How a Balanced Routine Can Improve Programming Performance
In the programming world, where lines of code serve as the building blocks of innovation, the key to success is sometimes in the complexity of algorithms or the mastery of programming languages. Instead, it often resides in the subtle art of balance. Welcome to a world where the harmony between work and play, focus and relaxation, and mental and physical well-being are pivotal in boosting programming performance.
When discussing mental activities and their performance, there has yet to be a definitive consensus on which concentration technique is best. Some individuals prefer the Pomodoro technique, which consists of 25 minutes of intense focus on an activity followed by 5 minutes of rest. Others are against taking breaks as they believe it can affect the flow of thinking. The truth is that each person adopts and encourages different methods; however, when it comes to establishing a daily routine, we can find an agreement, starting with sleep, a controversial topic in the life of programmers.
As Professor Pierluigi Piazzi stated in his book "Learning Intelligence," during sleep, we consolidate what we have learned in our hippocampus and cerebral cortex, regions responsible for storing long-term memories in our brain.
The expression "quality night's sleep" is not just a fluke but is related to the circadian cycle, our internal biological rhythm that regulates a variety of physiological and behavioral processes (for more information, I recommend the book "The Circadian Code" by Dr. Satchidananda Panda).
Unveiling the Hidden Risks of Sleep Deprivation
For most people, the night is the ideal time for rest, not for intense mental activities, as we enter a state of "low cognitive alertness," in which our body relaxes and our ability to concentrate decreases significantly, considerably reducing efficiency in activities that require reasoning. Despite this, it is ingrained in programmers' lives that a few hours of sleep, or even having a deregulated sleep pattern, is expected. Here are some possible consequences of sleep inversion in the medium and long term:
Weight gain, leading to obesity
Increased stress levels
The Power of Daily Study Habits and Flashcards
Another critical topic is the frequency of study. Some teachers, including Pierluigi himself, claim that having daily contact (daily routine) with an activity is necessary to learn it more effectively, even if only for a few minutes daily.
This approach is more effective than, for example, studying for 5 hours every day of the week, as frequent and moderate contact makes the results more regular. One of the most widely used study methods is flashcards, which are based on frequent communication with information until it is fixed in our memory, gradually increasing the intervals between revisions as the sequential hits.
It is important to note that our circadian cycle and preferences are not always identical to most people's. Therefore, it is necessary to observe yourself and identify the times that are most conducive to productivity.
For example, sometimes the environment can be noisy during the day, making the night more peaceful and quiet to study or perform mental activities. By finding the balance between the internal and the external, i.e., between the individual and the environment in which they live, achieving the highest potential and efficiency in any activity is possible.
In short, a balanced routine is essential to improve performance in programming or learning in general. It is important to pay more attention to sleep, as it is during sleep that we consolidate what we have learned. Also, maintaining a daily study frequency can be more effective than studying for long periods on a single day of the week. However, it is essential to note that each individual is unique and may have different preferences regarding the most productive time of the day.
Therefore, it is necessary to find the perfect balance between the internal and the external to achieve the highest potential and efficiency in any activity.