I’ve often been asked how it’s possible to spend the entire day in front of a computer writing computer code. Doesn’t it get boring? Wouldn’t you rather be outside in the sunshine and fresh air?

To be fair, this question was way more interesting when nearly every job didn’t involve sitting in front of a computer for the entire day. You might not remember, but there was a time not too long ago when “work” and “staring at a glowing rectangle for hours at a time” were not the same thing.

There’s no trick like taking breaks every twenty minutes, drinking four gallons of water per day, or any other of the productivity tips and life hacks that infuse online life. There’s not really any trick at all.

The answer is climbing mountains in your mind.

Many mountain climbers say the feeling of reaching a summit is the best feeling in the world. The days or weeks of planning and the gruelling training are forgotten in the euphoria of overcoming the implacable and uncaring mountain.

Solving a tricky technical coding problem or seeing a broken system finally springing to life after hours of coaxing and tinkering is like reaching the top of a mountain. The ugliness of the journey on the way up - all of the bumps, trips and scratches - are replaced by the unexpected beauty of the summit. The sun comes out from behind a cloud and the world is fresh and full of joy.

I leap out of my chair, pump my fist into the air and shout out “IT WORKS!”.

No one is around to hear except for my cat, now no longer asleep on another chair. For particularly difficult problems there’s sometimes a victory lap around the home office.

But just like there’s always another mountain to climb, there are always more buggy software and broken systems to fix. The next problem might not be as hard as the last one, or it may be a marathon of disappointment and frustration like unexpected bad weather during a hike. You don’t know until after you strap on your backpack, lace up your hiking boots and start putting one foot in front of another. You do know that the feeling of accomplishment will be amazing and the effort required to get there will be worthwhile.