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No More Coding In My Spare Time

I have been very focused on learning new coding skills and getting as much experience with programming as possible these passed couple of years while studying Computer Science to make the chance of getting a job grater. However while I got a job just after graduating I never stopped using a lot of my spare time working on private projects. At some point I began wanting to control everything digital in my life spending a lot of time writing code and managing servers in order to avoid using online services like Dropbox, OneDrive and OneNote. I have spent a lot of time experimenting with a lot of different solutions finding that none of them worked just right and started writing my own. I have also spent a lot of time on Linux trying to make it work for me. Why Linux? Well because all the cool geeks use Linux that is why.

When summering it all up I spent a lot of time reinventing the wheel not getting anything done when I could have spend the time with my family and other interest of mine like blogging, reading books, drawing and painting. The thing about writing code is that it requires a lot of concentration. It can take me a while to load all the information into my head and get in the zone before I can even start writing code. If I am interrupted while coding it again can take a while to get in the Zone. I use a lot of time trying to get in the zone and almost no time writing code. The result is that I ended up burning out and getting stressed. I have had a problem with stress for many years and before Christmas I was getting close to a mental breakdown. I realized that I had to do something or it would end badly.

Therefore I am changing how I do things and what I do when I am not at work. In short, all though I hate to do it I need to give up trying to control all things digital in my life and stop coding in my spare time. So here is what is changing.

  1. I am going to stop coding in my spare time and use the time on my family, reading books, drawing/painting and blogging. All the things I love doing that is not coding. I am sorry I know some of you were looking forward to the release of Markdown Note but that is not going to happen anytime soon if ever.
  2. I will no longer waste time on Linux. Linux is awesome but I like and prefer Windows.
  3. I am going back to OneNote for note taking.
  4. I am going to use OneDrive instead of awful open source solutions. I am sorry but I have tried them all and they all suck.
  5. I have for some time been using a static site generator (Pelican) for my blog. I am going to stop using that and go back to using WordPress. Adding content to a blog using a static site generator is a lot more work then using a CMS like WordPress. Because of the added complexity I simply stopped writing blog posts.
  6. I am going to stop using plain text and Markdown/Latex for writing and use Microsoft Word instead. Word has some features that make the workflow of writing blog posts a lot easier for me and I actually do like to write in Word.

I started to make the changes over the Christmas holidays and I am already feeling the effect. I have a lot more energy when I get home from work and have become more relaxed and my stress level is lower.

For a long time I have been a geek first then a father and a husband. Going forward I will be a father and husband first and then a geek.

2 Comments

  • Martin Stendorf

    January 13, 2015 at 12:00

    Glad to see you managed to get a satisfying result! 🙂

    I tend to code pretty much all the time, I’ve had similar experiences in the past as what you are describing.
    What i changed was deadlines, or promises to myself for finishing my private projects.

    In my professional life the deadlines are many close to each other, so when I get home I check out newz sites,
    tinker with funny stuff i find, mby spin a project off of that, which then never goes anywhere – but my experiences with
    trying out this new language/framework are just as valuable anyhow. Sometimes i get the itch to play more with some ol project or language, and i have a project setup to start going at it.

    This gave me back the joy of coding and geeking without all the stress.
    I actually find that programming this way is the most relaxing thing I can probably do, I forget everything around me – and the zone hits me rather than me trying to hit the zone for some project i actually don’t enjoy doing at the time! 🙂

    Just my 5 cents, interesting read, many people tend to ignore this and burn out without realising what hit em!

    • martinronn

      January 30, 2015 at 22:14

      Well I tried but failed to replace/change my workflow and
      tools to what I at the time of this post felt was easier. In the end, I realized
      that I had the workflow because it is the most efficient for what I do and how
      I work.

      However, I no longer have any ambition to release the tools
      I wrote to the public and that removed a lot of the stress factor.

      I will always code, because I simple love to. But, I will
      code way less than I did before simply because I have less time to do so. However,
      when I do code I now enjoy it because I code because I want to, and not because
      I feel I have to.