"Programming" requires a lot of "brainware".
The job is not only typing away then hoping for the best. It is not only navigating the web in search of answers for our troubles, (well StackOverflow does help... I know) but also all the thinking involved, the puzzle-solving both technological and human amongst other things that if we wanted to scrutinize, I could spend a few (actually a lot) paragraphs just on that.
Furthermore, it is not always easy to clear your RAM and make it work better for the task at hand, specifically when you don't focus some time to clean those thoughts of yours.
With increasing work and responsibility this has become more notorious for me, and I have started to understand that just grinding it out would not suffice, specially at the level I want to be, it would just make me fail.
Ok.... but why am I writing this?
Well basically as a reminder.
Stop! ...and take a break!
I just returned from an amazing 19 days vacation, in the island of Azores and I feel reenergised!!
It was a truly remarkable and outstanding days of adventure and discovery.
This has been my 3rd summer in a row there, and there is always more beauty to find each time. Give me a call if you want some trip tips 😉.
Long story short, these days allowed me to do an incredible reboot on myself, which I was really needing it, hence, me writing this now to simply remind you that: you might need something like this.
Cool pic from the trip below 😉.
Ok, but you might be thinking:
Oh, cool... must be nice rubbing in our faces that you are having an amazing time while I am stuck at home...
Well, COVID-19 is not helping, I know.... and I was like that as well.
I went into complete overload when I found myself stuck at home. Why?
You are at home and at work at the same time
It becomes much harder to draw a line separating where does the work end and the home time begins. It was really hard, but eventually this was something that I got better at
during the quarantine.
My recommendation on my end here would be to go for a walk... just go.
Explore new places!!
On the first weekend after returning from Azores, I got all my family together (we are 8 in total) and took them to Monsanto for a hike in one of their numerous trails. This was a long one, that we are now bound to repeat it weekly!
But every day I try to walk at least 30min.
(ohhh he must be so fit) -> NOPE
I would probably be better off rolling down a cliff, but walking is not that hard.
All jokes aside, the clearing of my thought allowed me to be shaper and operate better.
You do not see your very nice colleagues and friends
This one hit me hard...
I talk a lot and would consider myself a people person although many consider me just a bully or prankster... you cannot please them all!
Well... but I must say: my team is amazing! We already had lots of fun moments, so we just made them online. For instance, we usually used to have snacks together to clear our minds, talk about nothing and everything. We transform them into an online meetup, everyone would get their snacks, and we would eat and talk together.
Like this small moment, we added other things to our routines, for instance: the afternoon quiz. (Thank you, Kahoot)
We went in turns and the winner would do the next one, later we changed the rules so that it would be in a round-robin fashion. If a quiz is not your thing we also would play a "Pictionary" like game skribbl.io.
Another thing we do, that is also nice, is that sometimes we just leave a call running in an open channel, allowing people to join and talk. We have calls going for more than 8 hours (basically the entire workday) where we would help each other overcome problems or just talk a bit during the day to chill a bit.
These things that we already did in person and started doing digital are amazing for the mental wellbeing and great for some team bonding. And we have had human changes during the remote time, but still, due to all these activities and team spirit, we handled it all very well with the new members being really well received and now being part of the group with no distinction.
(I won this one :P)
It is always the same thing, same routine
I think this was almost always true but being locked at home kind of increased this, in my opinion. Mostly because in the beginning, everything in my life was screens, the computer, then the phone, then the TV for some series, then the computer again, then the phone, and so on without end.
So, what did I do to change it? Well different things.
1. I started reading books. I am not much of a reader, but it feels nice to stop looking at a screen and see something else. I have not read that much but I have started which is nice. I have read:
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
- 1984 by George Orwell
- And I am now wrapping up The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles #1) by Bernard Cornwell
It was something that I felt I was missing and now it feels like a great escape. If you have any recommendations let me know!
2. I started walking a bit before going to the Azores, which was a nice change. I would combine that with learning mostly it would be some technological videos from Pluralsight, for instance. I have a treadmill at home which made it easier.
3. Well, in the kitchen I became the master. I think this happened to lots of people, but I felt it refreshing to a point of almost being my commute from work which was a nice trade.
4. Finally, started listening to some podcasts, but never during the actual work because I would not be focused, but would pause a bit to clean my head and then return. The ones I started hearing were:
- Maluco Beleza by Rui Unas - about nothing, just two people talking about stuff,
- and Money Talks by Barbara Barroso - about personal finances, actually got to know it from the first one.
All of these changes should have happened way sooner in my life. I feel much more focused, and I take more time to plan out my career path and goals things that I left a bit to change.
Right now COVID has helped me unlock this in myself and I just want to nurture and continue to grow in this path.
The next plan is both continue to grow technically and personally, enjoy some time with my other half, and hopefully if possible grab a beer with the friends (I am too bad for them, lots to compensate).
The only thing I can hope for is that you do the same, and maybe can take something from the gibberish I wrote above.