I'm a Systems Administrator as well as a Software Developer. We did our quarterly reviews recently and the feedback I received from my team came out of no where. They told me that they believe in my capabilities as a software developer but would like to see me churn out more and take on more open source projects. It's been a couple weeks since I've done so and my morale has been down every day. I constantly find myself super stressed internally and forbid myself to take breaks in fear that my co-workers would judge me as "failing to deliver". When you receive feedback like this, what do you usually do without the risk of burnout?
My team told me they're happy with my overall achievements but that I need to work on my deliverability. I've been on a one track mind to push myself to do more, what should I do?
Great question. One thing that is for sure: If your morale is down and your stress levels are super high, you will not produce good work because you're highly focused on results but your heart will be absent in the process.
I'd highly suggest that you take a step back from your work and partake in activities that will refresh you and get you back in the zone (i.e. go out with friends, meditate, work out). In the short term, you might fall behind in your deliverable timeline but in the big scheme of things, your productivity level will be much higher if you're happy doing what you do. If your productivity level is higher, you're more likely to be inspired and produce great results, which will take you out of your slump in morale.
I can liken it like this: Driving a Toyota Prius is low-maintenance, comfortable, and fuel efficient, but it's not a very fun drive. Driving a Ferrari requires warming up the engine and high maintenance, but it can accelerate at a much faster rate than a Toyota Prius with a much higher max speed. Take care to maintain a low stress level while keeping a high satisfaction level with your work, and get yourself in that Ferrari and step on the gas pedal.
I quite agree. The goal here is to work smarter, not harder, and we can't determine how to work smarter if we're so tied up in trying to work harder that we lose sight of what's actually important.
There comes a point where it's unreasonable to expect any more out of someone. If you are unable to see a solution after stepping back, looking at the big picture, and finding a way to work smarter and improve your output, and if you're still under far too much peer pressure after you've done that, then to me it sounds like a case of "just too much" and you should maybe see about some other work environment that's not quite so demanding.
If at any point it feels like you're stuck in a trap of having to kill yourself mentally to appease your colleagues, I think it's time to move away to something a little more suitable. Life isn't worth having to work like that.