Life as a full-time developer can be hectic. Coming back from the holidays reminds us of how much free-time you actually have on your hands. For most of us, we find ourselves wrapped up in one big project or multiple projects here and there and what little time left to keep track of our work. This workload is daunting for most of us and doesn’t even include time we may have for our families and other non-work-related obligations. Alas, the legend of Developer Downtime.
As developers, we need time to catch up with ourselves. We need to evaluate our performance on past or current projects, catch up on latest trends, and share our experiences with others of our trade. This time should also be used to explore our own creativity and work on personal projects that help us “keep our soul” or get it back. Sadly, this developer downtime I speak of is a fairytale to most devs. Being on multiple projects or the main dev on a single project makes it hard for us to have time every week to get back in touch. Employers might make the excuse that this time is what the weekend is about, but I argue that that statement is false, especially for those who have dependents and other obligations; my weekends are just as busy as the week. So if your weekends are like mine, then you’ve probably lost hope, and just wait for company holiday’s to find your soul or *cough* get sick and have to take off.
It doesn’t have to be this way. This time is time that employer’s should give us to work on in-house projects, study for professional exams, or research related topics. Working at FrogSlayer, we have the opportunity to work on our own personal side projects and study new things to help us professionally. I think this is one reason everyone enjoys their time at the office. We don’t stress out about not getting enough “me time.”
My advice to make developer downtime a reality? If you are not getting this time, ask your supervisor or employer to fit this time into your project schedules. Communication is key to getting what you need from your employer. If you don’t ask, they don’t know. If your employer doesn’t see the value in this time to recover from burnout, then maybe it’s time to dust off that resume.
Missing your downtime or struggling with burnout? Feel free to leave a comment below.
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