I fight people.
Sparing every day at Jiu Jitsu teaches me how to lose. The best skill a developer can acquire is a willingness to be wrong. Why? Because things change fast and you’re not perfect. Check often, test often. Better to be wrong in testing than production.
I lift weights.
Weight sessions last an hour or so. They’re hard on the mind and body. Coding doesn’t strain the body as much as the mind but you’ll be surprised how much you can get done in an hour of heavy thinking.
I go for walks. Lots of walks.
Walks solve problems. When I’m at home, when I’m at work, if I’m stuck, I walk. Sometimes I think of nothing. Sometimes I code in my head. The world would be a more peaceful place if people went for a 20-minute walk before making big decisions.
I sleep 8–9 hours per night.
There isn’t one cell in the body which isn’t affected by sleep. Adequate sleep is my competitive advantage.
I eat like a caveman.
Nutrition is the force multiplier of life. It’s hard to think well eating trash. Keep it simple. Avoid processed foods, eat out of hunger rather than habit.
I sit in the sauna on Sunday’s and chat with my friend about his work as an intensive care unit nurse.
Don and I meet at the gym once per week. We move around and do some bending exercises then we sit in the sauna and talk about life. His stories remind me of how fragile life can be. I’m lucky to be able to spend time at a computer turning thoughts into code.
I listen to stories of my friend building his car detailing business.
Dave’s an entrepreneur, always has been. He buys old cars, fixes them, sells them. Every time he needs to sell a car, he needs it cleaned. Instead of doing it himself, he turned it into a business. Now he hires people to clean his cars and his business cleans other peoples cars too. If you’ve got a problem, others probably have it too, solve it by building something out of it.
I see people share their latest work on Twitter.
Seeing others do well used to make me jealous. Why aren’t I that good? What a waste of energy. I flipped it. Now seeing others do well inspires me to do better.
I talk to my Dad about what I do but he doesn’t understand, he never learned to use a computer.
Talking to my Dad reminds me to explain things in a way others can understand. Did you optimize your code to run on multiple GPUs at once? What does that mean to someone who doesn’t know what a GPU is or what parallelism is?
I cook dinner with my Mum.
Whenever my head is filled with the demons of the world, I kill them by reminding myself of what matters. Relationships, health, memories. Simple.
I write on my blog.
I write on Medium.
I make videos on YouTube.
I read great writing.
All these contribute to being better at communicating. When dealing with clients and customers, it’s hardly a tech problem. It’s a communication problem. If in doubt, over communicate. This what we did, this is why we did it.
This originally appeared as an answer on Quora.