The Importance of Taking Extended Breaks from Coding

Zach
July 23rd, 2021

I started building small projects with JavaScript in 2018, and got my first full time web developer job in 2019.

I haven't been in the game too long.

But at the same time, I feel like ever since I started building things for the web, I've been consistent in learning and growing in my field, and sometimes it feels like I've packed 5-6 years of learning into just 2 or 3. Which is crazy when you consider that I probably only know 5% of everything there is to learn in the field of web development.

Hell, probably even less than that.

But I definitely know "enough to be dangerous." At this point I've been paid to work on several dozen websites and web applications, and have even managed other developers on a few projects.

The point is, I'm not a senior software developer at a FAANG company with 15+ years of experience, ready to give you a presentation on How To Lead™ or How To Write Clean Code™ or How My Team Used Machine Learning to Scale Bitcoin In Your Butthole in San Francisco and 10x User Revenue Engagement Profit™.

But, I have had some success in my goal to go out and get paid to do web developer stuff.

And with that small level of authority, I would like to say to all of the people out there who are just starting out in their web development journey that you don't need to adopt a mindset that you must be become obsessed with coding, and do it nonstop, if your goal is to reach a point where you can do it for your livelihood.

It is completely natural and acceptable that at certain points along the way you're going to get tired and feel like you need take a break from sitting at your computer for hours on end. And you should listen to that feeling.

If this sounds obvious, then good. But the reason I'm writing all of this is because when I was first getting interested in building websites, I found myself inundated by all kinds of #hustle and #grind messaging about coding, like if I really wanted to do it I would have to dedicate every waking hour to it, and stay determined, and focused, and not quit, and take no breaks, etc. It was the kind of culture that seems to have cropped up around the fitness industry... but for building websites?

Anyway, along the way I have received all kinds of great advice and guidance that I still think of as invaluable today, but I want to be very clear that the 'Rise and Grind' approach to building a career in web development has never done me (or anyone else I know) any good in any way.

In fact, looking back at all the times in the past couple of years that I've gotten tired of web development and decided I was going to take a few days, and even weeks away from my computer to relax while exploring something else - well, I don't know if I would have made it as far as I have if I hadn't taken the time away that I needed, when I needed it.

Furthermore, there's more to life than building websites and writing god damn software (even though I find it incredibly fun and addicting at times). There are mountains to climb, books to read, people in your life who love you and need you who you should hug and watch movies with and stuff, etc.

But even if you don't agree, and seek only to optimize and maximize your time spent coding at a computer, I'll also say that I've often feared that if I took time away then I risked growing lazy, and rusty, and that I would regret doing it.

Well, I haven't regretted taking time away ever. Not even once. And I also found that if anything, the time spent away only allowed me to come back stronger than before, with a clearer mind and better ideas about how I might solve a problem, or even more exciting - what thing I might choose to build next. And the fact that every break I've ever taken away from my computer has ended with a growing desire to return to it so that I could continue learning, growing, and contributing to cool projects on the web, has only reinforced my confidence that this is indeed the right career for me, and that I have a long, productive future (with breaks in between!) ahead of me.

Recommended Posts

HubSpot Forms in React: Submit a Form Using HubSpot API

In this post you will learn how to submit HubSpot forms from your React website using the HubSpot API.

Read more

How to make a sticky Navbar that hides on scroll (React/Hooks)

There's nothing like a good navbar, but sometimes they get in the way when the user is trying to read an article or blog post. Take your navbar to the next level by toggling it when the user scrolls.

Read more