How To Avoid And Quicky Recover From Code Burnout


Maybe you’ve been slamming yourself to meet a client deadline; or you got a little carried away with a side project. Either way you’ve hit a wall, and now you’re totally burnt out from coding. I'm not just talking about the type of burnt out you experience where you’re mildly irritated at the thought of working. I'm talking about the hard core stuff, the type of burn out where you stare aimlessly at your screen for hours on end, producing a crappy line of code that makes zero sense. You know you’re in a bad spot when you’d rather fold four loads of laundry than sit at your computer.

If you’ve found yourself in this dead space, let me help you climb your way out of it. It’s pretty simple in theory, but not so easy in practice. So let's get into it.


Shock horror. The words no developer ever wants to hear, “stop coding”. If you’re like me, it's ingrained in my personality to be constantly working on my code. Like I can’t physically help it, it's just who I am.

I also hate feeling unproductive. So if I’m not working on a project, or cleaning up some code, or working on a side project - then it tends to really get me down in the dumps. Don’t stress, it's natural. Nothing wrong with aiming high and having a mild case of work-aholicness 🙊

For this step to work, you need to be in tune with your body and your mind. Usually, you’ll feel the burn out coming on well before it hits you. Some of the most common thoughts and feelings I personally have are:

  • Feeling sick when i'm trying to code
  • Dreading the thought of sitting down to do it
  • Hating pretty much every second if I overcome the above and force myself to do the work

I get it. There might be times when you just have to get over it, keep coding and smash out a deadline. It happens to the best of us and it takes a lot of strength and determination to see the work through at times like this. But if you can, I would strongly suggest you stop coding. Hear me out.

I don’t mean permanently. I'm not that sadistic. It's just for a little while - I’m talking like a day or two. A ‘code cleanse if you will’. You just need to do it long enough to give yourself a proper break. Find enjoyment in other areas of life, so that you can rekindle your love for coding.

Learn To Relax. 😎

Again this is not exactly in my nature. I actually enjoy coding and working in general. But my wife does tell me that I need to relax more, and as much as I hate to admit it - she’s right.

It’s not healthy to push yourself day after day, with no break or opportunity to rest. And if this is what you’re doing, there's a good chance this is what caused the burnout in the first place.

How do I do this? Gaming is a nice change of pace. I’ve always enjoyed gaming both casually and competitively, and often it provides a nice little escape from reality. I try to spend time with my wife and daughter, maybe go out on a family day out or catch up with friends. Even sitting in the lounge, watching a movie (without the laptop), is counted as taking a break.

As hard as it might be (IT’S SO HARD). The healthiest thing you can do when you’re experiencing true code burnout, is step away from the computer and chill. If you give yourself time to recover, the passion for coding will come back ten-fold. All you have to do is wait it out, and come out the other end.