This is a guide to healthy brain function for software programmers. It is written from my own personal experience, referencing childmind.org, as well as based on many other accounts of people who have been in the same situation. For anyone reading this who is in the same position, my hope is that it helps you find your way back to a healthy and sustainable way of living and working.
1. Understand the importance of sleep and the importance of good diet.
Sleep and diet are the two most important things that you can control to improve your health. If you’re not sleeping or eating properly, your body is not working at its optimal level and you can’t be at your best. What can be even more dangerous is when you change the way you eat to suit your working hours. By changing your diet to conform with your job responsibilities, you often end up working harder and having a harder time doing your job properly. This can have a huge impact both physically and mentally on your long-term health (I was very unlucky in my end.)
Every programming career has different requirements and requirements vary greatly between companies and teams. Thus, there are many different diet guidelines and chest-nut habits that every company accepts and how they “should” be living.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever your department, team or company requires, healthy eating is an absolute must. In this guide, I’ve given a few examples showing how I personally adjusted my diet based on the food service at my job.
Side note: I am not sponsored in any of this to write this, this is strictly my personal experience and what worked for me. If you are looking for a job with different things to eat, I suggest you check with your hiring managers on this because they will likely understand what you need and how you need to survive. After my in-person interview, I started to plan my day based on what I wanted to eat while working. The one thing I made a conscious effort to change was my breakfast. I was used to eating two bananas for breakfast, two pieces of fruit later in my day, and a piece of chocolate at around 2 pm. In one day at my job, my breakfast changed from two whole bananas to a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, low-fat milk, seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and frozen fruit.
2. Reduce stress levels by improving your diet and exercising regularly.
If you’re not happy at work, or you feel like your work isn’t fulfilling or challenging enough, then it might be down to stress. Stress can cause mental and physical health issues, so it’s important to manage it effectively. One way to reduce stress levels is to improve your diet and exercise regularly.This is a very important piece if you’re looking to enhance your brain function. One of the best things about software development is that it has a high level of repetition. The kind of brain movements that occur inside software are just as important as the parts that are involved in real-world activities. “[O]ffacing mental dulling stimuli is often essential for people with high stress levels if they are to recover and perform optimally,” says John Allen Paulos, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Being in a situation that isn’t fully mental can cause physical issues such as reduced blood flow to the brain. “As mental processes become uncompetitive or noisy, all the chinks in the armour of the mind start to show,” explains Paulos. By switching your focus to purely physical tasks and using strategies such as meditation or going for a walk, you can reduce stress and regain your mental clarity at the same time.
Here are 15 tips to help you focus better in a software programming job.
Use frequent breaks. Software programmers have long worked in environments where they are in constant communication and information flows. A lack of breaks can compromise cognitive functioning (study).
baby sit your coworkers. Even if you aren’t good at being complimentary or correcting their work, spending time with your coworkers on a regular basis can help. This can help you focus on what they are doing and how well they are doing it.
Listen. Listening to what your coworkers are saying is also a great way to hone in on what they are really like. Try listening just to your coworkers, and then don’t look at them – this helps them to develop a separation between you and them.
3. Learn to focus on important tasks and reduce distractions in your life.
If you’re trying to get things done, then it’s important to learn to focus on what’s important and ignore the distractions around you. Focus is a skill that can be developed through practice. Start by choosing one or two things that you need to get done every day and give those tasks your undivided attention.At any given time, you have a million thoughts flitting through your head. All you have to do is focus on the one task at hand and be mindful that so many other things are happening at the same time. Try to resist the temptation of scrolling through social media to find something new to excite you. Instead, stay on task with what you need to do. Don’t interrupt yourself with endlessly irrelevant notifications. The only time to use your phone is when you absolutely have to use that phone — otherwise, get rid of it.
Inevitably, you will blow off steam through unrelated mental tasks, which you typically do to escape the uncertainty of the world. The problem is that over indulgence in meaningless activities will have a detrimental effect on your concentration. Instead of trying to let go of all the useless thoughts, divert your energy toward a few tasks that make you feel grounded in your nervous system, and discard the rest. Also consider investigating the latest brain technologies from nootropicsfrontline.com.
Spend at least 20–30 minutes per day doing something physical that you enjoy. This could be working out, watching a kettle boil, or running. This exercise helps get the blood flowing to your brain while clearing out any stagnant thoughts from the mind.
Music is a great tool to help you focus. The same goes for podcasts and audiobooks — try some of them out. Unless you’re an audiophile, you probably won’t enjoy certain kinds of music, but listening to something you enjoy most will help you process what’s happening in your head better.
Sitting in your office all day isn’t the best way to develop core strength and reinforce healthy habits.
4. Relax without checking your phone or other electronics for a while every day.
It’s important to take time every day to relax because otherwise, you’ll end up feeling stressed. Take time every day to relax and de-stress. This can be achieved by doing things like reading a book, listening to music, or meditating. But don’t take a deep breath — focus on the present moment, even if it feels uncomfortable. Your brain has a natural break that occurs every 8 hours. For instance, when you stand up or go to the toilet. But you tend to lose this natural break if you have to constantly work on your code. Breaking up with your coffee every half an hour will benefit you immensely in the long run.
The best time to exercise your brain is right after you wake up. You’ll be familiarizing your body with the routine. After that is done, start implementing some healthy strategies in your daily routine. When people say “wake up earlier,” they mean that you want to get up before your typical wake up time. But the reality is that your brain is extremely resilient and tends to be efficient at whatever time it gets up. As long as you get up whenever you want, you will have healthy sleep quality.
According to Dr. Michael Grandner, you should avoid watching television for at least two hours before bedtime. This is because light from television will impair your natural sleep cycles and set you up for insomnia. A good way to accomplish this without watching any television is to position your computer in a dark place at the end of a long work session. Or while you’re writing a simple blog post. Or whenever you feel like it. If you feel like your physical writing could use some extra help, try removing a book or a journal from your bag, and finding a quiet place to sit down and rest your eyes. Regardless of how tired you feel, never stay awake until your eyes give out. Ever.