It is common for website developers to start coding out of passion. However, once they find out that they’re good at it and that this profession has a huge scope to earn money, they start monetizing their skills. They either look for a full-time job in web development or freelance projects.
Whichever road they choose, the journey is pretty difficult. Once you decide to monetize your web development skills, you need to handle a lot of things other than just coding. These may include getting projects, communicating with clients, sticking to deadlines, handling payments, dealing with frequent feedback, and whatnot! Hence, passion turns into an overwhelming experience for most developers.
We interacted with some developers to learn their experience with web development projects. Turns out most of them overestimated their capacity and were exhausted as they had to work 60-70 hours a week. Some of them shared that, even though their incomes improved by 3X, they didn’t seem to care about what they were doing anymore. It was hard for them to work with multiple companies and prioritize tasks according to clients’ schedules.
Developer burnout is a widespread phenomenon where web developers feel extreme mental and physical stress due to unlimited work pressure. This article will try to find out the causes and symptoms of this burnout and the tips to avoid it.
So, let’s get started.
What is Developer Burnout and what are the symptoms?
The idea of “Burnout” is attached to work-related stress. Burnout can result from several job-related factors and can create an acute negative impact on your physical and mental health. It is basically a medical condition and anyone can face it at some point in their life. A survey by Deloitte has shown that 77 respondents out of 1000 full-time US professionals had experienced employee burnouts.
If you’re a website developer and are facing any of the following symptoms, chances are that burnout has got the best of you:
1. Coding is no longer a passion for you
When your passion turns into pressure, it is hard to stay motivated. Suppose that you started out as a website developer simply because you enjoyed coding. But now with so much stress, you may become dispassionate toward coding. Coding can simply feel like a liability to you.
2. You’re exhausted all the time
You’re in a state of constant mental fatigue. You’re always drained and feel least energetic to complete pending tasks. All you want is some free time to relax.
3. Your work performance is degrading
Burnouts can become too exhausting for web developers. Hence, concentrating on work and maintaining a consistent work performance can seem too much at times. This in turn can affect your work productivity.
4. You’re feeling isolated and anxious
If you’re stressed with your job responsibilities, you’re very likely to isolate yourself from your peers. Also, as soon as you lose interest in your job, the feeling of anxiety will kick in. largely because you will still need to maintain the deadlines and handle client feedback.
5. Your physical health is also deteriorating
Massive stress is very likely to take a toll on your physical health. The common symptoms being headache, stomach pain, body pain, etc.
3 Major causes of burnouts for web developers
Can you relate to the above symptoms? Then you can probably relate to the following mistakes that you’ve been making. We’re pinpointing the three major causes responsible for burnout in website development projects.
1. You’re spending more than 8 hours on the computer every day
We’ve come across people who work up to 70 hours a week. That’s way over a standard 8-hour working a day. It may seem that longer working hours can help you streamline your tasks, but in reality, that’s not always the case. It is actually a very unhealthy habit that initiates burnout.
2. You don’t have a work-life balance anymore
No matter how busy you are, maintaining a work-life balance is very essential. Web developers often forget to maintain a healthy routine as they dive into a pool of tasks. They fail to eat healthy food, get proper sleep and spend quality time with their loved ones. All these can affect a web designer’s physical health as well.
3. You’re doing it all by yourself
If you’re a freelance web developer, chances are that you are handling it all by yourself. Starting from lead generation to client communication to project management to payment handling, it’s all your job. That can be overwhelming and at the same time challenging. With so much on your plate, you can mess up it all.
5 Tips to avoid burnout for website developers
Try these tips and prevent burnout like a pro:
1. Set boundaries and don’t mix up your personal and professional lives
Setting boundaries is the very first step to avoid burnout. Start with reducing your working hours. Working for 10-12 hours a day won’t take you anywhere. Instead, try to bring it down to 8 hours a day. Also, maintain strict boundaries. When you’re working, provide 100% focus on it. Alternatively, when you’re done with work for the day, make sure that you’re completely detached from your professional life.
That means no professional involvement during the relaxation hours. We understand that you may lose some clients due to this, but trust us that your mental health matters over everything at the end of the day. Unwind from time to time and log out from all accounts to spend some “Me-time”.
Also, make it a point to take at least one leave every week. If you can manage to take two consecutive leaves on weekends, that’s even better. Don’t create an impression of consistent availability for your clients.
2. Hire a project manager
Don’t take all the workload on yourself. Instead, hire a project manager who can share some responsibilities with you. For example, if you’re a developer and enjoy coding, stick to that. Let the project manager do the additional work like client communication, payment negotiations, paperwork, etc. This will reduce your stress to a large extent. All you have to do is catch up with the project manager from time to time to get the necessary updates.
We came across a developer who was largely benefitted by hiring a project manager. This developer was smart enough to understand that too much work pressure was leading to burnout. To avoid that, the developer had hired a project manager and shared up to 30% of tasks with the manager. The result was a lesser delay in project delivery and more transparent client communication.
3. Set practical deadlines and learn to prioritize tasks
Often, developers try to impress the clients with quicker deadlines. But does that help in the long run? Not at all. Unrealistic deadlines only lead to half-baked development projects, frequent feedback from clients, and eventually burnouts.
So, what developers should focus on instead is setting practical deadlines and time management. Once you learn to prioritize your tasks, everything will fall into place. You won’t have to put in extra effort or hurry development projects.
From the very first client call, you should make it clear that you can complete a certain task within a certain time. Some projects may go out of your hands due to this, but this strategy will surely help you prevent burnout.
4. Take short and long breaks
Start taking breaks. Don’t plan to work for 8-10 hours straight. Keep taking 10-minute breaks after every 2-3 hours or so. You can walk around, stretch in these breaks to stay productive.
Taking long breaks can also work for web developers. Why not go for a long vacation? That way you can disconnect from coding and other activities for some time just to come back stronger. Such trips can work as stress-busters and when you return to work, you’ll be more productive than ever.
5. Learn to say “No”
Don’t just say “Yes” to every project/client. Financial gain is important but not more than your physical and mental health. Rather than accepting all web development projects that come your way, focus on the interesting ones and help you evolve as a developer.
We hope you have a clear idea of burnout, its symptoms, causes, and the tips to avoid them. So, work toward achieving a healthier lifestyle. Remember that you became a website developer in the first place because you enjoy coding. You should have the scope to continue enjoying that, no matter what!