Feeling bored? Disinterested in work? Like you're not making any progress in your career? For those of us in technology jobs, burnout is a common problem. The continuous pressures of deadline after deadline, and the degree of thought required for complex tasks will eventually take a toll on even the hardiest of IT worker.
Left unchecked, a general malaise can often turn into a vicious circle of stress, ineffectiveness, lack of motivation and ultimately a depressive slump. Some people can stay at this nadir permanently - some recognize their own symptoms, and seek a new job - although the same descent into burnout often occurs over and over, giving rise to the term 'serial burnout'.
The key to avoiding such problems relies on a couple of factors: firstly, ensure that you don't over-exert yourself - personal time, holidays, and other means of rest are important between deadlines. Secondly, you must identify and resolve any external issues that could place undue pressure on you - whether it's a lack of procedure, or even managerial issues.
It's easy to get caught into the trap of over exerting yourself for the benefit of your career - pulling in late shifts is a great way to make impossible deadlines (and to gain the kudos that comes with that), but such periods of hard work should be balanced with time to recover. Relaxation time away from work is important, and ignoring this need can be perilous.
External factors can be harder to deal with - coping with bad management or poor procedural systems at work is more challenging than simply taking some time off, and may require liaison with a third party. Key issues usually revolve around communication - such as incoming work flow management (a common issue for many within IT). It is here where installing procedures to help control and formalise communication may be effective (for instance, replacing an ad hoc system with a more structured one).
It's easy to fall into bad habits, and hard to break free from them - but if you're mindful of the danger signs associated with burnout and take positive action to avoid it, you should be able to stay focssed, keen and otherwise happy in your chosen career.