Every data scientist loves to code. It is one of the most basic parts of the job and is the building block for almost every data science application today. Coding, of course, extends beyond data science and its associated fields and provides a gateway to supercharge anyone's computing experience.
However, it can also get monotonous very quickly, and cause a loss of focus. With the amount of coding some data scientists need to do, it is common to not be able to get back into it or continue doing it for a long time.
For this purpose, we at Analytics India Magazine have put together a list of things data scientists can do to get back into coding when they aren't motivated to.
1. Use The Pomodoro Method
Originally invented as a method to maintain focus for long periods of time, the Pomodoro Method is sure to get you back into coding and keep you there. The method's primary way of ensuring focus is to take a short break after periods of working.
The method first recommends that all tasks must be visualized and recorded, preferably as a to-do list. When getting started on coding, set a timer for 25 minutes and begin working on the task. Once the timer ends, end your work and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
If the number of checkmarks is lesser than 4, take a short break of 3-5 minutes. If it is 4, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. The break allows the mind to 'breathe' and continue the work without loss of focus.
2. Practice Meditation And Mindfulness
Studies show that even a short meditation session of about 20 minutes per day increases the capability of performing cognitive tasks. Meditation helps the practice of not only focusing the mind but also being a part of the moment and observing one's train of thought without controlling it.
This turns out to be an important skill for coders, as it allows room for newer code structures and different ways of solving a problem. Moreover, a short meditation break in conjunction with the Pomodoro method yields great results in recharging your focus battery.
3. Separate Your Code And Your Life
If coding is something that you do for a living, then leave it at work. The coding bug sticks though, and soon you'll be coding for everything and trying to make your house look and feel futuristic with a couple of lines of Python.
Keep work at work and designate a specific place to code at home. This seems like a small change until it doesn't. Separating code and your life is a solution that works great for those who are just too tired of coding.
Some coders also code into the night, cutting into their focus the next day at work. Identify your most productive hours at home, isolate them, and maintain a strict sleep schedule around it. This will be the difference between being half-in-half-out at work the next day and having a laser focus.
4. Listen To Music When You Work
Studies have shown that unpleasant ambient noise increases the production of cortisol. This is the hormone that manifests itself as stress in the human psyche. What's more, cortisol reduces focus and increases aggression, which makes it unsuitable for high-focus tasks such as coding.
One of the best methods to remove any auditory distractions is to listen to music. There are lots of focus-based playlists and mixes on YouTube spread across various genres and styles. Find out what works for you and stick to it.
While many find it difficult to focus when music is on, instrumental music functions to the contrary for many. It functions instead as background music, reinforcing your feedback loop and keeping you in the code for a long time.
5. Take A Walk
This is one of the surefire methods to get you back into coding when your brain feels fried. If there is an accessible gym nearby, it is best to go for a run. Physical activity supports the secretion of serotonin, the happy hormone that revitalizes the mind.
Studies have also found that regular exercise promotes concentration and memory capacity, giving you another reason to hit the gym. Even if it is not regular, a quick walk can be used as a tool to wake your mind up when you're done with staring at your screen.
6. Put Your Computer In 'Focus Mode'
If your work does not require you to be online, work offline. Switch off your Wi-Fi, and disconnect your phone from the Internet. Ideally, this should be done during the most productive part of your day to ensure that no distractions ruin a perfect workflow.
Distraction-free code editors are a great place to start, as they let you focus on only the code and nothing else. This, in conjunction with working online, will supercharge the focus level you bring to your code. The reduction of tasks for 'multitasking' also increases a factor known as 'attention residue' which increases focus.
Bonus: Buy A Mechanical Keyboard
As a coder, one of your most important tools is your keyboard. All the code comes from there, and you have to type every single line out. A bad keyboard is a pain to work on, both literally and figuratively.
Low-end membrane keyboards can cause problems in the wrist such as carpal tunnel syndrome and unnecessary muscle tension. Mechanical keyboards not only allow for a better posture while working but also ensure an enjoyable experience while typing away.
Even mechanical keyboards don't have to break the bank, with the TVS Gold being a dependable choice for a coder with a low-budget. Having one of these keyboards alone will motivate you to type on it and code.
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