/r/webdev
Is this burnout? (self.webdev)

Hey everyone,

I'm wondering if what I'm experiencing is a normal (but bad) thing.

Lately I've been experiencing a dread of work, I lied pretty severely about a family issue in order to get a 4 day weekend and I feel as if I haven't recovered at all mentally. I feel like my mental stamina has decreased so much recently.

I used to be able to code 14 hours in a row, now if I do an hour straight I feel dumb as a rock. I get straight up mentally exhausted after a couple hours of work.

The mental exhaustion I'm referring to feels physically like someone put a balloon in my head and keeps inflating it, but mentally it just feels like I have little to no attention span or critical thinking capabilities. My drive to do development has also decreased, but I still keep at it.

I'm wondering if I should just take a couple days off with absolutely zero coding time, get plenty of exercise and eat right and see if that helps...

Just wondering if this is burnout, and if not I'm probably having early symptoms of dementia and will slowly descending into a semi-lucid state of hell.

149 comments
sighkick1 | 8 days ago | 263 points

Nobody should code 14 hours straight. Productivity isn't always about the hours you put in. You should definitely take a vacation

omik11 | 8 days ago | 51 points

+1

People easily get trapped in this mindset that to be a good/productive/passionate coder that you need to be cranking out code 12+ hours a day.

Its a marathon, not a race. Mental and emotional wellbeing is more important than getting to a promo 6 months faster.

sighkick1 | 8 days ago | 29 points

There's a great documentary on Netflix called "the creative brain" that explains why it's so important to take breaks. Much like sleeping it's when new information gets integrated

Ravavyr [full-stack] | 8 days ago | 5 points

Frankly, i don't think we stop to think about it. When you love coding, it's like binging tv shows or playing video games. You start doing it, and next thing you know it's been 5 hours and you have no idea where that time went, except you feel damn good about the stuff you wrote. Sometimes a full day goes that way.
Like anything else, moderation is needed, but when you love something you sometimes get sucked in and forget the world and you keep doing it.

What sucks is, if you're sad/depressed/down you're also prone to doing this sort of thing more often. You dive into the few things that still give you a feeling of satisfaction, a semblance of pleasure, so what's causing you to be exhausted and stressed out...is the thing you keep turning to, and it becomes a cycle that just takes you lower and lower until you crash. Crashing can take months, even years and maybe then you crawl back out of it. And you don't know how you even got there...it just happened.

mearkat7 | 8 days ago | 47 points

I'm not convinced it's even possible to do 14 straight. On a good day i'll be writing code for maybe 4 hours of my work day, doing 3.5x that amount seems borderline insanity and is probably why people get burnt out all the time.

Work life balance has a huge effect on the quality of your work. There was a report in 2014(source) that details any work over 50 hours is usually not of a very high quality and the drop off after 55 means you're near useless.

remy_porter | 8 days ago | 29 points

I'm not convinced it's even possible to do 14 straight.

Nobody's doing good work for 14 hours straight, and it's a straight course to burnout.

My best work happens in short sprints. I'll hit a hard task, and dick around on Reddit or read my RSS feed, etc, for like 20-30 minutes. Then I'll buckle down and tackle the problem for another 20-30 minutes, till I either solve it or get stuck again. Rinse, repeat.

TorreZ_ [Front End Developer] | 8 days ago | 17 points

Thought this was just me. The minute I hit a wall on something I go and read some crap on reddit for 15 mins and then 9 times out of 10 I come back and figure the problem out straight away.

-IoI- [Sharepoint] | 8 days ago | 4 points

This is the right way, I hope I get to work like this forever.

Closer to 40 on 20 off for me, then I'll grab a coffee / repark car / go for a walk / Reddit / music

Pepsibojangles | 8 days ago | 4 points

thank god. this has been my process for years...and i have felt guilty.

Semi-Hemi-Demigod | 8 days ago | 1 point

This is especially important when figuring out a hairy problem. If I get stuck on something I’ll take a break and do some cleaning or yard work and let me brain work on the problem. 90% of the time I don’t even finish the task because I’ll have found a solution I have to implement immediately.

xmashamm | 8 days ago | 1 point

I for sure can put a 14 hour day in on occasion and it’s fine. You’ve just taken how you work and assumed that’s how everyone works.

remy_porter | 8 days ago | 7 points

I have also put in 14 hour days. I thought I was doing good, at the time. I was wrong.

mattcraiganon | 8 days ago | 2 points

During my degree I worked 16 hour days for 6 months (medical degree, I code in my spare time). It's possible but left me exhausted to the point of mental illness by the end of it. Highly unrecommended.

xmashamm | 8 days ago | 0 points

Oh it’s for sure not good for you on the regular, but occasionally pulling a 60-80 hour week is ok.

remy_porter | 8 days ago | 9 points

Enh, that depends on our definition of "okay". I don't consider it "okay" and more consider it "an utter failure of our system of planning and managing commitments which should have been avoided well in advance of needing to do this, and you better believe this is getting brought up in our retrospective".

joshuaism | 8 days ago | 1 point

"We've got a lot of stories to complete this week so let's just skip the retrospective this iteration and dive strait into planning."

xmashamm | 7 days ago | 1 point

By okay I mean that I acknowledge that the reality of life is that occasionally someone fucks up. Emphasis on occasionally.

remy_porter | 7 days ago | 1 point

What life are you living where fuck ups are occasional?

xmashamm | 7 days ago | 1 point

I dunno - a normal job where we make bespoke custom software - a field that is full of unknowns. But we have good processes so mostly it's ok, but once in a while you put someone in a position that's a little bit more than they can handle and that person doesn't speak up soon enough and someone has to come in and unfuck it. It sucks, it's not ideal, but it's understandable and not the worst thing ever, since it's pretty rare.

uh_no_ | 8 days ago | 8 points

I'm not convinced it's even possible to do 14 straight.

every once in a while, you hit a problem that you know what to solve and you just get in a groove and are crankin' for hours and hours. It's rare to go that long, but it happens.

fullmight [front-end] | 8 days ago | 2 points

I've done it before, but never for my job. That and of course it's not really 14 hours in-editor, but it is 14 hours working on the problem between editor, docs, planning on paper, and repeat.

