Cover Image for Overcome the Monday Morning Hurdle: My Journey with Hemingway's Bridge in Coding

Overcome the Monday Morning Hurdle: My Journey with Hemingway's Bridge in Coding

Bartek Witczak
Bartek Witczak

Where should I go next?

It's Monday morning. You're back at your desk after a weekend break, ready to dive into coding. But there's a problem: where do you start? You find yourself spending precious time trying to recall where you left off on Friday. This isn't just frustrating; it's a momentum killer. And it doesn’t have to happen only on Monday. This scenario mirrors the dreaded writer's block, where the hardest part is often just beginning. The solution is something called Hemingway's Bridge. Hemingway would stop writing “in the middle” of a sentence. This made it easier for him to start again the next day. I stumbled upon that idea in the book "Building a Second Brain" by Tiago Forte. It helps me start my day more effectively.

Adapting Hemingway's Bridge for Software Development

Whether software development is a creative process or not, it’s a fact that keeping momentum is easier than starting. Coding is like writing & we can apply the same principles using Hemingway's Bridge. The idea is to leave your work at a point where it's easy to continue. For instance, stop coding when you're halfway through a problem or leave a comment in your code.

Here are some tactics I use:

  • Leave a Failing Unit Test: This reminds you exactly what to fix first.
  • Leave Incomplete HTML : Write just enough to get structure without action handlers.
  • Leave HTML without styling: Add only markup, so everything looks so bad, you know where to start.
  • Write Functions without Implementation: Outline the function, but leave the details for later.
  • Use a 'TOMORROW_FIX' Comment: Drop this into your code to highlight where to pick up.
  • Only move a Task to the 'IN PROGRESS' Column: This makes it visible and a priority.
  • Set Reminders in Slack: Have conversations with pending questions or tasks.
  • Leave Broken Code: Sometimes, not compiling code is a clear sign of where to start.
  • Call a Function That Doesn't Exist Yet: This sets a clear next step in your coding. ⠀ By ending your day with these “start points”, you make it much easier to get going the next day. Leaving your work at an easily resumable point. Then you can dive straight into productivity, bypassing the initial inertia that often comes after a break.

How does Hemingway's Bridge differ from simply leaving unfinished work?

Hemingway's Bridge is about being intentional. You leave the work at a point that invites you to start again. It's not just about unfinished work; it's about strategically choosing where to pause. You understand that keeping doors open today will make you faster tomorrow.

Have you tried incorporating Hemingway's Bridge into your work routine? I’d love to hear about your experiences and any unique tactics you've developed. 👊