Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

The Three Stuck-State Exit Strategies

Published on in Medium Archive
Short link: https://b.jlel.se/s/37e
⚠️ This entry is already over one year old. It may no longer be up to date. Opinions may have changed. When I wrote this post, I was only 18 years old!

Coding can be a pain. Especially, when you get stuck at something. When this little thing just doesn’t want to work and holds you back from continuing with anything else. When you just can’t release that big update, because one small method isn’t doing things as it should. When you think, you’re a bad programmer, because you just can’t fix it.

I am convinced, that every developer knows, what I mean. It’s a miserable feeling and you need to get out of it as soon as possible. So here are three ways, that might help you:

1. Start from scratch and do it different

Conventions are a good thing, but sometimes you need to do it different, you need to be innovative and creative, because following the conventions didn’t work for you. Start from scratch and do it different.

Just to give you a small example from my own (not-yet-professional) Android development life:

Fragments are a cool thing. They are there for “primarily to support more dynamic and flexible UI designs on large screens, such as tablets”. So because it’s the convention I used them in my app, which worked pretty well, till I reached some state, where it didn’t worked anymore due to more complexity etc. I trying every single non-working fix I found during the hours of doing research through Google and StackOverflow and thought about, how I can solve this on a different way. I remembered myself doing a basic vocabulary app with just custom views instead of fragments, just because I was to lazy to handle all that fragment stuff. What about applying this on a little bit larger scale?

I found the solution, because I left the path of following conventions and trying uncommon things.

2. Do physical exercises

When was the last time, you took your running shoes or your bike and did some physical training? It’s probably long overdue? Doing sports can be a pretty good way, to freeing up your mind, so that there’s space for some solutions again.

When I get stuck at something and I realize, that I just can’t find a solution, I turn of my PC and go for a run in the near forest. While I run, I think about other solutions, I didn’t try yet or some unconventional ways of how to solve it (see part 1).

It can be pretty helpful, because sometimes you get crazy mind-blowing ideas while moving your body and sweating.

3. Just do something different and come back to it later

No, I don’t want you to start procrastinating (like I sometimes do). But if you really can’t find a solution and just waste all your time and mental health to solve this problem, you should probably pause it, if you haven’t a specific deadline. What about writing a cool Medium post, doing some sports (read part 2) or continue on your more funny side project. You’ll probably find a solution in an unexpected moment and then you can go back to your problem and finally fix it.

It’s sometime not worth it wasting your time with finding no fix. Go and use your time more wisely.

So you might yell at me, that this are some pretty obvious things, BUT I just want to remind you about them! Because nothing sucks more then the suck-state. And I talk with experience, because I suffered enough during development for the newest version of my newsreader app for Android.

Have a nice day and good luck with your coding and think about sharing this post with your coding mates …


Jan-Lukas Else
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