As developers, no matter how busy we are with our lives, its important for us to always scratch our developer itches every now and then. What I mean by itches are the things that you want to do as a developer. Be it working on a side-project that you’ve been wanting to do for months, playing with a new technology, library or a programming language. Or reading an in-depth article about a new programming technique. Or watching a video tutorial about a framework that you’ve been wanting to learn. Or watching recorded talks from developer conferences all over the world. Or writing an article about a cool technique you’ve discovered recently. And other things that you always have at the back of your mind but never really got to do because of lack of time.
Lack of time is always the reason we give to ourselves. But time is not really the problem. We can always make time for something if we really love to do it. Yes we also have lives to live. But we also need to give priority to the things that matter to us as a developer. As a developers, we have the responsibility for continuous learning. To improve our craft for the better. And this is what it means to scratch your developer itch. If you have it, you’ll always find time to scratch it no matter how busy you may be.
On the contrary, we also have lives to live. Nothing is more important than our families and our lives as actual people. So giving time to that is our priority as a human being. After all life is not all about work. Life is about living it in the best way possible. And that is through spending quality time with our loved one’s.
In conclusion, its really all about balance. If you can’t find time every weekend to scratch your own developer itch, then maybe do it once or twice a month. Maybe 4-8 hours twice a month doing a side project is a good start. You can also go to work early and read up on blogs before and after the alloted time for work. Listen to podcasts while commuting. Most podcasts provide download links to each episode which you can save into your mp3 player of smartphone. Watching a 5-minute video tutorial just before going to bed. Every bit of time counts. It doesn’t matter how little or how much, what’s important is to give time to scratch our developer itches whenever we can. If you do, you’ll be a happier developer. Its like the feeling you get when you were finally able to get what you’ve been wanting to buy for a long time.