What strategies do you guys use to stay energized?

So I began using FreeCodeCamp about a little over a week ago, I think, and I’m just now beginning on Responsive Web Design Principles in Responsive Web Design, and I really want to crush it by the end of tomorrow so I can move onto Javascript. I just have a hard time focusing, that’s all.

I am homebound, and am hoping that being a web developer will be a way for me to make money from home to help my family and help myself out of a bad situation and earn my freedom, so all I ever want to do is practice coding. Like, I can’t even enjoy video games like I want to, or go outside much, I just want to code, but I get so tired sometimes, and get several distractions during the day, where I have to also look for a welding job or retail job.

What are some tips on staying focused and energized?

What I HAVE to do and SHOULD do, is get up between 4:30 AM and 5:30 AM, and get some exercise in, even if it’s just jump roping for five minutes, eat a healthy breakfast, and maybe meditate before getting to work, but I have a hard time staying asleep when going to bed early, and after four hours, I’m already ready to get back up and code some more. When I go to bed late, I wake up in the middle of the most turbulent part of the morning to nothing but more bad news that just throws me off my game. (dad’s washer just broke, got summoned to jury duty, debt collectors calling, got rejected for ANOTHER job, etc.)

How do you cope?

Something new inovation

Most people start their journey in web development (or software engineering) because they’ve stumbled upon a problem that needed to be solved, or saw something developed by a programmer that they thought was amazing and wanted to be able to do that as well. The problem is that because of their excitement, they want to see “big” results within an unrealistic timeframe. Unfortunetely, as I like to say, “You can’t dive into the ocean without getting your swimming certificates first. You’ll simply drown”.

And that’s where the problem starts that you’ve stumbled upon. It seems tedious, unproductive and overall just quite boring. Especially in the beginning, where you learn simple stuff that isn’t enough to make any usefull, real world application with.

The first and foremost problem you need to tackle is your sleep. Not having enough sleep is the root of pretty much any other problem you encounter during your learning process, including your loss of motivation and / or focus. This happens to a lot of new developers and luckily there are a few things you can do to solve the issue:

  • Stop learning / coding at least 1 hour before going to bed. Do something else for relaxation and to take your mind off of it.
  • Put a pencil and a piece of paper next to your bed. In the beginning, you often wake up because of ideas or questions about coding. Use the paper to write them down so you can go back to sleep and worry about it later. (This was a golden tip for me, as I kept dreaming about code and suffered from sleep deprivation because of it).
  • Don’t spend your entire day learning or coding. Give your mind some other impressions to process.
  • Don’t spend every single day on learning or coding. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to do other things in life as well.

Now for the focus part. This is pretty close related to what I already said above. If you spend too much time doing the same, it becomes boring and tiring. I’m not nessesarily saying that you have to do go do something completely different. I’m just saying that you should work on something you like, besides what you’re learning.

I personally started developing because I was interested in chatsystems. Obviously a project like that was way too complicated for me back then, but that didn’t stop me from trying anyway. I just downloaded finished projects from other developers and started messing around with it. See what I could change etc.

Working on something I was interested in, even though it was way too complicated, revitalized my energy and interest in learning more. Simply because it’s a lot easier to focus on what you want than to what you have to go through in order to reach it. And you will come across many functions in other people’s code that you don’t understand, which will automaticly prompt you to do research on it.

Lastly I’ll give you a couple of general tips that will help you along the way:

  • Take a 5 minute break after learning or coding for an hour. And I mean away from your computer! Go get a coffee, take a walk, just anything that gives your mind some rest.
  • Don’t spend more than 3 hours in a row on doing the same thing. Play a game for an hour or watch a serie. Or better: Go do your groceries or something else that needs to be done in or around the house.
  • Join our chatrooms on Gitter: https://gitter.im/FreeCodeCamp/home. Being able to talk to other campers or like-minded people will certainly help you stay motivated and doesn’t make you feel “alone” while learning.
  • Stay healthy. Make sure you eat regularly (and healthy!) and get some excersize. You don’t have to go to a gym (though it would be better of course) or anything like that. Just taking a walk or jump on a bycicle for 30 minutes a day is perfect.
  • Don’t pin yourself down on a problem for too long. If you can’t solve it, ask for help or leave it alone for a while. Get back on it after you feel refreshed and have a clear mind to focus again.
  • Don’t force yourself. If you can’t focus for whatever reason, leave it and come back later. Forcing yourself only makes the situation worse and could lead to the point where you completely give up on it. There are plenty of days ahead, so stop using timetables for learning. You’ll be under pressure more than enough when you actually have a job as a developer.
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I’ll take some of your advice. I kind of had no choice today because when I got up and did my routine and sat down the code, my mind was completely unable to process much of anything in front of me. I played games most of the day, and it was fun, but now I’m just thinking about getting back to work.

I’ll sign up for the chat, too.

Consistency is better than anything. People are creatures of habit, its good to get in good amounts of programming in and learning, but at the same time you want to keep things fresh so you don’t get board.

I would recommend not focusing on coding all day every day, but you can surround yourself with “extra material” this will keep your mind “on the topic” of coding, but not overwhelming you by actually doing it all the time. Reading blog posts about technologies your interested in, topics you might not understand, or taking a more academic approach to your learning, where you come at coding from the computer science perspective always gives you things to think about that are mostly abstract. (Turing machines anyone?)

The key thing to keep you from getting burnt out, and active is to give your mind enough to “feel new and fresh” while sticking with what you want to learn. Obviously sitting in your room and doing all this isn’t totally healthy, its always good to go out and do something totally not related to coding (work, jobs, exercise) but you can always keep coding in your mind if you really love the stuff. (I find myself thinking how to implement things in architecture I find daily, like a bus system, or elevator algorithms, etc)

This should help, but some things in life can’t be evaded so the mileage may very.

Goodluck :smiley:

PS. I am also on gitter often, for pretty much the same reasons @bjorno43 mentioned haha.

This is very useful post which makes me aware of the innovative ideas used in web development

Right, reading about new topics, that are not directly related to the coding topic, helps to keep you enhanced.

Also, staying away from the computer for 1 hour (reading a book, some house work, listening to music) help to clean your mind. I would say staying away from any screen (cellphone, tablet, iPod, TV, etc.), but maybe is just me.

Aslo, talking to people (any engineer around you, or wahtever chat or Fb group you may find) makes you happier, you wil not feel a so lonely coder jajaja. It happens often because not many people wants to learn coding actually… and if you are from a town with 3k population, is worst (my situation).

Try to go to any meetup around you, even if you feel like you are too newbie in the topic of the talk/meetup, you will always learn something, and you’ll talk to people that know what are you talking about! That’s a lovely feeling btw