I’m hearing this a lot these days – burnout. It’s as real these days as it ever has been. As a CEO, RD, Father, Husband – I am right on that edge myself – well, I’m actually much closer to the edge than I like to admit right now.
What causes burn out? Is it really overwork? Actually, I don’t think it is – I think burnout is when you realize you are not you – that you are the roles you put yourself and somewhere along the way you have forgotten about yourself. It is really very easy to get caught up in all of your different roles. I find myself making lists – broken down by role (yes, even my personal roles) and I’m sure this doesn’t helps at all. I find these lists make me feel defeated – because the lists never shrinks – they are always there to remind me that I have things to do. Whenever I need downtime – do I go off and read a book? Go for a walk? Nope – I consult my list – gotta get things done. This is bad.
Being in technology doesn’t help. Being a technology driver/evangelist doesn’t help much either. This is an exciting time in technology – specifically with Microsoft technologies. However, in order to keep up with what is coming (that sounds wrong.. shouldn’t we keep up with what exists…) I find myself working all the time. I volunteer to present, write, etc – all to ensure I force myself into a position of expertise. I’m sure we are all like this – we truly love technology – yet, it’s killing us.
What I’ve found is that to fight burn out we need to focus on “now” – not what needs to be done. Anything that allows your mind to focus on you and what is around you at THAT particular instant can fight burn out. However, when do we do this? Our list is too big – we have too many commitments to think about “now”. I used to play in bands – play my guitar for hours a day. I used to exercise every day. In those days (it seems before kids) – I worked just as much – even harder – but I had an outlet that allowed me to focus on “now”
I’m really looking forward to the holiday season and hoping that I can throw away my list and live for the moment a bit better.