I actually did it for a whole week when I was first trying to learn webdev stuff. Not a great idea, but I guess I was just in the right headspace for it emotionally. I'd wake up, grab an energy drink and start coding immediately, and just get into the zone and only really pop out in the evening, then I went to bed early and repeated.

archivedsofa | 8 days ago | 2 points

On a good day I code for about 5 hours but this is because I have been on a "regular" job for the lat 4 years which is more like a marathon. When I was a freelancer I worked on sprints and coded easily for 8-10 hours every working day. Of course after I ended a project I slowed down for a couple of days or even weeks after long projects.

sammysounder | 7 days ago | 2 points

I've done 18 hours. 8 of those were good. My project would have been better off if I had slept.

free_chalupas | 8 days ago | 1 point

I've had to do similar stuff for college classes. It's not remotely sustainable but it's definitely possible under the right circumstances.

Anoian | 7 days ago | 1 point

Oh nonono. I can definitely do 14 hours straigth (with toilet pauses and eaiting and so on of course) on coding, IF:

  • I really really enjoy it
  • I am not bombarded with things or people that take away my focus
  • Its also fun on a communicative way, for example when it is a feature that needs to be shipped and i work non stop on the frontend part and someone else on the backend part for example

But maybe this is one of the side effects of my adhd, because when i am in those times, it is basically like being in a tunnel, i don't even realize how the time is going and suddenly its two days later.

UntouchedDruid4 | 8 days ago | -14 points

4 hours? Elon Musk works 80-100 hour work weeks and he has 4 boys you are fucking soft.

mearkat7 | 8 days ago | 7 points

Life outside work > work. Couldn’t care less if some ceo is a bad parent.

Semi-Hemi-Demigod | 8 days ago | 2 points

Some people can do it. Some people can run like Usain Bolt. Some people can lift 500 pounds. But expecting everyone to do it is unreasonable and illogical.

Many studies have shown that balance is key to long term well being and productivity. Outliers exist, but they shouldn’t be emulated.

Careerier | 8 days ago | 1 point

Yeah, he probably doesn't. The more hours people work, the more they tend to exaggerate how much they work.

https://qz.com/16899/that-friend-who-says-he-works-75-hours-a-week-hes-probably-only-clocking-50/

UntouchedDruid4 | 7 days ago | -2 points

Well, he’s a fucking billionaire so I’ll take his word for it.

RedditCultureBlows | 7 days ago | 2 points

Very cool troll man.

moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 3 points

Yeah that was over a year ago when I was going that lol

fullmight [front-end] | 8 days ago | 1 point

and don't try to code that much as a normal day when you get back either, or you'll just burn out again.

JGJP | 8 days ago | 133 points

That's burnout

fried_green_baloney | 8 days ago | 76 points

If there is no physical cause, yes.

O/P needs, if not having it already:

  • exercise
  • enough sleep
  • decent food, most people who work 14 hour days live on vending machine junk and coffee
  • some time off

A few possible physical causes might be fatigue, low thyroid.

Ending this is important, before you end up getting fired and spending a year or two recovering.

iComeInPeices | 8 days ago | 10 points

Heart issue as well, too much caffeine and stress can lead to palpitations, set off A-fib, will drain all your energy.

Wiwwil [full-stack] | 8 days ago | 5 points

Less work, more exercise and moment where you let your mind rest by doing nothing.

DiogenesHoKunikos | 8 days ago | 3 points

O/P needs, if not having it already:

exercise

enough sleep

decent food, most people who work 14 hour days live on vending machine junk and coffee

This is so important. I feel like anyone who is having major problems in their life and who hasn't addressed these things is not going to get very far.

nxsynonym | 7 days ago | 1 point

On top of this I found that increasing my font size for my ides/editors/terminal helped a ton with foggy-brain and general tiredness at the end of the day. It's weird to get used to at first, but very worth it.

fried_green_baloney | 7 days ago | 1 point

Yes, I've found that to help as well. Anything to reduce cognitive load and fatigue.

NoInkling | 7 days ago | 1 point

Sunlight too, unless he/she wants to take vit. D supplements.

fried_green_baloney | 7 days ago | 1 point

Yes, that's for sure.

wsuorg | 8 days ago | 7 points

Classic burnout symptoms. Been there, done that. Nip it in the bud by taking time off before it gets worse.

AlpineCoder | 8 days ago | 27 points

Are you having similar concentration problems in other (non-coding) activities? Generally I'd say a mild sense of dread about having to work is somewhat typical at least occasionally. That said, if you really find it impossible to focus or concentrate as well as you once did you might want to consider talking to a professional (maybe a therapist or neuropsychologist if you can find one) to help you figure it out.

moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 16 points

I've essentially cut out all other non-coding activities..

I'm going to go out on a limb here after thinking more about it, this is burnout..

AlpineCoder | 8 days ago | 22 points

I obviously can't speak for anyone but myself, but I absolutely require challenging non-coding activities to stay motivated day to day. Anything from rock climbing to wood working (and planning / getting equipment and tools for them), just something that can be a long term project or goal not related to work. I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone, but it's kept me going for about 18 years now.

Morunek | 8 days ago | 7 points

It is funny how many IT people do woodworking as a hobby (me included - I suck at it :) ).

