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For the Lazy Coder: 7 Tips to Get it Done

We’ve all been there; almost nothing feels better after a long day of work than slipping into some comfortable clothes and melting into the couch with the comforts of Netflix, Hulu, and some tasty snacks. It’s a completely natural desire to want to veg out – you earned it after working hard all day.

This desire to do nothing is exacerbated when you reach a point in your project that isn’t very interesting – finding a bug, proofreading your work, or simply working on an aspect of your project that you just don’t really enjoy. Suddenly, your whole house needs a dusting and your dishwasher requires some deep-cleaning.

For me, these tendencies sometimes build up, and suddenly I’ve completely forgotten where I am in my project after not looking at it for three weeks. It’s times like these that we need a strategy.

So, here are my 7 Tips to Get it Done:

1) Schedule it into your day.

Desktop with a tablet calendar, notebook, and keyboard
Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels

Decide what time of day you will be most focused on your work – your “Zone of Focus” – and actually schedule it in your phone, on a calendar, or whatever you use to schedule your day. That way, when the time comes to get to work, you will see your time blocked off and you and your brain will come prepared and ready to work.

2) Create a routine.

Person pressing buttons of the watch on their wrist
Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Once you find your Zone of Focus, make it a habit to work at this time every single day. After you’ve done this for a week or so, your body and brain will be ready to get it done. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you are able to focus and how much more clearly you will be able to think.

3) Eliminate Distractions.

Woman pulls laundry out of a washing machine
photo by gratisography.com from Pexels

Like I mentioned above, when you are dreading the idea of having to work on a particularly dull or challenging part of a project, it can be easy to place priority on tasks that don’t need to come first. To prevent this, get all of those distractions out of the way. You can do this by going somewhere off – site to do your work (a coffee shop, library, etc.), or you can overcome this by getting your distractions done first. However, these distractions can be used strategically (see tip #7).

4) Take a break – but keep it relevant.

E-reader stacked on a pile of books
Photo by Pixabay.com from Pexels

If you really don’t have the energy/brain power to do it, at least stay on topic and listen to a related podcast or read a related blog post. Sometimes, you are just too tired to get your inner genius to express that genius. But never worry – you can stay productive and continue to hone your craft by listening to a podcast, reading a blog, or watching a YouTube video related to your work. This way, it’s not time completely lost, and you are still able to relax.

5) Take a break.

hands holding a gaming controller
photo by Anton Porsche from Pexels

If you are really stuck and just CAN’T, give yourself a break. We all have those days; work was particularly stressful, you suddenly caught an awful cold, or maybe you took a beating during your fitness class… Some days you just can’t muster up the strength to get it done. Don’t feel down on yourself – we all need a break sometimes.

6) Move your body.

Tying shoelaces on a park bench
Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

I’m sure you’ve been there – you feel like you are on the brink of solving an issue that you’ve been ruminating on for hours, but you just can’t quite put it on paper. Step away from your work – move your body and get some blood to your brain. Stretch, go for a walk, or even just go to the kitchen and pour yourself a glass of water. Not only is the physical activity good for you, but you’ll return to your work feeling refreshed, and you may just finally find the solution to your problem once you’re back and ready to focus.

7) Get away.

Two friends driving down the highway
Phot by SplitShire from Pexels

Fully immerse yourself in something completely unrelated to your work. Being fully engaged in something unrelated to your work will allow you a mental break, will prevent burnout, and can spark the creativity and mental clarity needed to be totally focused once you are back at your desk. This can be as simple as the distractions from tip #3 or a personal hobby, or they can be bigger like a weekend trip or spending time with your friends. The point here is to completely focus on something that has nothing to do with your work. Once you’ve given yourself some time away, you will be able to sit down with a fresh mindset and maybe even some new ideas.

Armed with these 7 tips to keep us on track, we can get to work, get productive, and Get it Done.

What are your tips for staying focused and getting things done? Let us know in the comments!

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FreeCodeCamp’s Intermediate Front-End Development Project: Build a Random Quote Machine

 

codepen random quote machine snapshot freecodecamp challenge

This challenge proved somewhat difficult since the topics covered were fairly new to me. I found the following YouTube video to be extremely helpful. Stephen does a great job explaining the process of creating GET requests, and how to input your retrieved data into your user interface.

However, even after watching this tutorial, I was still unable to get my Quote Machine to populate with the new quotes. This would require some more investigating.

After testing my code in the console, I realized that my GET request referenced an HTTP url. What I needed was a secure HTTPS url. Easy-peasy. I changed the API url from HTTP to HTTPS, ran my code again, and…. success!

Feel free to view my finished project at my codepen.io account.

Resources:

Bootstrap

Forismatic API

Steven Mayeux‘s Youtube videos:

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My Journey Begins

I had changed majors multiple times throughout my six years of college.

I began as a Music Major

Then I switched to Dietetics

And finally, my chosen path was Exercise Science, with a Minor in Music.

So, there I was, three months away from graduation, and I felt unsure. I felt unsure of what I wanted to do once I finished school. I felt unsure of my abilities, even after excelling in every class. I was full of self-doubt.

To make myself feel better, I decided that I was going to try something different to improve myself – I decided that I was going to learn to code. I always thought I was “bad with computers”, but I figured that I may as well work on a part of me that truly needed improvement.

I scoured the internet, trying to find out where to begin. After many hours over many days of searching, I finally saw a Redddit user post, “It doesn’t matter what you start with. Just start.” Since I was totally overwhelmed by everything I had found, that simple piece of advice really stuck with me. I decided to start with Codecademy courses.

I started with HTML and CSS. Then I began learning some Javascript. Codecademy provided a great foundation that built up my knowledge and my confidence.

It was then that I came across and started learning with FreeCodeCamp. Their learning process is project-based and encourages students to find solutions on their own. After completing the easier lessons and attempting the more challenging ones, I realized I would need much more knowledge before I would be able to complete their curriculum.

Enter Udemy. This site offers specialist-created courses, which students can purchase à la carte to customize their learning experience. I chose The Web Developer Bootcamp and found it to be another incredibly valuable source.

Fast-forward two years, and here I am. No, I don’t have some amazing story about how I became a web developer making 6 figures a year after 3 months of studying. In fact, I think my journey has just now become much more interesting.