How to Stay Motivated as a Developer

#1 Rule — Avoid burnout at all cost, it could mean chaos.

Ann Adaya
Ann Adaya
Dec 9, 2020 · 5 min read
Photo by Anthony Da Cruz on Unsplash

“You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day, relax, master the day, then keep doing it every day.”

I’m never gonna tired of saying this, programming is as hard as f***, anyone who says otherwise, bless you.

But for 99% of us developers, programming is a pain, so get over it because there is nothing we can do about it, we might as well learn to deal with it.

But working hard every single day just to keep up with the pace, isn’t sustainable at all, we just can’t work hard, we have to work smart because I don’t know if you are aware of this but being a developer isn’t a sprint in which you can give 100% of yourself every day and expect to win in the end, nope, its not a smart move at all.

This is a marathon, learn how to pace or else you’d end up not just exhausted but a quitter — don't be a quitter.

And these simple other things will literally change your life.

Walk a little or a lot

There’s something about nature that can literally change the atmosphere, or is it just me?

I enjoyed walking a lot, in fact, I’ve made it a habit.

Sometimes you have to stop thinking too much and just get out and move.

Dev tip: I’ve solved several bugs just by walking and getting out of my brain, true story!

Walking in the park or somewhere else where you can breathe is one of the underrated therapy in life, not just physically but mostly your mental health.

Programming is one of the hardest jobs, solving problems, dealing with stress, deadlines, and more stress can break you so you have to learn how to deal with it, working as a developer isn’t just about programming, it’s also about staying sane.

So walk around, move around, set a schedule, and be consistent, always make your mental health a priority if you want to work as a programmer in the long run.

And the best part? It’s free.

Exercise — or find other activities.

It kept me sane.

Have you heard about this one great piece of advice — find 3 habits in your lifetime, one where it can make you money, one where it can boost your creativity and thinking, and one where it keeps you physically healthy.

Follow that advice and it will help you understand the importance of having a balanced life.

Since I was young, I’ve always had this passion for hard work. It was probably because I finished my college degree with a varsity scholarship so I got so used to the power of hard work and perseverance.

But I have learned throughout this developer journey that it isn’t always the smart choice — you have to both know when to use them.

To survive in this journey, you have to learn how to have a balanced life, working hard, spending 12hrs/day working is a good head start but the question is until when?

Consistency will always outdo intensity — one of the important take away you need to remember.

A 4hour a day of hardcore focus in studying for a year will always outdo a 12hour studying in the next 2–3months.

So learn the value of balancing things, your physical health, your mental health should always equal your other activities — do not underestimate an hour a day of exercise.

Keeping yourself healthy will not just give you a long life to enjoy the fruits of your labor but it will give you the confidence you need in the challenges ahead.

So stop making excuses and find that activity to help you move and stay sharp.

When in doubt, sleep

For God's sake, give yourself some slack and go to sleep.

Have a ‘Me’ time — and treasure it, praise it, protect it.

With all the noise, and everything that demands everything from you, may you have the courage to put them all aside and just breathe and listen to yourself.

Having your personal isn’t a ‘want’, or a privilege, or something you can’t afford, that’s just a lame excuse.

There is no such thing as busy, it’s always about priorities, and not making yourself your #1 priority will haunt you in the end.

Whatever you do with your ‘me’ time, I just hope that it will help you clear your mind, your heart, and your sanity — taking good care of yourself should always come first.

Have a life

You decided to pursue web development because you wanted to have work flexibility, a high-paying job, more time with your loved ones, and more time to live life — and you can’t even take a break?

You don’t have to socialize all the time, but you have to once in a while, no man is an island, and it takes effort to build good relationships.

It’s for your sanity, and besides, life isn’t just about the destination or the journey, sometimes it’s all about the company — I am not saying that you can’t survive alone, you actually can but you don’t have to.

A life when shared is always the best.

I have always envied those who were blessed with good relationships, having people who would literally jump off the cliff with you without any questions, that kind of relationship I would give up everything.

Seriously though, treasure those who were always there for you, take care of those who genuinely love you, and don’t ever let go of those who are always rooting for you, keep them close, because at the end of the day those relationships can move mountains — they will be your strength.

And sometimes, they are all you need.

Have an end goal

It could be a project that you want to see in the market or even building your own company, or even traveling the globe.

Whatever it is make it your long-term goal, so when the storm comes, you can always adjust your ship, your plans, but never your destination.

It is also something I look forward to every day, I’ve had this scratch paper where I wrote down my end-goal, I placed it in my lamp at the back of my monitors where I can see it every day.

It’s actually fascinating, I can just stare at it for a while, and boom I can see all the possibilities and the future that I am trying to build — but for now, I’m gonna spend the next few months sharpening these skills, creating my dream tech stack, so when it’s time, I’ll be ready.


Make your own, imagine it, picture it so clearly, feel it, and everything else will work on its own, just show up every day, do your best every day, in the name of progress.

Thank you very much for reading! Follow me for more Self-taught developer writings and inspiration, you can also find me on Instagram, see you there!

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