My favorite personal project is an application called PiWeatherRock… or it was before I dove in head-first working to update it and create a community for it’s users. Tons of enthusiasm morphed into something else and, before I realized what was happening, I didn’t even want to touch my computer after work. Months have passed since I even opened anything related to the project and, as best as I can tell, this is that thing I’ve seen others talk about called “burnout.”
I’m writing all this in hopes that someone else who’s coming up on their own burnout will recognize these same signs in themselves early enough to head it off. The first thing I suggest keeping an eye out for is a project that all of a sudden is all you can think about and all you do when off from work. For me, this instant and massively intense focus was all consuming. In hindsight, I have no doubt that letting it consume me is what lead to my current state. The next thing I think I should have picked up on was slowly starting to avoid looking at the notifications related to my project. For example, if you go from being excited when someone submits a pull request to avoiding reviewing it you may be starting to burn out. For me, not only did that happen, but I also started avoiding the Gitter that I had setup as a way to bring my community of users together… it’s pretty disheartening to realize that you don’t even want to engage with other people excited about using something you authored or maintain. To this day, I still can’t bring myself to open my own Gitter.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an any answers to this other than try to head it off before it consumes your enthusiasm.
If you are reading this in hopes of learning what my plan is for PiWeatherRock, all I can say is that I hope to resume working on it before the version I have running on my TV every morning stops working at the end of 2021. I have friends who would like to have their own PiWeatherRock and can’t do so without more work being done due to no new API keys being issued… I agree that this sucks. All I can say is that I really do think time will allow my enthusiasm to return.