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How long can you program before hitting a mental brick wall?
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Mardok45
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: How long can you program before hitting a mental brick wall? Reply with quote

When I say "mental brick wall", I mean mental exhaustion, burnout, or other mental factors that are keeping you from continuing from programming.

For me, I hit it at about five to six hours and I need to take an hour to two hour break. I'm curious as to what everyone else's are. Have you tried changing anything about your work habits that help you work longer?
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Dr.Willy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends a lot on the programming-language <-> problem combination.
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wildhorse
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12 hours per day. 8)
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szczerb
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been having more bug-hunting-and-fixing marathons lately then those of actual coding :/

Does that count?
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to lose interest after 15 minutes.
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energyman76b
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't program and I don't walk into brick walls.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

energyman76b wrote:
I don't program and I don't walk into brick walls.
You bastard! You must reveal unto me your secrets for non-brickwall hitting!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many times I've worked for 40 hours non stop taking breaks only to eat, shit or swat the tiny, winged zebras which for some reason start to swarm round the monitor sometime after the first 30. Maybe they're attracted to the heat or something.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why is taking a break a bad thing?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the odd occasion that I can ? Comes and goes in bursts - it doesn't help that I'm not a pure coder any more and
have * interruptions*
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often go mad after 5-6 hours when something simple doesn't work, then I take a break for about an hour and suddenly the problem is solved :) but if the problem/ task is very interesting and if I'm making at least small progresses then I can hold on for 10 hours...
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

up until i get to the point where it's like STOP MARKETING YOUR FUCKING BROKEN CODE YOU FUCKSTAINS!!!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4-5 hours coding, 1-2 hours sketching things and figuring it out. I can sit like a paralized monkey longer in front of the PC, but that doesn't mean I am more productive.

Last edited by Prenj on Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LoTeK wrote:
I often go mad after 5-6 hours when something simple doesn't work, then I take a break for about an hour and suddenly the problem is solved :) but if the problem/ task is very interesting and if I'm making at least small progresses then I can hold on for 10 hours...

I have similar experiences.

However, sometimes the opposite is true. If I make a real breakthrough on something, then I feel like celebrating and I go pursue endorphin release through substance abuse and sex.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
4-5 hours coding, 1-2 hours sketching things and figuring it out. I can site like a paralized monkey longer in front of the PC, but that doesn't mean I am more productive.

Sounds about right.
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Prenj
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
LoTeK wrote:
I often go mad after 5-6 hours when something simple doesn't work, then I take a break for about an hour and suddenly the problem is solved :) but if the problem/ task is very interesting and if I'm making at least small progresses then I can hold on for 10 hours...

I have similar experiences.

However, sometimes the opposite is true. If I make a real breakthrough on something, then I feel like celebrating and I go pursue endorphin release through substance abuse and sex.


My theory is that brain works on solutions all the time, like a background process somehow, tho you cannot tap into it properly at all times. When you have a knot, a problem that needs solving, it goes "pop" in most unexpected situations. In sleep, in shower, while taking a dump, while watching a movie that your girlfriend picked. Arguably the problem exists in first place because initial line of reasoning was off, and you get entangled. Once you untangle yourself by doing something else, it gets solved in the background and you get memo.

The other thing when you know fairly good what you need to code, but is just tricky enough to make it tense, you get into flow of it, and you can get absorbed and forget about coffee, food, tsunami, whatever.

Rest of the time is waiting or trying to get into zone, and thats when you feel bored.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Why is taking a break a bad thing?

When you're mentally exhausted it isn't. But otherwise you lose your focus and concentration, the big model you had constructed in your head will usually slip away and it takes time to get back to that point where you left off. That's why productivity takes a massive hit when you have managers who routinely trample through programmer's workspace demanding their undivided attention, usually for some trivial reason which is only really important for them to give themselves something to do. Mega stresser, that.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
trample through programmer's workspace


Oh yes - especially if you hear 'sorry to ask but I need help', that normally happens
just at the point when all of the pieces that I've been working on are lining up - it
may look as though I've been staring at the screen for ten minutes, but that doesn't
mean I'm not working and therefore can be diverted onto something else.

Also when somebody dumps a load of paperwork on your desk, you cannot
code like that.

Having a manager with a background as a coder can help. They are rare however.
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Prenj
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
pjp wrote:
Why is taking a break a bad thing?

