Adventures of a wannabe geek!

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How I Disconnect & Stop Myself Burning Out

A while back I wrote a post on what passion means to me. Someone asked me to discuss how I achieved a work / life balance so I thought I’d write this post while on holiday (ironic eh!)

So, as someone who believes they have passion, I guess i can be described as working a lot. This doesn’t just mean my day job but it means studying/reading new things, writing code of my own for research applications or helping others with development related tasks. I read a lot of development books as well so I’m sure this can really eat into my time.

I personally think that definitions of disconnecting and developer burnout  are subjective. But even more, each developer has their own way or preventing burnout and from disconnecting from their life as a developer. I am absolutely addicted to twitter and I am on there an awful lot. I don’t feel that when I’m on twitter that I’m working or engaging in work. Certainly it can make me talk about work but I don’t generally have Visual Studio open while I’m on there. This, to me, means that twitter isn’t really stopping me from disconnecting. I use it more as a social networking tool – to talk to other developers who can help me, to bookmark articles for use later when I am on my laptop.

So what is disconnecting to me? I feel that it’s when I don’t writing code, don’t do overtime at work, don’t look at emails and generally don’t do any development related tasks. I can still tweet – twitter is facebook for geeks so tweeting is just being social! Disconnecting goes hand in hand with trying to prevent myself burning out. Burning out is doing far too much – this can stem from working too many hours or working strange or anti-social hours. This can cause slight depression in some cases or problems at home. First stage of burnout to me is when I cannot sleep because all I can think about is my work or my projects.

Burnout I’m told can be a bit of a killer to a developer. Burnout can occur when a developer works too much. This can be overtime for day job or can be working late hours on a personal project. I don’t feel I have been “burnt out” but I’m honestly not in a position to say this. I’m sure my girlfriend would be a better judge of this. In order to try and stay away from burnout I tend to try and have 3 nights a week away from work related activities. During this time I still tweet (but hey its on my phone so its ok ;)) but I don’t actively do any development related activities unless they are classed as incredibly urgent. My girlfriend and my dog are the things that keep me focused way from work when I’m on a “night off”. Hopefully I’ll continue to not be 100% workaholic but as my job changes or new things happen or are released in the development work things may change. Lets just hope that I can be strong and not give up all my free time!