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Daniel Wallen
Daniel Wallen

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5 Healthy Habits for Computer Programmers and Web Development Students (#3 Is Simple but Powerful)

In my past life, I was an online coach. That basically means: "personal trainer in your pocket." I was obsessed with habit change and consumed myself in research. As every human being is by definition a creature of habit, it's impossible to make any progress without redesigning our behavior patterns. With that reasoning in mind, here are five healthy habits that will make you feel alive and refreshed. #3 utilizes your body's built-in stress reliever.

1. Take an activity break every hour.

Stand up. Take a walk. Do some desk stretches. The specifics don't matter (yet). Right now, the important thing is to get away from your screen. Too busy? Nope. Science shows exercise actually makes you more productive. To test this theory, pay attention to how long it takes to finish your usual daily tasks. I bet you'll discover exercising causes an efficiency boost.

2. Refill your water when you return.

Not gonna bother finding evidence to support the claim that water is healthy, because you're smarter than the average Flat Earther. You know this. And yet it's easy to forget, get dehydrated, and end up fatigued. There goes your energy! To prevent a crash, always keep a glass of water at your desk and get a refill immediately after your hourly activity break.

3. Take a few slow, deep breaths.

Do you see how I tied habits one and two together? I'm about to do the same here. This is called habit stacking. We are chaining related habits together in a row. After returning to your desk, take ten deep breaths in and out. Count to three during the inhale. And count to six during the exhale. Your belly should expand on the inhale and shrink on the exhale. As a result, you'll feel less stressed and more refreshed.

4. Listen to music that calms you.

Noisy environment? Invest in headphones. Listen to soothing music. While I'm a metal head at the gym, I can't handle all that noise when I'm coding. It's distracting and wrecks my focus. Instead, I listen to classical music. To clarify: I mean Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin, Handel, and other dead guys with funny hair. This music enhances my mood and concentration to a significant extent. Experiment with different genres until you find what works best for you.

5. Shut down at a decent hour.

Bright screens can mess up your circadian rhythm, especially if you're exposed to them late at night. In addition, you need to give your mind time to empty itself of concerns about the day. Otherwise, the quality of your sleep will suffer. I like to shut down at least two hours before bed. Then I watch a couple episodes of Batman: the Animated Series and read about 40-50 pages of a fiction book (just in case you're curious, Dean Koontz is my #1 favorite author). This helps me wind down and wake up with a full battery.

Would you add any healthy habits to this list? If so, leave a comment! You're also welcome to share this blog with any colleagues who need to read it.

Top comments (7)

ifarmgolems profile image
Patrik Jajcay

Bright screens can mess up your circadian rhythm

You can also use flux or any simmilar software to warm your monitor up. Some say it's a placebo but I don't think so. I have permanently lowered my white to 5900k (3600k at sundown), way less eye strain even during the day.

joeey profile image

I think most OS now have display option for night hours that can help with that with no need to any software

joeey profile image

I would really like to add pay attention to the way you developers or writers who sit by hours in front of their screens it is really important to sit healthy and invest in the gear you are using to feel comfortable

webwallen profile image
Daniel Wallen

I use a stand-up desk for a significant portion of my day for this exact reason. Good observation!

jschleigher profile image
James Schleigher

Thanks for sharing! I use task management software to organize my to-do list. I used the time-blocking method to schedule my day-to-day to-do list. And I include short-time break times in my schedule to take a short walk and refresh my mind. I haven't tried many tools, but I like Trello and Quire.

rohansawant profile image
Rohan Sawant • Edited

The water one is a biggie. Stay Hydrated! 💦

vladimir_dev profile image

Good tips, can confirm 😁👍