When you're mentally exhausted it isn't. But otherwise you lose your focus and concentration, the big model you had constructed in your head will usually slip away and it takes time to get back to that point where you left off. That's why productivity takes a massive hit when you have managers who routinely trample through programmer's workspace demanding their undivided attention, usually for some trivial reason which is only really important for them to give themselves something to do. Mega stresser, that.


I once told owner of a company I worked at to go talk to that cute receptionist instead and not interrupt me :)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
pjp wrote:
Why is taking a break a bad thing?

When you're mentally exhausted it isn't. But otherwise you lose your focus and concentration, the big model you had constructed in your head will usually slip away and it takes time to get back to that point where you left off. That's why productivity takes a massive hit when you have managers who routinely trample through programmer's workspace demanding their undivided attention, usually for some trivial reason which is only really important for them to give themselves something to do. Mega stresser, that.
I don't quite have that problem but I hate the fact that my job is only part time. I've noticed that I get so much more done with a full time schedule because the process of finding a solution is not broken by having to leave and go home half way through the thinking process.
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energyman76b
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mardok45 wrote:
energyman76b wrote:
I don't program and I don't walk into brick walls.
You bastard! You must reveal unto me your secrets for non-brickwall hitting!


easy, they shatter under my awesome black boots.
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AidanJT wrote:

Libertardian denial of reality is wholly unimpressive and unconvincing, and simply serves to demonstrate what a bunch of delusional fools they all are.

Satan's got perfectly toned abs and rocks a c-cup.
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LoTeK
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
LoTeK wrote:
I often go mad after 5-6 hours when something simple doesn't work, then I take a break for about an hour and suddenly the problem is solved :) but if the problem/ task is very interesting and if I'm making at least small progresses then I can hold on for 10 hours...

I have similar experiences.

However, sometimes the opposite is true. If I make a real breakthrough on something, then I feel like celebrating and I go pursue endorphin release through substance abuse and sex.


lol, this happens to me also very often.. :lol: it's just as bad for work as the opposite, but at least one have a good time...

Quote:
My theory is that brain works on solutions all the time, like a background process somehow, tho you cannot tap into it properly at all times. When you have a knot, a problem that needs solving, it goes "pop" in most unexpected situations. In sleep, in shower, while taking a dump, while watching a movie that your girlfriend picked. Arguably the problem exists in first place because initial line of reasoning was off, and you get entangled. Once you untangle yourself by doing something else, it gets solved in the background and you get memo.

The other thing when you know fairly good what you need to code, but is just tricky enough to make it tense, you get into flow of it, and you can get absorbed and forget about coffee, food, tsunami, whatever.

Rest of the time is waiting or trying to get into zone, and thats when you feel bored.


sometimes is the answer right in front of you, but one is too deep into the problem and only if one step back and look at it from the "outside" one sees the obvious...
or if one breaks out of the system with a metaview (for those who know Gödel, Escher, Bach :) )
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
When you're mentally exhausted it isn't. But otherwise you lose your focus and concentration, the big model you had constructed in your head will usually slip away and it takes time to get back to that point where you left off. That's why productivity takes a massive hit when you have managers who routinely trample through programmer's workspace demanding their undivided attention, usually for some trivial reason which is only really important for them to give themselves something to do. Mega stresser, that.
I understand that, but hitting a brick wall seems like a good time to take a break and let the subconscious work for a while. Even if that means moving on to other trivial coding tasks. If that is too much still, then it may be an exhaustion issue.


Shadow Skill wrote:
I don't quite have that problem but I hate the fact that my job is only part time. I've noticed that I get so much more done with a full time schedule because the process of finding a solution is not broken by having to leave and go home half way through the thinking process.
Is it not possible to negotiate more flex in the schedule? It seems like it would be a benefit to the company if you stayed later to work on something one day, and didn't come in another day, or came in for fewer hours.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Set myself a goal for the day, only stop when its done.

Otherwise you just end up working like 20+ hours with "just one more fix" attitude.

When I start a project I setup milestones and deadlines and give these to my clients, if I finish ahead of schedule, happy days, I dont run over, I just miss out on sleep if I fall behind.

I work with Python (Pyramid) so its easy for me to break my goals etc down into manageable and daily targets.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12hrs Also depends on the interest in th project. I mainly work on embedded, combining hardware and soft/firmware. Don't work on hardware too late or I mess it up. Working on modifying some Z80 code at the moment. :)
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