Asked

How do you fight code burnout?

Hey WIP. Recently I've been struggling with coding becoming a bit lackluster. I tend to start projects but don't really finish anything.

I know the general advice is to go do something else, and I try to do so in the evenings. But due to this whole thing where I have to live off of something, I can't really just stop programming as a whole for a two months or so.

How do you rekindle that fire inside yourself?

I think you need a regular interest not involving a screen - walk in the woods/ go to the gym, read a book. Rest is your friend.

I agree with Pete. It helps a lot to have non-screen pursuits mixed-in throughout each day. For me, those are mainly physical β€” which I think should be the emphasis for us who mostly sit/stand at a desk during the day. Running, biking, climbing gym, strength/mobility training, grappling classes are my personal menu. I don't do all of those every day, but I try to do a couple each day. Some are also my main source of socializing IRL, and that is also a daily necessity to keeping my mind right.

Try shipping smaller iterations.

For most makers seeing people actually use the thing they build is what gives them inspiration. If your sprints are too long, you will lose motivation and don't finish the thing you started. This can be a vicious circle as it then becomes tempting to start something new. Over and over again.

(warning/disclaimer/nomoneybackguarantees: i'm not a professional, don't trust me, only tested this on myself) Get a pen & paper. Start journalling daily. Could be as little as this post describes: https://medium.com/better-humans/replace-your-to-do-list-with-interstitial-journaling-to-increase-productivity-4e43109d15ef or more in depth like https://fs.blog/2014/02/decision-journal/

That’s a great advice. I’ve been documenting daily using a macOS app called β€žThe Archive” https://zettelkasten.de/the-archive/. It was a surprise that I found it but since February 2018 I’ve been using it daily. I wouldn’t know what other tool to document or journal my life. On mobile I’m using 1Writer (https://1writerapp.com) because of the Markdown support and Dropbox sync.

(This started as a comment to Marc's answer)

The dreaded "false starts"... πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ Man, story of my making aspirations. Fixing this bad habit is currently my primary focus β€” just working on one fucking side project, all the way through. At this point it's less business aspiration, but more an exercise in mindset and self-discipline. My motivation always comes in waves, and is effected by many more variables than inspiration. When I hit an inspiration trough, I've been trying to shift focus to maintaining a solid mindset and self-discipline.

That goes especially for contracting/salary work. Inevitably you hit that point where you just want to be done working on someone else's stuff, but there is still a ways to go. At those points, I've found it helpful to turn on my inner David Goggins. A little tough love and hard talk with myself is often all it takes to catch a second wind. It's just that the motivation is coming from a whole different source than before. Inevitably, the inspiration will return again and drive me for a while, but it's good to have an alternative fuel source to drive you when those reserves are low. For me, that is to not be the lazy/procrastinating asshole that I know I can be at times.

Take your time. Don't rush to complete something, but try to stay interested in the topics that get you to completion. Don't move goal posts, keep simple goals and publish your early completions. I'm doing Anki memory cards as I learn more css trickery so I retain and don't get overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to master css and build my products.

Hire help. It's what helped me. I was able to focus on more interesting tasks and let the partner do some heavy lifting. Now I only code when I want to, and I'm enjoying the process again.

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