"How Do I Prevent Burnout?" - Tips for Developers

A few weeks ago, I was asked which was slightly different.

"How do I prevent burnout?"

Usually, we see the question, "How do you recover from burnout?" so this got me thinking over the last few weeks. I've looked through articles and even some books on the topic.

If you have been lucky enough to avoid burnout in your career, that is fantastic. But I know for myself and many others that it's been one of the lowest points in life and can accumulate because of many factors.

But the question.

Prevention is the best medication for burnout.

And it takes work.

I've found a few strategies and mindsets that have been instrumental in helping me avoid burnout.

Sharing these, I hope they offer you some guidance or new ideas to incorporate into your own work life.

Limit Multitasking

I used to pride myself on juggling multiple tasks at once until I realized it was diluting my focus and energy. I'd say yes to everyone!

By single-tasking, I've increased my efficiency and enjoyment of the work I'm doing.

Mastering the art of saying "no" to more work is hard.

But here's a quick tip: Tell people how much work you already have and how long it's going to take to clear your desk and get to it. If it's going to take weeks, they will probably find someone else.

Be conscious that by trying to please everyone, you might end up pleasing nobody - especially yourself.

Depth Over Speed

No, not just single-tasking, but slowing down and thinking.

Focusing on fewer tasks but doing them exceptionally well has not only improved the quality of my work but also my satisfaction with it. It's about mastering the art of doing one thing at a time and doing it right. Without the space to think about problems in isolation, you can't expect your best work.

Stop checking Slack and email; they'll stop your focus, too. Turn your notifications off regularly to get deep work done.

Respect that good takes time and focus.

Slow down and tell people how long it will actually take.

Factor in the time to think.

# Embrace the Ebb and Flow of Productivity

Productivity isn't a constant.

There are days when the code flows and others when it's a struggle to write even a few lines.

Accepting we have a natural rhythm has helped me be more patient with myself. As a bonus, I plan my tasks better, aligning them with my energy levels (knowing they aren't always consistent).

Regularly Disconnect

Stepping away from the keyboard is crucial. Hobbies unrelated to tech allow my mind to rest and reset.

Whether walking, reading, games, or cooking, these activities provide a necessary balance to life. Often, surprisingly, this is when I solve some of my trickiest coding problems subconsciously. Give yourself space - You need it more than you think!

Cultivate a Learning Mindset

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by what I don't know, I see it as an endless opportunity for growth.

Setting aside regular time for learning keeps my skills sharp and fuels my passion for the work.

Adding these approaches into your work life might take some experimentation.

But the outcome - a sustainable and fulfilling career, is well worth the effort.

I'm still a work in progress, so join me in trying to slow things down and avoid that dreaded burnout.

Avatar for Niall Maher

Written by Niall Maher

Founder of Codú - The web developer community! I've worked in nearly every corner of technology businesses; Lead Developer, Software Architect, Product Manager, CTO and now happily a Founder.


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