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What should a programmer do in leisure time rather than try some new coding stuffs?

To improve self, To increase logical ability and so on... which directly customize own programming style also and make good effect on programming career also.

Edited Please suggest me or answer me as a programmer, I would appreciate your answer with explanation HOW can your ans be good for a programmer? *not* what a human do in spare time.

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Are you asking you can do in your leisure time that isn't programming related but that will develop your programming skills? –  Kenneth Mar 18 '11 at 7:20
@kenneth.. It may be programming related but not only read documentation. like puzzle solving (can improve your logical ability) want some stuffs like this. –  Shine Mar 18 '11 at 7:23
Sleep!!! if you Get any leisure time. –  Aditya P Mar 18 '11 at 7:29
@AdityaGameProgrammer is this really can make good effect on your career? –  Shine Mar 18 '11 at 7:31
You get 8 hours of sleep a night??? Wow... :p –  DominicMcDonnell Mar 18 '11 at 9:07
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13 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted



There are a lot of important things in life aside from coding. Sometimes we as programmers get so focused in programming problems that we can't see the big picture. Many of our daily job problems can be solved by 7 days of coding or 2 hours of human interaction and 1 day of coding.

Improving our human skills is the best advice I can give to good programmers ;)

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+1 for reminding there is this thing called "life" which still exists outside computers :-) –  Péter Török Mar 18 '11 at 8:21
+1 for human skills –  Jeff Mar 18 '11 at 8:35
"Life"... What is that ? –  Sarawut Positwinyu Sep 30 '11 at 8:37
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There is no universal should-do.

For myself, the definition of leisure time is doing something I like. Those can be:

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+1 for hang out in a bar....made me laugh first thing in the morning! –  Ozz Mar 18 '11 at 8:52
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Read a book.

We just started a book club at work, we read one chapter each week and discuss it in a group. It's a lot more fun than I thought it would be, and a great inspiration to force you to read. Currently I'm reading Effective Java which has taught me many new things I never would have picked up otherwise.

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Nobody's said it yet - get out in the fresh air. As programmers we spend an unhealthy amount of time in air-conditioned boxes. Go for a walk, bike ride, sail, play a team sport. Your body will thank you for it later.

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Read/watch sci-fi, get inspired and blow up your imagination. Creativity is as much necessary as logic, so why not try something creative, Calligraphy, Paper Aeromodelling, Lego Blocks etc ( More at http://makezine.com/ and other such sites ).

Have you tried http://scratch.mit.edu/, if you are already a programmer you would love it. Ideal to teach programming to non-programmer esp. kids. I would say it would also benefit you as programmer.

BTW, are you contributing to open source or other such copyleft movements ?

or simply watch Simpsons !!!

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Very nearly -1 for "simply watch Simpsons!!!", nothing will deaden creativity like a 12 hour Simpsons marathon . . . Oh, you were joking? +1 so :) –  Binary Worrier Mar 18 '11 at 8:14
Wouldn't a 12 hour marathon of anything deaden creativity? –  Ivan Sep 29 '11 at 21:40
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Things I do in my leisure time:

Read, take walks in the park, spend time with friends and family, play World of Warcraft, participate on Stack Exchange, surf the Internet learning new and wonderful things, etc etc etc.

To some extent I treat programming as a separate thing to "all the rest of life". Because if I didn't make any kind of separation, it would feel like I'm working all the time. Spending time on StackExchange is different though, I guess because there is no pressure to produce anything or even to say anything smart. So being on here is about as relaxing as walking in the park. :)

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  • Reading
  • Watching films/theatre/gigs
  • Trips to Museums, galleries
  • Playing games on the Wii/DS/PC
  • Traveling to various countries
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Do something physical

I'm probably not the typical programmer but I need my occasional adrenaline/endorphine fix like most people need their daily coffee fix.

My hit list is, Snowboarding, Wakeboarding, Hiking, Riding a bike, Running, Riding Motorcycle through mountain canyons, Going out dancing (bring a guy who can dance, it works better that way), Sex...

Go new places, see new things, meet new people, get the blood moving, face your fears (or just do something that just scares the crap out of you). Cut the cable (by cable I mean TV).

Seriously, programming is not an active job, balance it with an active lifestyle.

The best part, new experiences and challenges are good for brain health.

Get a paintball gun, find a paintball field and shoot some people. It's really fun (as long as you're not too afraid to take a few hits too).

Find a mini nascar (go kart) track and see if they have cars that you can take a few laps in. It'll probably be one of the slow versions (45mph) and you'll have 9 year olds blowing by you going 90 but it's really fun. Those little buggers are pretty serious about race day.

If that's all too intimidating for you, find a local bar with a free weekly poker game, it's a lot of fun.

Worst case is, you have some really interesting/funny stories to share with others.

If you want to do something interesting and geek out, build something cool like a jet powered go kart or a gatling spud gun.

I honestly don't understand how most programmers are supposed to have a social life when all they have to talk about is programming. Do something interesting and you'll attract interesting people.

Having friends and an interesting life will make you happier, which will help you be more confident, which will make your work life better. Plus, the new challenges will actually make you smarter.


Edited to a female perspective because the Op is a girl. My bad... ;)~

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:D The question asked by a girl :P so bring your own girl, it works better that way n/a :D –  Shine Mar 18 '11 at 10:59
@Shine Then you definitely need to try paintball. The guys will swarm to your protection, it's really funny. Get one of these motorcycle-superstore.com/2/7/21/9598/ITEM/… because they're cute/girly and protect the more sensitive parts. I brought one of my girly friends one day and she had a blast (and shot some guys too). I got the vest shield idea from that day because one of the guys let her borrow his (she didn't really need it though cause she's pretty burly). –  Evan Plaice Mar 18 '11 at 11:15
@Shine I'm all for balance in life. The extremely active side of me is balance to the extremely introverted programmer side of me. If you're looking for strictly improving your programming skills join an open source project. It will teach you to read somebody elses codebase with fresh eyes. Plus, you'll be forced to justify and/or adjust your programming style to fit the standards of the project. I learned more from that process than reading 100 guides on programming style. It really makes you consider your style in detail when it's being critiqued by another developer. –  Evan Plaice Mar 18 '11 at 11:30
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There's so many things. It depends on you.

  1. There are so many online strategic games like puzzles solving, analytical thinking games etc. Just Google it and you'll find many. It will take away your mind from programming and improve your analytical thinking.
  2. Hang around with StackExchange. Just read stuff on StackOverflow on your favorite category. Remember no coding just read.
  3. If you find Stackoverflow not interesting at that time, come to programmers.stackexchange.com. Read on stuff you find interesting. These questions are like a story. Not like in StackOverflow.
  4. If none of above works watch a good movie, NG or Discovery. Or read a book.
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Depends on how you look at yourself. If you think you're a programmer then you could find another thing to be skillful at. If you think of yourself as someone that programming is one thing you can do amongst many other things well you could do one of those other things...

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Get in to any physical activity play any sport you like or try to learn any new sport I play cricket, else plant some flower pots water them daily or decorate your room.

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The first thing to do in your leisure time is to make a list of priorities. What is important to you? Score the items in order of lacking of your attention multiplied by how important the 'thing is'.

Spend your time on these items.

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Reading non-technical books & Gaming :).

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