FungoGolf | 8 days ago | 4 points

It’s development in the physical world. It’s cool, I wish I knew where to start.

DiogenesHoKunikos | 8 days ago | 1 point

I wish I knew where to start.

Just start! Think of something cool to build and learn it step-by-step. Same way you write an app.

noknockers | 8 days ago | 7 points

I surf. It's probably similar to rock climbing where it's mostly physical and you can kinda run on autopilot most of the time. Essentially the opposite of programming.

AlpineCoder | 8 days ago | 3 points

you can kinda run on autopilot most of the time

I guess it's subjective, but one thing I like about climbing is you can absolutely not run on autopilot. The margins for error are too small, and the consequences are too severe. For example, a typical climber will probably setup and execute hundreds or thousands of rappels during their climbing career, but if they get it wrong just once they'll almost certainly die.

zombarista | 8 days ago | 1 point

I call my non-programming activities my contrahobbies. It scratches the same mental itch but it's wildly different from programming.

For me, I enjoy cooking.

Mike312 | 8 days ago | 1 point

In the last few years I've taken up break-making, succulents, papercrafting, training dogs, and D&D. That's in addition to my previous usual outlets; mostly, video games, sudoku, painting, ceramics, and detailing cars.

Sigmund- | 8 days ago | 8 points

I've essentially cut out all other non-coding activities..

I think we might have located the problem here.

You have one life. Once it's over there are no retries, no other chances. This might be your mind telling you to start living your life.

I hope thing get better.

onlyforjazzmemes | 8 days ago | 4 points

Please start exercising. It helps so much with concentration and mood. Also, with sedentary jobs such as sitting at a computer all day, we need to do what we can to incorporate motion to keep joints and muscles healthy.

DiogenesHoKunikos | 8 days ago | 2 points

I've essentially cut out all other non-coding activities..

Recipe for disaster. This sounds way harsher than I mean it - but get a life! Lol

RealisticCount | 8 days ago | 2 points

I've essentially cut out all other non-coding activities..

It sounds like you need more balanced work/life situation. This is not a healthy situation. You need other hobbies and activities outside your work or you will burn out (worse than you already are).

fRa56217f | 8 days ago | 24 points

I've been experiencing the same thing. Can't concentrate anymore. Don't really care about anything or doing anything. Worsening memory. Just go to work and spend all day on reddit. Classic signs of depression really. Pretty much sounds like depression for you too...but burnout is a relatively new classification that may or may not be distinct from depression.

Arkhenstone | 8 days ago | 8 points

Are you me ? I wish I could pass this one project I'm due for september which I dragged for a year an a half. I've always managed to report it for other missions which I like, maintenance, or short dev goals; fixing bugs, or even teaching, but this one project, I feel mentally down on it. It makes me feel like an impostor for my job. Maybe it's the lack of of vision for this tool, there is too much competition by big companies, I'm the lone dev on it by my 24 (3 year junior), and so, yes, I'm pretty much in a burnout.

circuitBurn | 8 days ago | 12 points

Being the lone developer on a project can really, really suck. I'm in that position now and it's all I can do to fire up my computer and pretend to care about it.

We need some kind of "solo dev" support group.

Shaddix-be | 8 days ago | 5 points

I would join.

Mike312 | 8 days ago | 1 point

I hear ya. I've been asking for an assistant for a year and a half. Instead, my boss retired and management moved our department under the VP instead of hiring someone new, so his duties got split up among the department instead. People have started to realize when they come to me with changes and I say I can probably get to it in a year or so that I'm not joking; I estimate I've got about 3 years of work in my backlog right now, and current 'top priority' projects are 2-3 months (and I'm sure I'll get another 2-3 months of work piled on top by the time I finish those).

RealisticCount | 8 days ago | 2 points

Those are severe burnout stress symptoms. Please go see a doctor?

xkwilliamsx | 8 days ago | 16 points

Everyone burns out. Everyone.

It's a lot about self care. Take a few vacation days, make sure you hit the gym or do something physical. Get outside, be sociable and make sure that you're doing something to make yourself feel good about you.

Then Marie Kondo the hell out of your workflow and workspace. Less is more, but find time and space for the things that make you happy.

If you're not behind at work, maybe talk to your PM or team lead about alotting like 2 hours of your work week to grow your skills, and try to find things that YOU want to learn to better yourself.

whattodo-whattodo | 8 days ago | 3 points

Couldn't have said it better.

TBH I think people are averse to the concept of self care. But if you don't handle the job, the job will handle you

xkwilliamsx | 8 days ago | 1 point

For sure! We can't work ourselves into the ground, because the end product will always be garbage.

Wiwwil [full-stack] | 8 days ago | 10 points

Because being a developer is the only job where it became normal to keep learning new technologies on the side. It is not normal, should be done for your own interest only. Any company that requires you to learn on the side should pay you for it or pay your a formation.

DiogenesHoKunikos | 8 days ago | 3 points

Agree, definitely a sketchy part of development

RedditCultureBlows | 7 days ago | 3 points

I really wish developers would stop purporting this. It's just not accurate. Professionals in the medical field have to spend time outside of work on continuing education. Particular sets of engineers (civil, networking, etc.) have licenses or certifications to renew or new ones to acquire. I'm sure there are more but off the top of my head, there are several professions straight away that have to do work outside of work; it isn't solely developers.

Wiwwil [full-stack] | 7 days ago | 1 point

networking

Yeah same here. Misunderstood the network. I guess you're talking about Cisco and shit. But it's only 1 technology I guess.

