The more I do weightlifting the more I see similarities to programming. Let me explain this. When you start training at a gym, your body is so “surprised” it adapts to new efforts really quickly. From training to training you can lift more weight, you gain muscles and your general recovery is so fast that you can easily train more than once a day. For first few months you feel like a God. Superb feeling.
Sadly, after a while, all these “noob gains” start disappearing. Your progress slows down, each training becomes more exhausting – at some point, it’s impossible to keep the pace, so you need to change strategy to avoid injuries and feel more rested. One of the tricks is called deload:
In a nutshell, deload is a week (or more) in which you reduce weight by a 50-60%. You still do your job but it helps your body recover and gets back to full strength. How often should you deloading? A general answer is – when you feel overtrained.
Ok, but why the heck I write about weightlifting on this blog?! Well, this is because a few weeks ago I felt “overtrained” with programming for the very first time in my career. I couldn’t focus on my tasks for more than an hour, I had less job satisfaction, I didn’t want to learn new things, read programming blogs, watch IT conferences and write a new blog entry. Everything related to programming made me exhausted very quickly. My first, “brilliant” solution? Forcing myself to do more, since it’s definitely temporary feeling! As you probably guess, the effect was counterproductive… I started believing that I burned at age of 24. After a while, I decided to ask folks on Twitter whether they have any tips for me:
Od ok. 2 tyg mam tak, że wracam do domu i nie chce mi się robić nic związanego z programowaniem. Co robić?
1. Zmuszać się i liczyć, że przejdzie
2. Zająć się innym hooby i poczekać na wene
3. Zacząć czytać o wypaleniu :O
— Dariusz Pawlukiewicz (@d_pawlukiewicz) April 23, 2018
“For last two weeks, after returning home, I don’t want to do anything related to programming. What to do?
1. Force myself and hope that it will pass
2. Take care of another hobby and wait for wen
3. Start reading about burnout :O
cc: @maniserowicz @francmichal
Any advice? Someone help :<“
The responses I got were very clear. Do what you have to do in the office but give up other “programming activities” for a while and focus on something different. At first, I was skeptical about the idea because besides holidays I’ve never tried this. I’ve always tried to keep the pace no matter what. But soon after I thought that dealoading might be a useful trick not only when it comes to our bodies but also our minds. That’s how I started my two weeks of recovery 😉 During that I:
- played new God of War! MASTERPIECE!
- started cycling more
- started playing guitar more
- watched more YT and Netflix
- trained more
- left the city for 3 days to get rid of technology
Did it work? Absolutely! I feel rested, motivated to work and I want to learn new things again! Actually, I’ve just started studying Angular 6 docs, so… stay tuned 😉 I must say, this whole recovery process worked so well, I decided to enter this as part of my development process as a programmer. Once a while (~6weeks) I’ll simply reduce the number of programming activities by 50% and I’ll focus more on other things. Hopefully, this will work the same way as on the gym – avoid injury which in this case is burnout.