Burnout Checklist

by Shauna Gordon-McKeon

with contributions from Florian Schmidt, Test Automation Engineer (Developers for Future)

🚧 NOTE: this checklist is a work in progress 🚧

Here is a list of questions for maintainers and other open source contributors to ask themselves. There is no "score" that means you're definitively burned out. Instead, use it to reflect on your experiences. You can also use it to start a conversation with others in your community about how you can make the contributing experience better for everyone.

  • When you see a notification that someone has opened up a new issue or PR in your project, are you excited that someone is contributing, or do you feel something more like exhaustion or dread?

  • Do you like talking about your project to other people? Do you find yourself hesitant about going to meetups and conferences where people might ask you about your project?

  • Are there ongoing issues with the project? Do you feel hopeful about your ability to eventually resolve them, or hopeless?

  • How often do you enjoy working on the project? Are you able to lose yourself in the work, get into flow states, and emerge from a work session energized and satisfied? Or do you tend to spend your time on things you don't enjoy that much, and that you're only doing because you feel obligated to?

  • Do you feel guilty when you can't address an issue or review a pull request right away?

  • Do you feel like users/contributors are demanding too much of you?

  • Are there specific users/contributors/collaborators who you have to work with, but wish you could avoid?

  • Are you anxious that you're being asked to do things well outside of your wheelhouse? When you're working on the project, how often are you afraid that you'll get something wrong?

  • Do you feel like you could ever take a break (weekend, sickness, vacation, family emergency) from the project? Or can't you leave it alone even for a single day without stuff piling up?

  • Do you get paid to work on your project? If yes, does that make you feel like you can't work on the things you enjoy? If no, do you feel like your work is taken for granted?

  • Think back to what first drew you to the project, whether that was a specific technical challenge, the joy of problem-solving, getting into flow states, collaborationg with others, or participating in a project that had a meaningful impact on the world. Do you still feel that when you work on the project, or is it getting drowned out by other feelings?