Wake up, go to work, stare at a screen, come back home, sleep. This is the daily routine of a typical developer. And it’s a fact that developers spent majority of their time with computers. Away from general public or the human presence. How can we balance work and life? Few days back, Stack Overflow released their developer survey for 2018. And guess what, more than 60% of participants spend 9 hours or more per day with a computer.
I am a developer who belongs to that 60%.I was glued to computers and was spending lots of time alone.
Humans are social creatures and they need human presence, interactions to live a normal life. When you get away from society, you become blind and blunt. You lose the ability to dream, imagine and to think creatively.
On the other hand software development is stressful and challenging. Tight deadlines are one side of the story. Then you have to keep up with market trends, customer demands and many unforeseen complications. We as programmers orchestrate code lines to execute and get an output. One could think of this an art. To master an art one must have a relaxed mind. So a stressed mind is not good for developers.
After understanding these two facts, I wanted to change. Change the way I balance work and life. I wanted find ways to interact, relax and understand the world. I tried different solutions and here I present the top three.
Travel & Explore
Travelling is fun and relaxing, isn’t it? Especially when you go to a new country a new place. You meet new people, make friends and explore cultures. You see how people live, how they spend daily life. Going through attractions, you add more memories to your life. Those are things that one could recall and be happy about. Life is not there to stare at a screen and spend the day inside four walls. Cross borders and see what’s going around the world.
No, I am not saying only about travelling around the world. Why not have a walk to the town near to you. Take a ride in a train or a bus and observe people. Meet your friends and chat over a beer. Talk face to face rather than over social media. Sometimes you don’t have to cross boarders to explore new things. Wonders could wait for you even when you walk down a street.
So, travel & explore, spend few hours a week to see how world outside function. Get away from digital world and interact with your surrounding.
It could be your friend, a college or the fellow developers. Reach out and help them. Sharing your knowledge is a good way to build good relationships. Join a Q&A forum and check what other developers are concerned about. Web sites like Stack Overflow can help you to get insight of technologies you are familiar with. Don’t just visit those sites to get answers but try to contribute See other developer’s profiles, connect with them. They could inspire you to be a better developer.
Writing documentations is a part of developer’s life. And that means you are already a writer. Use that ability to express what you know, what you feel. Write technical blogs or your life experience. It could simply be a review about a technology you recently used. Anything is okay. Let the world know how you think, how you face challenges. People need inspirations to grow and you could be the one to inspire them.
When you write, always expect negative comments, opposing ideas to what you express. Accept them and learn to understand how other people think.
“Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man” – Benjamin Franklin
Relax, read & listen
Try to find some time to relax. Meditation & yoga is proven for stress relief. Put away all electronics and calm your mind. Give it some time to idle, relax. If you are not a fan of meditation or yoga, read a book or listen to your favourite artist.
Reading expose you to new contents. It could be a novel, fiction or even a book about a new technology. Make reading a habit of your daily life.
Fun fact, don’t you think writers and software have something in common? Writers combine words to form sentences, sentences to form paragraphs, paragraphs to form chapters and compile chapters into a book. Well we the developers do something similar. We follow language syntax to compose write code lines, combine lines of codes to classes, a set of classes to a package and combine packages to build an application. A good developer is like a good writer. So go ahead read books, see how authors convert their thoughts to words.
If reading is not for you, try to listen to some music. Listen to music is proven to reduce stress. Especially the ones with lower tempo and and relaxing sounds. Relaxing music can help you to fall asleep faster. All of this can be done at comfort your home. Yes, give your mind some time to relax.
Yes there are ways to balance your professional life with the real world. I found few and presented to you. Always try to balance work and life.