Programmer’s Block

Programmer’s Block is a type of mental block that occurs when you are attempting to move forward on some code but your thought process is unable to continue. This is similar to the Writer’s Block experienced by novelists.

You know, when you are working on a method and the syntax for something (usually embarrassingly simple) stumps you. A lot of times your first step is to do a quick google on whatever method you are trying to find and for what programming language you are doing it in.

Wikipedia defines Writer’s Block as:

Writer’s Block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years.

While it is the most similar type of mental block, I’m not entirely sure the Writer’s Block definition really fits entirely, as compared to what I experience as a developer when this occurs.

So you have searched for a quick solution to your problem. One of two things happens here. Either you will immediately find the answer you were looking for, or you will burrow through pages upon pages of search results and waste the time you could have spent working on the problem (and probably could have solved the problem on your own, given the amount of time wasted).

And occasionally you will find a really good site to go back to for the specifics of a language you haven’t worked with for a while, or haven’t actually had much experience with.

Then there are those times when you have to accomplish a certain task, and you just can’t seem to stay focused on it. You end up visiting several different websites, maybe searching for “The Best Way To Do It”, and before you know it the work day is over and you’ve barely touched the surface of the project.

Have you ever experienced Programmer’s Block? If so, how have you been able to overcome it?

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