The importance of taking a break

It's important to take regular breaks if we want to avoid burning out too soon.

Unfortunately, many developers work 11-12 hours a day, or even more. Either they have to do long hours (in this case, find a new job and quit, there’s a demand for developers), or they work for themselves, or, they choose to work that much, especially if they don’t think that they are good enough.

Some people believe that hard work will help them achieve their goals. I’m sure you have heard of the 10000 hours you have to put in anything to become an expert. (In my opinion, this is bullshit, and this theory has proved to be wrong by experts, but it’s still popular.)

You have to do at least 30 minutes of learning every day, right? Tons of newsletters arrive in your mailbox every week on the newest libraries, tutorials and opinions, some of them contradict to each other even within the same edition of the letter.

Even 24 hours a day are not enough.

But you have to keep up with the latest technologies. After all, you can’t sit quietly at lunch and feel stupid about not knowing what the others are talking about.

Have a break

But you know what: Yes, you can, and it’s perfectly OK.

It’s OK not to know everything. It’s OK not having an opinion on the latest library that makes your code bloody good-looking.

For sure, the 8-9 hours a developer is at their workplace are not all spent coding. Meetings, chat, FB, funny videos on Slack, etc., so in best case, the clean coding time is usually reduced to 5-6 hours a day.

Even for this time is very tiring over the span of a few months. Stress and problems accumulate.

Thinking about solutions, finding the best way of solving a problem requires a lot of energy. It’s tiring.

And, if you spend your free time reading, coding and thinking, it will eventually have a toll on you.

Working like this for years is a sure way to burnout.

Yes, it’s important to learn and read. It’s good to participate in various challenges and hackathons, because they help creating new, useful patterns.

But it’s also OK to choose not to do it.

We all need a break.

When you feel that you don’t want to even see a freakin’ computer, that’s the signal for you to step back and take a break.

When you start a task, and you move on to something else after 15 minutes, and you don’t enjoy that task, too, it means that something is not right.

It’s time to slow down.

You won’t be productive anyway, so instead of trying hard, take a break.

Not an hour, not a day, but at least a week.

Shut down the computer.

Don’t read articles. NodeJS will be here, so it can wait.

Don’t think about patterns and solutions.

Don’t look at Slack on your phone, and, more important, ignore private messages.

Make your clients know that you are off for a few days. If you do a good job, they will understand and wait for you with their problems.

Spend some quality time with your family. They are the people you can count on when times are tough, and they deserve you being there.

Read a non-technical book or two.

Go hiking or visit places, if you can afford it.

Do whatever you enjoy, but stay away from the computer. Your body and mind will be grateful.

Thanks for reading me in 2018. I wish everyone a peaceful and merry Christmas.

See you again in 2019.