How to maximize your daily output and avoid burnout.
There is the incessant chatter that you need to grind away 18 hours a day, sacrificing everything, including your health, relationships, and sanity to work.
For what purpose? The end result? An empty exhausted shell of your once vibrant self. Avoid these burnout mistakes to make your life better as well as your performance.
The idea that you need to leave everything on the back burner for an endeavor is foolish.
Especially when what is left in the way is a stressed out, lethargic, and cynical version of yourself. Work hard, but don’t grind yourself dull. Is that project that would take 5 days regularly but you cram into 2 long days and nights worth overactive adrenal glands and high stress hormones for the following 2 weeks?
Burnout is a real and common phenomenon scientists refer to as “syndrome of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization that generally leads to decreased effectiveness at work.” Well that’s a mouthful.
We’ve all been susceptible to this feeling and you try and push through.
Just a few weeks and it will be done and over with. But is it truly ever over?
You bite your lip and turn on the grit. But go too hard too long and you can “grind” yourself away to an abysmal shell.
It’s a feeling you always notice in retrospect, you’re no longer able to conduct yourself effectively on a personal or professional level as you would otherwise.
We’ve all experienced this fried feeling.
Overworked. Everything seems tantamount to stubbing your toe. You just sigh at the sight of your to-do list. You’re constantly deflecting and dodging bullets of requests, deadlines, problems, and outings.
Do you just keep pushing through until this feeling goes away on its own?
Or do you ask yourself how did I get here and how do I avoid it next time? Here’s how to avoid burnout but still obliterate your tasks you need to accomplish.
Firstly, you’ve got to identify if these are experiences you have on a daily basis for a long duration of time.
Burnout isn’t an abrupt slap in the face.
It’s a slow diffusion of declined output. We all get the afternoon slows here and again and you can push for a certain amount, but if you compound that over weeks, it has serious deleterious effects.
Just as when you’re running at a high rate of speed, you get too tired to sustain that pace but you continue onward, as you do that, your good running form & mechanics fall away, you end up covering more distance, but run yourself risk for injury and to be sidelined.
It’s the same with workload.
You can push too hard for too long.
If these are a constant mental and physical states you’re the governor of, then you need to address your life, what you’re doing, and how you are reacting to the events in it.
Most importantly you need to stop running yourself into the ground and constantly criticizing yourself.
The results and attributes, and symptomatic signs of burnout and how its classified
It is typically divided into 3 different dimensions
You’re nonreactive to certain stimuli you’d otherwise or normally respond to in a certain way.
This is a mode of general distrust. Looking for an ulterior motive and having symptomatic feelings of people are negatively trying to impact you. You are mostly interpreting most people’s actions as selfish.
Reduced professional achievement
The feeling of being inadequate, loss of self-esteem and resulting feeling of personal failure.
Achievement and personal effectiveness is extremely important for each individual, because it embodies one of the most central basic needs for work drive, if that’s out of the picture so is your quality of performance.
Some signs of these 3 dimensions
Dread for what lies ahead on any given day.
falling asleep or staying asleep a few nights a week, which over the duration of your exhaustion becomes outwardly more persistent and even nightly ordeal.
Impaired concentration and attention.
Lack of focus and mild forgetfulness are nascent signs of burnout. Later you get a pile up effect where you’re not able to get a singular task done.
These consist of moderate chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches
Every part of your body is depleted, the immune system becomes compromised , making you more susceptible to colds, flu, infection, and other immune-related medical problems.
Skip a few meals, this becomes more of a regularity and thus deprives yourself of nutrients that allows the onslaught of symptoms above to progress even further.
As your prolonging your progression towards burnout, anxiousness may become so serious that it inhibits your ability to work effectively and may seep into personal affairs. These can be:
The bottom line. When you reach the end its not the end at all.
We run on pure faith that when we arrive or achieve something THAT will be when we can take a rest, THAT is when we can feel important and proud, but unless you can find balance, & allow yourself to settle, you will just be ready to push forward to the next project without actually recognizing the fact that you made it to where you wanted to be.
If you can’t appreciate how far you’ve came then you’re not going to appreciate where you arrive.
If you whittle yourself away for 2 years with a poor diet, gain 30 pounds, poor sleep, lose ties to family and relationships, and potentially take years off your life, what are you actually doing this for? Or worse 30 years of deep tossing and turning into stress infused states for months. That isn’t how you succeed.
You need to be asking what is the end result I want.
Not just blindly running on hope. Here is how to avoid burnout and maximize your daily output.
