Preventing Programmer Burnout: Effective Strategies and Tips

Practical Techniques and Proven Methods to Avoid Burnout as a Programmer

Preventing Programmer Burnout: Effective Strategies and Tips

Let’s be honest; if you identify as a programmer, chances are you’ve experienced burnout at some point.

Whether you’re a senior or just starting out, I’m sure that burnout has already made it’s presence felt in your life in some form or another.

I’ve witnessed the unfortunate phenomenon of highly intelligent and talented programmers with immense potential stopping their progress for extended periods (years), resulting in job loss and stagnation.

If you think that’s a joke I have pretty bad news for you, man.

One day you feel like you are ready to conquer entire earth and learn every bit of your programming language or framework. And the very next day every thought of sitting in front of your laptop might make you nauseous.

Having personally encountered these fluctuations multiple times during my three-year IT career, I understand the need to find ways to prevent or alleviate their impact.

1. — Take vacations

Try to guess how many days off i took during my first year of work.


However, it didn’t bother me as I was driven by a thirst for knowledge and brimming with determination. Being only 17 years old, I felt unstoppable and nothing could hinder my progress.

I strongly believe that as a young junior, you should really be grinding hard every day, every hour. In fact, I am so passionate about this belief that I even wrote an article expressing my thoughts on the matter.

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Looking back, I realize that I may have taken this mindset to an extreme during my second year as well, as I only allowed myself to take maybe 2–3 days off. In hindsight, I acknowledge that this was a mistake.

Even as a young person, it is crucial to prioritize rest and allocate time for activities outside of coding. Continuously obsessing over coding for two years straight, day and night, can push your mind to its limits. Neglecting to give your mind a break and explore other interests can lead to mental exhaustion and burnout.

2. — Avoid overcommitment

Overcommitment can be tempting, especially when you feel capable of accomplishing everything in a single day, impressing your boss along the way.

However, it’s crucial to be mindful of the long-term consequences. By consistently setting an exceptionally high productivity standard, you may inadvertently establish unrealistic expectations.

Eventually, you might struggle to meet even half of that productivity level, leading to frustration and potential burnout. It’s important to strike a balance, pacing yourself and maintaining a sustainable level of productivity.

3. — Find a good friend in a field

One small tip that has made a significant difference for me is finding a trusted friend within the programming field, particularly someone more experienced than myself.

Taking the time to listen to their insights and perspectives has been invaluable. It has helped me gain a sense of calm and realize that a developer’s life can be more than constantly chasing new knowledge. Seeing their example has helped me understand the varied possibilities and opportunities within the realm of programming.

4. — You shouldn’t know everything

I have a problem.

When I see that I miss some bit of information about my tech stack I can’t live with it. I am constantly interviewing myself in my own head. That is a big problem.

It is leading to a burnout without you even doing something.

So what I wanted to tell you: you can’t and should not expect yourself to know everything.

That does not mean you can stop your learning process, no. But need to keep the healthy balance.

5. — Prioritize self-care

Prioritizing self-care involves consciously making time and effort to attend to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

It means recognizing that your health and happiness are essential for sustained productivity and overall quality of life. Self-care can encompass various activities, such as getting enough sleep, engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet, practicing mindfulness or meditation, pursuing hobbies and interests, seeking social connections, and setting boundaries to avoid excessive stress. By making self-care a priority, you can recharge, reduce stress, enhance resilience, and maintain a healthy work-life balance, ultimately preventing burnout and promoting long-term success and well-being.

There is an stereotype surrounding programmers, often depicting them as unhygienic, physically weak, and socially awkward individuals. Regrettably, this stereotype holds some truth based on my personal experience. Many of the programmers I have worked with do tend to fit this description, appearing either as geeks or individuals who are out of shape.

So, get in shape, become the MAN. Be strong mentally and spiritually. That’s very important.

I hope I gave you some brain material here. Let’s avoid burnout together.

If you’re looking for professional advice or consultancy services, please feel free to contact me via LinkedIn.