One of the most powerful problem solvers: taking a break

Posted on: 27 Jul 2015
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San Blas Islands - taking a break

Over the years of designing and developing WordPress websites I’ve had my fair share of problems and frustrations. I haven’t met a developer who hasn’t. What I have learnt is you can worry and constantly think about the problem and try various methods of solving it, but a lot of this time is being wasted. Yes, you shouldn’t let a problem go and deem it ‘too hard,’ but you also shouldn’t waste too much time on it when there are other things you could be doing on the project.

Some developers are said to ‘eat, sleep and breathe code’ but really if we all did that I don’t think problems would always be solved. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left work for the day, worried about a piece of code and unsure what went wrong, only to wake up the next morning and solve it within the first 15 minutes of my day, once I’d had a decent break. It would have been more beneficial to go for a decent walk, run or even meditate, rather than waste so much time trying to solve that code the previous day.

Rubber duck - common form of debugging code

Rubber duck – common form of debugging code

I could go a step further to explain sometimes taking a break from problem solving in front of the computer could be talking to someone, or as some people have recommended – a rubber duck. Sometimes just voicing your problem – even if the person (or object) doesn’t know what you’re talking about, can be helpful. Taking a step away from the computer and hearing yourself speak can tell you the solution in itself.

And when you’re getting tired or not appreciating your lifestyle as much, maybe it is time for a proper break. I recently moved from London, travelling and volunteering for 7.5 months on my way back to New Zealand. I told myself this was going to be a proper break and a complete fresh start when I returned. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my job back in London, I loved it and had a fantastic employer and friend. I had fantastic clients and worked with some incredible life changing charities along the way. I loved the WordPress community in the UK and have many friends there. I just needed a break and a lifestyle change to be revitalised. Having done that, I’m now fresh and more excited than ever before about getting back into designing and developing WordPress websites.

I may not ‘eat, sleep and breathe code’ but I love keeping up to date with the latest happenings in the industry. I love speaking at events and chatting to other designers and developers. I love the excitement of clients when they kick off a new project, finding the best solution together and then making that solution real.

Sometimes taking a break is all you need.

San Blas Island at dusk - taking a break

San Blas Island at dusk – taking a break

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