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Pretty much agree with most of what you say above but this:

"Many people have little difficulty opening up their laptop and forgetting the rest of the world for an 8 hour stretch"

I haven't come across anybody who can in-the-zone code a straight 8 hour stretch during the daytime (nights are obviously very different). I'd love to hear from people who've managed to do this.

I'd love to hear from people who've managed to do this

Anecdotes about how "hardcore" people are in this regard usually wind up being worthless. 9 times out of 10, when I ask someone about an "all-nighter" they just pulled, it turns out they actually stayed up until 4:30 and slept until 9.

I expect most people who talk about how they can stay locked in the zone for 8 hours, in reality take breaks for coffee, browse the internet, and break for lunch.

(There's nothing wrong with taking breaks!)

Well fwiw, I personally have pulled honest-to-goodness all-nighters in exceptional circumstances (debugging production problem, team (including management) expecting my code the next morning to start release-testing, etc. Of course it includes things like bio-breaks, snacks/coffee etc. But since "The night is a programmer's best friend for it is silent and expects nothing"(1), it's not that hard to get back into the zone after a break especially with a sword hanging over your head.

(1) Me. Just now.

Yeah, the adrenaline of sheer terror can motivate you to amazing things for a while...

I think you are making quite a few generalizations. I've on multiple occasions coded for over 12 hours straight. With regard to all-nighters, I've had them stretch to noon.

I'm not sure how 'in the zone' you mean, but i've done that many times (just getting up to pee, etc). I do suffer from mild-moderate OCD though so I think that's likely a symptom of it.

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