A Day without Programming

If you are a programmer working on a startup, force yourself to spend a day working where you don’t write any code. Seriously, do it, and make it a habit. You and your company will be greatly benefited. The time’s I’ve done it here at Filepicker.io have paid off in spades.

Here’s the thing: I am the type of person who fundamentally enjoys programming. I really do – the problem solving aspects, the ability to quickly see tangible results, creating a product that solves real problems for people, it’s great. The problem is that I enjoy it too much, and will use it as an excuse to push off doing other things for the business because they’re not as fun. Realizing this, I got into the habit of forcing myself to take “days off” from coding, where I would work on whatever I could that didn’t involve writing code.

At first it feels a little strange. You sit down and your computer and have to figure out what to do. It’s not like you can dive into a bug report or feature request and crank away as normal – it takes some creativity, some effort – almost like when you haven’t exercised a certain muscle group in a while. But as you start nailing down all the things you’ve been meaning to do for a while but have put off, it’s incredibly satisfying because you see yourself making a lot of progress in a short amount of time. If you really focus for a day and resist writing code, you’ll feel very productive because you can knock off a lot of low-hanging fruit. Some things I’ve done:

  • write personalized emails to your customers and users
  • make a blog post (or two)
  • get your finances in order
  • start doing social media outreach
  • make a list of deficiencies in the team and who you know that you could hire to fill them.

Even if there are non-technical cofounders on the team, mark down a day in the next week where you won’t write any code. I guarantee you’ll find a full day’s worth of work nailing down the type of easy tasks that have huge return on investment.

Speaking of easy tasks that have huge return on investment, check out Filepicker.io. If you are a developer, it makes your life better, I guarantee it.

*Ok, to be totally fair, I cheated a little bit. I needed a list of developers to email, so wrote some code to scrape the db, but that was marketing, not programming, right?

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