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Ilona Codes
Ilona Codes

Posted on • Originally published at

7 Simple Rules to Make Life Better for Developers

As people, we have a superpower; it is the power of perception. As the famous saying goes, life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it.

There is so much to do in life. It offers you immense opportunities to grow, enjoy, become whatever you want to be.

Every career has around 1000 Mondays. It's still a job, no matter how much you enjoy it. As developers, we do programming job, and like any job, some people love it, some hate it, and most are somewhere in the middle.

But do you know what you should aim for yourself, indeed? Career? Fame? Money? Increased knowledge?

Just think, if you continue in the vein you are in, imagine what your life would be like 1-3-5-10 years from now:

๐Ÿ’ญ Is that where you want to be?

If it is greatโ€”great, if it is notโ€”then start taking baby steps to plan your way out of it. And the following rules below might help to improve your life for the better:

๐ŸŒŸ Form new habits continuously

Our habits shape our lives far more than we probably realize. They are strong and sticky. They grow stronger over time and become routine automatically.

It's crucial to make sure you have the right habits. The automatization of your actions will free up your will-power energy that can be used to focus on other tasks. And that can work to your advantage, your productivity and efficiency!

If you are struggling to make a new habit stick, then you probably are not aware or consciously setting unrealistic goals and expectations.

For example:

"I am going to run a marathon in 2 months, even though I have not gone running since high school."

"I am going to develop a full-stack app in 3 days, even though I have just been learning to code since last week."

"I am going to spend 1 hour daily on learning a new foreign language, even though I couldn't spend more than 10 minutes on learning for the previous one."

That's why if you want to make your new habits stick, you need toโ€ฆ

  1. Start being honest with yourself.
  2. Approach a new habit realistically and progressively.
  3. Find a motivating reward to encourage your brain to continue adopting a new habit. Light it up with the neurotransmitter dopamine!

If you want to learn more about how habits work, you can read more about Habit Loop.

Today most people want to change themselves too much too quickly. But the real key to build a habit is to make it so small that you cannot say no to it.

Start small, so you cannot fail.

๐Ÿค Build healthy and positive relationships

Do aspects of developer work foster loneliness?

"If developers tend to have introverted personality traits, then there is reason to believe that they are more vulnerable to loneliness than those in other professions." โ€” Elizabeth Plank, Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

I still believe that if developers are alone, that doesn't necessarily mean they are lonely. However, full isolation can be fatal because it reinforces depression and other mental diseases.

Let's be honest: not many developers have the best social skills. And still, having relationships is a vital component of our health, well-being, happiness, and success.

Though I'm not a big fan of self-help books, but "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie has changed my life for the better. I have read this book multiple times because, in my opinion, it is not enough to read only once.

In short, my biggest takeaway that thoughtfulness, kindness, gentleness, and respect go a long when dealing with people.

The key is to understand human nature and work with it, not against it.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿซ Find your mentor

To not repeat myself, I have already explained from my point of view the importance of having a mentor for developers in one of my previous posts: Switching Your Career to Programming: ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿซ Find mentor.

The question is, how can a mentor actually help you to change your life for the better?

Mentoring can boost your mental health; moreover, it can lower anxiety for both mentor and mentee, reduce stress levels, and prevent burnout.

Besides, today social distancing doesn't have to disrupt mentorship because the current pandemic has many more people teleworking, telelunching, and telemeeting to adapt to the virtual environment.

Great, professional, and even aspiring mentors show up and engage with mentees in crises and uncertain times, even when that requires creativity and adaptation.

๐Ÿ’ธ Save and Invest

In everyday life, in informal conversations with peers or colleagues, often investing comes as a natural topic. The problem is that most of us don't have a clear strategy for retiring or investing our savings.

On the other side, we, developers, are lucky at some point, because we are flexible.

If we wish, we could:

  • Get a very high paying job.
  • Work remotely and live in a city that is not that expensive and save more money.
  • Develop side projects along with passive income.

And achieving Financial Independence (FI) can make our life better. At least, it can help us not continually thinking about paying bills.

Above that, your passive side of income will allow you to make better life decisions because cash is not your daily need anymore. You will stop live in a world of scarcity.

"Never depend on a single income, make an investment to create a second source."โ€”Warren Buffett

Ideally, any money outside your active budget should be transferred to investments where it earns returns and is harder to spend.

Here, you can learn more about the smart ways to start investing your money.

Learning how to invest money might seem scary, especially if you get started when the market is experiencing a crash. Still, it's easier than you think, and you can begin no matter how much you have saved before.

