Do You Have a Programming Ritual?

It turns out that like professional baseball players and golf pros, some programmers have elaborate "pre-game" rituals that helps them do their work. Do you? ITWorld rounded up several great stories and shares the best ones.

For example, there’s Issac Kelly, lead developer at, on his strategy:

To me, programming is really the last mile to getting something done. When I do the planning and specifications, I go on lots of walks, take lots of time with my wife, and really do as little work in front of the computer as possible. The more I plan (in my head, on paper, on a whiteboard) the less I program; and all of my rituals are to that end.

We also learn that:

Before sitting down to a coding session, he gets a big glass of water, takes everything off of his desk, and closes out all programs and e-mail, keeping open only his code editor. The office door is shut, and some sort of music is playing.

Included here are some good programming tips, especially for anyone (everyone, more likely) who sometimes simply gets stuck and can’t come up with the next line of code. Like a baseball swing, good programming is a mix of art, science, practice, repetition, and luck. Every little trick you can devise to do it better is worth it.

— Don Willmott

One Response to “Do You Have a Programming Ritual?”

  1. I’m a technical writer. I have a pretty similar ritual, for the same purpose: getting set to think clearly and precisely, and then transfer and refine those thoughts.

    1) I’ll answer all outstanding emails; 2) I’ll go to and select the “Spacestation” or “cliqhop” channel (I need beats without vocals; I can’t write and hear words at the same time), 3) I’ll fix myself a cup of tea.

    Then I go straight in and don’t come up until I need another cup of tea. Usually an hour or so.