5 Benefits Of Typing V Copy Pasting When Working On New Code
16th Sep 2022
Photo by Florian Klauer
Typing in a code editor is the most common activity you do every day as a software developer.
However, when learning something new, it’s easy to fall into the trap of passive copy-pasting.
Here are 5 reasons why you should put the effort in typing out new code and how this will make you a more well-rounded software developer.
1. Focus leads to more productivity
Consistent focus has become a rare skill in the modern world.
When you write code for the first time you need to be intentional. And since being intentional means knowing why you do something, it forces you to focus on what you are doing. Copy-pasting, on the other hand, is a low-cognitive task that doesn't require any concentration.
Create a habit of typing to maximise sessions of deep work.
2. Presence leads to more awareness
Do you remember what you were working on yesterday?
When you copy-paste a new piece of code, it’s likely you are not fully conscious of it. On the other hand, by intentionally typing out a new concept, you isolate yourself in the present moment and are more likely to remember how you felt.
Pay attention to the one thing you are doing at a time, to become more mindful.
3. Memory leads to more confidence
How many times do you refer back to some document to copy-paste a one-liner you use often?
Most of the time it’s ok to know where to find some information without the need to store it in your mental memory. However, if that's the case for almost everything you do, you may become independent to external resources and get in trouble if those are temporarily unavailable. Also, this causes frequent context switching, which leads to reduced productivity.
Aim to memorise some details to become more independent.
4. Patience leads to more long-term gains
It takes less time to copy-paste than to type out a piece of code.
However, what usually takes less effort in the short term, also creates the least reward in the long term. So, for instance, the next time you are creating a React component, type it out from scratch rather than using a VSCode shortcut. This might give you an advantage down the line when, for some reason, you will have to write a React component in a Google Docs document.
Play the long game to get unexpected benefits in the future.
5. Repetition leads to more understanding
When you are learning something new, repetition is key.
If you need to refactor a function in 5 different files, type it out 5 times. The first time will be hard as you won’t recall every detail. But, by the time you do it for the fifth time, you will have a much better grasp of that particular concept.
Practice repetition on new concepts to let your brain do the hard work for you.
The way you approach work reflects the way you approach anything in life. From preparing a meal to listening to friends.
Turn your daily actions into opportunities for becoming a more well-rounded individual.