current work?

I find myself lost in problem solving even though I can't do anything about it (and shouldn't). How do you go about shutting it off and picking it up again Monday morning?

Top comments (66)

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bennypowers profile image
Benny Powers ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

As a religious Jew, once we light the candles on Friday night, we don't touch our phones or computers until havdallah Saturday night (barring emergencies, like the time I delivered our youngest Saturday morning at 4am, but I digress).

Instead of social media, we socialize. Instead of feeds, we feast. Instead of merge conflicts, we discuss the great makhlokos (legal and philosophical differences of opinion) in Jewish scholarship.

In short, it's a day for being instead of doing.

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Devin W. Leaman

I'm not religious myself, but I'm certainly gonna try this. Especially the makhlokos. I believe we all need to have discussions regarding our difference of opinion in healthy ways, otherwise, we never grow as individuals.

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Benny Powers ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

You don't have to be religious to try something ๐Ÿ˜. Any positive step you take or small commitment you make in life is worthwhile if it helps you grow.

It's like refactoring. Even if you don't finish the entire file, if you make one method a drop more readable or efficient it was probably worth it. ๐Ÿค“

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Daragh Byrne

I love this. We're a society that has lost sight of the importance of simply being.

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Benny Powers ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

Yeah it's good times. I mean, I don't want to make it seem like all you have to do is keep shabbos and allofasudden you're some spiritual luminary or anything. But I certainly think that the opportunity to engage the soul is greater when your family, your community, etc, set the day aside for such things.

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Daniel Golant

Currently ruining my roommateโ€™s save file in RDR2

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Basti Ortiz

That is pure evil.

The game is GREAT, though. What a masterpiece. I place all my bets on RDR2 to be the Game of the Year.

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Daniel Golant

waiting for the MP to come out and totally ruin my life. I know it's a big ask but I feel like this would've been an amazing game for co-op (particularly local).

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Michiel Hendriks

I always try to finish things before the end of Friday, or get it into a stable state. If there is still time left on Friday I will simply do other things which can I also wrap up before the end of day. So I try not to get "stuck" with a problem on Friday at the end of my working day.

The things I do to "wind down" on Friday afternoon include cleaning up code/documentation, or reading unrelated technical articles. Whatever you read should be unrelated to the problems you were solving, otherwise you might get inspiration for the problem you were working on.

Once it is actually gets weekend my mind is at ease concerning the work problem and I'm free to do whatever in the weekend.

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Adrian ๐Ÿค– Oprea

I initially wrote a huge answer detailing the difference between physical fatigue and mental fatigue.

You're smart folks, you already know that, so I decided to tell you exactly what I do to disconnect.

Whenever I have the time, especially on weekends, I find a patch of water (a lake, or something) and sit by a tree and stare at things. That's my mental cue that work is over and that it's time to do something else.

I play with Rubik's cubes and other games that engage the brain in a different way. I go and play with my kids. I take a walk with them in the park. If you don't have kids you can do it with a friend. These moments are priceless.

Oh, and I also try to sleep as much as I want to, during the weekends.

Have a great weekend!

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Tayamba Mwanza

Maybe you should write a detailed post as a separate article I'd definitely read it. If you ever get around to it, maybe you can even link me to it so I don't miss it ๐Ÿ˜

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Carly Ho ๐ŸŒˆ

My work admittedly does a good job of making sure devs can leave the office and not feel like they have to code at homeโ€”the head of engineering is actually pretty adamant about it unless thereโ€™s a very rare emergency.

I do code for fun on the weekends because it is something I legit enjoy, but I keep my fun projects distinct from work and also have a lot of other hobbies to keep me from doing too much of one thing. I think itโ€™s good to cultivate some non-programming hobbies, just to keep things fresh; in my case itโ€™s writing, music, and roleplaying games.

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Forest Hoffman

+1 to that. I've found music to be an excellent way to pass the time. Especially if there's a particular piece I'm in love with and really interested in learning. RP/Multiplayer games are also tons of fun :D

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Eric Donovan • Edited on

Before I leave work, I add a sentence right in the code that I'm working on, so that it breaks the project (I don't commit that obviously).

The sentence details what my current thought process is, what I am going to try next etc.

Because it stops the project compiling, the IDE now puts a bunch of red squiggles all around it, highlighting what I need to read whenever I get back to work.

Now that my thought process is out of my brain and written in the code, I feel more free to forget about it (unless it's some particularly exciting thing).

I shut the laptop, leave it at work, and don't have slack or work email going to my phone.

(If it's a really exciting problem, I will occasionally indulge myself and think it through in my free time, but with a pencil and paper - definitely not on my work laptop)

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Jonathan Ray

I shut down my work computer until Monday morning. My phone doesn't have work email or Slack set up by choice.

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deleteme deleteme

Same here - it works.

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Andrew Davis

College football and video games. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Casey Cole

Programming something else and getting stuck on that so, then all monday morning while I should be working on what I was doing Friday I am thinking about the problem I encountered over the weekend. It's a horrible loop that never ends.

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buphmin

The best thing you can do is find a hobby, something that makes you happy and captures your attention. For me I play video games and recently have been rebuilding my computer with custom water cooling.

As good as it is to constantly learn and push yourself it is equally important to take a break and relax so that you can come back fresh and invigorated.

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JavaScript Joel

Clearly this is hypothetical. Not coding until Monday? No way!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Wound up being hypothetical because I had to make a one-line change ๐Ÿ˜‡

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JavaScript Joel

That's how it starts a one line change. Before you know it you've refactored 20 files.

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Grzegorz Ziemonski

In one of the books (I think in it's Cal Newport's Deep Work), the guy describes his "shutdown" routine in which he always says the same words after work and then never gets back to it again. This way his brain is wired that this words really mean "end of work for the day".

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Thomas Melville

Great book!

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David J Eddy

Keep problem solving, just about non-work. For example, auto mechanics, welding, crafting, reading, etc. This, I feel, it part of the whole work/life balance. Keep you mind engage by all means, but engaged in non-work related tasks.

Ever rebuild a food disposal? Sounds like an interesting weekend task. Ever pull a car engine? Thats a weekend task.

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Antonio Radovcic

Kid & Guitar

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Daragh Byrne

I read a ridiculous amount, cook, eat with friends, and I'm lucky enough to live in a city where "get in the ocean" is a viable option in the summer.

I've also kind of accepted that it's OK to have a thread running working on problems. I just leave it in the background and predict that it will do what it needs to to create appropriate solutions. I try to give everything else just a bit more attention, but its presence doesn't distress me.

I've also been writing a lot at the weekends: here, Medium, my blog.

And of course I switch off using yoga and meditation :)

๐ŸŒš Browsing with dark mode makes you a better developer.

It's a scientific fact.