Job advertisements make working at a tech company look quite easy and comfortable with things like refreshments, ping pong, dog-friendly offices, and gyms among other things but that generally is not the case. Working in the software development industry is considered one of the hardest jobs as software engineers are put under immense pressure daily.
Work-life Balance and Overtime in the Tech Industry
For software developers, it is considered a norm to work on holidays and overtime, as most success stories that we hear are often based on how the person worked tirelessly every day of the week. Is it so? Anyhow the question arises that do software developers code on weekends normally and should you do it?
The answer to this question is yes they do and no you do not necessarily have to code on the weekends. You have a life like any other person in the world and you deserve to spend your free time however you would like.
When Can You Work on Weekends
Exceptions can be made on working on weekends as mentioned before, working on the weekends could be advised by the company in a state of emergency. Let us say that you had a launch of a project on Monday and while testing you found a bug that could potentially ruin the launch. You and your team might have to work overtime and even on the weekend to get the code up and running back again.
Learning on the Job
One of the major issues that why people have to work on weekends as well is because sometimes their jobs require them to learn something new.
If acquiring that knowledge or skill is part of the job description then learning it on site is considered a part of your job. Some managers suggest to their juniors that they should learn that skill in their free time and should now focus on the other tasks at hand. If you are in such a situation then it is advised to talk to your supervisor or manager and work out a time in which you can learn.
Learning new things on the job is essential for your development and personal growth but it should never be pressured. You should do it whenever you feel like doing it, if you prefer to do it over the weekend then you should do it.
Some people complain that they have to put in overtime in order to get the job done, this usually happens due to one’s own fault. You can avoid having to put in overtime by simply working more efficiently, you could achieve this by avoiding having to socialize excessively with people who do not have much to do at work.
You can do this by using headphones at work or just by excusing yourself, you could also talk to your manager to avoid excessive meetings if you do not have much to discuss. If your firm allows you then you should work from home as much as you can, working from home increases your productivity and allows you to focus more on the task at hand rather than other things.
Some people have another strategy to avoid working the weekends and that is putting overtime on weekdays. As much as it sounds good, it is not a viable option for the long run. Think of it in terms of benefits by cost, sprinting to finish a project early has its benefits like meeting the deadline but it costs in terms of productivity as it goes down drastically.
What If You Are a Workaholic?
Some people consider themselves as workaholics, such people prefer working in the office and completing projects way ahead of schedule. Such people do not have a social life or a social circle, and if any you might ask them about what work-life balance is, they might not know anything about it. For the time being a work addict pays well as you will be meeting your deadline and quartiles, but in the long run, it is not the best option to consider.
Work addicts nearly spend all of their time working while others enjoy life and other people’s company which makes them happier as compared to those who prefer to work every time. Such people might start being grumpy and could develop certain health issues as well, it might take a toll on their mental health as well.
If your colleagues are work addicts who prefer to work all the time while you like to take time off and enjoy life then you do not need to feel bad for yourself. You should always be you and take your work at your own pace. If you work at a firm where being workaholic always gets the job done and your peers and supervisors pressure you to work overtime, then you have two options (which I prefer). One you could talk to your supervisors about not wanting to work overtime or you could look for a new job which has a better work environment.
Do not get me wrong, being a work addict is not bad. Sometimes you have to become a workaholic to get the job done on time. But always doing so could have negative effects on your health. Here are a few tips which might help with work-life balance.
Disconnect Yourself From Technology
This tip is quite useful as software engineers work with the latest and greatest technologies, they build new things which help ease people’s lives. But all this tech in our lives created the exception of constant availability, meaning that we are always connected with our work. it is good to just unplug yourself from all the tech in your life, just lie down and read a book or spend time with your loved ones as it will relieve you of all the stress.
Meditate and Workout
Exercise is an essential part of our lives, even when we are quite occupied we still make time for the essential things like eating, drinking water, or going to the bathroom. According to medical scientists, exercise a few hours a week can increase your physical and mental well being. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all great stress relievers according to Mayo Clinic. You should take a minute for deep breaths even when at work as it will improve the sense of your surroundings and will help you focus better on work.
We all procrastinate, in one form or another and it is quite normal to do so. But if you have a habit of leaving your tasks for the last day of the deadline then you might have a problem. You should avoid procrastination, especially of this form as it drastically reduces productivity and quality of work that you do. Start by making a list of tasks that you wish to accomplish over the week and make a strategy for doing them, then plan a strict routine and commit yourself to it. This will help you achieve your goals on time plus with time for other activities as well.
Do Not Try to Be a Perfectionist
It is easy to be a perfectionist when you are a young energetic teenager as you have all the time in the world. Fast forward to having a 9 to 5 job along with other commitments and you are struggling to keep up with perfectionist behavior, you might be having mental health issues like stress and depression. It is better to let go of such behavior and strive for excellence rather than perfection.
Maintaining a work-life balance is quite hard, to be honest, it is like every other thing that we suddenly get motivated to do but then completely forget about in the next few weeks. You can have a better work-life balance by starting small and then building your way up to what you want, start by meditating and exercising for 30 minutes and avoiding procrastination on a smaller scale. Once you have built yourself a habit of it then you can start improving the time you put into it to reach your end goal.
Summing it up
The main takeaway from this was doing overtime or working on the weekends is your choice and should always be yours, if you are being forced into it then you should raise your voice. But if it is because of your procrastination then you should work on yourself as well to have a better lifestyle and try to add exercise and/or yoga into your daily routine.