As a developer, you need to understand that there are things you need to stop doing, things you need to continue doing, and things you need to start doing. The things you need to stop doing and the things you need to keep doing are not our focus of discussion. Instead, let’s focus on the things you need to start doing.
If you notice that you already do the three things you find here, then you need to do more of them. For you, that would mean that they fall into the category of things you should continue doing.
Developer, take a break! Give yourself a break. One error most developers fall into is thinking that they have limited time to accomplish or tick off the items on the long to-do lists that they have on their plate. As a result, they fall into the trap of working for long hours at a stretch without taking breaks. The result of this is that you can burn out, get tired, lack motivation to do what you love or even quit.
Working without taking breaks clogs your thinking because you only get to see things in one direction when you stay at a task for too long. A bug can be right in front of you and you won’t see it because all you see is the same thing.
Take a break for a few minutes and come back to the same code you have been working on. You would begin to see things differently. You would think differently. You would have given yourself the opportunity to stay away so that you can come back revitalized and re-energized to tackle what seems to be evasive.
While taking a break, you can sometimes get that aha moment - that light bulb that sparks new ideas in your mind – when you take the time to walk away. Sometimes, you are not even thinking of the problem when the solution drops in your laps.
You can use the Pomodoro technique to allocate break times for yourself. You can decide to work for one hour and take a 15 minutes break afterwards. There are no hard and fast rules to this. The most important thing is that you are incorporating breaks into your work. Find out what works for you.
Developers are some of the most social beings on the planet but you would never know. That’s because you would mostly find them behind their computers and laptop coding away but they have a strong digital presence. While you might not find developers at social events like a local party, they are at online parties and in virtual communities and groups bringing some vibrant energy to the stage. Their online friends love their vibes and they do very well with socializing in the online space.
As great as the virtual and online environment is, you as a developer need to form some real relationships with those around you in physical spaces. On most days, you plug your ears with headphones and music. Virtual meetings have become the order of the day and it is easy to lose touch with the physical world and friends. Remote work has also taken over, so most of your work colleagues are in different countries and you might never meet some of them in person. You need a way to disconnect from virtual reality and connect with the real reality.
Find time to have physical meetups with people. If you have mentors and mentees, physical meetings can help strengthen the bond. Friends and families would also appreciate your physical presence on days you decide to surprise them with it. Talk to people around you, don’t just chat or send messages. Sit with them to have a chat instead. Place a call to others who are very far away from you. If they are close by, pay them a visit.
Sometimes, imagine the world without the internet. Shut down your devices, breathe, think, and connect with people on a deeper level.
Get enough sleep
Don’t deny it! You have been guilty of denying yourself of some good sleep at one time or another. Some developers do not get enough sleep on some days. It could have been because of some project with a strict deadline that you wanted to meet up with. You then decided to cut away some hours of sleep from your sleeping time. When you did this, what did you notice?
Not getting enough sleep has a way of messing up with your day. You might need to find another time to catch up on some sleep you missed if you are to be productive after then. You know the saying that you cannot cheat nature? It is very true.
You would always have to find a way to regain lost sleep in some other way. The worst combo is not eating and not sleeping well. That is a very fast way to speed up a breakdown.
You don’t need to deprive yourself of sleep to finish up your work. If you are well rested, you would find that you can do so much in a short time and still have extra time on your hands to do other things like your side projects. Six hours of sleep everyday is enough to reset your body for each new day, and make you refreshed to face the day. Start getting enough sleep. You can automate your sleeping patterns, as you would do for any program. When your body knows when to sleep and when to wake, you increase your chances of success at work; it becomes a daily routine. Health is wealth and a good sleep is part of a healthy and a wealthy lifestyle.
If you have not been getting enough sleep, taking breaks from work or forming real and meaningful relationships with those in your physical space, these are things you should start doing as a developer. If you already do great on all three, kudos and well done. Keep doing them. You are bound to become a productive developer whose work will speak for itself because you are doing the right things.