When the number of bugs and work load becomes too much, the primary reaction of a system is to try to finish the task faster which leads to some developer reaching the “in the zone” phase of coding; though, this is not the case for everyone. Other system reacts differently, some loses the ability to focus due to the amount of stress that came with the experience. This can be attributed to both the way a human reacts or if for some
damn reason that the number of tasks become impossible. It’s like reaching the summit, err no, the limitation of what should be done today.
When the stress hits in, or if it looks like its going to be, the best solution doesn’t lie in trying to finish a task that is impossible; rather, the best solution is getting away from the work place and finding some place to chill, relax. Another option is to realize that some things are just way too impossible to finish especially if the people involved in the task are all weary. The full potential of any one can be achieved only when he or she is properly rested. This doesn’t mean a good 8 hours sleep only, but this is essential, it does mean any other enjoyable activities depending on a person’s definition of what leisure is for him. Taking a good vacation, going home at 5pm, hobbies like cooking, sewing and others, the list could go on but the point is clear. Humans aren’t meant to work for more than 8 hours per day because it will eventually become tiresome; yet some still insist on doing overtime that are way out of the line.
A break is more advisable than an overtime. This is what I realized after being in the work force for more than 3 years now, if a bug is killing the momentum of the team and is somewhat impossible to fix now pushing the employees to their limit in the form of overtime doesn’t necessarily mean that the bug can be fixed by 12 midnight or 3 AM. At the end of the day or the beginning of the next, the bug is still not fixed and you got yourself weary doing some thing that you cannot properly do because you’re as tired as you can imagine you can ever be. Why not choose the better option of going home, sleeping for 8 hours and wake up the next day with a well-rested mind to be as effective as you can be on a given task.
Breaks are little angels that will surely refill your bucket of energy to fuel you up for any challenges. As what I’ve read somewhere about Programming that we’re not definitely paid to sit in a desk and stare at our computers trying to fix something. Programming is a critical thinking process in which a programmer’s main selling point is his or her ability to think of a solution for a given problem. These problems are not equal, and may never be, but the way a programmer think or derive to a certain solution lies within him. And if you add stress to the mixture, the ability of a person to think effectively would gradually decrease.
I’m not purely against doing an overtime work, I still do it once in a while and I try my best to not make it a habit. In any project, there are really some things that you cannot control and they get slipped off our controls very easily and thus the need to do a little bit of overtime is needed. But, if the project is a total mess from the very beginning with recurring overtime for the next couple of months, then the project leaders has some explaining to do. Overtimes are okay, as long as it’s minimum and doesn’t affect the workers too much.
Don’t let your work become your life. There’s a big world outside, explore it. If you’re into creating stuff, the world has a lot of problems to be solved and explored, take your pick. Don’t just die one day and realize that you’ve been working your butt out for nothing. See the world and experience it. Life is too short, as they say, but don’t make it shorter.