Take a Break!

This may be the best tip I’ll ever have on this blog. Many times I get so caught up in searching for an elusive bug, that I lose my objectivity and sometimes my sanity. There have been a couple of times that I have decided computers REALLY can make mistakes because I certainly can’t figure out where the sneaky little bug is hiding.

In those few times, it’s when I finally give up and decide the computer is at fault, that I find the little devil.

I don’t have nearly so many of those days anymore because I’ve learned to take a break. When I’m having trouble finding a bug or figuring out why my logic isn’t working or figuring out how I should handle something in my code, I take a break and do something completely unrelated.

Sometimes I go for a walk, or go have lunch or dinner or a midnight snack depending on the time of the day, and sometimes I watch TV or play something with the kids. Anything to get my mind off the problem.

Most of the time, the answer will pop in my head when I least expect it and I head back to my computer. When that doesn’t happen, the next time I come back to the problem, the solution just seems to appear. Stepping away from the problem somehow clears my head so that I can think more logical again.

Often times, the problem is because I was so deep into the code and my way of thinking that I couldn’t see it from any other angle. Getting away from it for a while helps me to gain a new perspective and a certain degree of clarity.

And getting away can be a lot of fun too! Yesterday I took a break and went to see the movie, ‘The Social Network’. I couldn’t wait to get back to my computer and make my first billion.

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