How to deal with Technology Burnout - Maybe it's life's cycles
Sarah Mei had a great series of tweets last week. She's a Founder of RailsBridge, Director of Ruby Central, and the Chief Consultant of DevMynd so she's experienced with work both "on the job" and "on the side." Like me, she organizes OSS projects, conferences, but she also has a life, as do I.
If you're reading this blog, it's likely that you have gone to a User Group or Conference, or in some way did some "on the side" tech activity. It could be that you have a blog, or you tweet, or you do videos, or you volunteer at a school.
With Sarah's permission, I want to take a moment and call out some of these tweets and share my thoughts about them. I think this is an important conversation to have.
My career has had a bunch of long cycles (months or years in length) of involvement & non-involvement in tech stuff outside of work.— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) August 31, 2016
This is vital. Life is cyclical. You aren't required or expected to be ON 130 hours a week your entire working life. It's unreasonable to expect that of yourself. Many of you have emailed me about this in the past. "How do you do _____, Scott?" How do you deal with balance, hang with your kids, do your work, do videos, etc.
Sometimes I just chill. Sometimes I play video games. Last week I was in bed before 10pm two nights. I totally didn't answer email that night either. Balls were dropped and the world kept spinning.
Sometimes you need to be told it's OK to stop, Dear Reader. Slow down, breathe. Take a knee. Hell, take a day.
When we pathologize the non-involvement side of the cycle as "burnout," we imply that the involvement side is the positive, natural state.— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) August 31, 2016
Here's where it gets really real. We hear a lot about "burnout." Are you REALLY burnt? Maybe you just need to chill. Maybe going to three User Groups a month (or a week!) is too much? Maybe you're just not that into the tech today/this week/this month. Sometimes I'm so amped on 3D printing and sometimes I'm just...not.
Am I burned out? Nah. Just taking in a break.
But you know what? Your kids are only babies once (thank goodness). Those rocks won't climb themselves. Etc. And tech will still be here.— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) August 31, 2016
Whatever you're working on, likely it will be there later. Will you?
Is your software saving babies? If so, kudos, and please, keep doing whatever you're doing! If not, remember that. Breathe and remember that while the tech is important, so are you and those around you. Take care of yourself and those around you. You all work hard, but are you paying yourself first?
You're no good to us dead.
Don't pathologize one side as "burnout" - just accept that the cycles happen. You'll be back around again.— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) August 31, 2016
I realize that not everyone with children in their lives can get/afford a sitter but I do also want to point out that if you can, REST. RESET. My wife and I have Date Night. Not once a month, not occasionally. Every week. As we tell our kids: We were here before you and we'll be here after you leave, so this is our time to talk to each other. See ya!
Date Night, y'all. Every week. Self care. Take the time, schedule it, pay the sitter. You'll thank yourself.— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) September 5, 2016
Thank you, Sarah, for sharing this important reminder with us. Cycles happen.
- Software and Saving Babies
- Give yourself permission to have work-life balance
- Self-care matters - Pay yourself first
* Burnout photo by Michael Himbeault used under CC