It really does not matter how much you love your field: Web Development, Software Engineering, Application Development, Microcontroller Programming, you will have a time where you simply don’t feel like completing a project or working anymore. You feel tired, apathetic, and disinterested. Let us introduce you to some tricks that might prevent this from happening to you. If you are a perfectionist like me, you will be more susceptible to burn-out because you are stressing yourself out much more than others that don’t really care. I am not saying that it is bad to desire for your work to be good and please others, but you do need some damn rest too!
1 – Step Away for A Moment
You are in the middle of the project, in the rough part, and you are constantly working, adding features, checking out things, making verifications, and you suddenly feel destroyed. You find yourself checking out different websites, looking for a laugh, sipping on your coffee repeatedly, staring at the monitor dumb – founded, and you are not capable of writing one single line or drawing one single pattern (if you are a designer).
What you have to do here, take a step back, take your pack of cigarettes, your cola, and go out for a long walk. Go do a jogging or sit down somewhere. We don’t want you to become unable to work for the rest of the day. Have some chillout music ready. Put your head back and dream some. I bet you will feel ten times fresher than you got out of the house.
The following are the symptoms of a burnout:
- Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
- Lack of recognition or rewards for good work
- Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
- Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging
- Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment
2 – Prevent it Before Curing it
You can learn from my mistake, as i developed heart problems by sitting all day and programming incessantly. I would eat fast food, i would drink caffeine without stopping to keep me awake, and i would run coding marathons of up to 72-80 hours in a week to finish a project. Now i’m fainting at the first sign of over-working myself and it sucks.
So here are the ideas to prevent them:
- Get out more often! Programming is not the only thing out in this world (though it might feel like it is!), if you are introverted, look for some reclusive parks to go with your good friends (or your loved one).
- Cut on the caffeine. I know how awesome is to be super human and be able to stay awake for days straight but it will only create heart and energy problems in the long run.
- Get some medical checks regularly (i’d recommend once in 2 weeks). You never know what is happening (Most bodily complications like congestive heart failure don’t have the tendency to show symptoms at first)
- Don’t live to work. Work to live. This is valid for the passionate ones who feel alive when coding too.
- See a psychologist. We programmers and designers are not the happiest and most excited people in this world. So we have to keep our minds right.
3 – Have some Fun During the Pauses
I was working on this Jumpjet project that i mentioned in my early articles, and i was feeling like doing nothing. I stared blankly at the screen, my hands wouldnt’ move, and my brain didn’t want to give me the next thing i need to get done from my memory. I opened a JS file and just played around. I wrote loads of GUI Widgets (Tabs, accordions, sliders) and played around with drag and drop with AJAX and Google Drive API. In a half hour i had so much fun that i could get back to my project.
The important thing here is, that even if your work is giving you the money, learn to take a step back (dont’ worry, you won’t forget what you wanted to do. And you won’t lose time either. You’ll gain enough energy to continue work.) and do something stupid but fun for a while. I have my plastic ball that i throw it on the wall and play with it for 10 minutes. Great stress reliever.
4 – Remove the Stress Factors
When i say, “Remove the Stress Factors”, i mean, remove anything that causes you discomfort, anger or distraction from your environment. Open your favorite songs, wear your most comfortable clothes ( i have found most offices to permit you wearing pijamas – they are awesome to work in with, all chill and stuff :D). Wearing more comfortable clothes will get the distress of wearing uncomfortable ones out of your mind and will help you to be able to concentrate further on what you do.
5 – Reward yourself at the End
You finished the project? And it works perfectly? Awesome! Let’s celebrate by popping a beer. Or eating a pizza. Or visiting easy and sexually desirable members of the opposite sex for doing the unholy deed. Whatever makes you happy, do it at the end of the programming / designing / planning activity. Success deserves reward, and a simple “Damn, i did a good job” is never enough. Go to the park, pop a beer, and swing yourself on the kid swings (do it where people won’t see you though, it sure is hell of a fun but you don’t want people to ask you “Please leave the premises, you are scaring the children and making the parents angry”).
Take care of your health, and let’s move on to my next article!