Tyler Nilsson



Tyler Nilsson's photo
Tyler Nilsson
·Jul 16, 2021·

5 min read

"We make time in our lives for what's most important. Furthering your knowledge through education, is definitively the most valuable asset you have to make time for every single day. Period." ~Tomas Q.

As I sit here watching the Tour De France (currently Stage 18), I'm finding that I instinctively picked up my laptop, and began writing code on a project I've been working on lately. The issue is, I have cleaning and laundry to do, and yet my brain is so used to sitting down at my laptop, and pulling open my terminal and VSCode.

Instincts are, at least in my mind, a set of instructions that your brain tells your body to do, and releases it into autopilot. In coding speak:

const proj = 'current project';
const tdf = 'watch the tour';
const brain = [];
brain.push(tdf, proj);
console.log(`First, ${brain[0]}, then code on ${brain[1]}.`);

// First, watch the tour, then code on current project.

This is (typically) how the brain of a programmer works, because if there's anything us coders love, it's tasks...

My actual point here, is that even if you are just sitting down watching tv, or listening to an audiobook, or hanging out at a coffee shop, you can always find time to write code.

Essentially, I see it like exercise. If you've got an hour to spare w/nothing to do, hit that gym or go for a run! Your body will hate you for that hour (depending how hard you push yourself), but it will thank you in the long term. Finding time is easier than you think, due to the simple fact that we all waste so much of it, when we should be treating our time like the precious gold that it really is. I have a phrase I like to use, quite a lot actually considering I have a child < 10 who lives on sarcasm, and it fits w/this topic: Sacrifice now, Reward later.

The key to this phrase, is that we first need to learn how to properly sacrifice our time now, so that we can then figure out and enjoy that reward later. What I've found works best, is laying out a list of Habits to work on throughout each day, and create a simple routine out of each habit. Say for example, you want to practice the acoustic guitar, and become better at playing it, instead of watching it slowly collect dust in the corner of your bedroom. The best way to go about gearing yourself up to practice and learn, is by setting out a specific time-frame to start. So, something like:

Saturday Morning 9am (after coffee) - I will practice playing my guitar for 20 Minutes And from there, you can increase your time day to day/week to week as you continue to get better and practice that skill.

Coding, as any good programmer will tell you, is something that needs to be worked on, on a day-to-day basis. If you let yourself slip for a day, then it becomes two days, then a week, and suddenly in the blink of an eye you have forgotten all about wanting/needing to learn to code. Being a Developer is not only a job/career, it's a lifestyle. Anyone that's anyone in the tech field will tell you, code becomes a part of your life that bleeds over into many other different areas. There's just no helping it, it's like a bug w/o a resolution. But, in saying this, the simple fact that coding and programming is such a crucial part of our lives and careers, it's a good thing, not a bad one. That's why the term, "Think like an Engineer" is a thing, because thinking like an engineer - mechanical, electrical, software, etc. - is not only a job, but in essence a mentality for your life. This is why we do it (almost) every day, not necessarily because we have to, but because we want to.

Most programmers out there in the world have a daily planner that we swear by. If we are working for a company, it helps keep our projects/tasks lined up, as well as meetings and code reviews. Setting out your habits is fundamental to building a solid base structure for your life. Whether it's learning to play the guitar every other day, or learning a programming language like Python for the first time. Adhering to a schedule helps anyone stay on a strict regiment for maintaining a busy lifestyle.

A good take away is to go out and buy a daily planner (or use your phone, Lord knows there's more than a hundred task management apps - better yet code one out yourself!), and set your days/weeks up for success by engaging in good habit building and scheduling self-appointed tasks. If you work for a company that sets out a daily/weekly routine, start there and build a full planner for yourself.

So. With this simple - but effective - knowledge, what will your first habit be today?😊

TL;DR - Setup a series of Habits for yourself, within a daily/weekly planner. Start small if you'd like, and work up to the bigger stuff. Best way to learn code: Practice coding every single day.

Also, before I forget, one of my all-time favorite books, a truly profound book on habits and creating/maintaining them, is: Atomic Habits by James Clear


That's all for now folks.

Until next time!


Share this