Stuck in a boring engineering project? We’ve all been there. At times, it can even feel like you’re beating your head against the wall.
If you’ve been feeling like every day is a slog, you may be in a coding rut with your current project. This is especially common for massive IT projects or those that involve tedious tasks. Key symptoms that you need to step back and rethink your current situation include:
- Feeling bored and unmotivated to do your work.
- Falling behind on project deadlines.
- Experiencing low energy or burnout.
The good news is that you can tackle a boring project with the right mindset and regain your love of programming while you’re at it. Here are the top ways to boost your motivation even in the dullest of projects.
Find out what’s bothering you about the project
To get started, it’s important to identify why your project feels boring to you. Overall, programming is a demanding career, requiring high levels of focus and persistence. It’s possible that you’re just burnt out and need a break. Or maybe you need to talk with your project manager to change things up and refresh your work.
Here are some common scenarios for why projects become boring:
- You don’t feel challenged.
- You’re just fixing bugs all day.
- The client keeps changing their mind, so you have to redo code multiple times.
- The project is inherently flawed or mindless, so you don’t feel like you’re making an impact.
- You’re not being recognized by your boss, team, or company.
- You feel like your career has stagnated.
If one or more of these statements ring true to you, it’s time to come up with a plan to push through this project and make changes to improve your career path.
Tips to overcome boring engineering projects
1. Take a break (seriously!)
Sometimes you can refresh your mindset on a project by simply taking a break. If you’ve had your nose to the grindstone for a while, you can benefit from taking a few days off. Often by recharging, you’ll feel more ready to tackle those tedious parts of the project that you were avoiding.
2. Break it into bite-sized achievements
If you’re feeling hopeless because the project feels endless, you can try breaking it into different milestones. Having something small to work towards can make you feel accomplished when you complete it. This also lets you celebrate when progress has been made and you’re one step closer to finishing the project.
3. Automate as much as possible
It’s possible that you can cut certain mindless tasks from your list by researching ways to automate areas of the project. If you’re keen on getting rid of monotonous coding, try to look up another approach, such as embedding rules or creating a database. You can propose ideas for automation to your project manager and see if that helps reduce your dull workload.
4. Try to jazz up your work process
If you simply have to get it done, you get yourself in a positive mindset by reimagining your work process. Some great ideas for boosting motivation on a daily basis include:
- Creating a high-energy playlist to listen to while you work.
- Changing scenes and going to a local coffee shop, library, or even coworking spaces.
- Going for a walk when you feel stuck on the code.
- Connecting with coworkers or peers who can help you with challenges and/or sympathize with your situation.
Ultimately, even making a slight change in your daily routine can help motivate you to continue completing work.
5. Rekindle your love of programming in other ways
Perhaps it’s impossible to regain interest in a boring project. But you can spark your love for programming in parallel ways. If you’re stuck in a boring engineering project, you can try to create excitement for your career through other outlets, such as:
- Learning something new from a book, article, TED talk, or more.
- Contributing to an open-source project.
- Thinking up an independent pet project.
- Mentoring junior team members.
With these ideas, you can make sure you’re not bored with your career as a whole. Instead, you can balance the tedious tasks with something more engaging on your own time.
6. Talk to your project manager about a change
If you continue to struggle, you should check in with your project manager about making a change. Sometimes management doesn’t realize when team members are having a hard time with a project. Schedule a sit-down with your boss to ask whether you can supplement your current project with something more stimulating, or even switch projects entirely.
While this will depend largely on your manager and available resources, it’s always a good idea to flag when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unhappy at work. Your manager may even have noticed your work quality declining and be glad to help get you back on track.
7. Remember: there’s light at the end of the tunnel
Every project has to end eventually. Remember that you won’t be working on this boring project forever (even if it feels like it). Soon you’ll be working on something new that refreshes your daily programming experience.
If you notice that every project is starting to feel dull to you, you might also want to consider whether you’re in the right engineering position. It’s worth talking to coworkers in different roles or departments, attending brown-bag sessions and going to industry events to see whether there’s a better fit for you in the long run.
Land your dream engineer job with Nexton
With these tips, you can push through your current boring engineering project and start on something more meaningful. During this process, be sure to keep reflecting on what you need to be happy and successful as a developer.
Sometimes switching gears and working with a new company can do wonders as well. If you’re ready for a new career adventure, get in touch with Nexton! We connect top-tier software engineers based in Latin America with challenging, remote job opportunities in the U.S. and beyond.