How To Restore Your Passion for Programming
What to do if you’ve lost passion for coding?
I recently stumbled upon a Reddit thread where someone said they had lost all interest in programming. By reading through the thread, one can quickly assume it’s the case of burnout.
Programming is a difficult skill to master and requires great perseverance to get good at. The grind can be too much at times — remember, if something is hard, it’s worth doing, as nothing good comes easy.
The thread really inspired me as I’ve been in a similar situation a couple of times as well. I’ve been really burned out and bummed, and I want to share how I managed to cope with it and regain my passion for coding.
Work on Side Projects
Nothing beats having no boss and deadlines. You can work on any project without limitations and with the freedom of making your very own tech stack choices.
Want to use a framework that came out two weeks ago? No one is going to stop you. If you lack ideas on what to build, pick something from this list.
However, in the situation you’re already working a 9 to 5 job as a coder, it’s understandable when there isn’t a single bone left that wants to sit down and write even more code that day.
For occasions like those, working on side-projects might make things even worse since you’re pushing yourself over the edge. Be honest with yourself and take some time to think where you stand on the spectrum.
There’s a huge gap between if you actually like coding, but just hate your day job and do you really just dislike coding and need a break.
In the case that you like coding, but hate coding during the day, here’s some advice on how to change that.
Jump Ship and Look for New Challenges
The above is a polite way to say that you might consider changing jobs. It’s totally normal to get bored and comfortable with your current job. Boredom happens when the things you’re working on aren’t challenging you enough anymore.
This is bound to happen if you worked at the same place for over five years. We, humans, are addicted to stimulation, we can’t stand to sit quietly in a room all by ourselves for even 30 minutes.
Of course, you might not have to completely change companies — start small by talking to your manager — ask to work on a new project.
If they deny you this opportunity, time to pack up your stuff and make the bold move of changing companies. You’ll thank yourself later and wonder what took you so long to make those changes.
If you do decide to change jobs, I’d recommend brushing up on your interview skills with the Here Are 8 Questions You Should Ask Your Employer Before Taking the Job article. It’s a quick read and points you in the right direction when it comes to picking a non-toxic company culture.
Take a Break From Coding and Pick Up New Hobbies
Mixing it up is always a noble idea. I’ve had to deal with my fair share of procrastination — I would get up in the morning and fantasize about all the things I want to accomplish, only to procrastinate half of the day.
Once you’ve lost half a day for nothing, panic is quick to hit. Coding isn’t something one can properly do under a lot of time pressure and panic.
Pick up running, cooking, archery, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you have less time to procrastinate, you’ll be more productive. From my personal experience, I started to really appreciate and separate my work time once I picked up more than a handful of hobbies.
If you’re an experienced developer and just need a breath of fresh air — pick up a new programming language instead. It’s a dangerous game for sure, but I’ve seen it work plenty of times.
With a new programming language, everything looks new and shiny, thus it might reinvigorate the passion in you.
Exercise As Much as You Can
Programming is a truly stationary job — it’s terrible for the body. We’re not supposed to sit for eight to 12 hours per day. Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, often nomads without a permanent residence.
If you’re young, you don’t feel it as much, but as you get older, you start to feel more grumpy and less healthy.
As a coder, It’s crucial to balance your life by exercising as much as you can. I can understand if you dislike running, but it’s not a reason not to exercise. It’s on you to explore and find something you truly like.
For example, I’m heavily addicted to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since it allows me to clear my mind. I might step on the mat with doubting thoughts and anxiety, and once I step off the mat, poof! All worries are gone. Has to do something with the wild endorphins.
If Nothing Helps — Take a Vacation
I love programming so much that I took my first vacation at the age of 23. I’m not bragging, or anything.
But of course, I went on a vacation to Ireland for a reason. I consider myself consistent and having a strong will to grind — I needed to escape it all and just forget about coding.
Everyone needs a vacation, be it spending more time with your family or visiting another country across the eternal ocean. Take care of yourself, you deserve it.
Thanks for reading, I hope you stick with programming. It’s a wild ride, but totally worth it. Feel free to talk to me privately if you’re having anxiety, worries, or a bad day.