Episode 128 – Dealing with Burnout 1


 

What causes burnout?

  • Too much work?
    • Possibly, but not necessarily
    • Many people work crazy hours and do not suffer from burnout.
  • Work/life balance?
    • Again, this is possible
    • The feeling of work/life unbalance is more of a symptom than a reason.
  • Compound Stress
    • This seems to be the real cause.
    • Work asking for tight deadlines
    • Spouse wanting more help around the house
    • Kids needing help with homework or skills they are struggling with.
    • Internal stress
      • Putting unrealistic expectations on yourself
      • Failing to complete projects
      • Finances
    • Basically Burnout is you not being able to keep up with the expectaions of your work, your family, and yourself.

How does burnout affect you as a developer?

  • Prevents you from working productively
    • Unable to focus at work
    • inability to make yourself work
    • general loss of productivity at work
    • a strong wanting to quit and find another job
  • Harms family interactions
    • Loss of affection to your spouse which leads to loss of affection from your spouse
    • Lack of positive interations with your kids
      • getting upset at them when you normally wouldn’t be
    • General malaise at home
      • not doing normal chores that you should
      • basically sit on couch, watch tv, and ignore the world
    • Could lead to divorce and/or missing important milestones in your families life.
  • Spiraling descent into unhappiness
    • Basically all the symptoms of depression
    • Burnout affects every aspect of your life and prevents you from managing work, family, finances, exercise and eating habits, and everything else that is part of a healthy life.

How do we prevent burnout from happening in the first place?

  • It’s not real easy
  • Ignore stress conditions or find a good coping mechanism for them.
    • Deadlines at work of most often not as urgent or important as they are made to be seen.
      • Relax and do the best you can, but don’t cave under the weight of a deadline
      • Don’t rush to meet the deadline
        • causes bugs
        • causes bad code
        • leads to more stress
      • Assume that everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances
        • Even if you could do a better job
        • Even if it’s not even your job
        • The belief they someone else is slacking off
          • leads to more stress
          • leads to tension within the team
          • doesn’t help anyone
        • If you have a question, ask it.
      • Ask for help
        • This one might be difficult
        • you are not an island
        • you can’t do this on your own
    • Personal projects and hobbys
      • Don’t require the utmost professionalism
        • You don’t have to TDD or Clean Code all the time.
        • You can relax and write some bad code sometimes
        • These projects are for practicing or learn a specific thing. Focus on that
      • Are great for releiving stress when not taken seriously
        • If the project or hobby stresses you out, it can wait.
    • Family
      • Your spouse doesn’t know or understand your work
        • If you are stressed, talk to your spouse about it.
        • If you have had a bad day, talk to your spouse about it.
      • Children don’t know or understand your work
        • If you are stressed
          • Children are young? save it until they are in bed. be nice to the kids
          • Children are older? Explain to them your feelings and let them know it’s okay
        • If you had a bad day
          • Children are young? save it until they are in bed. be nice to the kids
          • Children are older? Explain to them your feelings and let them know it’s okay

It’s too late, I already have Burnout?

  • Take a break
    • Do you have vacation time?
    • Switch to no stress mode by following the guidance for preventing burnout at work
    • Ask work if it would be possible to put you on a different project if the current project is a cause for burnout
    • Put personal projects on hold for a little while.
  • Seek new hobbies 🙂
    • This part can be fun!
    • find hobbies that are low to no stress.
      • Good options are Leather working – I have found this one to be quite easy to get into and make some simple projects. It is low stress and results in a product you can be proud of.
      • Drawing or other forms of art. Try a bob ross painting or simply sketch in a notepad. Anything that comes to mind, don’t worry about whether or not it is “good”. Just Draw/Paint/Art.
  • Outdoor activites
    • Play games outside with the kids
    • Go biking – Mountain biking is extremely fun although a little dangerous
    • Hiking can be quite relaxing and enjoyable
  • Exercise
    • Go to the gym
    • Yoga
    • Meditaion – mental exercise is still exercise, and mediation is extremely relaxing.
  • Seek Counselling
    • Burnout is a form of depression and you may need help getting out of it.
  • Talk to your doctor
    • I would normally advise against medication and save that as a last resort, but again Burnout is a form of depression and may require medical intervention.

 

“Tempting Time” by Animals As Leaders used with permissions – All Rights Reserved

 

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