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5 Ways to Beat Programmer Job Burnout: Step-by-Step Guide

Job Burnout

Job Burnout is common among programmers. The person feels exhausted and detached, becomes less productive and is constantly under stress. It is not an option to ignore this state. We’ve put together five ways to defeat him.

Method 1: identify what causes stress

Burnout syndrome occurs due to a prolonged response to chronic stressors. The more of them, the higher the risk of burnout. If you feel that energy is not enough for anything, take a step back and identify the root causes.

Several common causes of Job Burnout among programmers:

  • deadlines;
  • the need to switch between projects;
  • an unpredictable schedule that does not allow you to plan your vacation;
  • Technostress – working with new software, tools or processes;
  • difficult clients and colleagues.

There are also personal reasons. It can be anything from fear of performances to lagging Wi-Fi and noise outside the window. To find your sources of stress and eliminate them, write down anything that causes anxiety or insecurity. Then add to each item how it can be eliminated or rethought.

Try not to get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results and keep making small, positive changes to your routine. This will help you adhere to the new rules.

Method 2: plan your day

One source of burnout for programmers is lack of time. The problem only gets worse if deadlines are tight and the deadline is close. To avoid burnout, you need to regain control of your time:

  • Describe how you want to spend your day. For example: spend 50% of your time working with code, 20% on business meetings and communicating with clients. And the rest is for food, walks, pet-project and so on.
  • Collect data and find out where the time is going. You can use a diary and a pen in an old-fashioned way. Or start a tracker that tracks how much time you sleep, listen to music, or surf on social networks, and then provide a graph.
  • Find what is time-consuming and contributing to burnout.
  • Make a schedule and set reminders that tell you when to go to lunch and when to meet.

At first, it seems that additional rules will only lead to burnout faster. But in reality, the structure eliminates the need to spend energy on constant planning, solves the problem of lack of time, and helps to prioritize.

A couple more tips on how to allocate time:

  • Set aside at least a couple of hours for your most important work.
  • Block out distractions. Disable unnecessary notifications on your smartphone or install an application that will block social networks and messages with promotions.
  • If you always reply to messages instantly, friends and colleagues will write at any time and wait for a response. It distracts you and makes them nervous. So set aside time when you are available.
  • Don’t forget to take breaks. They are especially important if you are feeling burned out. Spend at least 5-10 minutes regularly stretching, walking, and sitting, thinking about nothing.

Method 3: prioritize

We need to add the code. And also answer the client. And here is a planning meeting. Aunt asked to urgently send a letter. And everything needs to be done right now … No, it is not necessary. Multitasking is good, but it’s better to focus on one thing. Go through the to-do list and answer a few questions for each :

  • Do I need to finish it ASAP or can I do it later?
  • Will it help you meet your monthly / quarter / yearly goals?
  • Is this an urgent task or not?
  • Can I really do this? And if so, in what time frame?

After that, shorten the list: filter out some tasks, put others aside for later in favor of more important ones. You can ask colleagues for help and share some of the burdens with them. And in the future, try not to take on new work until you finish the old one. Extra work can add stress and burn out the programmer.

Method 4: don’t forget to rest

Burnout among programmers often occurs because not everyone understands correctly how to increase productivity. Many are convinced that for this you need to work more, without leaving your computer all day, and reduce your lunch break to 10-15 minutes (or even better, get rid of it).

To get better results in the long term, you need to replenish your energy reserves regularly. Of course, the best option is to go on vacation for a couple of weeks. But there are ways to relax during the working day:

  • Take short, frequent breaks: It is advisable to be distracted by five minutes every 20 minutes spent in front of the monitor or working on one task.
  • Dine away from your desk. There is usually an hour for lunch. At this time, it is better not to think about bugs in the code (and not see them).
  • Take a walk. Exercise helps you cope with stress.
  • It’s important not to be distracted for long periods of time when you’re most productive. For example, if you are active at two or three o’clock in the afternoon, solve the most difficult tasks at this time, and only then go to rest.

Method 5: set boundaries

If you stay up late and take some of your work home, and your colleagues and manager write to you in the middle of the night to discuss something urgently, you won’t be able to rest normally. To cope with professional burnout, set boundaries.

Turn off notifications in work chats and postpone all discussions until tomorrow. Of course, this does not seem like the most difficult job. But then an hour passes, you forgot to have dinner, and you are talking to your boss about a new product. And in the morning you feel tired again. Living at this pace will quickly lead a programmer to burnout.

Work during business hours. If you fail to complete the usual “nine to five” load, then your energy has run out. This is an excuse to take a vacation and recover, and not stay for a couple of hours and take some of the things home. So professional burnout will only come faster.

If you want to know more about what burnout is, we recommend reading expert opinions on this topic.

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