Life as a Software Developer is about creating great software every day. You feel like less of a developer when you are performing at anything less than your optimum capacity. So every day, you do your best to turn in the best code possible and you try to keep doing that.
Well, even machines do not have the same effectiveness every day. But in the world of today where everyone is seeking better salaries and other bonuses, we want to be better than the next person so we get that comfortable fat check at the end of the month.
Don’t get me wrong, wanting to have the same effectiveness is a good thing; the only issue is to always know when you should stop and take a break, when you have completely exhausted yourself, and when you need to take a long rest to get back to work.
But Sometimes the cycle becomes work, work, work, and a little sleep. It has definite advantages at first, and over time, natural factors set in and the programmer begins to deliver a little less than what he used to deliver. In no time, everyone is demotivated and demoralized.
Never think: well, this cannot happen to me. It happens to the best of us and when it does, you are simply burnt out. What you need then is to be serviced. The way an automobile is serviced after running for a while.
How then can developers prevent this issue especially for new developers who are entering the world of corporate programming, no longer writing code for pleasure or for class exercises? Here are some tips to help you in preventing burnout.
Never Seek To Be Better Than Anyone Else, Only To Be Better Than Yourself
The only person you should be better than is yourself. Sometimes we burn out when we focus too much on what others are doing and how others are becoming better everyday while we are just following the path of the great programmers without ever catching up.
What you need is to develop a personal plan and follow through with your plans. Not to follow up on the plans of others. Seek to continue to grow everyday on your path, not on the path of others.
Develop a goal, push for the goal, and keep pushing for the goal. It is important to focus on what you want to do and achieve. Do not let the success or failure of others deter you from your path. Your path is yours and yours only.
Have time to do deliberate practise. In learning how to learn, it is emphasized that to learn, you need to focus, understand, and then deliberately practice. Deliberate practice leads to more expertise in what you are learning and it is more interesting learning what you are good at because you have fewer issues to contend with.
Continuous learning is how you can be a better version of yourself through seeking to learn from others who you feel are better than you. Seeking mentorship and going to events are just a few of the ways that you can improve yourself. But never set your success level based on the success of others.
Have a Work-Life Balance
This advice is so cliche that even people from other walks of life can find it useful. We sometimes burn out when we focus all our lives only on work. Imagine the life of a programmer who sleeps barely six hours and is back to work, with no form of engagement beyond his/her current job.
When you ask such a person about themselves, they begin to describe themselves based only their current job. Ask them what they like and dislike, and it is also around the same thing.
It is important to love and cherish our work, but the lack of balance makes us fall too much on one side, and as they say, too much of anything is bad.
You need to be able to have time for activities that are fulfilling and might not have any link to your current work. Taking time out gives you more time to focus on other areas of life where you can also help make more impact and be impacted more than your current job.
Imagine giving tutorial lessons to a group every weekend. This activity allows you to set out time to also relearn what you already know and also goes a long way to impact the life of others. Remember, this is a great opportunity to discover areas you never knew you could excel in.
Not having time to exercise and do a lot more things that energizes the body is known to be a path that leads to fast depleting health issues. Ask some people why they do not work out and they give you the boring explanation that they are basically too busy for that.
Well, if you are too busy to cater to your health, what on earth then are you here for? Do you want to make the money for the time when you fall ill, so you can use the money to take care of yourself? To me, that does not sound right.
Take some time to always look at other ways you can engage yourself actively beyond work. What other activities can you do beyond work that you can also derive pleasure from. Go out once in a while for other activities that can also make you enjoy the time and also make great impact in the community.
Taking Care of the Little Things
The little things matter because the small things are what make up the big things. You should focus and pay attention to the very small things that accumulate to become very big things in your life as a developer.
Pay attention to the way you sit, the way you work, the food you eat, and a whole lot more that might not seem to be of great importance to you at the present moment. Take care of how you even type on the keyboard. The brightness of your computer screen. All these things are important if you want to be able to remain a developer for a longer time.
For developers, it is more than just a job that pays the bill, it is a job most developers do with passion and would want to continue programming for as long as possible and doing things that can make that possible is an area to always look out for.
Not doing these things might not show any immediate effect, but over time, I assure you, the effects are obvious and you can only wish then that you did the small things.
Food, Sleep, and Exercise Are For The Wise
When you ask some programmers if they set out some time to exercise and better develop themselves, you get funny answers as if it was a crime to exercise as a developer. To some developers, all you have to do is to sleep, eat, and program. That’s all.
Realize, however, that the most important part of your body responsible for developing the idea for writing code is the brain. So the question is to ask whether the brain requires food, sleep, and exercise. The answer is clear – the brain needs a lot of these.
To be better as a developer, you must always find ways to ensure that you rest and exercise, eat good food to make sure that you can always maintain this flow.
The concept of no time for exercise, sleep, and eating good food should be greatly discouraged. That we can always be as productive every moment of the day without resting and keeping healthy is a notion we need to clear from our mind.
Be Your Best, Avoid Burnout
There are more ways you can definitely prevent burnout as a developer than the methods described above. You can make it comfortable to discuss burnout among teams so that they can come up with a solution that better addresses their needs and situation.
By never pursuing that rat race of being better than any other developer and by creating a plan that helps you grow and track your growth, burnout can be quickly noticed and prevented.
Having a work-life balance that ensures that you get a great deal from life: working out and exercising to stay healthy, eating good food to nourish your system, and also taking care of the small things are ways you can also fend off burning out.
We all want to be the best and one sure way to do so is to avoid burning out.