New coder on the block! Tips on avoiding burnout?

Hey everyone,

Fritoking here mostly just wanting to say hello and searching for some advice on how often most people spend not just coding, but LEARNING to code. I’m reading lots of different opinions and strategies on how much time you should be spending per day. I know the ideal answer is “whatever works for you” (so please avoid that if you can), but I just want someone with real life experiences to tell me what they did (and what worked/didn’t work). The more specific the better! Even a complete hour by hour itinerary or “day in the life” would be cool. Hopefully that doesn’t seem too daunting. Maybe there’s already something like that posted in this forum? I just thought it’d be nice to get a little more personal with this post.

Other info on myself:

  • I am a video editing freelancer looking to add web dev into my arsenal of skills to make websites and apps for myself as well as other people. (What kind of websites and apps? I don’t know quite yet)
  • I have the convenience of time on my side. My work weeks are usually only about 15 hours long, which supports me (for now) so I’m trying to take advantage of that as much as possible.

Any and all advice is appreciated. I am also a believer of tough love so don’t be afraid to be brutally honest in any shape or form. Thanks!

Welcome fritoking.

I spend around 50 hours a week working my day job with commuting and also powerlift three days a week which takes about 9 hours total. So during the weekdays i usually dont code at all. But on saturdays and sunday i usually wake up and do between 2-5 hours coding each day. I think it’s important to live life aswell and not only have obligations all the time so i also enjoy myself when i can. Usually i can feel a bit bored and dreaded if i have spent to much time working and coding and not enjoyed myself.

So the answer is really the one you did not want but “whatever works for you”. I think this is highly individual, some people can work 12 hours 7 days a week and not be tired but that’s not for me, i like to live aswell :).

Hope my answer have helped you a little.

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My life now is a lot different than when I “learned to code” I was always interested in it from an early age, but only got serious once I got into college.

Now since everyone’s journey is different I can’t say this is the way to learn but its what worked for me.

I say this often, the best way to learn to code is to code a lot, for anything. The best teacher is failure, and if you throw your-self into the deep end you have no choice but to learn.

I spent entire days at my university studying for classes, but spent nearly all my free time programming or reading about programming online, in books, in RSS, feeds, on forums, on the docs, on youtube. Any gaps I had between classes, regardless of how large, I spent doing something related to programming. If you have no distractions you will find yourself doing nothing but learning.
I spent the entire winter break programming a python application + database from the ground up. It was a tough difficult challenge, but I learned more in those 2 weeks than I did the years before in class.

Doing is the best way to get things going, pick a project, or do something that could help you and just do it (sorry Nike) you won’t ever be 100% ready, since you wont know everything before starting, but knowing you have the grit and can handle the grind, then your ready :smiley:

The things i’d keep an eye out for, to now fall into would be:

  1. distractions - if your in a distraction filled zone odds are you will get distracted. Pick up your stuff and go to the local library, or coffee shop and grind down on a project for a good 2-3 hours and you’ll be amazed at how time flies.
  2. trying to be “fully prepared” - going back to what I said about never being 100%, if you tell yourself “I’ll start this project when I’m ready skill wise” then your already off on the wrong foot. You won’t know what you need to know until you run into a problem you don’t know how to fix
  3. Making things perfect - lets get serious, no one makes anything 100% perfect the first time, so don’t even worry about it. The goal of learning is to learn :smiley:

Hope that helps :wink:

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Personally I found it helpful to fully immerse myself in related personal projects, courses, blogs, books, and podcasts. To avoid burnout I would usually break up working through a course or project with hour or so breaks reading a related book or listening to podcasts. Mentally this helped me come back refreshed to my main projects/courses.

My biggest struggle personally has been setting things up for projects before actually getting into the coding. For me small wins along the way were extremely motivating and would keep me engaged and focused, so when I ran into issues setting up a new package or setting up the linting for a project that were roadblocks to actually coding it made me very frustrated and caused me to lose focus.

For example when starting to learn react I remember trying to get into a course for a couple weeks but getting distracted/frustrated in the first 2 hours of video because it took so long to set up and configure the dev environment.

This problem hasn’t entirely gone away but I just try to be mindful of it and take a small break to fool around on codepen or do an easy codewars problem if I find myself focusing on server or software setup for over 45 minutes.

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