Staying focused is hard.

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TheOdyssey
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Staying focused is hard.

Post by TheOdyssey » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:55 pm

I'm a relatively young game developer (13 years) and I'm kind of new to doing anything more than gimmicky programs. That's mainly attributed to being unable to stay focused or stay motivated. Any ideas on how to be more productive with time? Thanks

davisdude
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by davisdude » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:43 am

Some people praise the "pomodro" system. That may be useful for you try.
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TheOdyssey
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by TheOdyssey » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:30 am

davisdude wrote:Some people praise the "pomodro" system. That may be useful for you try.
Funny story. :P I actually started playing some CoC and forgot about the video while I was watching it. It's a really good technique, but it most likely would not work for me. I was thinking something pertaining to coding itself

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Tesselode
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by Tesselode » Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:31 am

Are you talking short term focus or long term focus? Is the problem that you can't sit down and work, or that you can't finish a project?

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clickrush
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by clickrush » Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:46 am

Staying focussed is hard for me too. And I'am 17 years older than you :). But in time I figured out what helps me while coding.

1. Stop writing code and write comments/text
I usually maintain alot of small text files around my repositories. There are also more sophisticated ways of doing this (wikis documentation frameworks etc.) but I'am a big fan of plain text. The point is that sometimes there is a reason why I can't stay focussed on writing code. So it helps to step back and just write what I'am trying to do. This is also related to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging. Saying out loud what you are trying to do or writing it down often helps your brain to reflect better than just thinking about it, because you can only maintain so many new things in your short term memory. By writing things down you help yourself to memorize better and get an overview of the things you need to keep track off. Also you see more associations between the things if you have them in text form.

2. Meditation
There are alot of really pragmatic and easy to understand meditation techniques which you can apply to your daily life. For example just sitting and concentrating on your breathing (and only your breathing). With training you get better and better at this. It also feels really nice when all the noise (thoughts) in your head just move away. This way you train yourself that concentration is something beautiful and nice and not something stressful. Pure concentration is not a forced thing but rather a relaxing and emersive activity.

3. Pair Programming
I assume that you are working on solo projects at your age. But if you get the opportunity to work with somebody else then I highly recommend to do pair programming if the situation calls for it. This is a really good way of communication between coders because both are able to see the other persons thought processes and knowledge. It can be for example be done in a leader & writer kind of way, where the leader is usually the one who understands the problem or the API better and the writer is learning to navigate the code.

4. Sometimes it doesn't feel like you are productive but you actually are
Writing programs can be challening, if you are not familiar with some of the problems you are trying to solve. Sometimes I cannot figure out how to do things a whole day and when I'am on my way home I suddenly grab my labtop and can't stop coding. Or similarly when I wake up the next day it seems like the problem was easy in the first place. This does not mean that the day was wasted and I was turning in circles. It means that the brain sometimes needs more time to let things sink in. Sleeping and relaxing lets your brain process, associate and memorize things you learned during the day or during longer periods of time. But you need to be really thinking, documenting and analyzing your problems before, so just sleeping and relaxing won't get you anywhere :). This leads me to:

5. Get enough sleep
Alot of programmers have sleeping issues. One of the reasons is that monitors emit a frequency which "naturally" (I don't like that term) only comes from the sun. Our body will then assume that it's daytime and keep us awake. There are also alot of other factors and reasons. But in the end you have sleep to stay physically and mentally healthy. When I get regular sleep over a longer period of time I'am much more concentrated, productive and creative. Adults need about 7-8h of sleep. At your age until mid 20s you need about 10h. This is no joke. An intern of mine is about 20 years old and he sleeps about 5-6h a day. He is constantly tired and has concentration issues. I too have sleeping issues but I'am actively working on solving that and the results speak for themselves as I mentioned before.
Sry about my english.

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ivan
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by ivan » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:57 am

Sure, it's hard to stay focused - especially when you've been working on a project for a long time.
Take small steps with your game, like fixing one bug per day.
Try to limit any distractions. For example, disable your e-mail or other notifications while you're working.
There's many little common sense things you can do that will improve your productivity.
PS. Oh ya, and work on things that are exiting to you - otherwise you'll lose interest.

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T-Bone
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by T-Bone » Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:23 pm

Something I've always found very strange is that many people simply assume that it's normal to be constantly productive, and think there's something wrong if they aren't. That's not how the brain works. We're designed to relax a lot, and our you'll start feeling bad if you try to force it to do otherwise.

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CoffeeCoder
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by CoffeeCoder » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:15 pm

I have ALWAYS struggled with staying focused. I don't have ADD or anything like that, but I have always had trouble staying through to the end of a project.

Whether it's something like finishing a program, working on a video, or even something as simple as wanting to make a personal birthday card for somebody, I ALWAYS lose focus about halfway through the project.

For programming/game development, it is especially hard to stay focused because the internet is just right there, two clicks away, and you can end up losing an hour just by looking for good music to listen to. This has happened to me several times. :P

Usually what I do to solve these issues is just stay motivated. Think of the end goal over and over again, to constantly remind myself that I am working towards a good idea. I refocus my focus a few different times, sometimes focusing on the art aspect, or spending the entire day just coding the major mechanics for the game I am working on.

Something that helps me, is to unplug the ethernet cable from the back of my computer, and just sit down and code away. Cut out all distractions and find something to stay motivated about. :)

And avoid YouTube at all costs, or you'll end up watching videos about cats having a lightsaber battle in front of the local Starbucks.
- CoffeeCoder
Visit my site to learn more about me! :megagrin:

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Doctory
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by Doctory » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:47 pm

I'm just lazy

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T-Bone
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Re: Staying focused is hard.

Post by T-Bone » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:49 pm

Doctory wrote:I'm just lazy
Pretty much all of us are! Laziness is hardcoded into human behaviour, and for a good reason. Embrace your laziness! :neko:

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