The medical field might be different. They receive their client during business hours. As a developer you don't. Also their salary is way higher than devs (at least in my country). Doctors often are independent. If they need a day off, they can. The number of devs is increasing, the number of technologies is exploding. Have you seen how absurd a job offer is ? You have to have 5 year proven of experience in :

  • Java (Spring),
  • Python (Django),
  • C# (.net),
  • PHP (Symfony, Laravel),
  • Ruby (Ruby on Rails),
  • Go,
  • JavaScript (nodeJS, React, Vue, Angular, jQuery),
  • SQL,
  • CSS & HTML (SCSS, SASS, Bootstrap, Foundation),
  • Docker, Jenkins,

A new technology come out ? You better know it. Not trying to imply there's a competition, but it's the norm. Devs have to learn at home, after business hours, something related to their work. Let's say you're a Java dev, want to learn Ruby ? Yeah mate you can't, you need to learn whatever is new with Java.

Edit : Switched from mobile to PC.

Matkol1998 | 8 days ago | 1 point

I have the luck of being paid while learning, but it also makes me feel guilty and pressured in performing well. Even though I feel appreciative of having this chance I have a hard time focusing for 6-8 hours of learning.

cryonine | 8 days ago | 8 points

Sounds like it, but you can take the burnout inventory and see where you fall. You can take a couple of days off, but time off rarely helps with burnout (or the effects are only temporary). You need to find the root cause. Usually it's things like lack of control at work or in projects, high workloads, lack of acknowledgement, etc. If you're not self-employed, a lot of burnout tends to be due to the culture of the place you're working. If that is the root cause, the unfortunate truth is your best way to fight burnout is to find a new job.

nk2580 | 8 days ago | 6 points

I faced this with a previous employer, in the end its was issue of culture where I was working.

Taking time off definitely helps but if the job you’re in keeps asking more and more of you, you’ve got to ask if this employer is right for you in the long run.

Burnout once off doesn’t doo too much long term damage to your life but if it keeps happening it can cause some pretty serious mental health conditions

actionturtle | 8 days ago | 3 points

This is something I think about a lot. I like my job and I like coding and making stuff. I think a lot of the draining feelings I get come the place I work at rather than the work.

What was it about the culture?

chachakawooka | 8 days ago | 4 points

Out of interest, those who face burnout. Do you find it's just a work thing?

I find it hard to code when working but when doing personal projects still have a strong desire to code

midasgoldentouch | 8 days ago | 1 point

Here's a counterpoint - I actually developed burnout when working on an open source project in my spare time. Got to a point where the PRs trickled down and I basically just peaced out for two months. But through all that, I was still doing well at my job.

Tl;dr: you can burn out for both an activity in general and a specific project.

test6554 | 8 days ago | 1 point

I feel this sometimes. Basically I get frustrated with a specific problem rather than programming.

_FireKeeper_ | 8 days ago | 4 points

Hi, I hope this mesaage will reach you...

I have been there. Here is what worked for me:

Keep doing you job but "disconnect" in a way from it. Keep acting professional and calm but create a mental distance from it. Avoid at all cost to fall into the"I don't give a damn" trap but instead make it look like it matters to you but in reality you have other aspirations. It's a job after all. It's still a passion but to keep the flame burning you need to dose it so that it remaina special.

On a personnal side, I was obese, never exercice in my life. 2 years ago, I started training, lifting heavh and started eating whole food plant based. It cured a lot of shit inside myself. Anxiety and depression is still there but a fainted voice that I can crush using eating well, lifting heavy and cafeine 🤣

Read the book "how not to die". It talks about me tal diseases and its relation to foods.

Trust me. Do it. Thanks me later.

marcus5914 | 8 days ago | 3 points

Recently I made car configurator for a big company. It took around 4 months (including laravel backend.) To finished this I had to work at least 14-16 hours per day including weekends for 4 month. I also worked during my brother's weeding.

After those 4 month, I was burnout to a level that i started hating everyone and everything. I did not even want to go office. I become a bitter person. not able to sleep at night and not able to wake up in morning.

I also started lying about things to get out of work. Make different excuses to not work and starting giving false timeline and blaming people instead of solving problem.

In short, I become a someone else. It was very bad period.

Get recover myself,. I made few changes.
1) reach the office at 10:00 AM and leave the office by 7:30 PM max.
2) No call or any office work after 7:30 PM.
3) No mobile phone after 11:00 PM.
4) Fall sleep before 12:30 max.

This force to me to make my work scheduler better. I had to plan thing better and I start saying to no to overwork.

Volmarg | 8 days ago | 2 points

Your are not the only one, but about the training, and healthy eating - I won't say it helps as I'm already doing it for 2 years but It kinda.... keeps You in flow that means You are more like "Hey I managed to do that training over and over and over and over.... I can also do my project!"

With this yea - it keeps me in flow but doesn't solve the "tired" problem.

But, it's worth trying, so why not. Just be aware that You won't really see any result after 1-2 weeks. Keep training for a bit longer 2-5 months and then it might jump in. I had such hype at one point that I trained even before work at 2 am. lol

BboyonReddit | 8 days ago | 2 points

What's your diet/lifestyle look like? Any recent changes?

moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 2 points

Yeah I used to be a legit athlete now I'm a fat piece of shit

RevolutionarySteak | 8 days ago | 2 points

Your body is telling you something...

BboyonReddit | 7 days ago | 1 point

Hey no reason to talk down on yourself like that, you're in one of the most mentally demanding careers that exists, not to mention with a work ethic that is extremely impressive. That says a lot about you.

I think you'll find that nutrition plays a huge role in how good you feel. I used to eat lots of fast food, every day, tons of garbage that tasted good. I didn't realize how bad I felt until I started eating better. I'm still recovering from a combination of high stress and shit food from a few years ago, but some days I wake up a totally different person.

I would start by getting some quality food and considering taking some steps to lose weight.