Stopping Burnout In its tracks.
How to keep energy up throughout the day. Each and everyday
Look at caffeine as it truly is. It’s a drug. It is a stimulant. Mayo clinic states 400mg is the MAX for adults thats about 4 cups of coffee, 2 if you’re one of those individuals that drink it like it has came out of an oil drum.
Overuse or using it as a crutch, biting your lip and grinding through your days isn’t practical long term and its most certainly deleterious to your health. It’s effects can influence cardio-respiratory, endocrine, and neurological systems.
Getting your blood sugar spiked for 15 minutes to only get revved up for that duration does not work. It’s just bringing you to peaks and valleys of efficiency. You’re zigging and zagging when you could be going in a straight incline of steady consistent work. Looking for a pick me up with a can of Coke is just going to result in the apathetic and desperate you about an hour later with a mild headache. More on sugar here
It seems arbitrary but sleep is crucial. Your body’s mind is a reset while sleeping. Not only sleep but sleeping in total darkness.
People that slept with very dim light for just a single night had diminished working memory and brain function. The reduction in brain activation is thought to be a consequence of the poor quality of sleep during exposure to the dim light.
People always talk about quality over quantity.
HOW ABOUT BOTH.
Our brain uses about 30% of our total energy taken in (carbohydrates) that is massive amount of energy in ratio to its weight. If you’re exercising, as you should be, then carbohydrates are imperative to sustain your energy levels for your brain output as well as your musculature.
Exercise is not only great for your body it’s also yields exponential benefits to the mind. To avoid burnout you cannot put yourself to the grindstone 12 hours a day at your laptop, desktop, or to your actual grindstone. You need to live and take care of yourself.
Bone, Exercise, and Mind.
Exercise strengthens your bones. This is due to the strenuous movement of training your tendons, ligaments, and musculature yank and pull on your bones. This pulling from the musculature actually causes slight breaks in the bones allowing them to repair and be stronger, similar to muscle fibers’ process. This increase in bone mass & density over time from exercise has copious positive effects. But namely one that is most crucial when it comes to the mind.
Recently they have found that when this process occurs your bones actually act as an endocrine gland or are in fact an endocrine gland.
An endocrine gland is an organ that releases hormones that regulate the body.
Bones have been shown to release a hormone called osteocalcin.
Osteocalcin acts on numerous organs in the body, not limited to the brain.
It actually acts on the brain in a way to enhance memory storage.
This building up of bone mass induces this memory storage hormone.
More and more research is connecting to the health of the mind and body.
Exercise additionally has anti-aging effects, the faster you age the slower you’re going to be in the long run. Sometimes the fastest way to get there is the one that allows consistent, diligent, and concentrated work.
Exercise also has mood boosting properties. Those who exercise tend to have more enthusiasm day to day.
You don’t have to be an Olympian and exercise strenuously but you do need to form the habit of moving your body multiple times a week. Exercise has various positive hormonal responses that will help your mind and body stay sharp. Be sure to incorporate anaerobic and aerobic exercises into your weekly training.
Obviously, this is going to impede your work efficiency. So if you REALLY are focused on the long term and not wanting burnout but still want to push yourself for long bouts, you’ll need to limit or omit your drinking. Drinking causes a whole host of problems when it comes to output. Sluggish, dehydration, lackluster, and apathy are just some of the results that can impede you a few days after a night out.
You can work hard and thrive at the same time
Envelope yourself in your work yes, but only while you’re doing work. When things don’t go smoothly at work you need to have other things outside of the contemporary project at hand to focus on.
This is not only preventative physiologically & psychologically from being in ruts, but it also will allow you to have something to concentrate on when your work life has had a negative event or when your main priority has you down.
I find that exercise is something you can generally focus on (as long as you are not injured) on a regular basis. But this isn’t limited to this. You can pick up various hobbies, try and acquire new skills like learning a language, fantasy football, it doesn’t matter just do other things.
Avoiding this is absolutely the easiest way to make your day to day more efficient and better for you. Drop your phone, dodge the tv, and click exit the browser.
Allow yourself to take breaks from your work. Eating is a pleasurable experience. Our lives are a sum of what we do day to day. If you omit the pleasurable experiences you’re going to limit your state for the day. If you let that pleasurable experience run by you because you had to scope your email. More here on how to avoid distracted eating
If you omit that positive experience day – by – day – by – day you’re withholding an hour where you can unwind and come back sharper rather than significantly reducing your happiness. For more here Check the U-index on happiness
A great technique various coders use is the
How to instantly avoid burnout through adding things to your life.
