7 Things to be always your best at programming
Just like you, I love spending time coding, but with the years I’ve noticed that I sometimes had headaches, back pains, or difficulty to concentrate. These troubles would directly impact my performance and would affect my passion for programming. I’ve put together a non-constraining routine to help me be at 100% all day, every day. And here are my tips for you!
1. Be hydrated 💧
Dehydration is a direct cause of headaches. We loose about a tall glass of water every night sleep, it is important to make up for it shortly after waking up. Hydratation level affect directly blood fluidity. And we know how much our brain need a good blood flow. I just drink a tall glass of water when I wake up, usually not too cold, room temperature is ideal.
You should stay hydrated all day long drinking at least 1.5l of water.
2. Enable blood flow 🩸
To have a sharp mind, we need a brain well irrigated, and that start with enabling the blood to flow through our body and brain.
I take 5–15 minutes to exercise, a walk around the block or a short run. When I want it short, I do jumping jack and burpees for 5 minutes, short and instance!
When I have more time I even go for cycling, swimming or dancing. They must be something you like doing with your body! Ideally you should do a little bit of exercise during the course of the day. And don’t forget to drink water after exercising!
3. Stretch 🧘🏽♀️🧘🏼♂️
Every morning I spend 5 to 10 minutes stretching. We spend long hours in front of our screens, with not always the right posture. This can lead to headaches, back pains, tense shoulders and ultimately limit your ability to write good code. I usually follow a short yoga routine, cat and cow, sun salutation, cobra… This is something you can do right after your exercises, to cool down, regroup and focus.
4. Offer great fuel to your brain 🍓🫐
Having breakfast is part of many morning routine, but for a Developer, the right food matters. We need aliments that will fuel the brain with the right nutrients. I usually consume nuts, berry and chocolate on top of my regular breakfast. They provide antioxidants, vitamins and electrolytes and they are delicious! I also recommend to eat something with a low Glycemic Index such as grapefruit, apple, orange, strawberries, that is essential for providing Glucose gradually to the body and brain.
You can use a mix of nuts and berries for snack during the day, to keep the good fuel in your body.
5. Warm up with some games 🎮
They help me to get ready for problem solving in a fun way. It releases some Dopamine which help focusing better, improve memory and stimulate creativity.
I spend 5–10minutes playing some games and puzzles on my phone, it can be sudoku, chess, games designed for brain like lumosity.
Similarly, it is recommended to slow down on these games before sleeping to lower dopamine level, so you can have a good night sleep. I know I sounds like your mum back in the days when you were playing Super Nintendo and PlayStation 😅
6. Get excited 📰
Read some good news related to the topics you love. It can be spending a few minutes on Twitter or Medium for instance. Reading sharpen your mind and topics you like will put you in a better state of mind.
Remember to spend maximum 10 minutes on that and don’t fall into the rabbit hole of the Internet. You may find good stories to share with your co-workers and create some team bonding later in the day, social interactions are good too.
7. Know what your day is like 📅
Finally it is time to get started on the job. To prevent stress during the day, I look at my board (Scrum, Kanban…). I read the tickets I could tackle today and check my calendar for meetings. Then I can plan what work I’m ready to commit myself to. I would recommend to not overcommit yourself, that will prevent stress and remember there is always something unexpected to happen everyday, so leave room for it.
Bonus tip take shortcuts
All-in-all, this routine takes me about 30 minutes. Since I’m working from home these days it fit pretty easily, as It replaced my commute. But if that is too long for you then I’ve got some bonus tips! Instead of drinking water make yourself a smoothie: water, berries, nuts, and one fruit.
Then start a slow exercising like walking for 10 minutes, while walking you can play some games on your phone and read the news.
Measuring the benefits
We could conduct a little study here, with you reader! What about you check your metrics for the last two weeks, like how many PRs you opened, how many bugs and code smells you created and fixed.
Start the routine now and in 2 weeks look at your metrics again, did it improve? Let me know in the comments below 👇
That’s it for me. I hope you learn something and maybe you implemented some of this. Feeling better and sharper could help you enjoying programming even more!