In many of my software jobs I’ve had to battle burnout. Things usually follow this progression:
1. Honeymoon period at job. Tons of time to do quality work up to my own standards.
2. I deliver on a few projects/features. I build a reputation.
3. The dam bursts and I drown in new projects/features.
4. I do my best to keep up and come up with solutions. I want to make people happy!
5. I burn out and quit the job.
Looking back on my career I think I had a huge part in not preventing my own burnout. I’ve tended to blame the jobs, the bosses, the bad management, but in reality I had the responsibility of keeping myself healthy and engaged.
Some things I now try to do to avoid burnout:
1. Keep eating healthy. This tends to go out the window when working too hard.
2. Keep exercising. Again, because I get so tired at work, this tends to suffer in times of burnout.
3. Push back on things that are not necessary. Saying “no” to meetings, projects, features.
4. Allowing things to fail. It’s ok to miss a deadline – usually it’s due to bad management/planning and not from me dropping the ball.
5. Reading articles, writing code not related to work. This is fun for me and it always goes out the window during stressful times at work.
We’ll see if I can learn from past mistakes and keep myself from exploding in flames. I’ve done it twice in the past and am keen to not do it again.