The following article contains advice taken from a question I prompted on Monday November 19th, 2018 titled “Struggling With Development Fatigue: How Can I Break It?”.
That post goes more in depth into my own personal struggle with development fatigue and is worth the read if you are willing to spend more time reading into my personal fight. However, if you are more interested in hearing the major responses summed up along with personal research on the topic, it would be in your better interest in reading this document.
DEFINING OUR TERMS
For the purpose of this article, it is essential to express how development fatigue will be understood as it is used throughout the article. By laying out the vocabulary for all parties involved, I hope to better elaborate on the important parts of the article without misinterpretation clouding the discussion.
Development fatigue (n.): exhaustion from video game creation in which a developer becomes unwilling to continue to work on a project or on a platform in general possibly due to stress, over-exertion, or other psychological factors
By framing development fatigue in this way, I hope to ensure a common understanding of the basis of the topic so that we can support each other much easier and, if neccessary, have a civil disagreement that can be argued in a way that both parties are viewing the topic similarly.
The most frequent response to my question had a common theme in their recommendations:
TAKE TIME OFF
From their experiences and opinions, they came to a realization that taking a break worked for them and that might work for other users.
According to the American Psychology Association taking time off CAN be a viable tactic, but they have found flaws within this solution. In a paper published by the organization on June 27th, 2018 titled Vacation Time Recharges US Workers, but Positive Effects Vanish Within Days, New Study Finds, they state:
“People need time off from work to recover from stress and prevent burnout,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, who heads APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “But employers shouldn’t rely on the occasional vacation to offset a stressful work environment. Unless they address the organizational factors causing stress and promote ongoing stress management efforts, the benefits of time off can be fleeting. When stress levels spike again shortly after employees return to work, that’s bad for workers and for business.”
When an organization’s culture encourages time off, employees are more likely to benefit from vacation time and those benefits last longer. Upon returning from vacation, employees who said their organization’s culture encourages time off were more likely to report having more motivation … compared to employees who said their organization doesn’t encourage time off.
TrustMeImRussian made the arguement similar with this, saying:
Like Russian, many developers also believe that the way to cure development fatigue is through:
CREATING SOMETHING NEW OR DIFFERENT
The messages given by
CloneTrooper1019, Crazyman32 and
GeorgeTheDev (among others) all focus on fixing development fatigue by finding something you’re passionate in.
CHANGING YOUR WORK ENVIORNMENT
For many developers, changing the environment of where you work or your surroundings, such as lighting or with music, can be the difference the brings back the lost sparks of old.
A real world realization of this was discovered by the user
Semaphorism when he worked at RDC this past summer:
To him, the work became more fun and desirable in a new environment. Likewise, there is scientific backing in this too. In studies conducted by the Harvard Business Review, they researched why people thrive in environments with other people around. In their articles titled “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces” and “Creating Substainable Performance”, they said the following:
Our research — which is ongoing — suggests that the combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are part of the reason people who cowork demonstrate higher levels of thriving than their office-based counteraparts. But what matters the most for high levels of thriving is that people who cowork have substantial autonomy and can be themselves at work.
They further discuss the ability to succeed by explaining what makes up the techniques of people they studied who were best able to thrive and what their techniques were:
Across industries and job types, we found that people who fit our description of thriving demonstrated 16% better overall performance (as reported by their managers) and 125% less burnout (self-reported) than their peers. They were 32% more committed to the organization and 46% more satisfied with their jobs. They also missed much less work and reported significantly fewer doctor visits, which meant health care savings and less lost time for the company.
We’ve identified two components of thriving. The first is vitality: the sense of being alive, passionate, and excited. Employees who experience vitality spark energy in themselves and others. Companies generate vitality by giving people the sense that what they do on a daily basis makes a difference.
The second component is learning: the growth that comes from gaining new knowledge and skills. Learning can bestow a technical advantage and status as an expert. Learning can also set in motion a virtuous cycle: People who are developing their abilities are likely to believe in their potential for further growth.
The following quotations are recommendations that could possibly be beneficial in certain scenarios and for certain developers:
Hopefully, this article will be beneficial to your search for inspiration. I’d like to once again thank the people who contributed to my quest for answers and, although it ended with my ending of studio development, I hope that what they shared will not go to waste and can help the rest of you.
In your personal opinion, which of the recommendations do you find most beneficial?
- Taking time off from development
- Creating something new or different
- Pushing through the troubles
- Change your enviornment where you develop
I’d like to furthermore discuss these topics and am happy to update the document with more psychological studies or developer tips if asked!
”Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
— Thomas Jefferson