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Get into the zone with the right tool

Ronald Chen December 27th 2021

I love Visual Studio Code, so it may surprise you when my editor looks like this:

What I use to write code

Nearly everything is disabled. No file tree, no, minimap, no autocomplete, no hovers, no breadcrumb, no status bar, no overview ruler.

Similarly, I use Google Docs over Atlassian Confluence. I use Medium over Substack.

But why are these meaningful choices and not just arbitrary preference?

It all comes down to the process of writing and avoiding distractions. I find that I need to get into the right mood.

That may sound strange, but to me it’s very part of the process. If I just don’t feel like writing, I can’t force myself. Conversely, once I’m in the mood, getting knocked out of it can ruin everything.

This is why I write/code into editors with minimal distractions. I don’t want any reasons to stop writing as it wasn’t easy to start.

As a side-effect, distraction free editors also increase the probability of me getting into the flow state. Then writing becomes effortless and my best work is produced.

Companies have attempted to offer distraction-free writing devices with this idea in mind, allowing you to get away from everything and just write. No internet, no laptop, nothing but a tiny screen and a full-sized keyboard. Lovely idea, but I won’t link any of them as most have the fatal design flaw: typing delay.

Imagine being a product being designed to do one thing only, and epically failing at it.

Try this simulator to see how typing delay makes you feel.

I’m sorry I did that to you. Please take a moment to recover.

Are you in the mood to build esports? You’re in luck, Battlefy is hiring.



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