Avoiding burnout

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Consider this your mid-week motivation—here we’ll be sharing a new smarter secret from our authors, the people who you learn from and who inspire you to push the limits of your potential. So, we asked: How do you avoid burnout?

Step back from what you’re doing

When you spend a lot of time running software teams and making courses, you need to regularly step back from what you are doing to stop you from getting stale with ideas. Creating Pluralsight courses is quite an intense process and it is very easy to get writer’s block when writing your modules. Doing something else even for a few hours helps you to get unblocked. –Stephen Haunts

Find activities outside your profession

I find it is critical to be involved in activities outside of my profession in order to prevent burn out. It is when I do these non-work/non-profession-based activities such as R/C that I can de-stress and free my mind to think clearer and more effectively. –Lee Atchison

Create variety

For me, I get burned out by lack of variety. So to combat that, I try to create things. For example, one month I might be playing around creating a VS Code extension, the next, I might be creating an app in a new language that I’d use around the house. For me, combining learning something new, and then applying it in a tool (even if I’m the only one to use it) and getting away from code for other interests all help keep burnout away. –Nate Taylor

Don’t live in go-mode

Living a balanced life lets you live better and longer. You’ll stress less about work because you have other irons in the fire.  Read a book for fun sometimes— don’t always have yourself in go-mode. –Jared DeMott

Do something different

It’s important to have other interests outside your profession to prevent burnout. This is something I often struggle with, but being burnt out removes a lot of the enjoyment, so it’s important to do something different every now and again to refresh your passion and interests. –Josh Duffney

Let go every now and then

Even though my work and my hobby are about the same thing, it’s important to be able to let go of things every now and then. It will boost your productivity and creativity even more afterwards. And of course, it’s always possible to download a Pluralsight course to your tablet and watch it offline for those moments that you miss your passion too much! –Gill Cleeren

Pursue other interests

Pursuing interests outside the scope of my work helps me to become a well-rounded person and prevents burnout.  Sometimes stepping away for a bit gives you a clearer mind when you return. –Alex Wolf 

Create work/life balance

There are different kinds of burnout. There's the burnout that comes from weeks and months of 60+ hour weeks on an intense project, the burnout that comes from years sitting in front of a computer doing largely the same thing and the burnout that comes from constantly learning. For the first–try finding jobs that don't believe in overworking developers and take real vacations between projects. For the second–be sure to create work/life balance and spend significant time on non-technology related projects. For the third–well, if you're not prepared to constantly be learning, you're really in the wrong career. –Dan Appleman

Take care of your body

Eating right and avoiding junk and excess food. If you're hyped up or hungover, it puts unnecessary strain on your mind and body. –Ben Piper

Find your motivation

Understand your passions and work from them as much as possible. If you're enjoying what you do, if you're learning and growing, you won't burn out. Also, understand how motivation works for your particular field.  I've found that reading the book "Drive" by Daniel Pink has completely transformed my understanding of motivation, performance, productivity and burnout in software and technology work. –Floyd May

Unplug and take time to breathe

My sister has a lake house in Wisconsin. A week or preferably two of unplugged fresh air and friends/family really refreshes me. And the rest of the year there is yoga. Find your "lake house" and take time to breathe. –Deborah Kurata

Head to the great outdoors

I head to the great outdoors—either a little 4 wheeling up in the mountains or play some paintball with my family—nothing says "LOVE" like getting shot by your adult kid and them screaming "that's for grounding me when I was 14!". –Dale Meredith

Manage your commitments 

Exercise. I know it sounds corny but I feel my stress levels rising if I haven't taken the dog for a long walk in a few days. Longer term, be careful about managing your commitments both inside and outside of work. Even a weekend at home with no email and no social plans can help recharge my batteries. –Sonia Cuff

Make sure you get the chance to “switch off”

Separating work time from personal time. If you're taking a holiday, take a holiday. This common scenario where "your holidays are approved, but we'll need to be able to call you if something goes wrong" is just unreasonable. It's something worth fighting for, because the alternative is burnout when you never really get the chance to switch off. –Paul Cunningham

Do work you truly believe in

I felt burnt-out a couple of years ago. For me, it was the combination of doing frustrating work and being pushed to work very hard on that. Since then, I've changed things dramatically. I work for companies that I believe in, ones that have a mission worth putting my hours in for. Finding those companies (and managers) is hard, but in our industry, certainly not impossible, as we, the technologists, have all the power. And I've changed my work-life balance: I work to live and not the other way around. I exercise more, I meditate and I enjoy life. –Barry Luijbregts

So, what's your secret to being smarter?

Share it with us: #SmarterThanYesterday

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Pluralsight

Pluralsight is the technology learning platform. We enable individuals and teams to grow their skills, accelerate their careers and create the future.