How do you deal with programming burnout?

Take breaks from programming, really. Try doing some other tasks that don't require you to code. Enjoy life not in front of the screen for a bit, if that's your way, or play some games and try to relax your mind. The key is not to worry that you're missing out on coding or wasting time. Invest some time in your mental well-being and you'll be able to write code again if that's what you want to do.

Stuff which works for me

  1. 20 mins exercise each day.

  2. I never find myself burned out when I'm immersed in something.
    I get burned out when the work is shit and I'm not learning anything. So maybe you just need a change up. If your project is feeling heavy maybe go back into student mode and dig some new stuff. CSS Grid / Graph QL.

  3. Leave programming entirely for a few days and learn something new — SEO / Facebook ads / Books

  4. And if none of the above are working. Take the day off and chill out. Come back tomorrow.

Some tasks are just shit. And have to be ground through though. In that case I would say.
Make some Post it Notes. Turn your phone off. And smash through them.

my great grandparents were onto something
work patiently
work every day
but take breaks and don’t rush
because you’re not gonna run out of work
best not get tired

Working out every day helps a lot. Have time off of screens. Find hobbies that aren't coding. Don't follow all the [tech] news. Avoid chasing shiny tech. Eat well. Get sleep. Drink enough water. Work on more than one project. Exercise.

For me it's absolutely vital to keep progressing in life apart from work/programming. When you're so busy building a product, you forget to take care of yourself.

  • Go for a walk without a phone once a week. You have to go back to your "self" once in a while.
  • Get the right amount of sleep. Too little sleep will fuck you up.
  • Be ok with feeling burned out. It's too easy to feel bad about feeling bad and will get you nowhere

The biggest thing for me would that I mostly only code when my mind feels like I will be productive and then I am usually super productive and into it. On the days that I feel a bit slower than usual I'd rather get onto other things that requires less analytical thinking. Exercise is a big deal as well. :)

@ronaldl93 that is a little bit harder if your day job depends on your programming.

@heyjon Are you able to take some time off without any critical repercussions?

@pugson Oh, this is a hypothetical case. I am a freelancer, but lately, I have started to feel the burnout and I am really wondering if programming is the thing I want to do, after all.

Like the others already said it's important to have life outside programming. That sounds obvious and personally for me that's easy to do if things are going well, you are not struggling, banging your head against challenges or having a hard time getting things done before deadlines. But in my own experience I know if these things do start happening it's even more important to take time off. I'm much more productive if I work let's say 40-50 hours a week then 60-70+ hours. Sure in one week I might get more done but I have to stop working out, cancel on a friend etc. and that starts to take it's toll eventually. For me that's the key to not burning out.

And the times I solved programming challenges when I'm not programming or not even actively thinking about programming, it's too many to count.