Doing the Daily LeetCoding Challenge gives you daily practice, exposure to new problems, and a community of fellow problem-solvers. But it’s possible to get caught up in the routine of solving each daily problem while missing critical aspects of daily practice. To see why, we’ll consider the goals of LeetCode practice.

As explained in that tip, it’s not enough just to practice a problem, or even multiple problems, every day. It’s better than nothing, but it’s inefficient and it increases the risk of getting stuck on a learning plateau. Instead, we need to focus on learning problem-solving concepts, as enumerated in the LeetCode tags. Each problem focuses on one or two concepts. Solving a problem helps to learn a concept, and learning the concept makes it easier to solve the problem.

Since the daily challenge problems are just regular LeetCode problems, they come with a list of tags. In recent months, the daily challenge organizers have also grouped problems into themes. So we’ll get a few days of stack problems, a few days of hash table problems, and so on. This is better than completely random problems, since solving multiple problems in a topic area helps learn that topic from multiple angles.

But the downside of the daily challenge approach is that everyone gets the same topic every day. If you have solved a lot of medium and hard dynamic programming problems, spending a few more days solving problems in that area may not be the best use of your time. And if you’re having trouble understanding how to use the union-find data structure to solve LeetCode problems, practicing it for a few days one week may not be enough time to make progress on learning that concept.

So you should think of the Daily LeetCoding Challenge as beginner mode practice. Though the problems may be hard, the practice process is rudimentary. To get the most out of daily practice, you’ll need to design a process that is more customized than the one that every daily challenge participant gets. In the next tip, we’ll see how to do that.

*This year, I’m publishing a series of tips for effective LeetCode practice. To read the tips in order, start with A Project for 2023.*