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How To Avoid Burnout

Posted September 19, 2022 in Engineering Around Travel - Last updated November 9, 2023

A lot of folks will eventually experience burnout in their careers. The sentiment is often around working too long hours or too much. But is it true that working too much will burn you out? We’ve all met hard workers who can seemingly work endless hours for a cause without burning out. So how do they do it? Let’s explore how to avoid burnout and understand how it is possible for some to burn out and some to keep hitting intense productivity levels.

Suppose you are interested in learning more about work-life balance. I have a similar article on maintaining a good work-life balance here.

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Understanding Burnout

Have you ever been excited about something so much that you feel you are working nearly all day on the project? Then another, and another. Before you know it, weeks passed. This credit to burnout lies not in how much you work but in how passionate you are about your work.

If you work long enough on anything, it becomes very consuming to you, and you will find you have a lot of emotional needs to keep you engaged and with the ability to feel innovative in that area. If the lack of balance around work begins to consume you, it starts to test you in many ways. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, working on a project you don’t feel passionate about might make you feel burned out after a short while of work. It all resonates around a recipe of balance and engagement.

Pacing Yourself To Prevent Burnout

While I support hard work and a feeling of accomplishment for a mission, you feel true to your heart. To all things, there is balance. Unfortunately, an imbalance is always a recipe for pending disasters. Striving for and keeping a semblance of balance when you feel things are imbalanced is the best way to combat burnout.

For many folks, burnout can start when the work feels daunting from imbalance. It feels infinite and beyond what you can start to work on in the immediate time. Pausing for a moment to breathe and review the project scope can help relieve stress once you understand the project scope and picture the work in several phases. Then, you can set a pace for yourself to work on those pieces. It must be something you feel comfortable with and helps you achieve the project by the time you desire. This allows you to add other things to your schedule and bring that balance into your life. You can still hit the pace you need and have direct control over it, allowing you to balance it with other facets of life.

Setting Boundaries To Prevent Burnout

Further, despite giving yourself the schedule, you can still hit burnout if you fail to set boundaries. When you consciously set a schedule for yourself to limit and bring balance to other things in your life, you have to enforce those time commitments. Boundaries help you or others involved in the work from creeping into the time you’ve set aside for other things. Without this enforcement, it will be as if you never drew the schedule in the first place. You’ll feel sucked into that work without an escape hatch. Boundaries are essential for the mental escape hatch and feeling of balance.

Even if you care deeply about the work’s subject matter and want to see it succeed, it requires rigor to tell and remind yourself that the separation of time is necessary to continue giving the work everything you have. You need to keep your passion alive and work in such a way you can achieve your work and life balance. It may feel like a constant juggling act. One that allows you to test and stretch the balance for short sprints. Working under the impression that it can go infinitely will take its toll. The toll will begin to feel like a slow burn that erodes your patience, passion, and relationships over time.

Balance must be achieved. If you love your work as I do, it is always vital to juggle when necessary to keep that balance in focus.

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