When you’re working all day, slogging away on the computer for hours on end, it can feel like the last thing you want to be doing. Staying passionate about coding, whether that’s to keep your head in the game at work or because you want to do something fun with all of those amazing skills, is a challenge every developer faces at some point in their career.
Mood music and candle lighting aren’t the only ways to reignite a spark. So how do you beat those keyboard blues? We’ve got a few ideas for the next time you’re facing a burnout.
Create a side project
We’ll start with the easiest and most obvious at the top. You’ve heard it approximately 2,537 times, but it’s still worth talking about. Side projects are a great way to keep your skills sharp and, more importantly, they provide you with a chance to do something fun.
When you start down the path of creating a side project, you’re most likely going to build it from the ground up. You need to be your own full-stack developer, and on that path to project completion (or abandonment–no judgment here), you just might remind yourself of how much fun it can be to center a div. Or build a database. Or manipulate an API. Whatever the case, side projects allow you to take a deeper dive into the parts of the development process that you may not always have your hands in.
Learn a new language
“But isn’t adding more to the plate counterintuitive?” you ask. Yes and no. Sure, it’s going to exercise your brain at the end of a day when you may not have much left to give, but it can also open up new opportunities for you.
It’s easy to get stuck in the drudgery of a single stack. Shake things up by learning something new, and see where it takes you. Maybe you work in a functional language now, so give object-oriented programming a shot, and learn how to work with both. Maybe the burnout that you’re feeling is partially because of a lack of challenge, and this is an excellent way to beat that back.
Get up and move around
There is no shortage of well-documented information about how terrible sitting all day is for you, from increased risks of heart disease and diabetes to undoing all the goodwill your last trip to the gym was supposed to garner. Getting up to move around not only helps to fight the good fight when it comes to your health, it can also help stimulate brain activity.
Try something as simple as going for a walk. Walking increases blood flow to the brain, which can improve brain function and memory, and has been shown to increase the white matter in your brain (something we could all use a little more of). Walking is one of the few activities that forces the left and right sides of the brain to work together, and the more your hemispheres connect, the better poised you are to take on that next task. Staying passionate about coding doesn’t always have to be about the computer!
Change up the job game
We’re definitely not advocating a desk-flipping, middle-fingers-up sort of exit when you reach your breaking point (but plz send video if you do). However, the world of software is wide, and there is always something out there that can pique your interest. Why not join a consultancy for a year or two and see where those subcontracts take you?
Another great option is to start freelancing. There are a lot of people in this world who need your skills, and freelancing is a great way to dip your toes into different types of work across a wider variety of industries than a single job can offer. Staying passionate about coding suddenly feels a lot easier when you get to pick the kind of work you’re doing.
At Gun.io, we’re passionate about keeping you passionate. If freelancing sounds like the path you’d like to take to keep your brain happy and your skills sharp, we’d love to hear from you and talk about how we can set you up with your next awesome gig. You know–the one that won’t burn you out.