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Hey, about burnout...

Emi
Committed to provide reliable and maintainable solutions in a timely and incremental fashion.
・5 min read

Cover image: Photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels

I know, I know; we all have to go through this phase our own way; but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna try!

I want to let you know I think burnout is dumb.

Disclaimer:
This is rather personal btw; so you won't find any regurgitated charts and statistics. If you don't like that maybe you'd like to sit this article out...

We're not getting much done here. If anything, this is where I invite you to slow down and take a breath. And I will keep asking:

🌬️ 🍃 breathe 🍂

Except I actually want to suggest a thing: The Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro (call me uncultured but I still don't know what's got to do with tomatoes; and it's fine! I just need the process anyways, could be avocados for all I care) Technique

Ever heard from your friend who does a lot of weight lifting that resting is as important as the actual workout? Yeah, same. That's how you solve it actually (lol); mind boggling innit?

If you don't know what this technique is, visit this.

If you're burning out, do it. Just try it and see how you feel. And reach for professional help!

On the other hand if you're not burning out, still do it! Just try it and see how you feel. You're already kicking it!

And finally, if you already do it, gimme a virtual high five 🙌

That's it. That's all the value this article has to offer, but If you're down I've got some babbling going on below 👇


Still reading? Awesome, strap in then.

🌬️ 🍃 breathe 🍂

Getting lost in the moment

You start your day, do some stuff and boom 🕛, lunch time -- "Wait what? I just started working... I must have been enjoying this!"--

After that, perhaps you did a little something and back from lunch: You start typing, do some other stuff and again, next thing you know; you see the light of the sunset dimming down.

Your productivity is up, and so are your responsibilities! because you're a performant employee now. You don't mind because it's part of growing and you're in the ~~~ groove ~~~. You're unstoppable, you're actually asking for more, yay! 🥳

This is where burnout, without noticing, can be a symptom.

Trust me, I googled it, they call it the Honeymoon Phase (I don't like the name but whatevs y'know 🤷‍♀️).

🌬️ 🍃 breathe 🍂

Diving into chaos

It's been a while since you started grinding and even though you appreciate having things to do; you also start noticing it's not slowing down. In fact, your backlog now looks like a white hole spitting out as much stuff as your space-time can possibly store.

Then you have to put a little more effort. Because... it's fun... right?
...
And when your manager asks about how you're doing you say it's fine... Because you're... performant... right?
Yeah, I figured.

And then you find yourself having lunch meanwhile you're responding an email and streaming youtube or something (idk your shenanigans, mine sure are simple and even there I still struggle!).

You stop noticing the sunset dimming down. You stop looking after yourself or others as work keeps getting a greater hold of your time, and therefore, your life.

Your productivity is still up but you've reached a ceiling: Some aspects of work are not fun anymore. You stop looking forward to jumping back into work because, well, you stopped working only 8ish hours ago (lol?).

It starts to become a burden. You no longer focus as well. You're no longer learning as fast, or worse, at all. Your solutions are not as creative and you feel like you need to put more, and more, and more effort in order to keep the same, and the same, and the same throughput.

🌬️ 🍃 breathe 🍂

If you've ever been there, or if you're there; I feel you.

Structuring approach and back to square one

You've acknowledged you have a problem. A problem you don't even know how to trace back. You just know it was fun first, and then, it wasn't.

You need a way out; and if you're lucky enough chances are the company you're at will back you up (bless you Software Community <3).

Cycles

CPUs do it and they are the most efficient computing instrument available; why not learn from them?

The Pomodoro (call me uncultured again but I just don't see the appeal, I like citrus fruits better) Technique

This is how my schedule looks like with Pomodoro (kind of...):

Screen Shot 2021-05-19 at 20.50.08

I now get the same work done and even spend time babbling about things!

So yeah, really, maybe give it a try. It's for your wellbeing.


"But Emi! You didn't tell me how burnout is dum-"

Stop it.

Cycles! Back to square one!

Alright I accept it, burnout is not dumb. Dumb the decision to be subject to it. Go back to basics: Remember how you got here in the first place? Sure it wasn't by repeated and relentlessly wearing yourself out. No! (I think?).

Most likely you learned a skill which you liked so much you wanted to keep learning. A skill you mastered so well you could earn a living out of it. This skill, in software, is the ability to give time back to people.

It's all automation from here on. Always. It's about manifesting a business process into predictable (unless machine learning and all that jazz) instructions that run in a fraction of a second. Relentlessly; the machine, not you.

Burnout is not dumb. It's a serious phenomenon. And it's taking lives away from people.

🌬️ 🍃 breathe 🍂

Dum

What's dumb is not realizing the fact sacrificing time in order to save time becomes a zero sum game when burning out.

It's also dumb that we're not honest to ourselves and don't reach out for help.

And it's specially dumb that our education systems and social safety nets are not preventing us from crashing into it.

That's what I mean when I write the equation burnout = dum.

Do you feel like I'm oversimplifying it? You're right, I am. This is how it sticks in your mind: By being fun and simple. You go from there.

This is not a draft to wipe burnout from the face of earth. It's just a (hopefully) entertaining and honest piece of text that will help you see it from a different light.

🌬️ 🍃 breathe 🍂

P.S. If you really didn't learn anything here, let's be friends?

See you next time

Discussion (1)

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akshaybhasin profile image
Akshay Bhasin

I have myself been using pomodoro a lot now, it has made a stark difference in my productivity, maybe I wasn't that motivated towards my work but this pushes me hard to get things done. I do feel better post completing the target sessions, it works like a charm, at least for a big time procrastinator like me! :)