How to cope with programming fatigue

All about what causes programmer fatigue and how to deal with it.


programmer fatiqueThere is a really high demand for the programmer in this 21st century. It comes with many perks like a good salary, medical insurance, free meals, free passes for the sport, training, tours, corporate events and flexibility if you are working as a freelancer. But despite the abundance of additional bonuses and motivations, sometimes working on a long project may decrease the productivity and interest. In other word, it can cause fatigue.

So what is the cause of fatigue? There are several reasons for that:

  • Daily mental load leads to stress and emotional burnout;
  • Sedentary lifestyle – lack of exercise affects the health and metabolism;
  • Lack of live communication – sometimes programmer can spend days without actually talking to anyone, and communicating only by virtual medium;
  • Monotony of tasks – it becomes boring to work on the same project every day;
  • Dealing with too many problems – As part of being a programmer, we have to solve many problems on daily basis. Sometimes we get stuck in the same problem for days. That is exhausting and frustrating.
  • Inability to disengage from work in the spare time – even before going to sleep in our head the thought of bugs, links, etc…

How to deal with it

The most important thing is to (or at least try to) have a healthy lifestyle. This include:

  • Exercise – if you do not want to go to the gym, then simply walk; climb the stairs instead of the elevator, ride a bike, often be outside, during the breaks do not sit in your workplace;
  • Proper nutrition – no need to became vegetarian (although it is better), or some new super-system. Just be sure to have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner in time instead of snacking. It is important to eat in time because programmer often forgets to eat when engaged in a project;
  • Healthy sleep – a person must sleep 7-9 hours a day depending on your need. Try not to stay up late. At least an hour before bedtime shut down your computer so that your brain can rest;
  • The correct arrangement of the working places – chooses a comfortable chair and a table, a good monitor. At your workspace, you should be comfortable. Make sure you are seating properly maintaining posture (a 45-degree angle) and your feet are resting well.
  • Do not overreach – People think that we need to focus for the longer period of time for the best productivity. Although this is partially true after working 3-4 hour straight in front of the computer, our brain gets too tired. So it is important to take a 10-minute break in 3-4 hours. Use those 10 minutes for a quiet walk or use Pomodoro technique.
  • To much Workload – can cause fatigue. Dividing your big project into many small bites might make your work easier.
  • Roadblock – If you are stuck in the same problem for days, this is might be a good idea to work on a different and simpler problem. Again you can take a break from the project, revalued your work, try to give your job a meaning. This can reduce your stress level and increase your workflow.stress vs skill
  • Meditation – Daily 15 – 20-minute meditation can relieve your stress. Let your thought come and go. Do not try to solve problem while meditating.
  • Music – is extremely distracting. This can come in handy when you are trying to take your mind off your work. But try not to listen to music before work.
  • Digital Nomad – Sometimes all of those might not be enough to fight fatigue. So a change of the scenario might be helpful. Think about working from an exotic place. This might also help you to get more creative ideas. Nowadays more and more programmers taking this approach.

Pomodoro timer to combat fatigue

This is an interesting technique developed by the Italian Francesco Cirillo based on the notion that frequent break can improve mental agility. He used a kitchen timer in the form of vegetable for timing intervals, hence the name Pomodoro technique.

Nothing complicated there: the main problem is to divide time into 25 minutes (they are called “tomato”), and taking five-minute intervals. But every 2 hours (4 tomatoes) you can increase half and hour interval.

It is better to take break away from the Computer. You can do push-ups, walk or drink some tea. It is known that frequent breaks increase the speed of thought. Plus, even short-term rest can reduce fatigue.

This is not a rocket science. Those tips are really common and easy to get by. But the hard part is to follow them. Of course, following all of those steps is impossible for all the Programmer. We are all different, so our body needs different things. The main thing is to learn to relax. Even within a five-minute break know how to disconnect from work. And if you still have not managed to overcome the “programming” fatigue, try different things?

Of course, most of those tips also apply to anyone who is working from a desk. Tell us what helps you to deal with fatigue in the comment below?

Tanvir Hasan

I am a tireless seeker of knowledge, occasional purveyor of wisdom and also, coincidentally designer, illustrator and front-end developer with a love for all things whimsical and a thirst for learning. I love to drink, read and travel far away.

Follow me at twitter: @thetanvirhasan

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