Cassidy Williams

Software Engineer in Chicago

Cassidy's face

Loving and hating the streak

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My GitHub streak right now (January 27, 2023) is like, really good. Today marks 1 full month: I haven’t missed a day of committing since December 27th! Whew! Watch out world! She’s a woman in STEM! She’s a girl who codes! Live, laugh, love!

I’m definitely thinking those unhealthy thoughts of, “dang, if only I committed code on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after, so the streak could be even longer.” Who needs family when you have a GitHub streak?! I haven’t really been purposely committing daily, it’s just been one of those times where I have a lot to do at work, and I have the mental energy and motivation to work on some of my side projects as well. And I gotta say, it’s pretty dang fun to see the streak work, but I also feel the unhealthy relationship with it lingering.

I don’t ever want to code just to have the streak. That kind of motivation doesn’t last very long. I feel like this sentiment is anti-”everything you read about in productivity books,” (in Atomic Habits they literally call the people who track the streak “elite performers”). But, I also know myself, and know that if I am motivated by the streak too much, the streak will stress me out and I’ll code and commit less for enjoyment and usefulness, and more purely for the streak, which feels… icky. It’s like when the Duolingo owl haunts me to practice a language and the stress and guilt stops me from actually learning. Only this time, it’s those alluring green squares dancing on the screen.

the streak saying, "love me, Cassidy"

I’m probably overthinking this. I’ll probably lose my streak within 48 hours of writing this and I’ll be like “eh, it was good while it lasted,” and move on. But at this point, I’m… feeling good about the progress I’ve been making on projects, hoping to keep it up for the joy of actually getting code written, and trying very hard to not fall into streak-motivated work.

Update exactly 11 months later: I kept the streak. It was probably unhealthy. You can see exactly when I gave birth and when I went back to work. But it was FUN and WORTH IT.

the 2023 streak

I was able to ship more this year than I have in a long time. I committed code to both public and private repos, reviewed pull requests, made + solved issues, and made fun projects like Jumblie and Thirteen Potions and Cardstock! I don’t plan on keeping the pace up (especially with a baby who is increasingly aware of screens), but it was a fun year.

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