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Discussion on: I'm a Full-Stack Engineer/Manager & Bootcamp Mentor, Ask Me Anything

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georgehanson profile image
George Hanson

Hey Matt!

What advice would you give for understanding when it is time to take a break and do you recommend anything as a good way to avoid burnouts?

Thanks!

George

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matthew_collison profile image
Matthew Collison Ask Me Anything

Hey George! Great to see you here buddy and thanks for the question.

Here's the thing with taking breaks and avoiding burnout - it's so damn unique to the individual. There's really only two things here:

Become extremely self aware and remove as much self judgement as possible.

I know this is vague, but let me explain. Any of apprentices I worked with, as you probably saw at my previous role, I try and ask them how they really feel within the role and whenever I come across an answer like "I feel like I'm just not doing as well as I should", I try and shoot down that self judgement by telling them that it's understandable but we've got to keep reasonable expectations of ourselves.

So be aware of these pitfalls in self-judgement:

  • We tend to set arbitrary expectations like "I should be able to stick to coding every day and every evening and if I don't I'm not trying hard enough" or "This should be simple to me by now but I still find it confusing" and so on and so on. These expectations are just there for the sake of it - and they aren't helpful. They cause us to burn out because we try to meet them, no matter how impractical they may be.
  • We tend to ignore the signs of pre-burnout and get there without realising it - asking yourself "do I really want to work on code this evening or do I need to relax" is so important, and the reason we don't ask ourselves is because of that very first point, impractical expectations... Remove those and start to listen to your body. Once you do you'll be able to take rests without making yourself feel bad.
  • Try optimize your learning by doing it alongside something you love: Want to learn to code? Have a passion for kiteboarding? Create the next kiteboard tournament system in whatever language you're learning. Love dogs? Create the next tinder for dogs (don't actually force them to date, just meet and greets!!) - it doesn't have to be a serious, money making venture but just something you love. You'll be 10x more likely to stick to it and you will find that it generates energy within you because that's what working on something you're passionate about does. This is a far more practical way to avoid burnout.

Hope that helps - I know this is something you've talked about before and maybe there's something in there you hadn't thought of. Thanks for the question mate!

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George Hanson

Good answer Matt, thanks! :)