How do you keep yourself motivated?

almost 6 years ago from , front end developer

I'll start with introducing myself - i'd call myself a junior front end developer, i've worked for a few smaller and bigger agencies and most of the projects i was developing took me from 1 to 3 weeks, some of the bigger ones took up to 8 weeks.

The problem is that i get bored quite fast. Second or third week and this super exciting project i was so happy about when i started starts to really bore me. Now as I type this i think this might be partly because i encounter less and less challenges - sometimes it feels too repetitive - just writing shitloads of html and add styling.

Some of the stuff that helps me, when i have such situation: i try adding some fun to the project - cool interaction, fancy hovers, stuff that isn't necessary but feels nice.

I also make list of shit that needs to be done and i cross stuff out of it as i'm working on it.

Is that a junior's burnout or what? How do you cope with such situations if they occur?


  • Radley MarxRadley Marx, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Nope, that's just work. As you progress along you'll have more say about what to make, but it's dependent on the strength of your vision.

    You should be working on fun side projects as you go along - stuff that's fun and challenging. It won't go fast but it'll grow over time.

    I would also take time to visit bookstores with a variety of graphic / product / interior / installation design books. Nothing gets you going like seeing what everyone is doing - it's fuel for your competitive spirit and imagination.

    8 points
    • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, almost 6 years ago

      Agreed. Learning new languages, taking inspiration from new trends, and even looking at work outside of your industry are all what keep me motivated. As far as work goes, seeing that my client has paid the invoice is a pretty good motivator :)

      0 points
  • Danny Zabolotny, almost 6 years ago

    Aside from work, it's nice to have other hobbies and interests to keep your brain working in different directions. I do web dev for my day job, and then at home I do audio production, play guitar, and work on my project car. That way I never feel like I'm always doing the same thing, and that keeps me pretty motivated when I'm at work.

    As for when you're at work, try and do something extra for the sites you're building. Cool little transitions and interactions go a long way towards making a site feel polished, and I'm sure your efforts will not go unnoticed.

    4 points
  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, almost 6 years ago

    I ask this question on my podcast every week, but I've never given much thought to what motivates me to keep going. I ended up narrowing it down to one thing: the pursuit of a better life that my parents and grandparents had. They've sacrificed so much for me to be where I am, and I'm not trying to fuck that up. Even if I'm having a tough day or working on a project that's less than desirable, I try to keep things in perspective by remembering that.

    1 point
  • oijsadflijasdfoijsadflijasdfoijsadflijasdf jsadflijasdfsdijsadflijasdfsdijsadflijasdfsdi, almost 6 years ago

    I follow Stoic practice, such that I try as far as possible to ignore motivation or how I feel about a project.

    Example -

    I did development work, middleware stuff in OPC and high performance data systems. I worked on a project for about 6 months straight where we were trying to diagnose a bottleneck in a legacy system that was handed over from a vendor without any documentation. We had the ability to read performance data from each component, and set some performance parameters, but no idea how they all related to each other or how to manage them.

    There were interesting parts of the project in terms of breaking different bits to see what the relationships were between the components. As in, turn off part of the stack, see what happened to the I/O on the others, gradually map out what the entire system and its relationships looked like.

    Then there was then the remainder of the process, where we would define tests and then execute them manually as there was no automation for any of this. There were dozens of components so we'd spec out a big list of tests to be done then just sit in front of a console 12 hours a day plugging tuning parameters in and capturing the outputs. This part went on for about 3 out of 6 months to build up the tuning statistics and data.

    There was no amount of motivation that could have gotten through this part of the work. It had to be done, the overall project was amazing, but there was no tricking yourself on this - it was shit work, day in day out for weeks on end.

    The tradeoff - for me personally and for my career - is that I can tackle pretty much anything without having to worry about if I'm going to be able to see the work through. It opened a lot of doors for me being able to take this approach.

    1 point
  • Bryce HowitsonBryce Howitson, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Thats a tough question and it shows quite a level of maturity that you're willing to grapple with it. That said, motivation is a massively personal thing (it's the basis for so many decisions we make) so what motivates me may not motivate you.

    In general I think it's useful to define motivation for you. In other words why were you excited at the onset? Is that excitement from getting something new to work on? Is it from an unknown challenge? Does it stem from the content or topic of the work? You have to answer that question before you can ever hope to find ways to maintain motivation.

    Many people in this industry are motivated by challenge. The dirty little secret about challenge is that no one will really find it for you. From a business perspective challenge is bad. Its easier to make money if you can do something so easily that you're super efficient and can move on to the next task quickly. To be fair if you ask for challenges, a good manager will usually try to find them but you need to realize that this process is outside of actually doing business. So the real trick is how do you continually challenge yourself?

    I would suggest finding a challenge in everything. This doesn't mean adding unnecessary polish, features or easter eggs, though sometimes thats fun. This means doing something better than the last time. Maybe you can make a more efficient (and faster) database call. Maybe you can support a broader range of browsers by doing something a different way. I built Flash based banner ads for a while (talk about unexciting work) and I found that the only way to keep myself going was to keep seeing how small a file size I could get without sacrificing quality. Its the stupid little things like that will keep you interested for the long haul.

    1 point
  • Dan DiGangiDan DiGangi, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    A few things to think about...

    1) I agree with your point to start. Maybe your boredom stems from the lack of stimulation due to your work not being challenging enough. It is a common tale.

    My advice from this perspective is either a) ask for more challenging work, b) move onto a new job, or c) keep trucking along and hope for better.

    2) In all truthfulness, I hope the above point is the reason for your boredom. But what I want to say here is this... is there a chance that you aren't as passionate as you had thought about the work? You are very new to the field and if you are already experiencing these feelings, it makes me slightly worried that you may not be as as enthused in your work as you should be.

