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Handling burnouts as a developer!

ms_yogii profile image Yogini Bende ・4 min read

Hello Folks,

I mostly prefer talking about technical things in my articles but today’s article is as important as all those technical skills! As a developer, the only thing which remains constant for us is continuous learning and while choosing this path we all have signed-up for this. Though most of the time we enjoy learning, there are times when this feels overwhelming, draining and demotivating.

We all go through this at some point, but we hardly talk about this!

It’s been more than a year now that we have shifted to work from home culture. It made a huge shift in our daily routines, lifestyles and habits. But one major change it caused was taking less days off! Not only this, if you are someone like me, who is working on some side-project, then this day off comes as a more opportunity to work and that is what I did for the past 6 months (not a single day off!😨)

After this over working, I felt burned out! I posted this on twitter and the people around me taught me some really good tips to handle this in a better way.

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In this article, I will be sharing those tips with you 😇

First, let’s understand why this happened?

Burnouts are mostly the outcome of overworking, I know this is a very basic thing, but we tend to avoid digging deep and not understanding the root cause. As a developer, all our work is done sitting at one place solving problems. We start working on one thing to another without switching in-between. This is the exact opposite of doing a physical activity, which looks more rewarding.

If you are doing some physical activity, like walking, hiking or anything, you can easily measure your progress, as it is clearly visible. But while coding, if you have solved half the logic of your bug spending 4 hours on it, that doesn’t look like progress!

Here are some solutions to this -

Take breaks, spend some time without any screen!

Solution is, rewarding yourself with some free time after a small accomplishment! You may have a huge to-do, a prod deployment ahead or any urgent task, NEVER stop taking a break! This is the reason why pomodoro technique is so efficient. If you want to save draining yourself, you will need to take breaks and enjoy some free time away from the screen. This thing will be very helpful when you have a lot of work to do!

I used to think, taking a break will waste my time and I will not be able to finish these tasks. But, practically, it calms you down giving you more energy to focus and finish tasks within time. We all know this, but we underestimate it a lot!

Open up your creative side!

Everyone has some hobby, some creative side of themselves. Give it some room. I was not doing any activity apart from coding and daily chores. That was a mistake. Because of continuous work, I was not giving myself time to reflect on the things happening around or even to understand something is going wrong with me.

To understand this, to think through the situation, try working on some creative stuff. Draw, paint, knit, do anything, which will keep your mind idle yet feeling comfortable.

Practice mindfulness!

I have this habit of planning things ahead of time. This helps me finish things, but it has a drawback of keeping me worried all the time. I used to take frequent breaks, but during those breaks, I used to plan my next activities. That way you still continue your work and the break doesn't remain a break! To stop this, you need to practice mindfulness. Being in the moment and not planning anything! This sounds little philosophical, but people like me who are obsessive planners will need to understand this!

Last and Most Important, Limit social media!

You might think, this has nothing to do with burnout, but trust me it has! Social media is full of success stories, but out of those, very few people talk about the struggles. Social media always shows only the success without giving much focus on many lost attempts. Being on social media, we unknowingly compare our success with someone else and start to feel low! This makes you work more, without enjoying it and end up getting burnout!

Afterall, the ultimate aim is to enjoy doing what we are doing 🥰

I hope with these things in your mind, you might handle your burnouts better than me 😅 or at least save yourself from getting burned out! I would love to listen to your stories or ways of handling this, please share them in comments or message me on Twitter!

In case, you are curious to know, I have been working on a side project for creating a single work profile. You can check that here and share your feedback about it. I would love to understand!

Thank you so much for reading this article!
Keep growing 🙌

Discussion (6)

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abbm586 profile image
Brian

Trying to create pomodoro timers, remembering to take breaks and basically forcing yourself to prevent burnout is stressful activities that will get you to burnout quicker...
Well, that has been my experience.
25min pomodoro clock is not enough to readup on /docs page and still practice this new skill. I found myself always had to refer back what I read in da last 25min b4 da break.

What works for me is being alive. Being a brother, father, techie, husband and the likes.
I dont have to force myself to take a break when its time to fetch da kids from school.
Or being a husband n give my wife a break cooking...
The result is the same as staying away from screens or social media, or taking a break at irregular intervals. You still get to take a break, do something that nt coding, BUT its not forceful.

Developers turn to live around their laptop...

So take dat invite for drinks from ur sister/friend even if its da night b4 deadline. If u require 12hours to finish it, you probably not going to complete it anyway, or you going to produce something you nt happy abt and have to refactor it later.

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codinghusi profile image
Gerrit Weiermann

Great article!
A small addition to social media:
I just follow meme pages and informative stuff. Although I don't see other people's success stories, I can't relax while scrolling through my timeline. My brain simply can't relax with that sensory overload ^^

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kosm profile image
Kos-M

Well that side projects triggered me..
We all have at least one side project laying arround , waiting the opportunity to find some time to bother with it .
Maybe its some new framework we want to test , a great idea we came up last night you name it..

But these (bigger ones) side projects needs teams to complete them and validate in market.

Devs we tend to be not good as a social interaction , and that is costing us , the opportunity to gather and create better code/projects together..

Burnouts has big impact on this , especially if we have a lot side projects ..

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dastasoft profile image
dastasoft

As an explanatory quote I would add, a healthy spare time is like a healthy eating habit, there must be variety otherwise you have to work to fix it or you reach burnout at some point.

Great article and it's an interesting topic to discuss about it.

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guivern profile image
Guillermo Verón

Great article! Taking days off is so necessary.

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leslysandra profile image
leslysandra

thanks for sharing this! usually week days i am living in front of the computer, but weekend i try to go outdoors :D