Talking About Burnout

👋 Guys,

It seems burnout is an important element of being a dev. I’ve seen a few threads on social media about it with newbies and seasoned professionals going through one or multiple occurrences. As a learner, I feel I have experienced it on occasion too.

  • Do you think it is discussed as much as it should be?

  • How does one reduce the risk and affect of it?

  • How do you deal with it if you have experienced it?

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DISCUSSION (15)

I wrote about my approach here:
dev.to/daraghjbyrne/developer-burn...

My site, CodingMindfully.com, is dedicated to preventing and managing Coding Burnout.

I’m writing a very long article about burnout - what would you like to see in it?

Hey Daragh,

Great piece there - You covered it very well. You've pointed out the 'danger signs'.

For the longer piece, maybe solutions to get out of the dip? And some guidance for newbies highlighting the significance of it. Being new to programming is challenging but as there is so much to learn, personally i've felt the need for endless hours of 'focus' which doesn't equate to 'productivity'.

I have learnt to step away from problems and go back to them now, but it took time to understand when it might be the right time to stop.

Thanks for the great insights 😃

Glad you found it useful! I’ve had to think about burnout having been through it several times. Productivity can be an illusion - effectiveness and efficiency are more important!

I’ll post here when I’m done writing it up - there is an article on stress on my website you might find useful in the meantime.

Thanks, looking forward to it. Sure, I will check it out.

Do you think it is discussed as much as it should be?

The is certainly talk of it and what it is conceptually but not a lot of experiences of it.

How does one reduce the risk and affect of it?
How do you deal with it if you have experienced it?

A good way is to have other hobbies and interests outside of coding to take your mind off it altogether to allow your body to recover.

Nathaniel, thanks for your input! Can't believe how close you are, not many people from this neck of the woods 😃

My pleasure and nice to see someone relatively local to me on here.

Do you think it is discussed as much as it should be?
No and I don't think we'll ever talk too much about it

How does one reduce the risk and affect of it?
Like chenge said, learn to say no. There's too much demand for developers to "kill" ourself to work too much.

How do you deal with it if you have experienced it?
I never experienced it but a saw friends and family going through it and I don't want that. So I say no and put my health and family always first.

Thank you. Do you think it should be discussed more?

I understand about saying 'no' but how does one quantify what is the right amount of work, I guess everyone has a different resilience?

You've seen it close up I guess, how did your friends and family deal with it.

I think we're one the right track, more people are setting there limits and more work places are having the right attitudes. With more people setting there limits and talking about it it will become more natural I think.

I did saw friends and family dealing with it after working 7 days a week and multiple "workday" nights. Some people can maintain that workload but I know I can't. I need my two hockey games a week, my gaming time, times to do things in the house, relaxing with my GF, etc.

I think the most important thing is to find the things that are really important for you. If it's programming cool, if it's work cool but if it's sports, music, family, etc. it's fine too and it needs to become THE thing you build around.

Yep, I agree. Very good advice thanks! I think maybe those that can manage high workload can't sustain it for too long? Im very protective of my weekly squash game 😃

Refuse work overload,say No!, protect for yourself.

Thanks chenge. I understand about saying 'no' but how does one quantify what is the right amount of work, I guess everyone has a different resilience?

Similar to most mental health related things, I don't think it's as discussed as it should be. I think there's support out for when it IS talked about, but I think the thing for most people is getting to a point where they actually talk about their burnout.

I think people worry that admitting that they're feeling pretty burnt out to their colleagues would yield a negative response. I think people think the idea of refusing work because of feeling burnt out, or taking time out of work because of it could be seen as being lazy, or being weak. When really it isn't, and it's a sign that you're mindful and aware of your mental state and how it affects your work.

I think there's a point for employers to ensure that it's something that's openly talked about, and that if employees need a couple days out to then come back to work and be more productive then it's something that should be encouraged.

Now, how to reduce the risk and effects of burn out? That's a difficult one, ensuring that you get regular breaks at work is one short term way, i.e going for a walk on your lunch break instead of either working through it or just sitting there. Ensuring that you're relaxing in the evenings is also of paramount important. In the long term? Ensuring that you take regular structured time away from all things work related, making sure you're getting enough sleep and following a health lifestyle, i.e eat well, don't fall victim to ploughing sugar and caffeine into your body; this will result in a false artificial energy that will only plunge you further into burnout. Likewise for exercise, it's easy to fall into the trap of just sitting at your desk, coming home and then sitting down all evening. It's important to keep your body energised through some form of exercise. Even if that's quick 15 minute walks throughout the day.

How have I dealt with it? Have I experience it? Yes most definitely, I think there's very few people who HAVEN'T experienced it. I deal with it in the ways I've just specified, as well as through ensuring that I take regular holidays from work at even points throughout the year.

Burnout is one of those things, where it may be difficult to talk about, but as soon as you do there's an entire community out there of people who have similar feelings; you're really not alone when it's come to it!

Andrew,

Thanks for such a detailed response and amazing advice!

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