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Realistic Healthy Habits for a SWE

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Data Engineer at Financial Companya year ago

What are some healthy habits that one should do during the day as a software engineer that are both realistic and actually help you be a better engineer.

The ones I can think of that I try and do:

  • Work out 3-4 times a week
  • Divide my day into thirds, taking two walks during the day
  • Trying to get sun before my workday (per Andrew Huberman)
  • Drinking lots of water
  • trying to get deep work done early in the day

What are some things people do that both work and are realistic? Obviously, I can't do 2 hours of yoga and meditation in the middle of my workday. At least consistently.



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    Senior Software Engineer at Series C Startup
    a year ago

    For me, one of the biggest things is having a source of new knowledge coming in via people you respect or admire as engineers who set the bar for the rest of the industry. I follow peoples newsletters and LinkedIn and catch up on their posts and read their articles daily or at the end of the week if I didn't have a chance during the week.

    I make it easy to catch up on them using a tool called Mailbrew (https://mailbrew.com/) which bundles up your emails into one for the day (though I think there are other tools too)

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    Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google
    a year ago

    Great question!

    I want to note though that most of what you've mentioned don't directly help you be a better engineer. These simply lay foundation for you to have a healthy life, with which you can pursue whatever you want. Don't do these things to be a better engineer; do them because they make you feel better. As every person's body and mind is going to be different, you should try things out see what sticks.

    For me, these activities help me feel better:

    1. I exercise 4x weekly (HIIT/Crossfit). This is by far the most foundational piece of my routine. I couldn't do this without investing some $$ into PT in the beginning, however.
    2. Having a coach and/or a therapist. Emotional health is severely underrated, and we all have some level of trauma from our childhoods.
    3. Eating well - I tended to eat more when I am stressed, so being mindful while eating have been a welcoming challenge.
    4. Journal frequently - self-reflection and the resulting self-awareness is key to growth, and you need to grow to be a better person if you want to be a better engineer. See Philipp Su's incredible answer for this.

    For me, I've tried these and they didn't stick, but they work for a lot of people.

    1. GTD or Second Brain - unfortunately, the cost to upkeep the system(s) did not equal to what I was getting out of it.
    2. Meditation - I did it for about 2 month straight, every day, but I didn't feel any more clarity or peace than when I started. It may not have been the right time and I'll try again later.
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    Senior Software Engineer at IBM
    a year ago

    You've done well to really list the habits of a healthy individual and it's cool that your looking into this. Since the personal wellness aspect has been taken care of, maybe I can help with the business side of things. Knowing where you want to go is huge so you can structure your learning and meet up with new people. This also helps me engage with others around me more respectfully and get my work done quicker which everyone is happy with. Getting up and just attacking my day is something I've also found useful. Get in, get the work done, go home and just enjoy life. Certainly better than alternatives where you get stuck doing something you don't enjoy.