[There's a] way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started.

When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.

...

I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there's sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I'm slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning.

- excerpt from an article by Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator.


I think most people are aware of the destructive effect interruptions have on programmers. The same is true when you're learning to code. Learning to code requires uninterrupting working environment so you can not only thoroughly understand the material but also go through it in the most time-efficient manner. Here are a few things that have helped me minimize the effect of distracting environment so I could make the most of my study time.

  • At the beginning of the day/week, take the time to schedule study sessions and treat them as an international flight you cannot miss. No rescheduling unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • On days when I was motivated to learn all day I split my time into consequtive 4 hours sessions: 3 hours of studying and an hour-long break. On days when I didn't feel like studying I still made sure to go through my Anki cards.
  • Most people prefer studying in a group because it helps with motivation. Unfortunately, working in a group has a tendency to dissolve into chit-chat. My advice would be to time-box the social aspect to 10 minutes in the beginning and at the end so it doesn't overtake the study session.
  • Turn off all non-emergency notifications on your phone. There's no way to get deep work done if you're being bombarded with messages.
  • Studying in co-working spaces may do wonders for your productivity, even if you have an office at home. Not only is the environment stimulating, but because you paid the rent, you're more likely to put in serious effort to make the most of it.

Comic depicting a programmer being interrupted by his manager.