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Code machine archetype - How to function optimally?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

When does being a code machine act as a disadvantage?

I identify as ND (NeuroDivergent) and when I am able to build an app in a day (like hackathon style), fix a bug, solve a problem, the disadvantage I have noticed from time-to-time if I am not highly cognizant of my ability to take breaks (timing my tasks), I forget to eat meals or do basic things (like use the bathroom)? It is much like the stereotype of Poppy Li in Mythic Quest unfortunately. How do we manage this better when there is a value in being productive in output, but an undervaluing of our bodies, and sustainability?

Do we need extra reminders on our Apple Watch (or other Smart Watches), pomodoro technique to be able to tell us to take more breaks even if we are on a roll finishing a ton of code? What strategies have worked well for the code machine archetype to get their work done but without burning themselves out?

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(2 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Extra reminders sounds like a great idea. To reinforce (especially for something like lunch), you can also put it on your calendar. Back at Meta, we had a similar problem (my team was full of grinders) where a lot of people would work through lunch and also book team meetings during lunch time. After we put a daily recurring meeting for 12PM - 1PM on our entire team's calendars for "Lunch", this problem was more or less fixed. It was funny as I remember us looking back on this during retro and being surprised that a calendar event that took 2 minutes to create improved our quality of life by so much 😂

    It sucks losing your flow, but the real solution here is to learn how to quickly get back into the flow as opposed to cultivating a life where you are never interrupted (this is a pipe dream and not really possible, especially as you get more senior). My advice here is to get into the habit of constantly doing technical writing and improving your ability to context switch. Check these out:

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    Eng @ Taro
    2 months ago

    You have such a wonderful gift to be able to completely focus on writing code and block out any distractions, and I can guarantee you that a lot of people would love to be able to have this same superpower.

    I probably would avoid the pomodoro technique. IIRC, it's more for people who have trouble starting and continuing work. It involves setting a timer to work for "x" amount of minutes before they can take a break. In your case, this seems like it would disrupt your flow because you are basically interrupting yourself in shorter intervals of time. If you are into the work, you should really ride the wave, otherwise, you are handicapping yourself.

    What strategies have worked well for the code machine archetype to get their work done but without burning themselves out?

    The burnout piece is more concerning. If you are constantly burned out after these regular bouts of productivity, it can cancel out all of the productivity that you've had. I've seen this before in people. They will work for extremely long hours for a few days, then they will completely crash for a few weeks where they don't feel like doing anything.

    I'm not sure if that applies to you, but if it does, you should try to make space for yourself in the mornings/evenings to do something that's unrelated to work. Especially since you mentioned "undervaluing" of your body, it leads me to think that having some physical activity either in the morning or in the evening could help to reset your body and create that space.

    It is much like the stereotype of Poppy Li in Mythic Quest unfortunately

    I hadn't heard of this show before, so I ended up looking at clips. It looked very funny, and I added it to my queue of shows to watch. I used to watch Community, so seeing Danny Pudi in it was a welcome surprise :)