I have stood out for being a worker that advances quickly, that I'm good for programming and that I am very enthusiastic about the new projects of the company where I work.

My problem is when I want to work on my own projects after work for fun (e.g. an inventory system, etc.). I struggle to work effectively and feel like I lack the creativity or imagination to do anything. It's not like I'm spending all my time in conversation or something, so that's not the problem. I eat well and I sleep relatively well, too, but when I want to start a project of my own my mind goes completely blank, as if I did not even know how to program.

At work, I usually have wonderful ideas to make company software better.

I'm frustrated/scared because I do not want my company to "absorb" all my creativity and my imagination, WHAT'S GOING ON?

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    @Fattie That seem like a bit too drastic change, you need to take in to account financial stability effect on to mental state
    – Strader
    Jan 25, 2019 at 18:10
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    Three things going on here: motivation, discipline, and shifting from a working for money to building assets personal finance model. IMHO recommending check out Simon Sinek's "Start with Why", read up on getting disciplined (daily systems not goals), and read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. Good luck!
    – TK-421
    Jan 25, 2019 at 20:20
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    I don't understand why this was closed - it's clear to me what the OP is asking. Jan 25, 2019 at 22:53
  • @EJoshuaS I don't understand that too Jan 25, 2019 at 22:55

5 Answers 5


Unless you have concrete ideas/goals for programming at home, don't do it. You not being motivated to code at home isn't a bad thing (I don't do any home projects, and I'm perfectly happy like that).

Unless you have to program at home, leave all of your coding/technology creativity at work.

At home, relax, do your own thing. Use your imagination and creativity for entirely different things - learn something new, buy a puppy, take up crochet, whatever.

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    Few readers will understand how brilliant this answer is.
    – Fattie
    Jan 25, 2019 at 16:52
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    I can't agree more with this. I don't like how companies are starting to ask during interviews "what projects do you have at home?". I'm brutally honest at this point and tell them I enjoy coding, that's why I enjoy the 8 hours per day of it I do. I have other hobbies, a family, friends, etc. Being a well rounded person and not always in front of a computer screen is a GOOD THING.
    – CrazyPaste
    Jan 25, 2019 at 17:14

We, as human beings, have limits on our mental resources. They're vague and fuzzy, but they absolutely exist. You were hired as a programmer, which means, in effect, that your employer is paying you for some of your time, and some of your mental resources. The more you spend (and the more you have to spend) the better you will do in your career. This is right and proper, and the way the world works.

As another way to look at it, the things we do "for fun" work out because we're exercising parts of ourselves that are underutilized, and the sensation of letting those bits out to play feels good. Now that you have a full time job, your programming bits are in no way underutilized. Instead, you should be figuring out which of your bits are being neglected now,and try to find ways to have fun using them.

  • Great answer, probably I'm forcing myself to coding when I'm mentally tired. Jan 25, 2019 at 18:34

I'd like to expand on Snows answer and add input from my own experience.

Software engineering is mentally demanding work. You may just not currently have the mental fortitude to keep this level of concentration for longer than your day job requires. This will take some adjusting.

It's great that you enjoy the nature of your work. You already get the pleasure of doing it for 8 hours per day. If that's not enough, I recommend picking up projects on GitHub. I think it's common for new developers to want to just start writing code on their own. But if you don't have an idea for a project that motivates you, you're not going to be successful. In other words, the idea and planning come first, and then the coding.

But think again. Do you really want to code at home? We're talking about more than 8 hours per day, possibly up to 12 hours per day in front of a monitor. Not only do you deny yourself access to other things in life, but it's a drain on physical health. Maybe think about being more of a well rounded person and picking up new hobbies or learning a new language. Something like that.

Just some things to think about!

Good luck whatever you decide


I don't think we can answer "what's going on" specifically, but you may be able to answer for yourself after looking at factors that are different between the two environments.

For instance, at work, you probably have a team - or at least other people - you're interacting with as you develop, and there's a concrete business problem with an owner you can talk to. At home, if it's just you, working on your own, on an imaginary problem or a problem for which you are the business owner, the "lack of creativity" you're feeling may simply be because there isn't another person to bounce thoughts off of, or to answer questions or provide specific details about the problem that needs to be solved.


This sound like the early signs of burnout.

I would suggest a vacation, a bit more physical activity on the daily bases and smartphone usage limitation.

In my opinion, several years at the same place doing more or less the same thing, limits your creativity by "grounding" it to company-based scope of issues

Several (3) freelance small projects helped me, you may be good and ready after one :)

It have to be external projects, offsetting with financial motivation lack of personal interest ( tired)

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