A stressed surgeon in front of his computer

Dealing with Stress as a Developer

I’m in charge of an app, and it’s stressing me out. How do I stop panicking?

More responsibility means more stress.

I worked as a Lead iOS Developer for over a decade, and I’ve experienced my fair share of this. For a long time, I constantly checked my email, Twitter, customer service reports, and crash statistics all day, assuming everything was about to come crashing down.

I can come up with a very long list of small things you could do to mitigate the problem. Still, the main thing - the most important thing you have to learn if you are in this position, is a seemingly simple idea, and you might not like what I’m about to say because it requires a mind shift. It is a mental effort; if you don’t learn to do this, you’re on the path to a total meltdown.

You have to realize that shit will happen. AWS will go down. Apple will release an update that makes your app crash. Facebook logins will stop working, or OpenAI will go down. It might be beyond your control, and your users will think it is your fault. Maybe even your boss at first. Hell, it might even be your fault, too. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is how you react to it. The big thing that helped me was to tell myself that it’s only an app. This whole incident is an inconvenience at worst. It’s not like I’m making pacemakers. I’ll fix it, or whatever was down will come back up, and everyone will forget it soon after.

These things are unpleasant, but do not allow them to impact you before they happen. Protect your mental health. It is more important than anything else.

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