You Need Your Time Off
One of the hardest parts about being a good developer is trying to keep up with all of the new stuff that comes out. Let's be honest: we all have a list of things that we'd love to learn more about, but we just can't get around to it, right? I'm talking about programming languages, frameworks or libraries, new techniques, new kinds of data storage, architectural styles, or maybe just certain tools like specific editors or whatever. Well, I'm sure you get the point. I have a list like that. And so do you.
Another difficult part is always having a list of things you want to do, or need to do. Implementing that pet project you've had on your mind for a while now. Contributing to some Open Source projects that you're fond of. Accepting pull requests. Writing a blog post about something. There's always something, and you never quite manage to cross off every item on that list. I have a list like that. And so do you.
And you know what? That's ok. You have to accept the fact that between your job and your personal life, there is a limited amount of spare time available to you. And you just can't spend all of it on learning new stuff all the time or working on things that you think are important. Sure, learning is important. And so is taking the time to work on things that matter to you. But what's equally important is giving yourself enough time off to sit back, relax and maybe even do nothing.
I spend about 80 minutes each day on the train. Sometimes I'll read. Sometimes I'll code. And sometimes I just listen to some tunes while I stare out the window, either thinking about nothing or thinking about whatever comes to mind. It's a conscious decision. That's me saying "I just wanna relax right now". Which means I don't even want to think about software development stuff, or blogging, or anything else that I'm supposed to do. On some free evenings I think "damn, I really should do something useful". And on some of those nights, I will. But I'll also consciously choose not to do anything useful from time to time as well. It all kinda depends on how busy I've been in the days leading up to that free evening.
Your brain is like a semi-intelligent battery. It has a limited amount of energy and it can only do so much between charges. It's smart enough to scale down its activity when it's starting to run low, but most of us are too stupid to realize it and we just try to keep going. The result is that whatever we're trying to do, we're not going to do it as well as we think we are. You will have trouble learning new things when you're running low. You certainly won't do your best work when you're running low. In fact, you're likely to do a half-assed job which ironically only increases your workload.
Take care of that battery. Recharge it regularly, and don't think you can get by with minimum recharging. If it doesn't work for your phone, it won't work for you either.comments powered by Disqus