In order to get substantial change in your life to avoid burnout you can’t keep taking the same initiative.
That’s what has gotten you to this point. You also don’t want to make a complete overhaul on your life. So what can minimize this?
Taking an insight from nature.
You’re probably thinking, oh here we go this hippy hoopla. BUT
We use biomimicry to construct buildings and to solve our problems. If these concepts and insights are capable and effective enough of changing our physical structures such as buildings, cities, and why can’t they foster some help in our daily lives in other ways like emotionally and psychologically.
There is an Intermediate disturbance hypothesis
Think of an ecosystem with no disturbance ever, the strongest species who rise to the top with little to no change and exist with no competition, only the heartiest of the hearty prevail.
Additionally think about a section of the rainforest that has been logged down for an entire acre. Very little survives.
But the habitats that have small but frequent types of changes, disturbances, or periodic unsettlements have some of the most diverse populous of animals and life.
Introduce small but new things to spark initiative in your life
Whether it is randomly taking a day off, taking a gymnastics lesson, spur of the moment decision to catch a movie. All of those things will introduce new experiences and allow you to grow. This gives your mind a fresh stimulus. If you introduce anything that is slightly new that doesn’t isn’t a cataclysmic overhaul on your life, you’ll feel better and have better energy, focus, and creativity.
John Hopkins found that having a spouse that works outside the home greatly increases your chances for burnout, while having children reduces it.
I’m not saying you should have a baby and keep your spouse at home, but just understanding that the factors can make the difference and allow you to act accordingly. The simple sake of just knowing that these factors minimize or exacerbate can make the difference of your attitude and approach.
It does play a significant role into your day to day activities and energy output. There are some things you can do to avoid the pitfalls so you can do more with the time you are working.
Eating too much food in one sitting can cause an energy decline. It’s a transfer of your resources. Digestion takes away some of your energy resources. If you are eating larger heavier denser meals, then the next following hours of your work output is going to be compromised. If you on the other hand eat smaller portions during the work day, then have your bigger meals once work is completed or the day is over that will heed much benefit.
The maintenance of blood sugar levels keeps you as alert as possible for the long term.
A meal that is high in simple carbohydrates. Results your blood levels to spike. Which feels good for a bit, but what’s going on?
First, your pancreas produces a higher amount of insulin. This signals movement of an amino acid called tryptophan to increase serotonin. And this increased level of serotonin triggers sleepiness after a meal.
To keep your energy at the highest possible for the longest duration, avoid processed sugars. Eat higher protein and lighter meals like leafy greens.
Avoid Email While working
Burning out isn’t entirely because you’re working too hard. You could be just putting in long hours that could be shaved down because you’re working ineffectively.
Use a system of working and quit randomly checking for the simple sake of checking it.
Designate periods of time for certain projects and work only on those during those hours. The feeling and urge to check your email is a strange one. This is relevant to any social media or medium that has engagement online.
We always feel like we are missing something or something MAY be there. We are so conditioned to look at our email because we think there will be a reward or insight there. These unpredictable rewards we seek are addictive in nature. If you stood at a vending machine and hit P9 for Twizzlers and a $50 Dollar bill came out you’d be quite ecstatic.
When the reward payout is much less predictable it captures our attention much more, for example that of email and social media.
This method of removing distractions and solely focusing on work is referred to as “time blocking” so block out that urge of checking your phone, email, or Facebook and get to work in the allotted time.
Avoid Burnout with Supplementation
While supplementation is debatable, there are some instances where it is not. And these have been proven to help.
Creatine plays an important role in maintaining proper mitochondrial energy levels in the form of the production and regeneration of ATP. Mitochondria is the main driver of the cells in our body. Make those are running efficiently and the whole system will have more output.
Having low levels of b vitamins will make you sluggish, lethargic, and left liable for procrastination. So it is imperative to make sure you are getting regular doses of B vitamins throughout the day either through supplementation or through food.
The main line is that the best way to maximize your performance without burning out is avoiding the downfalls of grinding yourself away.
You can optimize, strategize, and remove the guilty hanging over your head feeling “ ah I should be working right now” and still get shit done.
You need to recognize the repetitive states and feelings you’re in, as well as stepping back and accessing them as well as your output. Question “am I doing too much too fast”, is my quality and relationships of life taking a toll? Be on the lookout for the main attributes for burnout and you will do fine my friend.
Live to fight another day applies here. You want to be a steady fuse not a bottle rocket when it comes to putting in work. Show up, work hard, but don’t fizzle out to a crisp.
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