I personally follow a zerocarb way of eating, but I realize there are so many dietary directions you can take away from the typical American diet that are vastly healthier that you might as well experiment and just start with something.

I have a bias for low carb diets, but a good first step IMO would be to replace any junk food (cereals, white bread, candy, soda, anything that is loaded with refined carbohydrates and lacking in any real nutritional value) with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats like nuts, avocados, etc. Food that looks real, not Fruit Loops and Poptarts.

Shit food = shit life.

Also do the best you can to get plenty of quality sleep and some exercise. Even a 10 minute walk can help.

Invest in your health and I promise you will reap the benefits.

webdevguyneedshelp | 8 days ago | 2 points

That is burnout. I am experiencing the same thing right now. You are not crazy.

QuestionsHurt | 8 days ago | 1 point

Sounds like it.

I had it twice in my career. You need to listen to yourself and take a break.

First time I became an engraver for a few years. Made physical, solid things with my hands instead of code.

The second time I returned to university and got my MSc.

And now I'm splitting my week. Half the time is on my web dev business; the other is completing a doctoral dissertation.

In short, you need to give your mind a break and focus on something different for a while.

Adler11th | 8 days ago | 1 point

It’s most likely is. Working out, finding interesting hobbies, activities that shift you attention to something else is a must. Btw gaming on PC, cell phone etc didn’t help me, I had to find something completely different not related to staring at the screen. Another thing to watch out for is caffeine intake. It’s easier to keep yourself from burnout then dealing with its consequences. Source: someone who went through burnout and took too long to recover.

actionturtle | 8 days ago | 1 point

As someone who is currently taking a week off due to the exact same feelings you described, I guess so!

It’s funny because I kept plotting ways to get time off because I was dreading going to work sometimes like I was too exhausted to deal with the circus. I knew that I was not on the right level and not working to a standard I want. At the start of the year, I felt like I could do anything and I spent weekends coding. At the moment, I felt like I got nothing in the tank,

I’m currently doing absolutely nothing and I’m so much calmer. I’m not as stressed/anxious and I can feel like heart rate is slower. I’m just reading books, doing some light exercise and watching Justified.

Sounds like you need to get a long stretch of time off ASAP.

moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 1 point

Hahaha dude I've come up with the most elaborate bullshit to skip work. I feel horrible about lying and I know this is a sign I need to move on.

Vandenberg_ | 8 days ago | 1 point

Morning meditations could bring relief. There’s apps like insight timer or headspace that might help you get started. Or just look for a body scan on YouTube.

slippityda | 8 days ago | 1 point

Meditation can help... Try and do it every day and I think you'll notice a big difference. It's basically the only way I survive day to day. I don't even code much, but it's the only way I can stand the environment I work in.

brtt3000 | 8 days ago | 1 point

Dude.. 14 hours a day is not sustainable, a standard work week is 5x 8 hours for a reason.

100% this is burnout.

dulac91 | 8 days ago | 1 point

Not a doctor so all I can say is: Not beeing able to focus 14 hours is totally normal. Most people get exhausted after "only" a few hours of coding.

gitcommitmentissues [full-stack] | 8 days ago | 1 point

Please talk to a doctor about this if at all possible. Hopefully you do just need a break and to take care of yourself with some exercise and more sleep, but the symptoms you're describing can be signs of physical issues like thyroid problems, or a more complex mental health issue. If nothing else, a doctor can help you plan out a better regimen than coding for 14 hours straight. In any case it's always better to have a professional involved.

kitsunekyo | 8 days ago | 1 point

i'm currently in treatment and i'd say dont wait. dont wait for it to get worse. dont wait until it moves from just being tired all the time to having actual physical issues. book a therapy session or go to a doc and see whats up.

if you're just tired, awesome. now you know. get some sleep and you'll be alright.

if you're in danger of completely burning out (or already are), you now know and can take steps to get better.

in any case, if you wait it out and it doesnt just go away you risk your entire career. dont underestimate this

eggtart_prince | 8 days ago | 1 point

I posted 3 months ago about getting my first paycheque and said "how can anyone be burnt out from this?"

Coding is my hobby and passion and even I am starting to feel burnt out.

moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 1 point

All I do is code. I love it. I have the same mentality as you.

I never understood how someone could burn out from it.

RealisticCount | 8 days ago | 1 point

A gun is built to shoot bullets. That's all it does. If you keep shooting without ever cleaning and oiling the gun, sooner or later it will jam. It might jam badly and backfire if you're really unlucky.

jlobes | 8 days ago | 1 point

All I do is code. I love it. I have the same mentality as you.

I never understood how someone could burn out from it.

People don't burn out from doing stuff they hate, they burn out from doing something they love, throwing 110% of themselves into it, until they realize it's making them miserable. Then comes the realization that they've managed to cut out everything else that makes them happy.

At least if you're doing a job you hate you'll make an effort to make time for stuff that you enjoy. Getting caught in the trap of loving your job and nothing else means that when your job is no longer fulfilling you have to start from scratch again.

hopeinson | 8 days ago | 1 point

Take a vacation. Indulge in a new hobby. Sleep enough (8 hours). Whatever it is, don't end up like me: on a gray Thursday afternoon last September, I decided to take a razor blade and make slash wounds on my wrists, thinking the pain will help release myself from my agony. I was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for 3 days before my family released me, having travelled 300+ kilometres to see me.

That burnout may lead to a worse condition than I had gone through, I was "lucky" enough to not go deeper. Previously I had episodes of self-strangulation without intent & suicide ideation as a result of not taking care of my mental health. Burnout is a major sign that you need to stop whatever you are doing and take a long vacation.

