Conference Weekend

I spent the weekend at a great local javascript conference called Nodevember. On Sunday morning the keynote speaker was Soledad Penadés, who is a software engineer who works for Mozilla. She did a talk on burnout, setting priorities, and taking care of yourself. Holly crap. The entire time I felt like she was talking directly to me! It was a wonderful talk and if they post the presentation I’ll be sure to link it here. Here are major items that I took away from the presentation.

Burnout

Burnout is a real thing. And if you try to push yourself too hard and try to do too much, you will eventually fail. You can’t do everything.

Setting Priorities

Setting priorities and learning to say no are critical to handling stress and avoiding burnout. This is something that I’ve been working on. Not feeling like I can let things go and that I need to be involved in everything is something that I’ve not always been very good at. It’s something that I’ve been working on and I feel like I’ve gotten better at. The things that I think has helped is to first set priorities. Having an understanding of what is important to your organization and what is important to you is important. Knowing these things makes it much easier to let things go.

Taking Care of Yourself

My favorite quote of the entire conference was this, “Taking care of yourself is non-negotiable”. It’s the one thing that you must do to handle stress and burnout from work. You have to find time for yourself.  And downtime is very important.  Your brain is a muscle and it needs downtime to recover.

An Observation

One of the things that I noticed this weekend was just how much I missed hanging out with these nerds. Developers are a great group of people. They are a group of people that love to learn new things, to create things, and they love to try to make the world a better place. I don’t get to develop as much as I used too and I miss it. I realized that not only do I miss the people and miss being part of a team, but I really miss the creative outlet that writing software and building solutions to serve my customers provided me. This is definitely something for me to try to get back to and to improve on in the coming year.

(The image above was taken of a note on a prayer wall that was in a coffee shop near the conference.  I took it because I thought it was funny.  Maybe it’s more than that?)