    My advice for this point is to consider following my advice in point 1 (your choice as to which) or consider taking on more things on the side. It could be freelance or personal projects. Just don't stop doing the work. Keep trying things. Tackle things that are unknown. Create your own challenges. Learn to problem solve. And last but not least, ask questions of those who are better than you.

    Good luck Dau!

    1 point
  • Lee Marshall, almost 6 years ago

    I can completely understand your situation, as this happened to me when I started working for a Tech company (to which their software was incredibly boring and buggy - a bad combination) But the way I tackled the mundaneness was by listening to podcasts/youtube video on new tech and copious amounts of coffee.

    This allowed me to teach myself a new software stack (M.E.A.N. javascript stack) and still get my work done. So I guess what worked for me is learning something knew as this kept me engaged and not falling asleep at my desk.

    Hope this helps.

    0 points
  • Jacob Kelley, almost 6 years ago

    Find out what you like and do that.

    0 points
  • Jordan KoscheiJordan Koschei, almost 6 years ago

    Change of scenery. I decamp to a coffee shop around midday; being around other people is motivating, since I'd rather they see me doing something awesome like coding than something lame like browsing Buzzfeed.

    0 points
  • , almost 6 years ago

    I'd like to thank you all for your comments! I actually wasn't expecting such a broad input you've made here.

    Speaking about fields - i don't think this area isn't for me. I love working with UI and UX, i love working with digital design, with all these beautiful pixels. It's not just my full time job but also my interest and a hobby. I do freelance a lot and overall, i might be overworking, maybe that's why i feel so.

    On the other hand learning something new, tutorials, new frameworks, etc, makes me really excited about it and kinda makes me feel alive again. Probably that might also be the key - to spend at least some time on studying something new.

    Loved the @Brad T comment about the Stoic practice - will definitely dig more into that.

    Again, thank you all for you input.

    0 points
    • oijsadflijasdfoijsadflijasdfoijsadflijasdf jsadflijasdfsdijsadflijasdfsdijsadflijasdfsdi, almost 6 years ago

      Happy to help! One thing I will caution though - it's not an exercise in bearing down or toughness. It's more being clear and reasonable about what is happening.

      Being concerned with how you feel or the boredom, you can do that but it doesn't achieve much. Firstly you've either chosen to do something, or not do it. After that, it's easier just to stay focussed and do the thing instead of always being pulled away by feeling bored or frustrated or wishing you were doing something else.

      In the end it's all work, even what's interesting now will be boring later, and the fundamentals never change that much!!

      0 points
  • Jake ChapmanJake Chapman, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Get a passion outside of being a front-end developer.

    We spend so much time building up our knowledge for the first few years it can be COMPLETELY overwhelming. By the time you feel like you have a handle on it, the next big thing comes along and you need to start learning that, rinse and repeat, it's a vicious cycle.

    At my place of work I work on some lengthy projects as well as small ones. 3-4 weeks to 5-6 months. The smaller ones really aren't that hard to stay motivated as it's not your employees job to help you find inspiration and creativity, it's their job to help foster your creativity for a project. If the smaller projects are what's getting you because it seems boring, find new ways of accomplishing the problem. Do you use Gulp/Grunt for your build tool? Try mixing in Webpack/Browserify into the mix.

    If you aren't already passionate about something that's away from the computer, do so. You'll find that most of the greats in any field have outside passions they are able to focus on and find inspiration while doing.

    For myself, it's cars, cooking, photography and (people might think it's dumb) but competitively playing FPS shooters like CoD, Halo etc...

    Your brain needs an outlet to forget about work, you deal with enough there especially in bigger companies like Politics, code critiques that can take a toll on your esteem and what not. By the end of the day it's relaxing to come back to do something that is JUST YOURS and no one can say SHIT about.

    I honestly disagree with "side projects" that are in the same field of work that you do. Especially when trying to stay motivated, to me it's counter intuitive, "I'm unmotivated to write some code, so let me go write some code."?? That's always just leads me down a rabbit hole of stuff all that "new stuff" I mentioned earlier and just feeling overwhelmed.

    I find I get most motivated to work during the day when I know at the end of the night, I can take a nice "fast" car ride home in my Mustang that I work on myself and take pride in, cook myself a delicious fancy ass dinner, filet mignon if you're wondering :), can edit some photos or bust out some headshotz on N00bs for the rest of the night.

    If I don't feel like doing any of that, I'll find a nice book and enjoy that... or sleep, sleep is nice haha

    This is what works for me, everyone is different. Stay Motivated, Stay Constant friend :)

    0 points
  • Wes OudshoornWes Oudshoorn, almost 6 years ago

    I think most creatives have energy in the beginning of a project, because it allows our minds to be busy. I don't think losing that energy naturally is a bad thing, it's just what your brain likes.

    So let's check out the options. The first option is to screw these long projects and find a role where you can only do work that you do the first weeks of a project. Sounds pretty great to you? If so, maybe see if there are jobs like that.

    The other option is to just keep hitting that creative desert, and get through it. Doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me, but some people spend entire careers doing this.

    Another option could be to look into agile ways of working with short sprints of work. This means that new work is started all the time and there's not so much time for boring stuff. Could benefit your personality, and might benefit the company as well!

    The last option is to try to find things to make the later phases of a project nice. I wasn't a strong finished until someone asked me: "how do you want to be remembered by clients?". This really got me thinking, and motivates me because I want to be seen as full of energy from beginning to end.

    I think there are countless ways to get more energy. Try to see it as a design problem. Your objective is to stay fresh and energised all the time, you have your constraints, now design a solution!

    0 points