How can developers reduce stress adrian mejia blog

Most professions nowadays involve a certain degree of stress. We have deadlines, change of requirements at the last minute and to deal with people. On top of that, when you work in front of a computer 8+ hours additional stressors are added. Your eyes might get dry. Also the lack of movement might cause you back/neck pain, while your muscles shrink and your belly expands. This post will give you some tips to accomplish your goals without sacrificing your health. I also included some bonus tips for software engineers. Background

There was a time in my life, back in 2015, where I went through severe stress crisis.

I was juggling too many things at once: writing a book, interviewing in the USA for new jobs, and getting a work visa, and planning a wedding while keeping up with a full-time job and also the sole programmer on two startups. It was the busiest time of my life, and my health suffered a lot! I dreamt about source code. Some nights I couldn’t sleep, so I worked instead. I went to the ER multiple times with heart palpitations. I knew I could not keep living in that way. I’ve been experimenting with what helps and what not. This post is a compilation of the ones that helped. Ideas to handle stress

Have you felt stressed when you get stuck on something for a while? Well, it’s time to take a step back and put things in perspective. There might be a straighter line to get to your goal. List all the alternatives you can think of (don’t label them as “good” or “bad”. Put it all down “smart” ideas and especially the “dumb” ones). Choose the ones that you think will work the best. Work smarter, not harder!

If you are going to cut a tree is important to sharpen your ax first and then get to it. Not just will you cut the tree faster but also with less effort. Likewise, it’s vital that you take some time to do a little planning before jumping right into the task in hand. Beware of not overdoing it, set a time limit for this exercise. If you spend all the time sharpening the ax and never cut the tree is not good either 😉 Subtask ✌️

If you can’t do it all, then prioritize. Do what matters the most upfront. The 20% of the task might account for 80% of the result (Pareto Principle). Find that critical 20% and execute on that first. For the rest of the list, you can apply the 80/20 principle recursively. Find the next 20% that matters the most and for the rest apply Pareto again, delegate or re-evaluate if is still needed. Ask 🗣

When you request for help, the other person usually feels good. You are creating a bond and companionship with that person. However, don’t overdo it! Otherwise, it will have the opposite effect. Before asking for help, you should do your homework. Try to solve it yourself first, google it and struggle with the issue a little while. Write down some questions and where you got stuck (exact error messages, etc.) The other person will appreciate that you are respecting their time and that you are asking detailed questions.

Your body is a fantastic machine that tries to keep the balance regardless of what we throw at it. It remains a certain temperature when it’s freezing by shivering or sweating when it’s hot. It seeks to maintain the pH of your blood even if you drink too many acidic beverages (sodas, coffee). It tries to keeps your blood sugar on check even after eating a donut or if haven eaten in hours. However, our bodies need the proper nutrients and water to do so. When you don’t hydrate yourself enough, it can’t remove the waste out of your system. So, drink up!

As discussed before, try to break sitting every 25 minutes or an hour with some stretching session. Our bodies are not designed to stay 8 hours per day sitting still. It was designed to move. Indeed, great ideas happen when you are on the move (showering/walking). If you are stuck with some task, take a little walk, stretch out and might give you some perspective. Workout 🏋️‍♀️

The science of what happens while we sleep is still ongoing and fascinating. We know that memory consolidation happens while you sleep, your body repair itself, waste is removed from the brain. Your heart rate drops around 20%, and your stress hormones go down. Your nervous systems heal making you more responsive and sharp after a good night sleep.

Do you know having a good night sleep start during the day? For most people, it’s hard to sleep well (or at all) after a very stressful day or some big event coming up. That’s why doing breathing exercises through the day helps. Also, taking breaks every 25 or 50 minutes of work. Journaling helps me a lot to calm down my monkey mind jumping all over the place at night. Apps I’ve used…

For backend and devOps there are paradigm changes from time to time. E.g. from monolith to microservices, from server rendered apps to SPA (single page applications) or hybrids. Also people are talking about severless, and the JAM Stack (JavaScript, APIs, and Markup). Docker and kubernetes are getting very popular right now. The list just keeps growing…

All in all, don’t feel like you need to rearchitect your stack right away and throw what’s working for something new. Prefer battle-tested solution for production env to shiny ones. Don’t follow the hype evaluate your use cases carefully. What worked for Google/Facebook don’t necessarily be the right tool for you. You can benchmark multiple tools before going all in and make a decision based on data rather than hype. Testing 🐞

Test your code. Unit test and integration/e2e tests are not nice to have, they are a must if you want to sleep well at night. Even if your company has a QA team, try to write automated tests. Add test coverage tools and try to keep it as close to 100% as possible. That will reduce you a lot of stress chasing bugs in production and unexpected angry customers. Refactoring 🛠