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Mindful ProgrammingAugust 25, 2015 / Treena Bjarnason
In the world of programming whether you’re working in Web, Software, Data, etc. you’ve more than likely heard of being “ In The Zone“ or “The Flow”. This zone is a state of mind where you have lost awareness of your surroundings, lost track of time, forgot you have children, and a mortgage to pay. This is somewhat a sort of a meditative state where you solely concentrate on the work in front of you and nothing can stop you.
IT entrepreneurs and programmers try to create a work environment suitable for this kind of peace of mind and workers can easily go in the flow. But sometimes it’s not that easy to ease into.
Situations like: High workload, tight deadlines, problems outside of work, etc. are things that are almost inevitable and will make getting into the flow more difficult. So what’s a solution for this? Meditation. Practicing meditation is the way to go. Here are some benefits of it:
You become more competent at dealing and knowing with the actual problem
Most people spend a lot of their time thinking of problems from the past and future, but when dealing with issues in the present, it can be difficult to do so under pressure. Meditation will ease the will to go somewhere else in time in your head to fix other problems that are not important or nonexistent. It will bring you mindfulness and focus on what matters—the present.
Free from distraction and start writing good and consistent code
When writing code there is no doubt that you have to be concentrated and free from distractions. For example, to drive a car safely, you wouldn’t read a book or listen to television while driving. Same in programming. To write secure and bug-free code, you need to cut out distractions, whatever they may be. When you are fully mindful, just like being in the zone, things start to calm down and unimportant stuff just doesn’t matter anymore.
Gain a huge amount of focus
Focus is key. In essence, the last 2 paragraphs are almost entirely dependent on focus. Sometimes the human brain can act like a monkey 😉 When writing dull or boring code it, the mind wants to switch gears and do something more interesting like surf Reddit/Facebook, watch tv, or whatever you’re into. Practicing meditation is going to strengthen your focus span big time. Just like a bodybuilder in the gym, you are training your brain muscles to resist seeking distractions.
Finally, if you are interested in learning, here are some materials I recommend reading and listening to. This will hopefully get you started on the right path:
- Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf6Q0G1iHBI
- The Ten Rules of a Zen Programmer: http://www.zenprogrammer.org/en/the10rulesofazenprogrammer.html
- Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: http://www.amazon.com/Pragmatic-Thinking-Learning-Refactor-Programmers/d…