Software development has been a massive part of my life since my very early teenage years. I’ve got vivid memories of writing my first pieces code and the sense on accomplishment that came with that. I recall spending hours upon hours in my bedroom as a teenager, hunched behind the computer, learning to write code.
During those early years, I never really considered that it would, or even could, become a career for me. I really only did it because I loved doing it.
When I finished high school, I knew that college wasn’t something that I wanted for myself. I hated school and studying. Even though the expectations of my parents were that I should go to college, I had an entrepreneurial spirit in me that I couldn’t shake and it of course didn’t help that I really, really did not want to study. I was 18 and the world was my oyster.
I ended up taking multiple internships, volunteered at a school for the underprivileged twice and started a few small online business that never really had much traction. Until I started doing freelance software development work and began to use the skills that I had taught myself through the years to build websites, apps and software for various clients.
In a way it was a perfect synergy between my passion and entrepreneurial spirit.
It’s now been almost 20 years since I started coding for fun and I’ve mostly freelanced, consulted and had 1 full time corporate style job in-between. Software development has been very good to me and enabled me to live a very comfortable lifestyle and give my family the same.
The problem is, that it has also completely burned me out. I’ve spoken about this in a few different places before and I’m not going to get in to the details in this post. The point is just that after 20 years of sitting behind a computer screen almost every day, and in more recent times, working on extremely challenging projects and tight deadlines, I’ve in some ways reached breaking point.
What I did wrong that lead me to burn out
It’s hard for me to answer why I burned out. I’m sure there are a few different reasons as to how I got to this point, both things that I did consciously and sub-consciously.
If I had to pen a few things down that I feel contributed to the burn out, they’d be:
- I’ve got a personality that struggles to settle and is always wanting to achieve and do more
- I spent time outside of work behind the computer, doing – you guessed it – software development behind a computer
- I was trying to build a side-hustle doing software development content on this site and YouTube when I should have been as far away from a computer as I could get
- I took on too much
- I put myself in to work situations (usually for good intentions) that I shouldn’t have got it to – that corporate j0b? Bleh!
- I didn’t spend time doing the things that I love to do, outside of work.
Of course in hindsight, it’s easy to say I should have done this or that, the reality is that I’m in a situation that only I can work my way out of.
Where to from here?
Do I plan on stopping to code? Absolutely not. I’ve got a family to support and bills to pay. That would be extremely silly of me to do. And I still have a passion for the software development work that I do, it just needs to be confined.
And that’s the key. Limiting the time I spend behind the computer to only work and passion projects outside of writing code.
I’ve got many other passions that I really enjoy that I just end up not doing. Either because I’m caught up in work or trying to do something on the side and have no time. I end up ignoring the things that actually feed my energy and creativity and bring me deep happiness.
What that means for this blog is that it’s no longer going to be a blog just about software development. You may have already noticed my blog post yesterday about how to plant a tree 😉 I’m going to be writing way more frequently on this blog (as writing is one of those things I really enjoy doing) but about a much more diverse set of topics. Most of the posts will fall in to the categories of outdoor adventures, DIY, business, getting fit and healthy, personal development and of course I will still be writing on topics related to software development.
I realize that many of the subscribers to my blog come here for the software development topics and that writing about more diverse topics may turn them away, but the point of this blog, as a personal blog, is to write about things that interest me.
As for my YouTube channel, it’s growing even though I’ve done very little on it. I will be leaving up the videos and tutorials I’ve done in the past. I’m toying with the idea of starting the channel up again, but for mostly non-development related content. Just as a creative outlet for things that excite me, which will mostly be outside the realm of software development.
Finishing the year strongly
Lastly, many of you don’t know, but this year has been incredibly difficult for myself and for my family. By the time May came around, I had lost my father, stepfather and grandfather. I’ve also had very high levels of stress at different times this year and have felt quite directionless in terms of what I’m trying to achieve in many areas.
In situations like this, it’s easy to feel out of control and just let life happen. Heck, I’ve done a lot of that this year. But the better approach to take is to start being intentional about fixing things. I finally feel like I’m in a space where I am ready to start being intentional. First up, is my health! My health is something I’ve neglected heavily for far too long a time. I’ve recently started eating right and exercising again and will soon write some posts about what I’m eating and working out on.
I’m looking forward to ending this year on a good note and if you’re interested, stay along for the journey by subscribing to my blog.