This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the NASA Space Apps contest. Where teams of programmers compete to build something cool in just 24 hours of hacking.
I've not programmed for the sake of it for a while and it was a great experience to get back into the groove of just building. Creating something new that has never existed before (in my case a sort of genetic algorithm to build a sort of neural net map that could sort of control robots in zero gravity (Nasa Spheres, pictured). I stress sort of, since we only had 24 hours.
After 24 hours of programming with no sleep believe it or not I was still awake enough to present our work (I arrived alone but ended up in a team of 6) Others had build navigation algorithms for landing micro satellites (which take selfies) , apps to let you race astronauts on the ISS and games to let you experience the thrill of a space launch.
There was a lot of talk like "We decided to program the back end in GO, even though we'd never done anything with GO before" or "we figured that trying to solve all these problems in 24 hours would be a bit impossible, but we thought we'd have a crack anyway". This was a room of people deliberately making things hard for themselves.
It's something you don't get to do when you only program for customers/clients. So every now and then build something for the sake of it and try out new frameworks, new languages new ways of working. Worst that happens is that you end up eating too much pizza and drinking too much coffee. Plus you never know, your zero-g robot might achieve sentience!