The Fallout of My Burnout: An Exercise

I mentioned previously that I’ve been struggling with motivation, and had a few moments where I just skipped things I planned on doing. Turns out, it might’ve been a sign of burnout (and maybe a little boreout, but I’ll come back to that later). I have been pushing myself pretty hard this year on the personal front, and I seemed to have hit a wall, or at least a speed-bump.

When that happens, well, certain things don’t get done, and I have to adjust for the fallout. I thought I’d walk through what I do when things like this happen (though hopefully not always because of burnout). Here’s a look into the high-level tasks I planned to get done in the month of April.

April, Pre-ReviewApril, Pre-Review

First step after looking at this section was a quick triage. I categorized each objective into three categories: Done, Push Out, Drop Completely. This is the result of that categorization.

April, Post-ReviewApril, Post-Review

Four things done in a burnout month? I’m going to celebrate that win! The four things that need to be pushed out either get shuffled into May & June, or set aside for even later. In this example, typing up my backlog of my current writing project is being pushed out to June, and the trellis is going to be in the next few weeks, as the beans mentioned are poking up their first leaves. The project bag pattern and the desk setup are in no way urgent, so I’ve pushed them out for the foreseeable future. If I feel like it, I may get back to them sooner, but if I don’t, it’s not a big deal. As for my dropped tasks, well, I’m not going to force myself to play catch-up for my mending challenge. That’s just silly; I’d burn myself out further! There is part of me that wants to be a completionist, but that part of me will just have to deal. The watering system has been dropped because it was pointed out to me that if I move house soon (as I hope to), all that work will be for naught. Better to just water the garden when it needs it.

Here’s a look at what I had planned on doing in May & June before the burnout reared its ugly head.

Looking Ahead, Pre-ReviewLooking Ahead, Pre-Review

And after.

Looking Ahead, Post-ReviewLooking Ahead, Post-Review

Now you may notice, I stripped May down to the barest basics. Continue my current writing project, continue learning SwiftUI (with less emphasis on number of days completed), work on a project that started in April but wasn’t part of the plan, and a focus on getting some garden structures into place before the growing season really kicks off. That’s it. Hopefully, this will help me recover but not feel stagnant. My FO (finished object) and mending projects may or may not get attention, but either way, it’s not a big deal!

June is less pared down, but I have time to keep reviewing it and figuring out what’s important. One thing to notice is that I moved out a second writing project I planned to work on during my break from the current one (once the first draft is complete). Some very wise people suggested I let myself rest after the year-long effort I’ve put into the first draft–why jump straight in to something else? I also continued to deemphasize the number of days put into learning SwiftUI. Why stress about missing a day when it’s literally my choice? I plan to complete the project, that doesn’t mean I need to be heads-down on it every single day. I’ve left in the FO & mend projects, for now, but I’ll be gauging my energy into the next few weeks and adjusting as I go.

My next steps are applying all of these changes to my OmniFocus projects, making sure I’ve aligned myself across the board. There’s nothing worse than opening up your task manager to see some tasks you know you put off begging for your attention. It can derail your whole day and overwhelm you even though you know they’re not important anymore.

May 3, 2021 Productivity Burnout


Previous post
My Hybrid Productivity System This won’t be too deep of a dive into my system—I don’t have years to explain it—but I wanted to lay out how my current system operates. That’s
Next post
Learning SwiftUI - Day 43 of 100 So, quick note, I obviously hit a wall two weeks ago and couldn’t get back into the zone with learning Swift. I’ve got a new fire lit under me, and