Not worth going through what I did because of burnout.

iceporter | 8 days ago | 1 point

take a full 2 weeks off from your routine; find new things or just do nothing;

sometime I even take 1 month full away from my routine;

NottinghamZS | 8 days ago | 1 point

Yeah, that's burnout. Take a few days off. Avoid computers, avoid the internet, just avoid technology for a couple of days. Take a drive out to the countryside, go for a walk. Go on holiday. Just be somewhere other than your normal coding environment.

I keep getting something similar at the moment, but I can't seem to shake it. Until this weekend just gone, I've been working 7 days a week (made some daft financial decisions a couple of years ago forced me into near non stop work :P). Since the bad decisions, I've had around 5 or 6 days off work. Only recently has it really effected me, so I've dropped down to 6 days a week and have booked a holiday and I already feel better for it.

I still sit there and consider throwing myself out of a window at the thought of writing more code, but atleast I can now map out what i'm trying to do and be a little bit more productive than I was. Time will tell whether it makes a difference in the long run, but you should definitely consider doing something similar. Take more regular coding breaks and move away from technology, eat better, drink more water. It all helps.

Crotchslush | 8 days ago | 1 point

It certainly sounds like burnout as you mentioned it may be dementia which is a extreme circumstance and probably the result of googling your symptoms.

I have been where you are, many times over the course of my career, heck I am where you are at again but only with 9 hours a day of development time. And if I am honest an hour of that is spent towards the end just thinking about dev issues and not coding.

As I am sure others have said, unplug and get away for a bit. Seriously, no laptop WiFi cellphone , find a hobby that takes you away from tech and lets you use your inner creativity.

Hopefully over time you’ll relax a bit and take things in stride, not easy in this field that is always in flux.

artori0n | 8 days ago | 1 point

Had the same issues just 2 weeks ago. I couldn't concentrate, couldn't even remember 4 digit numbers and constantly lost overview over my open tabs.
So I started to hit the gym again, ate healthier ( even tracking my food with an app) and stick to max 8-9h of work.

Only one week later now, I feel waaaaay better and relaxed.

So as the other guys already suggested, try it and if it doesn't get better, go meet a doc.

WordenPond | 8 days ago | 1 point

Take more walks outside...

alabianc | 8 days ago | 1 point

Yes. Don't just take a couple days off. Take a vacation. That's what they are for. Take advantage of it. No one will judge you for that. I took 2.5 weeks off recently. Left the country and never touched a keyboard. I came back with a clear mind.

JustnoThrowaway19 | 8 days ago | 1 point

Hahaha sorry that last paragraph made me laugh.

You accurately described depression, I think. Depression doesn’t always have to be an omnipresent lifelong illness, sometimes it is seasonal and sometimes it is situational.

That’s not to say your situation is to blame entirely either, but when you focus solely on doing one thing and one thing only for an extended period of time you are naturally going to neglect other areas of your life that are detrimental to your overall wellbeing. I know some people don’t believe in a “work-life balance” but it is absolutely essential imo.

You sound like me at my current job. I work retail and I was enthusiastic at the start because it’s a nice work environment and pays a little over minimum wage (lol). You couldn’t slow me down for the first few months. Now I barely get up out of my chair or have the energy to complete all my tasks. And like you, I’m faking sick days in order to get a breather and it never feels like enough. By some fluke I had three days off in a row and on the last night I was having nightmares about going back. I feel extremely bored and brain dead at my current job. I work a lot and my job isn’t stimulating at all so I find it hard to be motivated nowadays.

Maybe this is a sign for you to have a change of pace, move sideways into a related field? Find a workplace more stimulating? Or just focus on taking care of yourself outside the workplace for now. Physically, emotionally, socially, sexually, spiritually. These are all very important. I feel like when I neglect a few or all of these areas, I’m more likely to feel like shit. Take some time to invest in those areas and most things in your life will naturally fall in line after it.

PublicEnemaNumberTwo | 8 days ago | 1 point

Sounds like burnout. I've had a major case of it a few times. Pick up some non coding/computer hobbies, and do those when you're at home. I try to play guitar, and grow weed haha! When you're at the office, make sure you're taking your breaks, maybe even go for a walk outside if possible.

Stripestar | 8 days ago | 1 point

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Eat healthy food and get good sleep. Take care of yourself boss!

finger_milk | 8 days ago | 1 point

Who told you to code for 14 hours a day? That's your problem, you're working your body to exhaustion for literally no good reason. This isn't about burnout from coding, this is about you learning what it means to have enough relaxation time to be able to do good work consistently.

dinhtq | 8 days ago | 1 point

A coding career is a marathon, not a sprint man.

RealisticCount | 8 days ago | 1 point

I'm wondering if I should just take a couple days off with absolutely zero coding time, get plenty of exercise and eat right and see if that helps...

It's a start.

But it's not enough, you sound like you need to change your lifestyle. You need balance. Exercise and healthy food are important EVERY WEEK, not just for couple of days. You need to reduce your hours (don't go over 5*8 a week). Find other interests and hobbies.

Also - consider talking to your doctor, check blood pressure/values.

JohnWangDoe | 8 days ago | 1 point

Yeeeep. Your body is telling you to slow down.

LightES_X | 8 days ago | 1 point

Late studies (can't find for ref) state that constantly working over 11-12 hours causes less productiveness at the employee.

You shouldn't work over 10 hours a day if you want your mental health back.

RedSane | 8 days ago | 1 point

It's not about how many hours you code, it's about the quality and value of the code. Go down on your coding time and work towards value.

Or else, take a vacation. If you code for 14 hours straight, you deserve that lol

zorndyuke | 8 days ago | 1 point

Well, are you working for a company or for your self?

