Tech, Now + Beyond

A coding challenge dies every minute you don’t read this article

It’s not really a challenge if there isn’t a struggle, right?

I failed the 100 days of code challenge.

I read about the 100 Days of Code challenge a few months ago on Medium and I instantly wanted to take it up. I have workaholic tendencies and I like utilizing my time productive. The thought of coding regularly, brushing up on a few programming languages, and learning a few new ones, seemed more than promising.

As I edge closer to my final year and graduation, I want to improve my programming skills because it’ll indefinitely help me in being able to transition between tech roles when I start working. Day 1 was great, day 2 was just as good. I coded for 3 hours instead of 1, but that was because I was super psyched about it.

Day 3 came, and I was busy so I couldn’t code for more than half an hour. Knowing that I had coded a bit excessively earlier, I figured I could make up for the missed time over the next day.

And then the day after that, and the day after that one, and it went on and on until I was consistently procrastinating instead of consistently coding.

When I started off, I created a separate WordPress blog to post updates every day, created a Github repository, and tracked the #100DaysofCode hashtag to actively post about my progress and to find other people who had taken up the challenge. All that was, of course, a viable source of motivation initially, or so I thought, and it probably worked well for other folks.

But not for me. I’ve been unable to stick to a routine because Ramadan was ending and Eid, as most Desis know, is a crazy schedule of family get-togethers and family-friends making up for the extended family that’s miles away.

I guess this counts as an excuse because if you’re determined enough, you will complete your tasks, regardless of the circumstances. But this was a time where I wanted to give more priority to the people around me instead of giving all that time to the goals I’d earlier set for myself. I was only home for a short time, and the coding could wait, but family could not. I’m really close to my family and I knew that I would be able to get back to coding when I flew back to Dubai. I would be regretting later if I cancelled on family plans for my “coding challenge.” 

I was content with myself because I figured it was summertime, and I was allowed to relax a bit.

A few months forward, I’ve decided to resume the challenge, albeit this time, more seriously. I’ve reflected over my failure to stick to the challenge with consistency, and the key is within the sentence itself- consistency.

The primary challenge isn’t coding for an hour, but maintaining that rhythm and practice so that you can code every day and stick to it. It’s easier to do something if it’s part of your everyday routine, and that’s where the main goal lies.

In my head, two 30-minute sessions sound better than an hour, and they sound more achievable, and more easily do-able, when compared to an hour solely dedicated to coding.

Is it silly? Maybe. But this challenge is personal, and that means doing it in whatever way works best for you. 

If having two separate 30-minute sessions solely or to test out, three 20-minute sessions work better for me, I’ll opt for them, and see how well I can maintain a routine with these. If I add up the time I pointlessly waste scrolling my newsfeed out of boredom, it would probably amount to way more time than the hour of coding that I’ll commit to. And, while writing this, I think the next time I scroll through Facebook, I’ll head over to my laptop to start the next coding task.

The other thing I’ve learned is that if I don’t complete a task when I start it, there’s a high probability of me procrastinating forever. So, if I start a task, I’ll finish it before I take a break, because once the tempo breaks, it’s difficult to get back to it again.

It’s not really a challenge if there isn’t a struggle, right?

  • Mashal Waqar

    Mashal Waqar is the COO and Co-founder of The Tempest. She's a startup mentor, accessibility advocate, and LOTR fanatic. She was awarded "Young Leader of the Year" award at the 19th Global WIL Economic Forum. She has been mentioned in over 20 international and regional publications. When she's not trying to be productive, she's usually recording covers off Youtube karaokes.