Software engineer. I write code and stay weird.
A moment of reflection dear dev, dear engineer, and dear LANister. A brief reminder that yes, we are here, and yes we are alive. We made it to this day! What a joy! Ohh, hey Kelvin! Let's talk about our mental health today. A little sanity in all the chaos of whatever bugs, errors, and painful hours we might have had to this moment.
Often than not, the life of a developer revolves around getting up, throwing laundry on the bed, coding, letting the laundry hug the seat once more, and sleeping. We've been here once or twice.
Do this often, and we know what happens. It's exhausting, draining, and demotivating.
In as much as we strive to perfect the skill, or do one more ' if fail print success! , the natural order of things is to let things settle in.
To allow your body to absorb that new way of doing what you've just got a Eureka for. So code, perfect, and learn, but get out as well.
The trick? Learn one thing then move to the next. One step at a time. One side project (to completion damn it) at a time, one breaking change at a time and one small commit at a time. Beginner or advanced, give it time but make it quality time.
Shred some or leave some, may the force be with you.
So if I am taking on three projects for a weekend, does this work? Or does this end up with multiple shitty lines of code on the last one and most probably a burn out early Monday morning when I am actually supposed to get something done? What works for you? Will this motivate you or leave you dreading code for a couple of days?
At the end of this road - up for interpretation-, will you say,
'Ahhh... I remember the beautiful algorithm back when I was xx years' (that you might have thrown away and moved on to the next unfinished side project)
or will you say
' I made this one project that was quite challenging. I met this random person that helped me while out on a trip that weekend'.
One thing at a time! Got a bug? Get out of the chair and take a walk, have a breather instead of glaring into the bottomless pit of red - error lines. Builds fail all the time. You looking at the error message printing 'failed to build' for three hours will not make it magically disappear. It might, however, go away while taking an impromptu coffee break with a friend or two - and you'll go
'ahh... why didn't I think of it?! It was right there! '.
We know it was right there. It was taking coffee with you. A thought just came by when your mind was not applying pressure to one part of the brain.
Avoid, if you can, long eternal coding sessions followed by an even longer break - can take days, weeks, or even months - of body unrest resulting from pushing yourself too hard during which you forget 90% of whatever it is you worked so hard on. Prioritize, consistency over intensity. No bug will go solved if the person looking for it is not okay, either mentally or physically.
So let's do more. And what oh what do I mean? I mean more living, more workouts, more balance, getting more outside of our constrained world of pixels, of conversations ordained by algorithms, destined to make us meet people thinking exactly like us, ignoring the opposites. We do have two brain hemispheres by the way - one head(think about that). So dear dev, go meet a friend and talk about something other than code.
By the way, Kelvin, are we going out this weekend or what. I need a fresh brew of brain cells. Ziplining will work just fine.
Previously published at https://thegreencodes.com/a-developers-mental-day
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