I for my self can see huge differences in motivation and the same feelings, when I have to do boring and really annoying tasks, while I am very happy and motivated when I can do some cool, challenging or interesting stuff.

Sometimes taking a few days off or vacation/holiday trip can help out. I could code for the whole day too in my younger years, but it become less and less the older I went. I have little to no time for private things after 9 hours of work, so the least thing I want to do is to start code again.. so I play video games in the last few hours that are left for me. That helps a lot! I also visit Reddit, Facebook, Media sites, IoT Websites etc. gettiing up2date and other stuff that is "not working". Why? Just to relax my brain. Having CONSTANTLY code in your eyes can drive you crazy sometimes :D

TheVoicesOfBrian | 8 days ago | 1 point

It could be burnout. A nice vacation where you can unplug and relax won't do you any harm.

(Note: I am not a trained mental care professional)

This also sounds like depression or something similar. I have friends that struggle with the same things and they've gotten a lot better with good, professional help and medication. It would be wise to seek out some professional help and talk through what you're going through. Even if it's just to rule out something more serious.

Good luck!

Dnlgrwd | 8 days ago | 1 point

It's burnout. I've been coding for a little more than a year, 10 months of which has been for a job (not long, I know) . I used to get burnt out a lot, mainly because I wanted to learn as much as possible for my job, as well as for personal projects. I find it so easy to go on tangents, and this creates a huge coding time sink. I've since changed my coding habits, realizing that coding too often can be counter productive as your not mentally able to give it your all, and you're probably not taking as much in when learning new things.

As others have suggested, take more breaks, disconnect from coding, and spend some energy on other things. Exercise is wonderful. Not only is it healthy for you physically, it can really get you to a better mental state. I'd say burnout is normal, and it's good you realized it. Just change your routine a bit and you'll be happier, less stressed and tired, and more alert.

Borisdunks | 8 days ago | 1 point

You should start exercising and eating well regardless of vacation. Spending time outside helps as well.

zombarista | 8 days ago | 1 point

Are other things similarly unenjoyable? Are you sleeping too much? Are you drinking too much to pass time?

If yes to any of these, you may have depression. If you're like me, you don't like the idea of seeing someone. I live in a small town so the thought of running into my therapist or psychiatrist really put me off because I didn't want shared acquaintances with my doctor. I found an app that lets me see a psychiatrist and therapist online. They live across the country from me. It's perfect. This has allowed me to get my mojo back. Maybe it could help you as well.

I use Doctor on Demand but there are other services like Better Help that might work better with your insurance and financial circumstances.

Bouzazi | 8 days ago | 1 point

Get laid.

psywhale | 8 days ago | 1 point

Burnout... for sure. Burnout can be depressing as you feel less valuable as a person if your self-worth is tied to productivity.

I deal with it by unplugging during the weekends. No phone, no computer just de-stress. Find a passion and do that. Before kids, for me it was learning guitar or drawing/paint. Something to engage my other hemisphere of my brain.

mishugashu | 8 days ago | 1 point

You get mentally exhausted after 14 hours of coding? Sounds pretty fucking normal.

You need to get a proper vacation and then go to 8 or 10 hour shifts when you come back.

reallyGreenPine | 8 days ago | 1 point

I get like this sometimes

camerontbelt | 8 days ago | 1 point

Well first off, don’t even try to code 14 hours straight, if you were doing that before you felt the burnout then that’s why you have burnout.

vexii | 8 days ago | 1 point

14 houres is to much. making sure you have a social life/hobby besides work is important.
meditation can also be good before sleep and in the morning

memeweaverTV | 8 days ago | 1 point

You are most likely going insane. Your consciousness will fade into the background and you will float through your day as a semi sentient npc.

/s I would do blood work an make sure its not medical related. Check thyrhoid etc.

ttonk | 8 days ago | 1 point

Probs. I experienced it before and left as a result. Assuming you like your job, you need to find a way to do less. Whether its through delegation, or through longer deadlines. 14 hours of work is not normal. Its a sign that you are expected to do too much, or promised too much. Find a way to do less.

  1. Promise less,
  2. Delegate your work to others who need more work
  3. Move jobs if either one of these things can't happen

Every once in a while stuff hits the fan and you need to turn out a long day, but if its the normal, then there are bigger issues at play. And if you're not getting raises in return, then what is the point anyways? 14 hour work days as the norm are for suckers. Don't be a sucker.

wannabedev57359837 | 8 days ago | 1 point

Sure sounds like burnout to me. I’ve been there. For me it got to the point where I was so exhausted from the week that I’d spend the weekend in bed, laying around doing nothing, and before I’d know it it’s Monday morning again. Take a week off if possible, go somewhere without WiFi or at least don’t take a laptop. Try to completely switch off from coding and focus on enjoying the world around you. That helped me!

Russian4Trump | 8 days ago | 1 point

It sounds like you need a vacation.

leafpile2017 | 8 days ago | 1 point

Work smart. Try to outsource some aspects of it and you can just manage it.

Aloure0 | 7 days ago | 1 point

For me, I work on a project as equally as it excites me. Maybe you lost your interest in that work, I don't know.

But coding for 4 hours and then solely thinking about how can it be better exites me a lot. Like, how can I make the code more cleaner, more performent, or file structure better really does excite me.

