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Chelsea Wetzel
Chelsea Wetzel

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5 Tips to Stay Focused While Learning How to Code

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try, you just can't focus? In a world full of distractions it can be easy to feel this way. Here are 5 tips and tricks, I have found useful, to stay on task while I learned how to code...

1. Make a todo list and stick to it! ๐Ÿ“

Sure, sure you have probably heard this before, but hear me out! Making a todo list and sticking to it can be so helpful for keeping you from getting distracted. Thinking about scrolling through Twitter? Nope, not on your todo list. But you know what is on that todo list... finishing that coding tutorial you were watching last week! To avoid getting distracted, I find that putting things in the correct order of how you want to do them helps as well. This way, there is no excuse for "coming back and doing it later." Just make sure that you keep checking your list and cross off the items you have already done. Checking off those tasks and seeing your list have no more "todos" at the end of the day feels sooo satisfying!

2. Break down a problem to make it smaller ๐Ÿ

It can be easy to get stuck and feel overwhelmed by a problem, especially when first learning how to code. During my time at Lambda School they taught us an acronym for breaking down big problems. This acronym is called UPER, it stands for Understand, Plan, Execute, and Re-evaluate. This is based off of the popular technique called "Polya's Problem Solving Process." This technique helped me be able to break down large and overwhelming problems into smaller, less intimidating tasks.
Polya's problem solving technique

3. Take a break ๐Ÿ’†โ€โ™€๏ธ

You may be thinking, aren't I supposed to be focusing? Yes, but taking a break can help you focus! Remember how we just talked about breaking down complicated problems? Well, those complicated problems can be very stressful and tire out our brain. Taking a break when you are done solving a problem, or even in the middle of solving a problem, acts as a good refresher. While you take a break I recommend closing all electronic devices and don't think about your code! Here are some, not so serious, things you can do during a break to get your mind off your code...

  • take a walk (especially with a furry friend)
  • eat a snack
  • workout or do some yoga
  • chat with a friend
  • do a crossword puzzle
  • read a book
  • drink a big glass of water
  • talk into a fan and see how funny you sound
  • color in a coloring book
  • learn how to make origami
  • go outside and sit in the sun

4. Listen to music ๐ŸŽง

Listening to music while coding can put you into an unexplainable head space. I prefer to listen to music without words while I code, but if you can listen to music with words, more power to you! I will link two of my favorite lofi playlists below so that you can enjoy sinking into that hyper-focused head space.

5. Take notes ๐Ÿ“’

Taking notes is a classic way to stay focused. This can also help you go back and re-evaluate the things that you have already learned. I find that taking notes (especially during a long lecture or coding tutorial) helps me keep my attention on the speaker rather than getting distracted. My favorite way of taking notes is with a regular notepad and some colorful pens, but there are so many other ways, including online, to take notes. Here are a few...

Thank you all so much for reading my tips and tricks to stay focused ๐Ÿ’ช Please feel free to comment and discuss some ways that you like to stay focused, I would love to hear them and use them!

Top comments (3)

jschleigher profile image
James Schleigher

Make a to-do list and stick to it, I second this! Previously I didn't think this would be an essential thing to do. But after practicing this, I can never go back to the old days! I'm using task management software to do this. Todoist and Quire are both great. Notion is my go to tool for journaling.

mfwdaf profile image

I second Notion. I subbed today, and it is everything I ever wanted it to be and so much more!

chelsea_wetzel profile image
Chelsea Wetzel

I plan to write a blog post on how to make a "Informational but fun document" with notion. Stay tuned for that!