Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I work on my PC all day, every day, even when I get home.

I am a programmer, theres no getting round it, and I love it!

But recently I have been having 'programmers block' or complete lack of 'want' to develop anything, I've just sat there staring into space not doing anything when I have so much work to do!

I've tried coffee, doesn't really affect me and I don't want to rely on it. Monster works a bit, but then I fall asleep after 10 mins of epic work.

Water doesn't really make much of a differece, I've tried getting out more, I go swimming twice a week! I get enough sleep!

What can I do?

share|improve this question
You already checked some of the things I thought of as possible causes. How about stress/anxiety/depression? Do you have any long term goals? – 0x6d64 Jun 26 '12 at 15:28
I suppose stress could be a cause, although I don't 'feel' stressed, lots of things have happened in the last year (moved house, parents split up etc.) my brain will refuse to accept that its stress though, if that makes sense. – Adam Jun 26 '12 at 15:52
Are you leaving time to relax? It is hard to keep a steady work schedule if you never catch a break once in awhile! Instead of relaxing with a typical hobby, do something new. Go running down a new street, start a new novel, etc. – Gaʀʀʏ Jun 27 '12 at 18:59
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I recognize the same thing in myself, and have realized that I go in cycles. Sometimes, I just don't have it in me. For instance, I tinker with electronics in my spare time, and I'm building a synthesizer. I've got it all designed, it works on my breadboards, and I just need to take the time to solder it to a PCB. Soldering is my favorite part of the electronics process, too. But yeah...after a day of work, no matter how much energy I have, I just can't bring myself to get to soldering. I realize that my productivity goes in cycles, and right now, it's time for me to take a break.

That may be what's happening with you. When your work and your hobbies are the same, it's very easy for an imbalance to occur. But think of it this way...I may love cheeseburgers, but eating cheeseburgers and nothing but cheeseburgers all the time may not be the best option for me.

You say you go out and have other interests...that's good. Maybe right now your brain is telling you to engage in those activities more fully so it can recuperate from thinking in code all the time.

If you're able to set aside some personal projects for the time being, concentrating ONLY on the critical programming you NEED to do, force yourself AWAY from the computer (no e-mail, no online Scrabble, etc.) when you're not working. I've found that this trial separation gives me time to process my on-hold projects in the background, and I return to them with fresh and innovative ideas when the time is right. You'll know when that time is.

That's my 2 cents. Good luck!

UPDATE: I just ended up posting an answer here that, in retrospect, might be relevant to focusing as well. It's about environmental factors that cause me to lose focus.

share|improve this answer
Good answer, I might trial only using my PC from 9 till 5 and seeing what happens. Its just annoying when I have so much to do. Could it be the stress of that fact I know how much I have to get done? – Adam Jun 26 '12 at 15:55
And that cycle thing is very true! I have a week or two of being super productive, then a couple of weeks just sitting there staring at facebook and meme websites – Adam Jun 26 '12 at 16:02
@AdamTester writers often will tell you that they treat writing like a job...typing from 8-5 everyday with an hour for lunch. A schedule may be just the ticket. ...and don't fight the cycles. You'll get done what needs to be done. :) – dwwilson66 Jun 26 '12 at 16:11

You may be experiencing burnout. There was a study done some years ago that stated that individuals are productive only for 9 months a year. I wish we could all afford to work only 9 months and take a holiday for the remainder of the year. You may need to take a break from your work. Even a short one, for 1 week, where you do anything but programming. Go on a holiday and come back refreshed. This has almost always worked for me.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.