CODE BETTER BY LEARNING HOW TO FOCUS
WHY IS CODING HARD?
“The purpose of life is not to get. The main aim of life is to grow. And to give.”
I guess this is a question everyone who wants to learn how to code has asked: “Is coding hard?” And every answer is different depending on who you ask. Learning how to code is fun, especially when you are enrolled in a bootcamp. You will meet aspiring developers like you and you will have the chance to work with experienced instructors.
But there are times that you will experience setbacks, troubles, and endless challenges because you’re learning a new skill or a new language. Sometimes, we may even feel that all we experience is just struggle and hardship. But whether we like it or not, challenges are part of our programming journey. One struggle almost all of us deals with every day is focusing on our task.
HARD TO FOCUS
“Good performance is about the capacity to focus and concentrate.”
A study from the Georgia Institute of Technology states that software developers take an average time of 10-15 minutes to resume work after an interruption. Programming requires focus and concentration, especially for those who are new to software development. For example, students at Coding Dojo bootcamps are expected to spend at least seventy hours a week to become a self-sufficient developer.
But now that we live in a world where everything around us fights for our attention, it’s getting harder to focus and concentrate on our task. And according to TIME, an American weekly news magazine in New York, Microsoft Corp., found out that since the year 2000, the twelve-second average attention span of a human being has decreased to eight seconds, lower than that of a goldfish.
Distractions are killers of productivity as it greatly affects our performance. We make twice the usual amount of mistakes we do when we lose our focus. We feel anxious, we become forgetful, and we also tend to procrastinate because we feel like we’re just going through the motion without accomplishing anything. To overcome this struggle, let us first know some of the internal and external factors that make us lose our focus:
Alyson Gausby, the Head of Research at Twitter Canada said, “No matter what environment humans are in, survival depends on being able to focus on what’s important–generally what’s moving. That skill hasn’t changed, it’s just moved online.”We live in a world where almost everyone anywhere in the world is connected through social media. Because of this, we have this perception that when we log-out our social media accounts, we get disconnected to the world. The thing is, it also distracts us and make us lose focus on our task.
One external factor that causes distraction is the noise around us. It can be the message alert tone of our phone or the sound of people talking behind us.
LACK OF SLEEP
Our body needs an adequate amount of sleep to become fully functional. Most of the time, lack of sleep results to a headache, and when we have a headache, we perform poorly.
Dr. Philip Gehrman, an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and a member of the Penn Sleep Center said, “Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation — they’ve gotten used to it. But if you look at how they actually do on tests of mental alertness and performance, they continue to go downhill. So there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.”
Stress is a part of life, but too much of it can be fatal. It does not only cause you loss of sleep, but it can also be dangerous to your health and negatively affect your decision making.
Just like sleep, our body needs food to work properly. We can do better and give much with a full stomach more than an empty one.
The feeling of fulfillment can lead to long-term happiness. There is nothing greater than to feel content and satisfied with the things you’ve accomplished for the day. Productivity is the basis of fulfillment. But sometimes, because of distractions, we finish fewer tasks than we ought to have which causes dissatisfaction and sometimes, regret.
HOW TO FIGHT DISTRACTIONS
“Focus is a muscle, and you can build it. Too many people labor under the idea that they’re just not focused, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you drop this mistaken belief, you can take a much more realistic approach to building focus.”
–Elie Venezky, author of Hack Your Brain
Distractions are everywhere, so it’s no wonder that our attention span decreased over time. Whether it’s an internal or an external factor, distraction lessens our productivity. The good news is, there are tons of ways to avoid these distractions.
MAKE A GOOD STUDY ENVIRONMENT
You cannot concentrate when there are so many things in your field of vision. It’s much easier to focus on a task when you have an organized and clean workplace. Put away things you don’t need. Music can sometimes help you focus but if it’s too distracting, turn it off.
LEARN TO MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Although stress can be fatal, a bit of eustress can benefit you for the better. Use stress as a motivation to work harder and work under pressure. Do your best to get out of your comfort zone but don’t push past your breaking point. Take small breaks and have a breather to restart your mind.
If your current task requires focus, avoid multi-tasking. Rich McLaughlin, a Sr. Software Engineer at Vertafore, mentioned that it’s important to try and wrap up a task before jumping to others to minimize context switching because it can help knock tasks off your list and your brain so you can focus on the next project.
TURN-OFF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS
“Our social tools are not an improvement to modern society, they are a challenge to it.”
–Clay Shirky, writer of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
Checking your smartphone when a notification pops-up became a habit we have all developed. And that’s not a good thing. One look at your screen and you’ll never know how much time you’ve spent browsing your social media account. Put your phone in silent mode and turn-off all notifications to avoid distraction.
REST AND REPLENISH
Learning how to code is fun that we sometimes forget about the time. Knowing when and how to rest is also a skill we need to learn. We are more attentive and alert when we have adequate sleep and rest.
“Keeping the body healthy and fit — through both exercise and nutrition — is the key to a better life, not only at home but also on the job.”
–David Vollmer, CEO of Isolator Fitness
Your brain functions better if your body has its needed nutrition. Make sure to eat your meals on time. Also, don’t forget to drink six glasses of water a day to keep you hydrated. Being physically fit will also help you take on your daily tasks. Remember, you are more useful and more productive when you are physically well.
Though distractions surround us, our will to learn how to code will help us walk the road towards software development a fun journey. Always remember that you can do more and code better by learning how to focus.
CODE AWAY. CODE ANYWAY.
“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.”
–LL Cool J
No one became a self-sufficient programmer overnight. To become a skilled developer, you have to focus and sacrifice a lot of your time, effort and money in coding. And even after all that sacrifices, you will still make a lot of errors, but those are just stepping stones you need to take to reach your goal to become a skilled and self-sufficient programmer.
Coding Dojo is a unique bootcamp that can make your sacrifices worth it. Through its onsite bootcamp program, you will be able to learn the fundamentals of programming. And after fourteen weeks, you will be able to master any new programming languages through it’s up-to-date and industry-based learning platform. If you can’t attend the onsite bootcamp program, we also offer an online bootcamp program that can fit in your schedule.
For more information, visit https://www.codingdojo.com.