I work in a fast-paced startup and am absolutely in love with what I do. Still, I wake up to a bad mood as often as the next guy. I find that forcing myself to play out my day as usual doesn't help — in fact, it only makes it worse, possibly ruining my productivity for the rest of the week.
There are several ways I can cope with this, for instance:
- dropping the current task for the day and getting that awesome but low-priority feature in place;
- doing some pending research for future development (i.e. digging up ruby gems);
- spending the day reading and educating myself;
- just taking the day off.
The first three items are productive in themselves, and taking the day off recharges my coding mana for the rest of the week.
Being a young developer, I'm pretty sure there's a multitude of alternatives that I haven't come across yet. How can programmers cope with off days?
I am looking for answers related specifically to this profession. I therefore believe that coping with off days in our field is fundamentally different that doing so in other areas.
Programmers (especially in a start-up) are a unique breed in this context in the sense that they tend to have a multitude of tasks at hand on any given moment, so they can easily switch between these without wreaking too much havoc.
Programmers also tend to work based on clear, concise objectives — provided they are well managed either by themselves or a third party — and hence have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to managing their time.
Finally, our line of work creates the opportunity — necessity, if you will — to fit a plethora of tasks not directly related to the current one, such as research and staying on top of new releases and software updates.