What fuels your development efforts?
I recently came to the aggravating conclusion that coffee just doesn’t do it for me. Coffee gives me a quick boost and the crash that follows is impressive!
The day after a coffee boost usually results in me being more tired. Hence the start of a vicious cycle. Coffee to start me up and hide the fact that I’m getting very tired.
This realization got me thinking about other tricks that we use as developers to fuel our development efforts.
Some of us are heavy energy drink users, some drink tea and others binge on sugar. Let’s not forget other substances like alcohol that can stimulate creativity or slow us down enough to concentrate on what we’re doing.
Throughout my career I’ve tried a couple of these and I’m curious to hear about your personal experiences.
Alcohol has always been something I enjoy. In my younger years as a developer, I found that one or two drinks helped me get to the zone. I felt extremely productive, but was I creating quality code? In retrospect, quality wasn’t that much of a priority, but I had a hell of a time learning new concepts like serialization and inter-process communication.
Energy drinks started off being fun. Some provide an extended boost of energy. They all have their own quirks and secret recipes. Overtime, they went from providing interesting shortcuts to the zone, to not helping at all. Sometimes the extreme amount of sugar, caffeine and other substances result in massive headaches that stop me from working.
Sugar like what we find in soft drinks and candies give you a quick boost. In small quantities these are great to get over that sleepy afternoon bump. In large quantities I suffer from similar side effects that I get from coffee or energy drinks.
In 1998 I discovered tea. Like coffee, tea is a universe to discover. I found that my body reacted differently to the caffeine found in tea. Although it keeps me energized, drinking too much tea ultimately results with jitters and headaches.
On a positive note, when I drink tea I don’t suffer from the same sort of crash that I get from coffee or energy drinks.
All in all, anything that gets you to your comfort zone is fair play as long as it’s within reason.
Going back to basics. When you care about producing quality, being in the right state of mind matters a lot. You need to be rested and well oxygenated. It’s crazy how just a little bit of exercise can get your blood flowing and your ideas straight. Sometimes, going for a walk is far better than taking that third coffee.
I’m curious to hear about your personal experiences. How do you fuel your development efforts?