I try to go to the gym 5 times a week. I’m in good shape unless you’re comparing me to Silly Putty, but going to the gym 5 times a week helps me work on staying alive and healthy for as long as I can. Even when I don’t make it to the gym, hey, injuries happen, I take the dog for a walk. Sure, it rains sometimes. When that happens, the dog and I both wear raincoats. Sometimes it’s really hot. When that happens, the dog and I both drink out of mud puddles. That last sentence might be a lie. Anyway, the point is that every day, I leave a computer behind for around an hour and I go do something. Even something as simple as walking is better than not doing anything.
One of my sabbatical goals was to “reacquaint myself with programming”. Just like getting back into shape, this has required daily practice. There are several things I do to make sure I get mental exercise, even on the weekends. Every day, I make sure that I’m reviewing issues on projects to understand the code, the problem, and the underlying solution, whenever it shows up. The projects I look at don’t particularly matter here, but I’ve chosen projects that are relatively simple in their scope. Keeping it simple, at first, makes it a lot easier to understand what’s going on. There are a lot of big and complex things out there. I avoid them for now. I also review forums, Reddit, and StackOverflow for whichever technology I’m learning. Again, this is just to learn about what people are doing, the problems they’re facing, and how to solve those problems. Finally, I try to work on a small bug every day. Sometimes this takes more than a day, but I try to spend time writing code every day. Right now, these are small fixes, they’re mostly formatting, and they’re self-contained.
But What’s It Mean?
We all have to start somewhere. It’s too easy to start on any task and become discouraged by your inability to jump in and match work with experienced people. By working toward a goal daily, I’m able to improve the work I do, understand what I’m doing, and maybe help someone out along the way.