Since the pandemic started, we’ve all been confined to work indoors which has led to big changes and side effects in the working environment.
One of the side effects is the increasing number of developers burning out. This problem could be attributed to extended working hours, isolation, and a higher workload.
Burnout symptoms have especially increased among developers. Due to the complex and demanding nature of their work, the quarantine has made it even worse.
Appstrax Technology is part of the developers community and we want to help our peers to find ways to prevent and overcome burnout.
Therefore, in this article, we will explain what is burnout, its causes, how developers can prevent and overcome it to maintain a balanced life.
What It’s Burnout?
Most software engineers will experience burnout at least once in their career. Those in gaming, open-source, and startup engineering are most prone to burning out.
Trying to identify it early is the best form of prevention, as you can act on it before it starts affecting your work.
In order to prevent burning out, it's important to know what it is and recognize its symptoms.
By definition, burnout is described as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress”.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Lack of motivation
- Memory issues
- Feeling hopeless
- Lack of enjoyment
- Poor performance
- Missing deadlines
- Loss of energy
And the list goes on and on. Burnout is often caused by long-term and unresolvable job stress.
Causes Of Burnout
Some people may think that working from home is the dream job, because if you work from home “surely you have more time to dedicate to the house and your work”.
While working from home does allow for flexible working hours, it has turned out not to be as ideal as people thought.
When working from home, people tend to work longer hours. This is due to a few reasons:
“The guilt card”: Some people tend to work longer hours to make sure colleagues don’t think they are slacking off.
No need to commute: Since there is no need to sit in traffic to go to the office, now that time can be productively used to get some work done.
It’s so easy to just keep working: Those five more minutes of extra work can turn into two extra hours of work without realizing it.
Work overload: Having a long list of tasks can be overwhelming, and it may feel like you need to do it all at once.
Being isolated from other people: Not being in contact with other people can have serious consequences. Physical interactions are very important to keep stable mental health.
How To Prevent Burnout
There are few preventive tactics to help you avoiding burning out.
Learn how to say no
Although it seems like saying yes to every single project is the ideal way to improve your personal brand, this could lead to some serious amount of workload that you won’t be able to handle.
Rather compromise yourself to a few tasks that you will be able to do well.
Don’t just code
It’s important to keep a balanced lifestyle. Take a break from coding from time to time. Go on a road trip with your family or friends, read a book, listen to podcasts, or write a blog that’s industry-related or on a topic you are passionate about.
Take regular breaks
Coding for 8 hours every single day cannot be good for anybody. Remember to take regular breaks.
Go for a short walk in between, get a coffee, chat with your partner sitting in the next room, or play with your dog. Do anything that switches your mind from work. Your brain needs the reboot.
Remember to maintain a balance between work and your personal life. After all, it is difficult to set boundaries when your office is also your living room and maybe even your room.
Have a set working schedule that includes your working hours and breaks in between. Always remember to exercise and maintain a healthy diet.
How To Overcome Burnout
Are you feeling any of the symptoms we highlighted before? The following tips will help you to overcome it.
Stop to take a breather
While it's recommended to take long weekends once you start feeling the psychological strain of burnout, sometimes this isn't possible.
Therefore, it's then recommended to get off the grid and disconnect at a certain time after work. This way, you won’t feel tempted to check emails or continue working a little bit longer.
Many researchers have found that meditation has a positive effect on the body.
Some of the benefits include lower blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can help relieve stress, depression, insomnia, sleeplessness, anxiety, and worry. It also increases productivity, learning, happiness, well-being, and inner peace.
If you have never meditated before, there are many apps and videos that can help you start. A good app is the Simple Habit app, which includes five minutes of meditation sessions if time is something you don’t exactly have.
Do something that you love
Identify tasks that you really love doing at work and start doing them more often. Speak to your supervisor and ask him to give you more time for those tasks.
If you work for your own, you could outsource other tasks so that you can focus on what’s really important and meaningful. For example, if you don't possess a specialized tech capability, you can ask help from an IT partner.
Keep your lists of tasks short
There's no point in having a long list of tasks if you won’t get to any of it because you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done. Rather keep the list short.
Pinpoint the easy tasks or the tasks that need to be done immediately and do those. Once these tasks are done, cross them off and move on.
This will give you a more immediate sense of accomplishment and it will allow you to increase your productivity at work.
Keep It Simple
Although this may not sound like the ideal solution, it actually is the answer to avoiding burnout. Live a balanced life, exercise, eat well, and meditate.
If you want to go the extra mile at work, that's ok, but as long as you don't keep piling and pushing the amount of work and you are able to keep control of things, then it will be fine.
At Appstrax , we make sure that our developers have a balanced life professional and personal life.