When you’re loading freight into tractor-trailers, you learn many invaluable life lessons. You’re constantly working to solve a puzzle while other people are haphazardly tossing pieces in or are complaining that other pieces are too heavy to place in an organized manner. In the process, you learn that creating a strong foundation and using teamwork are the best ways to solve the puzzle.

Just like fitting boxes into a truck, coding needs a strong organizational foundation to work efficiently. You learn that you put the heaviest boxes on the bottom, and the lightest boxes on top. You form a pattern that allows for the boxes to be fit in the places, and if you forget one, there’s still a way to fit it in. You learn that moving the stray box in your way instead of working around it makes things easier in the long run.

Coding is very similar. Just because something has already been built, that doesn’t mean re-writing it is a waste of time. Just like making a pattern for loading boxes into a truck, writing code is easier when there isn’t disorganized work holding you back. Updating everything at once gives you a fresh, consistent slate to build off of. Make the revisions you need so that it will be easier to work with in the future.

Finally, learn to work together. Help your peer lift that extra heavy box. When you work as a team, you build morale, become more accurate, and more efficient. It’s easy to become selfish and ignore when your peers fall behind. However, helping them catch up is a learning opportunity for both of you.

When you’re approaching the chaos of tackling a project, start with organization. If you begin with a strong foundation and pattern, you’ll be able to move forward and recover from mistakes more efficiently. Working together with your peers creates stronger code and skill sets. As Ned Stark said, “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives”.