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What do you do to protect yourself from burning out? Share some tips.

dsteenman profile image Danny Steenman ・1 min read

Continuously working from home made me realize I’m working more than ever before. I noticed I take fewer breaks for example.

What do you do to protect yourself from burning out? Share some tips.

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I focus on creating micro goals. List of things I want to accomplish for the day for example.

Regular project management already involves some sort of task breakdown and scheduling so that you have milestones that you want to hit to complete the overall project and separate sub objectives in a timely fashion.

If you feel you've completed the tasks for the day, might be easier to take a break.

 

+1 for microrewards. Small goals and small victories will lead to great success.

Staying solution oriented instead of problem oriented.

Whan faced with a task you don't like: just do it, but also do something you do like during the day, like read a blogpost, write some short snippet you want to try out, ...

 

I took this really far and have started working manager roles that don't include too much coding! This allows me to mix up the type of work to do, which I've found has really helped with minimizing feeling burnt out.

But it's also important to take breaks. I have a lunch hour set every day that I try to take, and during that hour I go for a walk with my earphones or if it's raining I watch something on Netflix.

I guess my tips would be - divide up your time, take breaks, and when you start feeling that dread feeling in your chest or you feel physically ill, it might be time to take a few days to yourself.

 

I suffer from this quite a bit; here are some of the things that have helped me:

  • Have a work routine/schedule, this is quite important when working from home. And try and follow it as much as possible.
  • If you get to the burnout point, take a rest. No matter if you've done all the work you wanted, you should think about your health first.
  • Take a little rest after each task you accomplish. For example, you just implemented a feature (but needs testing), take a short break, eat something, drink, etc. then proceed with the next task.
  • Splitting tasks into smaller tasks helps quite a bit, micro rewards are great at tricking the brain into thinking it has done more stuff that it has done.

The following statement is more related to general mental health, but exercising has been vital for me, it helps me keep more focused and overall more happy and healthy.

 

My personal strategy can resonate with most of your tips, but I had trouble returning to work after accomplishing milestones like finishing sprints or delivering features, updates on time. I didn't have any issue resuming after short breaks between small tasks, but it has always been so much harder to return after sprint reviews.

I worry that they could be signs of an imminent burnout as I can condition my brain as much as I want to return to work but I can see my motivation and enthusiasm declining after every sprint instead of increasing.

 

Pay attention to if you are missing more than 2 out of the 3 pillars of intrinsic motivation (autonomy, mastery, or purpose).

If missing more than 2 lasts for over 2-3 months, it's a red flag for yourself to discuss with your manager how you can bring back at least 2 of the 3 factors, and build a plan to get there.

There's 4th dimension someone added recently "relatedness" — social belonging — being part of a community. Maybe this helps too if you are more social/human connection is important.

I see most people getting burnout quickly by losing autonomy. Lacking mastery and purpose tend to be a slower burnout factor from what I've observed.

 

After I found that my self burning out, I was applying a grad school. I know, it's not the protect tips, but I learn a lot of things from the school at that day.

 

Split any task into smaller tasks to the point where a "task" is just a single action or a single line of code. Accomplish the task. Profit from the temporary self-esteem boost. Repeat until retirement. Never ever talk about your job outside the working hours, unless specifically requested.

 

Set aside time in your calendar for yourself. You can take that time to walk, think, or do nothing. Take that time as seriously as work or client meetings.

Take breaks, do exercise. It's not easy, but you can't feel guilty for taking a rest.

 

Yes, this is totally underestimated. Ince a week I have my coffee time in a very cosy coffee place. This goes with "treat yourself as your best friend". ❤

 

Lots of exercise.

Reading loads — lots of subjects, themes and such.

Bed at 10pm 99% of the time, weekends included.

Invading banana republics and toppling dictatorial governments to blow out some steam.

 

It will sound obvious but: do not take work too seriously.

To put it differently: set your priorities, if your priority is work and success you will burn out. Prioritise your well-being, excercise, spend time with loved ones and remember to have fun.

 

Once I've decided I'm done for today, I try not to do anything work-related after that decision. I'll put here the emphasis on "try" because it is in my opinion hard enough to shutdown your work-related thinking for a while, even if you are not doing anything work-related. But in general, do whatever activity that helps you recharge your batteries and stay healthy (both mentally and physically) ;)

 

The odd thing is, for me the opposite happened.

I find myself getting burnout at the office a lot more than I do working from home. Even with me now working 2 days at the office and the rest at home, I've noticed I'm working longer at the office. I believe it comes down to productivity for be. I feel more productive working from home and I get done with everything I need to do for the day so I know I can call it quits. While working at the office I honestly feel like all the distractions they you can get of having to go into this meeting, or having to go to that, I don't ever feel like I've done as much as I need for the day so i keep saying that I have to go longer to do more.

For burnout, the biggest thing is just rest taking a step back. I always go outside for 15 minutes some points during the day while working from home. After I'm done working, then I'm done for several hours. Almost immediately go outside and take my dog for a walk or something. Something to just get my mind cleared for a bit.

 

Recently I'm trying using Toggl to take a good look at how many hours of work I usually actually get done in a day--and then make that a goal instead of a failing, even if it's not how many hours I'd like to get in an ideal world.

If I can hit those hours, then I can be done, instead of constantly berating myself for not working more hours. This has been helping lately!

 

I listen to music and play CSGO, these are my go to thing to protect myself from burn out.

 

I've started woodworking before work and walks in the park after work.
Also, I wake up at 6 AM every day and work no more than 4-5 hours daily.

 
 

SHAMELESS PLUG of my own article on this very matter: dev.to/ronsoak/the-lies-and-lack-o...