Meta: Programmer Burnout

Feeling burned out on programming can last a day, a week.. or longer.. but it turns out it's not uncommon and can potentially help you improve your skills.

Meta: Programmer Burnout

Burned out? You're not alone.

If you're a seasoned programmer you've probably experienced burnout... If you're a new programmer you'll have it... eventually.. like maybe tomorrow.. or I guess right now which would explain why you're here.

I actually had a coworker who would occasionally lay down on the floor either because he was tired or just needed a break.. I'm guessing "Yes".


So you're feeling tired of programming and wondering if you chose the right career.. or maybe you're in college and are feeling feelings about your chosen major. Well... stop it.. this means you're normal.

Burnout can last a day, a week.. or more.. Personally I've had burnout last about 6-7 months. I frequently felt uninterested in the tasks I had at work and was more excited about talking about things not related to computers or programming. I felt bad about it, like really bad.. but it turns out it's not uncommon.. like at all...

Ways to Avoid/Fight and Come Back From Burnout

  • Accept that you're having a moment of burnout.. or a month or whatever it is.
  • Take breaks often. The Pomodoro Technique is your friend here and any good dev company should totally support developers in this method.
  • Switch your current task to something more fun or simple.
  • Upgrade your workflow.. get some new themes and extensions for your editor and terminal.. (it may seem like a waste of company time but adding flavor to your dev environment can be a critical part of having fun).
  • Find something on IssueHunt.
  • Browse Reddit!
  • Browse StackOverflow!
  • Wait it out...

Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski did a Syntax episode about this:

Syntax Episode about Burnout w/ Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski

Here are some other thoughts from Kleo Petroff in this blog post:
-Embracing the "never stop learning" philosophy
-How to Handle Frustration and Anxiety

When you feel you are burned out, take a break. Find a non-tech hobby, start exercising, spend time with friends or take a vacation. Do something different for a few days and then get back. You will be way more energised and motivated. I've gone through several burnout phases and taking time away from the computers always does wonders.

So, no, you don't suck as a programmer you might just need a breather. Checkout these other resources for helping with it.

  • Pomodoro Timers

  • Dev Environment Flavor & Tools
Quokka Extension for VScode
Quokka Extension for Atom