Overcoming the 3 Most Harmful Habits for Programmers


Mary Abiodun
July 11, 2021

Programming is tough. As stressful as it often is, it can also be greatly fulfilling and enjoyable. One thing that makes programming enjoyable is the ability to solve problems in different ways and sometimes, with different languages. Most programmers do have knowledge of a handful of programming languages. 

Being a programmer is prestigious but there are harmful habits that can prevent programmers from living their best lives while they are trying to be the superheroes that they are. Programmers often overlook these habits but we will be considering these three most harmful habits in a moment.

 

Not Exercising Regularly

When you think of exercises, the first thing that comes to mind is the physical exercise that involves going to gym, lifting weights, pushups, running long and short distances, and all forms of physical exercises. Exercise is very good. Taking a walk is probably one of the easiest but highly rewarding exercises you can do as a programmer. Exercise boosts your energy levels and gets you super pumped to face new tasks in a new light.

You do not necessarily need gym subscriptions to exercise yourself. Time is usually the excuse for skipping exercises but something as easy as taking a walk around your environment, flying staircases, skipping, and riding a bicycle or following exercises from fitness coaches on  YouTube from the comfort of your room can do the trick for you. These are some ideas for you but you can think of many more.

Block time on your calendar for exercise. 15 minutes of exercise can be all you need for a productive day. Get another programmer to join you in your exercise routine. It will be motivating to know that you are not alone when you have a partner. 
Stick with what works for you. There is no fixed time for doing your exercises. It doesn’t have to be in the morning. It can be after you are done with work. Or you could even find a 15-minute block during working hours work out.. In doing what works for you, you would need to try different things before sticking with what makes sense for you.

Mental exercise is another form of exercise. Play games – it could be board games, computer games, card games or physical games with friends. Physical games are also great for physical exercises. Learn new things. Take a course. Learn a new language. Venture into new problem areas. Have a side project! These are some examples for you but be creative in your quest for finding ways to exercise yourself mentally and physically.

Skipping Meals

As a programmer, skipping meals is an atomic habit that could blow up in your face if done consistently over a long period. The excuse that you are busy is not enough reason to skip meals. I know that there are bugs to fix and they are stealing your time from taking meals but skipping meals should be  a no-no. 

Programming requires so much brain power. You are using up energy that needs to be refilled. Food is a fuel; see your body and your brain as engines that power the work you do. They need fuel to run and function properly. That fuel is your meal.

Skipping meals is a highway to a breakdown. Your meals do not have to be mountainous before you feel like you have eaten. Small good meals (not junk food) can give your body the fuel it needs to keep going. 

It is a habit for most programmers to eat while they code but just as you can block time to exercise, you can do the same for taking meals. Breakfast is an important meal of the day. A great breakfast can fuel you to the end of your work for the day. Even if you don’t take lunch, you can replace your lunch with fruits and vegetables.

Imagine yourself as a car or a vehicle. You need fuel for your engine to run and get you moving. Your body is an engine. Your brain is an engine. Lack of fuel could cause  a breakdown. A breakdown will require you to undergo repairs. Repairs could mean taking medicines, or being at the hospital. Taking your food as medicine (not skipping meals) would prevent you from taking medicines as food.

 

Dehydration

Closely related to skipping meals is dehydration. Water is food. Even if you are observing a fast that could require that you take no meals for some time, water is a good replacement for food. I have observed that when your body lacks the right amount of water at a given time, it can affect the way your brain works and shut down every other part of your body. It can lead to headaches or migraines.

Dehydration already happens before you are thirsty for water. You do not have to be thirsty to take water. You can have a cup of water or a bottle of water by your side as you work every day. Water is also something to have with you when you go for your exercise. If you are going to skip meals for whatever reason, don’t skip taking water.

One tip that I use to hydrate my body is giving myself a water quota for each day. I determine how many litres of water I want to drink and I portion that to different times of the day. I also have a measurement to help me track the amount of water I have taken. For example, if I decide to take two litres of water in a day, I can get a water bottle of 50cl or 500ml. By calculation, four of it will give me my two litres for the day. I can also choose what times of the day I take the water. This is something you can try too. Water has the ability to make you look fresh because it flushes out toxic waste from your body. Drink more water. Stay hydrated.

 

Conclusion

Habits are hard to break but you can devise creative ways to overcome them without feeling like you are going too hard on yourself.

The three most harmful habits here stated are: not exercising regularly, skipping meals, and dehydration. These habits look harmless but have a great impact on your life over time. As a programmer, you are creative and you have the creative power to break free from them. 

The world needs your ideas and problem-solving abilities. Keep taking creative steps to overcome these and other harmful habits you notice.


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