Work-life Balance Tips for Software Developers
As a developer you might be on-call, working odd hours, or doing more overtime than you like. You might feel as if you’re always at work and never have time for yourself.
A developer must enjoy what they do – but not the way they sacrifice their personal life to solve the next big problem.
A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more than half of software developers worked more than 40 hours per week, and nearly 20% worked more than 50 hours per week.
So, is it even possible for developers to have a work-life balance?
We assure you that, it’s very possible to have a work-life balance as a developer and we’re willing to share the “how” below. Let’s take a look…
Work-life balance tips for developers
Software developers are always under pressure to deliver quality work within deadlines, which can take a toll on their mental health.
Here are some tips to help you to enjoy your free time as well as do productive work during the day.
1. Plan in advance
Create a schedule for your day in advance. Prepare a checklist of tasks that you need to do during the day and make sure to finish them one by one. This helps you stay on track, finish your work on time, ensure the quality of your work, and also helps you avoid procrastination.
Planning in advance for each day helps you divide up your time accordingly between work and life based on your priorities. Some people plan their day the night before and some people plan the same morning, it’s up to you what you prefer.
2. Prioritize your tasks
The biggest challenge when it comes to creating a work-life balance is prioritizing tasks. If you don’t know which tasks need to be taken care of first, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that you have to do.
Here are the three main effective task management steps:
- Identify your priorities
- Respect the deadline
- Track the progress
While planning the day, you can keep the important tasks at the top and then less important at the bottom.
3. Set strict boundaries
While technology has made it easier than ever before to stay connected with your office and colleagues while away, it’s important to establish boundaries so that you can enjoy time away from the office without worrying about what’s going on back at the office.
Strict boundaries are essential to having a balanced life, particularly when you’re working in a role where there is no clear end to the day. If you don’t set boundaries, it’s easy to let work consume your entire life.
4. Learn to say “no”
As a software developer, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is taking too much work. You might be tempted to say “yes” to a new project because it seems interesting and you’re also trying to impress your boss, but that only sets you up for burnout.
And the best way to avoid this pitfall is by learning the magic word: no.
Effectively managing work-life balance as a software developer means knowing what you can handle and what’s better left for someone else. Don’t try to do everything.
5. Don’t be a perfectionist
The work-life balance is something we all seek, but even when it seems to be within our reach, there are still things that can disrupt it. One of the biggest culprits is perfectionism.
Being a perfectionist isn’t always a bad thing. After all, having high standards and a drive to succeed can help you accomplish great things. The problem is that perfectionism can be a slippery slope. Setting high standards is one thing, but when your standards get so high that you never reach them, then you can start to feel frustrated and disappointed in yourself.
6. Cut unnecessary things
A common complaint among software developers is that they are overwhelmed by their workload. This has nothing to do with the company they work for or the current project they’re working on though. It’s a feeling of being in an endless loop of distractions, fires, and work piling up on top of them.
Even if you are a full-time freelancer or a consultant, you most likely experience this from time to time. The only way to stop this cycle is by removing things from your life that don’t contribute to your overall productivity and happiness.
If you’re a developer and you still haven’t found the work-life balance that you want, remember that you can do it. It may take some time to reach but it’s definitely possible.
Also read: Best Productivity Tools for Developers
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