It’s been 5 years since I started programming. Over the last 3 it’s been the thing I do daily besides eat, sleep, and breathe. I’ve learned a few things about myself during this time. Here’s two that conflict with each other:
- I love to code
- I want to spend less time coding
Hear me out
I spend roughly 6-8 hours a day doing code related things:
- reading code
- reviewing code
- discussing code
- learning about code
- thinking about code
- writing code
Here’s the catch: 5-10% of this time is spent in the writing code state. That’s it! The rest of my time is spent in what I call “meta-code”. Analysis, discussion, learning, etc.
Time spent here can be productive, but it can also derail me from my main objectives. I’ve never been good at avoiding rabbit holes, and as I’ve discussed in a recent edition of Original Copy, my irrational fear of starting has led to a significant amount of time in the learning about code state.
In fact, most of my free time in the last 5 years has been spent learning about code.
At the beginning it was out of necessity. A sink or swim feeling. I needed to learn everything I could. Breaking into the industry required lots of time and effort, more than what I put in now. It was not sustainable.
It wasn't until I got my head above water and came into my own that I found enjoyment in learning for learning sake. This has been a revelation for me. My brain viewed learning as a survival resource for so long. Now it’s starting to view it as a way of gaining satisfaction and purpose.
My newfound love of learning doesn’t stop at code. There are other things I want to learn too, and the truth is I won’t get to them all if most of my time is spent in front of a computer.
Quality vs Quantity
With the new year approaching I’ve taken time to reflect on how to:
- Minimize total time spent coding
- Maximize the quality of time spent coding
This probably requires a separate blog post, but I'll give you a taste of where my head is at. A potential solution I've thought up puts a twist on Just in Time Learning:
Time spent in the learning to code state should focus on solving problems that are directly in front of you.
This requires other behavior changes as well, such as limiting the amount of projects you take on, breaking down those projects into small, achievable goals, and ignoring FOMO.
Through this process I see two positive effects:
- The dial is moved on the project (work or side hustle)
- Learning still happens
I’m working on a side project now that happens to use SQLite. I’ve never needed to learn SQLite before, but this project has forced me too. I’ve learned just enough to solve my problem and nothing more.
I feel productive because I’ve moved the dial on the project, which is the main objective, and I’ve learned some new things, which is always an objective. This is quality time spent.
Like I said earlier, this probably requires a longer post. The idea still needs to be fleshed out. Does this sound like something you'd be interested in reading about further?
On the blog
First post of the new year! It's on the shorter side, but I had some thoughts around contributing to open source in a more effective way. Hope you like it!
Seriously good stuff
I know I'm 2 years late to the party, but this game is gorgeous. I just started playing and it's brought out the little kid in me again. I'm having a blast exploring with no agenda.
Disclaimer: I've yet to watch this Netflix movie. Why am I recommending it, then?
Remember those old Choose Your Own Adventure books that put choices in front of the reader?
Turn to page 67 if you want to enter the creepy old house.
Bandersnatch, as far as I can tell, is the first visual Choose Your Own Adventure. It's part of the Black Mirror series. I've heard great things. Note that in order to "play along" you need to be watching on a supported device.
I don't know why it's taken me so long to watch this YouTube channel. It's perfect for those who enjoy cooking. Even if you don't, and you just like to see real craftsmanship at work. Even if you don't care about craftsmanship, and just like food!
Talk to you next week,
Happy coding! 👾