I have almost 2 yrs exp in software development. When I code, I tend to do it very well in the beginning, and I also manage to do things quickly. But when I encounter a problem or bug, I tend to lose track, and I spend hours or even days figuring out the solution to it.

In the end, I become frustrated, my manager is unhappy and so am I for my poor performance. Boredom has its place when I tend to see the same problem redundantly. Can anyone advise me how to organize my work better? What am I missing? In particular, my main concern is that I take awful amounts of time fixing issues.


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    Not sure how we could help you since we don't have a clue as to what your troubleshooting methodology is. And if the code you are working on looks like spaghetti smothered in with marinara sauce - well, that would be a large factor behind the gobs of time you spent sorting what is what. Basically, we don't know anything about the code either since you haven't told us. Jun 17, 2014 at 16:53
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    Its not like i want you to have a look at my code.Just point me out the moon i won't see your finger Jun 17, 2014 at 17:30
  • So your problem is that you are bored of seeing the same issue that you are unable to fix?
    – MrFox
    Jun 17, 2014 at 17:39
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    Spending hours or even days solving a problem is typical in the life of a programmer. Are you sure you've chosen the correct career path for yourself? But we can't tell you whether you're actually taking justifiably long to fix the issues or not - that's something that can only be judged / evaluated on a case-by-case basis and, perhaps, on a broader scale, how you approach solving these problems - either way, finding a mentor, taking a course or reading a book is probably the way to go, not so much asking a question on a Q&A site (or at least not this one). Jun 17, 2014 at 20:21
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    There's a lot of things you can do while you are designing the software that makes troubleshooting in the future easier. The fact that you said you start out "quickly" raises a red-flag. Perhaps start out slower and code more deliberately? Also, it won't hurt to read the classics: "Code Complete" and "The Pragmatic Programmer"
    – teego1967
    Jun 17, 2014 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


First thing to remember: the human brain is consuming a lot of energy when it's forced to solve a problem. Even though you're sitting in a chair motionless, what's going on in your head isn't trivial.

Your boss may or may not be sympathetic, but it's a good idea to gather up the research needed to support this assertion. The point being is that you're sprinting, and after making the 100 meter dash or whatever, then you're trying to run the marathon, having used up all your 'consumables'. What you need to do at the point where you're losing interest is get up, take a walk, take a nap, do something else - get away from the problem, and let your brain purge the waste products and build up fresh nutrients.

This article Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories? says it ain't true. This article Evaluation of a “mental effort” hypothesis for correlations between cortical metabolism and intelligence suggests it is, however it is in a scientific journal and costs $35. Details of this are still uncertain and controversial.

I've been coding since the mid 1970s, and I've had this problem when I started and I have it now. My strategies for dealing with are, first, stop when one is dis-engaged, and second, shift to something physical (like walking around or making coffee or whatever). Since employers don't like the appearance of slacking off, I work independently as a contractor, and bill a lot of dollars per hour, but relatively few hours. If the people you're working for allow for this, you should be OK.


ask for a meeting with your manager or someone senior who you think does manage these issues well.

Like Vietnhi mentioned, it's hard to tell whether it's your code, your coping strategy or something else at fault.

Explain to your manager that you would like to identify what slows you down, so you can fix it or establish methodologies to prevent it. They'll doubtless be happy to help you if you want to help yourself. If they think your code us of good quality and it's just coping strategies you need, do some research into bug handling systems, or whatever else you think might be useful, and present the options.

If it's more to do with sloppy original work that is hard to maintain, perhaps you need a mentor who can guide you and suggest decent software design patterns that are easier to work with. Either way, recognising the problem and discussing ut with your seniors, and presenting suggestions as to how you might fix it, will be a great first step.

  • +1 for mentioning my name in vain :) I want to point out that if both the code is horribly structured and the OP's troubleshooting methodology is neither systematic nor disciplined, we have a perfect storm :) If the code is a hopeless mess, the OP needs to perform a body snatch on some of the code's authors, and use gentle persuasion to get them to tell him what they know :) Jun 17, 2014 at 18:36

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