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Let's talk about importance of concentration (for developers)

twitter logo ・1 min read

I have been thinking about this for a while now. Concentration is one the most important skill to have as a developer.
The best developers I have seen have rock solid concentration, they are like saints meditating while working.

But in todays distracted world this is becoming a rare skill to find. I myself find it difficult to concentrate on many occasions.

What's your story? were you able to concentrate since day one or learned it with time ? did you used any techniques or it was long stretches of coding that taught you this?

twitter logo DISCUSS (12)
markdown guide
 

Focus is a tough one for most developers, I believe. I am struggling with it all the time, no matter if I am working in the open space office at my workplace or at home.

As a developer, you need to have two character traits:

  1. The ability to focus

  2. Curiosity and the urge to learn new things.

It is obvious that the two are somewhat working in opposite directions. Therefore it is hard to find a good balance. But that's just the way it is. It is probably best to view it as a challenge.

 

"the two are somewhat working in opposite directions." - yes I agree to that , this happens with me all the time . curiosity leaves me switching from one topic to another. I think a balance between working on one thing at a time and the urge to try new things should be there to be productive .

"It is probably best to view it as a challenge." - yes I think that is the right way to think about it . If we take it as a challenge we can improve on it over time

 

I actually have the opposite problem, focus burns me out and bores me so I quickly become unproductive. I'm usually only able to push things forward and finish my projects when I have 5 things in front of me so that there's at least one to "distract" me at any given time.

This in practice only works well if I'm taking good notes which becomes a good defense against colleagues taking me out of the "zone". Very little of me working memory is volatile and that goes a long way.

 

yes , I believe what most of us forget to do is taking notes , that can stop us from going off track and another important point is writing down mini goals for the day, I tend to stay more focused when I have written down my todo's for the day.
But I think you have this interesting problem , focusing so much that it burns you out, I would like to have that sort of issue. :)

 

I despise working in 'barn-like' office floors... It's just not my cup of tea... Either solo office or home, anything else is for failure in my case...

 

My last job had an open floor style and that is the worst thing for developers. It was impossible to concentrate for even a 5 minute stretch.
Home is a much better place then to work in such conditions

 

I have seen people using concentration apps and chrome addons or use headphones and what have you. I have seen a thread recently around here somewhere that described all those goodies if you want to search and find out.

While all those techniques are nice there will always be something that pops in your mind that you have to settle somehow and those apps or techniques can not help you at ALL. So you have to learn how to FOCUS on your task. I think when the subject matter is to your liking you tend to FOCUS more so you will be blessed to find interesting projects to work on but I believe the concentration is something that you have to learn how to deal with mostly on your own. Perhaps try different techniques and see what suits you best.

As for me I just find a quiet place (working remote all the time) and sit there and try to have as less distractions as possible and try not jump back and forth from subject to subject and try to minimize the tabs that I have open.

 

"when the subject matter is to your liking you tend to FOCUS more".. I completely agree. And yes finding a quiet place to work at is kind of prerequisite to allow concentration to kick in.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 
 

That is a great guide ! Thanks.
I have been thinking to start meditating and after reading your thoughts on it I realised I am missing out on the many benefits that meditation has to offer. I will start it today! Thanks

 

Please message me here or email Daragh @ codingmindfully dot com and I’ll help!

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Frontend / javascript developer with 6 years of experience. Love everything JavaScript . I also do node and backend sometimes