It was raining here in NC on Saturday afternoon, my wife and my dog were sleeping, sounded like the perfect time to sit down and do some coding. I logged back into the site and started moving the avatar around to put the dirt in the holes, as the instructions suggested. Easy. Wait. That was too easy. I didn’t struggle. Same thing with the next four puzzles. No trouble with any of them. As I enjoyed it, I started to think back – gosh, I was really burned out. After my cold, I was having trouble sleeping and on top of my regular 12 hour days, I got really run down very fast.
You can only connect the dots if you look backward, and I was trying to do TOO much too fast. I was listening to a talk over the weekend where the lecturer said, “if you are in pain and you are changing that is good.” I agree with her – pain is growth, but when it is self-inflicted that is where it becomes bad. Take my cold for example – if I try to cure it in two days and take an obscene amount of pain medication, then I could potentially have a disaster on my hands. Same with exercise – now that I am in my 40’s, it’s not that I can’t workout like I did, it’s that I can’t necessarily workout like I did in my 20s. That is setting myself up for disaster. So for me, it is really coming back to the self-awareness of what is important and then doing that – work, my family; coding, writing, exercise and one, count them, one hobby. That’s it! That’s all I have time for and all I will do.
Reading through this piece by Carter, she’s on point. I have had anxiety, panic, apathy, indifference, loss of enthusiasm – yes, this is burnout.
It seems counter-intuitive – cutting back to do more and the pressures of trying too hard, but seeing and living them first-hand, they are definitely real. What do you tell people who are trying too hard? How do you tell them to calm down? And what do you tell people who are doing too much – how do you cut back? Working harder and grinding is great, but you can only do it for so long, and then you need to stop. If people can’t see the forest for the trees, they don’t even see the danger when the tree appears in front of them.