How do you all handle burnouts? - Random

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Sridhar Ratnakumar

Be it work or hobby projects.

Matt Peddie

"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" rings particularly true when it comes to burnout. but that assumes you know the signs etc.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Suppose you recognize the signs - what would you do next?

Ben Kolera

I normally lock down on the hours that I'm working and my sleep schedule. Be sure to only do 8-10 hours per day and no exceptions because you need time to do !work and sleep. Make sure you are exercising regularly and eating well.

Ben Kolera

That's like the bottom of the pyramid.

Ben Kolera

Then look at things that are causing you anxiety at work. Unmanageable deadlines -> say no. A shitty build or something that is at odds with your values -> Try to fix them or at least be mindful of them so you can engage them with calm. I find that my biggest trigger for burnout is stuff like that where there is something that is causing me to not approach work with calm focus. I make shitty mistakes or can't focus and then I burn out.

Ben Kolera

But that anxiety is my biggest warning sign. As soon as I start avoiding something or being angry for no reason I know that there is an issue and start searching for it.

Ben Kolera

And this is coming for someone who has gotten so burned out from overwork and anxiety that I literally could get nothing productive done in a week as much as I tried. I would try, feel angry / anxious and could do nothing more than rest. Don't get to that state, lol. It's not fun.

Ben Kolera

Practicing meditation so that you are better trained to be perceptive and objective with your thoughts helps a lot.

Ben Kolera

And that's not just woo even though it is often framed in a hand wavy way. There has been research into the benefits of meditation and it holds up.

Alex Chapman

I agree about meditation. Definitely worth the time put in.

Alex Chapman

I don't know about handling burnouts because I've thankfully never done it. I think the key to preventing it is to lead a well-rounded life. Don't put all your eggs in that programming basket. I have other things to pour my passion into if my interest in programming wanes briefly -- flying paragliders, playing squash, personal relationships, learning languages, learning musical instruments. This also requires that you don't work long hours. Long hours are counter-productive for such a creative discipline as ours.

Matt Peddie

Definitely agree on "strictly limit hours" and "make sure you've got good non-programming hobbies to spend time on." take a good holiday (> 1 week, ideally do something unusual for you) and keep the time limits in place after you come back. @Ben Kolera says limit to 8-10 hours -- yikes, I'd say limit to at most 8, and do less if you can get away with it for a bit!

Matt Peddie

if you are able to identify particular things at work that are just making your life shitty, it may help to talk to your manager or colleagues, in like a "is this frustrating anyone else" kind of way. maybe it's possible to shuffle some projects around for a few weeks so that you get a break from some specific pain point and get to learn some new things

Matt Peddie

personally making sure some of the non-programming hobbies are outdoors and physically challenging makes a big difference vs. learning foreign languages or music (both of which I enjoy but largely involve being indoors reading stuff, which is not different enough to programming), but this may be more of a personal preference.