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Read Code Every Day

My friend and Open Source hero John Resig recently wrote an excellent blog post called “Write Code Every Day.” I love its message, its optimism, and probably above all, that it is pragmatic, applicable advice.

In an attempt to further an agenda that I’ve been harping on for a while, I’d like to add another perspective:

“Read code every day.”

Much along the same lines as John, I have had issues prioritizing my time between work and home life, wanting to advance my learning without wanting to interrupt my ability to do good work during the day, and wanting to spend enough time with my family, because missing them is the absolute worst.

I was having a hard time focusing on topics I wanted to learn more deeply or skills that I wanted to acquire. I found that I was building, building, building these things up in my head when what I should have been doing is getting in the habit of reading, thinking, and writing.

It reminds me of the years I spent working on music as a hobby. I found that the only time that I could really make any progress was when my gear was set up - when I had a practice space or enough room in my house where I could just sit down and get to work, without the distractions involved in setting up.

Building a habit of reading code, (or math, or prose about code or math) will have the same impact - over time you will make progress, grow stronger, and get more done - without the guilt and bullshit.