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Burnout ...No, Not the Game

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Well I've been slowly chipping away at bits and pieces of work but i don't really feel like I'm achieving anything.
I keep coming back to comment on one of my posts from [11 days]
What i took from it was "if you don't enjoy it why are you doing it"
To which i replied that i did enjoy it; and i do.

I sincerely enjoy all my hobbyist coding, i spend a great deal of my time either coding or reading about code/designing and i have done for quite some time.
As of now I've been coding at a decent level for roughly 11 years during which i spent most of my spare time learning/coding to varying degrees of success.
I've been to university to study a programming related degree and i now work as a software programmer.

Recently over the last ~1/2 year I've started to notice no matter how hard i work or how many hours i put in I'm seeing less and less of a return/progress on my projects. In small time frames it's not noticeable but looking back there is a definite decline.
I'm still learning new things and the application of these new things comes as easy as it always has so it's not really decline in skill (hopefully) more of an increase in the difficulty of getting things done to the same quality on the same time frame.
The motivation and enjoyment is still there but the efficiency and overall capability is definitely lower than it should be.
I'm beginning to think I'm a bit burnt out from the coding centric lifestyle I've gotten used to. Not manic depression only working because i have to burnt out but more of a subtle decline in efficiency.
It's a hard thing to admit that you are not up to bar, even with yourself from year ago and it took a while for me to really see and admit that this was the case.
I spent 11 days coding something that i could have knocked out in 3 days a couple years ago and i struggled even with that.

I'm still sure that coding is what i wanted to do in that there's no doubt whatsoever (unless someone wants to pay me monies to evaluate bacon, like a bacon critic...yeah that would be awesome).

I'm going to try something unprecedented for me; I'm going to go code free - cold turkey for a couple of months.
Not as dramatic as it first sounds as i still code for my job but it's not particularly taxing and i can separate work from the rest of my life.
Once i leave work my life is code free until the next morning, now i don't know about you but I'm struggling to see my life without programming. It's all I've ever seriously done; i mean what will i do with all the spare time? What would you do?

I'll be doing this up until august (when i get back from my holiday).
During this time i will only be coding during office hours (and a very small amount of overtime), while I'm not at work i will have to find something else to do with my time.
I'm still a techie at heart so I'll probably do some old fashioned design and get a few of my ideas fleshed out on paper (they are not all programming projects).
I've also always wanted to write some short stories and that sounds sufficiently far away from programming to be relaxing.
Big fan of Zen meditation so I'll have more time for that.
Ooh also need more exercise; having a girlfriend and full time job has made me a bit more rotund than i would like to admit.
I'd quite like to obtain some level of skill in illustration and/or modelling so i might see about some classes or independent learning.
I also have a backdated log of games i bought and never played so i may get back some gaming time.

I've honestly no idea what will happen or what I'll end up doing, but it's fun to try new things (even if your new thing is NOT doing your old thing)

I'm going to try and keep a weekly journal of un-programming, just going over what I've been doing and whether or not i like it.
[On a separate note, Bacon critic is sounding more and more like a good idea]

Do any of you have any experiences with burnout, if so what were your symptoms/solutions?
Also I'm open to suggestions/criticisms; any feedback is usually good feedback regardless of the tone.

Thank you for listening









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I've still got the motivation but i'm not putting out the performance to match it and i know i'm better than this.

Nice to know that the break will actually help.

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Hmm, for me it would be very hard to compare if I am faster these days than 11 years ago. Are you sure you don't have higher standards than 11 years ago? Meaning that the game you have built now might have the same tasks on paper, but is actually far better constructed and detailed than something you would have done 11 years ago in 3 days? Maybe you should look at some of the stuff you did back then :).

As for feedback. It depends, if you feel like it is only a couple of more days, or a week to finish this project, then I would definitely finish it. At that point you should just get over yourself and get it done. The chance you will get back to it later is very small. But finishing something really gives its own motivational boost. It also sounds like you are overdoing things. First you take a couple of weeks off to work on a game instead of relaxing, then after your vacation you plan on not coding at all anymore for a while. so in 2-3 weeks you went from completely motivated to code a small game project to not wanting to code anymore in your free time at all. This is quite the switch. Why not code one evening a week if you still enjoy it? Why not team up with people? I can promise you it is more enjoyable to work with motivated individuals.

I can also give similar advice to Aldacron, pick up a sport, get your body fit, but maybe do it with a friend so getting fit doesn't become a new goal in itself, more of a social thing. Other than that, do something that is not directly in your comfort zone, for example, pick up a musical instrument (guitar, piano, whatever), take lessons in something. Learn how to ski, dive, motor license, etc, etc.

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Take up another creative pasttime for awhile, to keep your creativity flowing and cross-pollinate different arts, while still giving yourself a break from programming.

Examples: Painting, walking in the woods, composing, writing short stories, etc....

When you start to want to program again, continue to deny yourself for another week, to build up hunger for it. Then release yourself to get back into it.

[b][edit:] [/b]Yea, physical exercise is a excellent pasttime to take up, since physical strength helps support your mental strength.

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