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Code Panic Attacks

Sometimes I look at the sheer amount of programming knowledge I have on my learning list, and get what’s basically a panic attack. Shortness of breath, dizziness, anxiety, can’t move, even a little tunnel vision.

I think these are caused by a few bad assumptions about how I learn:

  1. I need to learn everything on my list.
  2. Any time not spent learning is wasted.
  3. Any info I don’t write down is forgotten.

Some more correct ideas to go by instead would be:

  1. I should focus on learning the resources I judge will help the most. One article on fundamentals is better than several articles on rare, middling specifics.
  2. There’s time spent on committed learning, but there’s also time spent exploring new information. There’s also time to rest and play, because without a work and play balance I can’t consistently learn.
  3. Reading info without notes isn’t as helpful, but it can still help. Awareness of extra knowledge lets me know where to look when I hit an obstacle. Thinking like a glossary is better, and more realistic, then thinking like an encyclopedia.

Of course, knowing all this is easy. Fully accepting and acting on it is another.