How to deal with IT and programming stress

How to deal with IT and programming stress

Cover of

Cover of The Relaxation Response

This week, I came across two interesting topics on stress.  But they involved stress in the IT and programming world.
 In the IT article, the author says this: “This is the number one reason I left. If you’ve never experienced the levels of stress associated with managed service providers, you’re in for a real treat. You have (possibly) hundreds of clients calling in all day to report their computers “aren’t working.” “
And the programming article brings up an important element: “One is something known as the ‘imposter syndrome.’ That’s when you’re pretty sure that all the other coders you work with are smarter, more talented and more skilled than you are.”
But working more hours didn’t bring more productivity.  The programming article mentions this: “Stanford students studied how much time a person can really spend programming productively. In what shouldn’t be a surprise, they found that working too much reduces productivity. Overworked coders tended to produce less high-quality code when working 60 hour/weeks than refreshed people did when working 40-hour weeks.”
How can we cut the stress?  One answer is rather simple.  It comes from a book by ABC news anchor Dan Harris called   Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story.  It’s found on Amazon at Follow the breath.
What’s the answer?  It’s actually a simple meditation technique – sit still and follow the breath.  But this is actually a technique followed in the Zen and Insight Meditation Buddhist approaches.
To tell the truth, the book The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson and Miriam Z. Klipper, had a similar technique about twenty-five years ago.  It can be found on Amazon at Relaxation response.  But I think the Harvard Medical school writer does add focus on a simple English phase.

Bottom line?  Take time to relax for a few minutes, with a simple meditation technique.


Programmers (Photo credit: Phillie Casablanca)

Sure.  It’s easy to drop out of a high paying job.  One can get a more laid back job – for far less money.  But most come into programming for the intellectual challenge or feeling of satisfaction.  You are accomplishing something most folks can’t do.  I don’t think giving up is the answer.  Nor do I think meditation – in and of itself – will resolve all problems.  I used to program for a living.  I still like to putter about with technology.  The only difference now, is I’m not under the stress and strain schedule.


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