If you do your research and due diligence, you should be well on your way to a healthy financial future.

๐Ÿง–โ€โ™€๏ธ Take care of your body

It's not a secret that a healthy body supports a healthy mind.

Relaxation, Exercise, Attitude, Sleep, Diet and Meditation: this is a simple recipe for well-being and prosperity in life.

Only we are capable of controlling the things you can control and letting go of the things you cannot. It means, if your body and mind are healthy, anything else can be achieved if you want it enough.

The study "The Effect of Exercise on Earnings" refers that people who do regular sport earn 6-10% higher wages.

For instance, regular exercises help release stress, improve blood circulation, sleep better at night, which in turn helps your mind to focus better during the working day.

๐Ÿ“š Read every day

It can sound surprising, but reading books is a skill.

It means the more you do it, the easier it is to learn from new material. If you get in the habit of learning from books, your learning rate becomes faster by default.

You can get into a reading habit by following the "14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit".

In fact, reading more and remembering it all, it's a real challenge.

There is reading fast, and there is reading lots. A combination of both is the best way to supercharge your reading routine.

To read more, you need to make time for that and prioritize it by cutting out time from other activities.

Reading is also a habit of compounding growth. Learn more, and you will generate ideas and enthusiasm for making other changes.

๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ Stay enthusiastic

Enthusiasm is the positive inner energy that keeps you trying more when everything goes wrong and inclines you to give up.

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."โ€”Winston Churchill.

In the developers' world, enthusiasm for programming is a side effect of enthusiasm for problem solving and application development.

The best approach to maintain enthusiasm in programming is to have a vision of what you are creating: knowing how your app or your code can make a difference in the world or even in your life.

Definitely, the programming journey itself can be rewarding, much more satisfying when it builds to a beautiful end result.

๐Ÿ’ฌ Conclusion

Most of the people are more likely to benefit from simple than complex advice because "A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

You can experience whatever you want through your thoughts and actions. Only you are in charge of your life.

To live a remarkable life, you must take consistent action in spite of your fears and doubts, create the right habits to boost your productivity, and improve your overall well-being.

You don't have to do everything all at once, and life doesn't have to be complicated. Simple living is mindful living.

Ilona helps developers to succeed in their careers without stress via her weekly newsletter. Sign up and grab her networking cheat sheet as a bonus here.

Photo by Vojtech Bruzek on Unsplash

Top comments (16)

nombrekeff profile image

Thanks for this post, I struggle with this a lot recently. But little by little I'm being able to improve it.

Exercise has really helped me overcome anxiety and depression, also communication is key, talking with people about your problems (if they want to listen that is) really helps you, I don't know if it is just the act of explaining it if it is that you're not SO alone anymore or what exactly... but it helps big time.

I also tell myself the following: "Work is part of life, not life itself, so don't become controlled by it"

I read a book called "The Power of Habit - Why do we do what we do and how to change", it's a nice read, it gives really nice insight into how habits work and how to create them...

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

Thank you for your reply! I feel you :( I have been in your shoes, and understand how it's challenging to find a balance to live a happy life.

Love this book too! Habit: I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE to get a REWARD ๐Ÿ™Œ

rmakara profile image
Rafaล‚ Makara • Edited

Great article. :) I strongly agree with "Take care of your body" part. :) When I feel like dying when working remotely, I have the kettlebell pretty close to my desk. Doing just 1-2 series of snatches and swings for 90 seconds brings me back to life and work. :)

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ Agree! Indulging yourself in some physical activity will make you more active and fitter.

donnisnoni profile image
Don Alfons Nisnoni

Thanks @ilonacodes !!! Lovely post ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

My pleasure! Thank you too ๐Ÿ™

vfulco profile image
Vincent Fulco (It / It's)

Great stuff here, especially for younger knowledge workers

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

Absolutely ๐Ÿ’ฏ

sirawit profile image

thanks for this post, it helps me.

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

You are welcome!

thisdotmedia_staff profile image
This Dot Media

This was such a gem of an article Ilona! Wonderful advice and really important points ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿค—

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

Thank you very much! I am so glad you liked it ๐Ÿ˜Œ

juniorescaj profile image
Claudio Araujo Junior

Very nice post. This has motivated me a lot. Thank you!

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes

Thanks a lot! I appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚

markopetrovic91 profile image
Marko Petrovic

Great article! Thanks!

modev profile image

Thanks you ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ. Such a good post and important topic