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I'm convinced that the majority of the value from pair programming (literally sitting next to each other, not "virtual" pair programming) comes from the fear of looking like a lazy idiot in front of the other programmer.

Hah same here. Half the time I ask someone to pair with me it’s because I simply cannot muster the motivation to do anything for whatever reason. I find I go through a couple of weeks of this a couple of times a year, I guess you’d call it mild burnout.

If you assume mild burnout, do you think it’s long term the right strategy to force yourself through it? What would your body have to do to tell you that it’s not mild anymore? What if it does? Take care!

Just a bit of anecdotal experience for additional thought: I did the same for years, ignoring the signs, pushing through long hours, etc. and eventually developed idiopathic epilepsy. As it’s idiopathic, there’s no known direct cause (e.g. no head trauma, no tumors, etc.), but there’s a decent amount of evidence that supports at least a strong correlation between my lifestyle (lack of sleep, overwork, etc.) and the development of the disease. And of course lack of sleep is now one of my primary triggers, but that’s also fairly common amongst epileptics once the disease is ‘active’.

Best wishes GP.

Edit: point really being: it’s mild burnout until it’s not.

^that + usually when you pair program, you try to explain your thought process and reasons behind the decisions you make to another person, and in doing so, you actually end up delivering. And learning the material through explaining it to others is a very effective and very known technique, so that makes sense.

I think it's more related to having to communicate your problem(s) and intention(s) to someone else. I often find myself overwhelmed by tasks at work and home. The best solution is a to-do list, but even reciting out loud the steps necessary is enough to calm the anxiety and focus.

I don’t think communication has anything to do with it. It’s just shame.

I tested this out once with a friend who complained about procrastination issues. I suggested he have his wife sit by him while working from home. His wife has no programming background whatsoever but she knows that browsing Reddit or YouTube isn’t work. Apparently he got a lot done that day.

Free Startup Idea: Supply “interns” to shadow employees to create the same effect. Logo could be a Peter Pan style comic of a programmer and his silhouette.

>> His wife has no programming background whatsoever but she knows that browsing Reddit or YouTube isn’t work.

Or Hacker News...

Oh yes indeed. My wife can spot the orange banner from a mile out. She also knows when I'm instinctively alt-tabbing as I hear her coming near. For tasks where I know what to do and just need to code it, I'm easily 2x as productive with my wife around, and that's after accounting for the distraction of us talking about stuff.

Strongly agreed; that is my impression and experience as well. Two people paired up keep each other in check. I sometimes find it stressful and exhausting, but it's hard to deny the productivity boost.

There's a few people online I talk to working on completely different side projects than me. Maybe I should suggest pair-programming remotely to them.

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