10 signs you’ve been coding too much for too long

Dreaming code? Typing out an IP address to your phone? Know the early warning signs for programmers who code too much.

A man sitting as his computer in a dark office looking at the screen intensely.
Credit: Tim Regan

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Programmers, as you might expect, love to write code. They can occasionally work pretty long hours slinging code when deadlines are looming, if they get engrossed in a personal project or whenever they get “in the zone.” In general, that’s a good thing, since that’s what they love to do. However, like anything else, you can overdo it and spend a little too long programming which can begin to have strange effects on your life away from the keyboard. Use the arrows above to see 10 signs that you’ve probably been coding too much for too long that other programmers have shared on discussion forums and remember, as they say, moderation in all things.

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A man showering.
Credit: bark
You can’t stop thinking about code

You know you’ve been coding too long when your brain starts to insert thoughts of code at all the wrong times and in all the wrong places.

“When you dream in code.” Joachim van de Haterd

“When you start texting in code.” Alafazam Khan

“When you start debugging in your dreams.” Muzaffar Ali

“when you think about coding while showering” Pete Pirasis

A man at a computer with sunlight on his face; he looks to be in pain from the sun.
Credit: Link Humans
You really lose track of time

You know you’ve been coding too long when you’re no longer aware of the time of day or the fact that there even is a time of day.

“When I look out the window and see the sunrise.” Sam Couch

“To you, there is no difference between night and day. You don't even know what it is.” agentSmith

A cake with the equation 2 to the 3rd times 251 (factorization of 2008) on the top.
You count only in powers of 2

You know you’ve been coding too long when you start counting everything in terms of bits.

“When you start rounding off quantities to 1024!” Pritesh Soni

“...in your universe, ‘round numbers’ are powers of 2, not 10.” Anonymous

“When you go to a shop and ask for 1 kilo of rice and then accuse the shopkeeper of shortchanging you by 24 grams.” Utkarsh Simha

Camels on the streets of New York City
Credit: jenn
You apply CamelCase to everything

You know you’ve been coding too long when you find yourself using CamelCase (or snake_case or Train-Case) to write things that aren’t variables, functions, methods, classes or some other geeky programming thing.

“whenYouStartWritingQuoraAnswersLikeThis” Sharath Gm

“You reverse camelback Irish names like mCcourt and mCdonalds.” Alex Genadinik

Closeup of the Rosetta Stone.
Credit: moorina
You start having trouble with non programming languages

You know you’ve been coding too long when your native speaking language becomes less natural to you than your native programming language.

“When you try to talk to another human and have trouble with the syntax of your native language.” Phil Darnowsky

“When you end up mixing up common English words with programming terms/words :) It happened when I accidentally asked my friend to printf the page” Anonymous

A line of mailboxes on a fence, numbered starting with 0.
You always start counting from 0

You know you’ve been coding too long when you forget that not every list of things are elements in an array or that they need to to be counted in the most efficient way possible.

“When you look for point No.0 in any numbered list that you encounter during your day.” Nurul Quamar Khan

“When you count from 0 and not 1.” Tapasweni Pathak

“You count objects: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,...” TheOne

A card that says We Value Your Comments.
Credit: Ged Carroll
You make comment notation a regular part of your life

You know you’ve been coding too long when you find yourself trying to “comment out” things from regular documents - or even everyday conversations.

“When you use  '//' to write comments in every situations.” Rajarsi Chattopadhyay

“When you're writing a paper and comment out lines that you don't like but aren't sure if you want to delete with ‘//’.” Anna Mitchell

“When you start using '//' for writing comments even during chatting with someone.” Kaushik Gopalan

A keyboard with stickers showing which keys are shortcuts.
You try to use your favorite keyboard shortcuts in real life

You know you’ve been coding too long when you try to use some of your beloved programming keyboard shortcuts in situations where there’s no editor or code - and, sometime, no keyboard - involved.

“When you type ':wq' or ':q' in your browser for closing tabs.” Prajwal Yadapadithaya

“... specific to UNIX: Pressing tab everywhere after writing incomplete names.” Utkarsh Sharma

“When u r trying to find some word with ctrl + F while reading a book.” Gabriel Turkadze

“when you make your girlfriend angry by saying doing something and the first thought that comes to your mind is ‘ cntrl+z’” Gaurav Kumar Singh

A finger about to press the semicolon key.
Credit: ITworld/Phil Johnson
You use programming punctuation and operators everywhere

You know you’ve been coding too long when you expect special programming operators and characters to work their same magic in the real world.

“You accidentally write yesterday's date on a check and add '++' to fix it.” Tom Howard

“When you use == instead of = in some normal conversation.” Neha Dubey

“When I was helping my nephew with an essay for his homework and he asked me why am I putting a semi colon after every sentence rather than a full stop.” Surjit Raghunath

Java creator James Gosling
You do other weird things non-programmers wouldn’t understand

You know you’ve been coding too long when you do other strange things like…

“You try to sleep(8 * 3600)” TheOne

“You dial an IP number on your phone.” Armadillo

“Your to-do list is a state diagram” Tom Howard

“You have a poster of Joel Spolsky hanging over your bed and one of James Gosling stashed in the closet because you just can't get yourself to throw it away yet.” Alex Genadinik