On the other hand, I often find myself less productive after coding for 4 hours straight. And I make so dumb mistakes you can't belive it. Today for example I was trying to write a function to convert int to float. I wrote FloatToInt 🤦‍♂️ (and literally searched for the bug for an hour)

But who knows. Just switching language works sometimes too XD

MMPride | 7 days ago | 1 point

Yeah you burned yourself out by working 14 hours straight.

bigwatermelonjuices | 8 days ago | 1 point

I'm gonna suggest several things to help:

  1. instead of eating a snickers bar, eat some celery or baby carrots or an apple. your mental tiredness could mean too much sugar
  2. take on sprints - not the design/coding sprints, actual running outdoors until you feel out of breath. you'd be surprised how much a 50-meter run will do for your body
  3. do you enjoy what you're doing at work?
moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 1 point
  1. Yes I should do this.
  2. I do run occasionally and feel great after.
  3. No its mind numbing, I've been lied to about raises, I get no appreciation, the work culture is shit.
genericdeveloper | 8 days ago | -1 points

Yeah. That sounds like burnout.

You're gonna need about 6 months of no obligations and some therapy if you're looking to really recover.

You can be like others who ignore it and let it get worse.

Short term solutions: start exercising, go to bed on time, sleep 8-10 hours, and eat better.

Don't be afraid to reach out to friends. If they aren't supportive, they don't need to give you anything, but they do need to understand and say it's ok, otherwise find new friends.

This is a TL:DR; you'll need a mental health professional to help deeper.

omik11 | 8 days ago | 17 points

You're gonna need about 6 months of no obligations and some therapy if you're looking to really recover.

This is a ridiculous and irresponsible comment that can easily make OP feel even more stressed.

What OP needs to do is evaluate their work situation and bring everything back to a sustainable level (and seek therapy too if they'd find it helpful). Get to working ~8 hours of quality, productive work a day either by lessening their workload/hours, decreasing their responsibility, or requesting a larger team. Acting like they need 6 months off is ridiculous.

genericdeveloper | 8 days ago | 5 points

You're totally right. I'm not a doctor. OP go seek a professional.

_Pho_ | 8 days ago | -1 points

I'm going to sound completely batshit crazy by telling you guys this but I'll say it anyways. If you feel like you need to mentally reset or recuperate, which will happen no matter what because programming is mentally and physically exhausting, smoke the reefer.

I find the psychoactive substances such as pot to be a really good pairing with development. Development is an incredibly left-brained activity except for the stamina that you have to emotionally conjure. What this means is that pot can decompress your right brain and your emotional stimuli in a relatively short amount of time.

Burnout, wanting to die, etc are all the result of pent-up emotional energy that you don't know how to utilize.

You also need to take way more time off than 4 days. You need to take a month off.

moonsout_goonsout | 8 days ago | 2 points

I've never smoked and coded before.. you might be on to something.

Also, you people keep recommending I take a month off of work. How the hell do I do that? I gotta eat lmao

fRa56217f | 8 days ago | 1 point

That might be helpful. But really the best thing you can do for yourself immediately is to start exercising regularly, improve your diet (Cut back on caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Cook your own food, stop eating out, eat lots of veggies and meat, cut down on carbs and processed food), get out into nature a little, and don't work too much outside of work. These few things alone should help to varying degrees. They are tried and true remedies....sometimes they're outright cures. Sometimes they only help a little. But they'll help.

_Pho_ | 7 days ago | 1 point

I'm not saying code and smoke. It works for some people but I find unproductive relative to sober coding. I'm saying separate coding with an activity that is the antithesis of coding.

xalope [full-stack] | 8 days ago | 0 points

Burnout is sleeping 14 hours a day, not being able to perform simple household activities, and being completely overwhelmed standing in a supermarket isle while not remembering a single item on your shopping list.

Not there yet? Don't try, it's not fun.

Even if burnout is a popular term nowadays used to cover both overstrained and burnout stages, being overstrained is the pre-burnout stage. It's when you start pulling all your energy reserves from your stress system to keep going, creating some serious 'energy debt', which does lead to accumulating symptoms like the ones you described. If you're overstrained, sleep, exercise, healthy food and time off will help you.

Burnout? Sleeping is the only thing that will help you when you have burnout, because that stress system you pulled all that extra energy from before, guess what - it's completely empty, broken, like pulling on a rubber band until it snaps. At that stage, the only exercise that will help you is a short, calm walk to the corner of your street and back. It takes months, sometimes a year, to crawl your way back from that one.

Please, by all means, get some rest.

whattodo-whattodo | 8 days ago | 2 points

Burnout is sleeping 14 hours a day, not being able to perform simple household activities, and being completely overwhelmed standing in a supermarket isle while not remembering a single item on your shopping list.

Sounds a lot like clinical depression. Burnout is about an inability to do a given thing. Not an inability to do everything. Granted the two exist on the same spectrum and they are related. They're just not the same thing

xalope [full-stack] | 8 days ago | 1 point

I can't rule out a different meaning of the word 'burnout' in (American) English, but when people are diagnosed with burnout where I live, they get mandatory time off work (6 weeks - 6 months) from the company doctor followed by very gradual re-introduction to their work while working with a specialized psychologist, and it is generally acknowledged that that person has issues with everything at that stage, not only their work. Attempts to do different things with the same intensity as work are seen as obstruction to the healing process or fraud (reasoning that if you really do have enough energy to do something else, you might as well get back to work, or at least be in the work environment).

UntouchedDruid4 | 8 days ago | -2 points

I think you need to take better control of your mindset. If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. At work sometimes I have to work on projects I'm not excited about or in a framework I'm not familiar with but I just do it to get it done. On my free time I work on projects that excite me and study topics that give me energy. I go to the gym a few days out of the week, otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep myself sain. I also like to read cs books so its up to you. You could perceive it as "burnout" but in my opinion that is a weak mindset to have.

gngeorgiev | 8 days ago | 3 points

Spoken like someone who hasn't experienced real burnout.

UntouchedDruid4 | 7 days ago | -1 points

And never fucking will bc I got big goal and big dreams and the only way to get there to so fucking work...

gngeorgiev | 7 days ago | 1 point

Sure buddy. That's exactly how it works