I remember I was once sat in a meeting with a senior developer and asked what I do in my free time. At this point I had been a software developer for around a year. The question through me and I probably mumbled a few general things, because really I hate being asked questions when I don’t know why I’m being asked (it probably stems from my childhood need to always be right!). That’s when I was told something that shocked me. That if I am not coding on the weekends, and in fact all hours, then I’m not built to be a developer. That I would never progress unless I was obsessed with coding and that I should have several side projects going.
It was as if the hours I spent coding dictated my worth as a developer. And the more hours I spent doing things which were not relevant to coding, the more likely I was going to fail. At first I was confused, I did enjoy coding but was I obsessed with it? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed coding more than any other job or industry I had worked in. But I guess it was at this point I really started to doubt my ability as a software developer. Not because I didn’t think I was good at it but because if there was the perquisite that you had to live, breathe and eat coding then was it really something I wanted to do?
Well, it’s been over a year since then. And I’m still a software developer. I still love my career. And no, I’m still not coding every hour that God gives me. So if you are sat there wondering what you should be doing during your free time on the weekends, here are four options which I think would make you a great developer. It’s by far not an exhaustive list though so if you’re a developer, please let me know what you enjoy doing on the weekend!
Option One: Relax
If you work a Monday to Friday job then on the weekend you can take advantage to step away from your computer. Burn out is not good. And despite this whole “hustle” culture that we are constantly confronted with every day, if you’re working 24/7 and not producing anything of good quality, are you really “hustle”-ing? So switch off your computer, delete those messenger apps off your phone, log out of your emails and just zone out for the weekend.
Option Two: Learn
Look into the areas of your development career where you are missing out. Does your job focus on one particular tech stack but you would really like to start looking at something else? You might be considering your future options, you might be job hunting, or you may just enjoy learning new things. Someone may have mentioned something during the week which stuck with you but you didn’t have chance to look into during the week.
Option Three: Exercise
The one downside to being a software developer is that we can end up spending a lot of time sat down in front of a computer (unless you’re one of those energetic developers with their standing desks and walking treadmills!). And while you might get the opportunity for a walk, or a run, or a trip to the gym during your week days – you just won’t have as much free time to get out as you do on the weekend! So go, enjoy nature, or the gym, or the race track and just enjoy not staring at your computer screen.
Option Four: Cook
The weekend is a great time to batch cook your meals for the week ahead. If you’re anything like me, when it comes to working and you’re in the middle of a problem or have a crazy amount of meetings, cooking a proper meal for lunch is the last thing on your mind. So take advantage of the weekend and get some meals prepped and in the fridge (or freezer). That way you’ll just have to chuck something in the microwave when you get some free time (or, if you are really pushed for time, eat at your desk… but seriously, try not to do that!)