Bye Blockage, Hello Productivity!

Introspection and productivity guide for software developers. Recognize and evict the true cause of non‑progress.
About the author
[Auther Pic]

Robin Palotai debugged legacy systems at Ericsson, coded backends at Epam, and was the tech lead of a small team at Google.

[Programming Without Anxiety Book Cover]
Programming Without Anxiety is my practical handbook that will save you countless hours of stress and wasted work over your career. It will…
  • …prepare new devs for the hurdles and solving them. If you just started out in this beautiful career, PwoA will prepare you for the hurdles and how to overcome them.
  • …help experienced devs get out of local productivity minima. If you are a seasoned developer, PwoA will help you get out of a local productivity minima.

Topics Cover

Anxiety Relief
Dealing with unclear expectations, time pressure, failure and the unknown. Dissolving procrastination and blockage.
Facing Technical Debt and Debugging
Recognizing the creation of debt. Tearing down the firewall separating us from the solution. Avoiding open-source pitfalls. Spotting bugs early, zooming in on the root cause, and preventing more bugs.
Everyday Productivity
Regaining focus after interrupts. Secrets of deflecting feature requests - even our own ones. Work-rest balance. Keeping prod systems running.
Being Part of a Team
Exchanging constructive feedback. Leading and responsibility. Effective use of meetings. Handling frustrations with the project. Drinking coffee.
Outside Work bonus chapter
Balancing time between family, work and hobby. Avoiding fallacies stemming from programmer mindset.
See full TOC at the bottom.
Read by fellow developers at

Knowledge earned by hard experience, which is always valuable.

Gambhiro @ Sumedharama

Distilled actionable nuggets from one of the best software engineers I know. Definitely worth a read and a re-read.

Mostafa @ Google

Get Early Access

Save yourself unbounded amounts of stress and wasted time! Get early access to the completed parts of Programming Without Anxiety:

  • The chapters Sources of Anxiety, Bearing with Breakages and Down by Debugging are done. These spread over 29 pages – I expect to total around 60.
  • By purchasing, you get access to the completed chapters in PDF, EPUB and Kindle (MOBI) formats. You will receive the download link by email, and I will send you new chapters as they get completed. Please download the sample and verify that the content and format suits your taste before committing to buy!
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Table of Contents

(Scroll the ToC area)
  • Sources of Anxiety (Completed)
    • Workplace Factors
      • Unclear expectations
      • Time pressure
      • Time fragmentation
      • The sense of non-creative work
      • Failure
    • Fear of the Unknown
      • The lack of knowledge
      • Planning
      • Lack of vision
      • When things go wrong
    • Procrastination and Blockage
      • Fearing to open the closet door
      • Multitude of choices
      • Unfamiliar tasks
      • Perceived complexity
      • Progress anxiety
      • Non-coding anxiety
    • Generic Anxiety Relief
      • The base of Maslow's pyramid
      • Organize your thoughts
      • Defrag your mind
      • Take a small step
  • Bearing with Breakages (Completed)
    • Not Breaking Things
      • Minimum-effort hacks
      • Non-atomic upgrades
      • Coupled data representation
    • Your are not a Java Programmer
      • Slotting ourselves
      • Language slotting
      • Role slotting
    • Depending on Open-Source
      • The One Who Depends On It Fixes It
      • Your dependency is the transitive closure
      • Living on the edge
      • False Promises
      • Compatible Licence
  • Down by Debugging (Completed)
    • A Wild Bug Appears!
      • User bug reports
      • Test failures
      • Observed oddities
      • Random crashes
    • Search for a Precedent
      • The issue tracker
      • Is it a bug?
      • Folklore
    • Online or Offline?
      • Online debugging
      • Offline debugging
    • Preparations
      • Expectations
      • Collect logs
      • Clean logs
      • Grab an A3 sized blank paper
    • Where is the bug?
      • Reproduce and reduce
      • Backward Method
        • The Backward Method
      • Forward Method
        • The Forward Method
        • Pruning noise
        • Parallels
        • Explore the parameter space
        • Alternative implementations
      • Endgame
        • When stuck
        • When found the bug
    • Preventing bugs
  • Everyday Productivity (TBD)
    • Workspace Organization
    • Interrupts and Regaining Productivity
    • Dealing with Feature Requests
    • Work-Rest Balance
    • Coping with Coding
    • Peek at Production
    • Gathering Stats
  • In a Team Setting (TBD)
    • Giving and Receiving Feedback
    • Interfacing with Other Teams
    • Effective Use of Meetings
    • Drinking Coffee
    • Tech Leading
    • Project Frustrations
  • Outside Work (TBD)
    • Hobby Projects
    • Family and Chores
    • Programmer Personality
  • Appendix: Mastering the Command Line (TBD)