Erik's Engineering

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Recharge You Batteries

I'm coming off of a long, high profile project at work. In general, I just feel drained. The project was successful. It went live on time. All that is good, but I still need to recharge.

Time to recharge is an essential part of the development rhythm. Techniques like pomodoro make short frequent breaks an explicit part of the process, but many people don't realize that longer, less frequent breaks are also essential. The traditional work week includes a 2 day weekend, but all too often we fill our weekends with more work. If it isn't for our job, it's maintaining our houses or visiting with relatives. Whatever guise it takes, it isn't allowing for the batteries to recharge.

If you work all day every day, your output starts to suffer. You start running low on creative juices and while you can keep working you just won't produce as well. Your solutions get less elegant and you spend longer trying to spot your bugs.

Even some time off in the evening can help. In my case, a couple hours with a novel or surfing the web from the back porch is very helpful. This is probably why I come up with my best solutions either on the way in to work or during the morning.

Unfortunately, that little time in the evening or the morning probably isn't enough. For me, I need at least one or two days out of every couple weeks where I can just relax and free-wheel. Not worry about trying to produce anything. After that rest, I come back and get a lot more productive.

Also, I avoid nervous breakdowns and giant (for me) flares of temper.

So, as you design your life, don't forget to leave some slack time. Figure out what recharges your batteries. Some folks (like me) need peace and quiet away from people. Other folks need to go out with friends or exercise a lot. But whatever you need, figure out what recharges your batteries and be sure to leave some room in your life for it.

Published on 14/10/2010 at 02h01 under , . Tags ,

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