Burning Out

Credit: flickr / Express Monorail (vacation)

I’ve been offered several great opportunities lately, and because of where I am in life (finishing up grad school, building my CV to find a job in the next 6 months or so) I plan on taking all of them.

My boyfriend and some of my friends call me a workoholic. I’m OK with that – I’m a workoholic, because I love what I do. I’m just aware that I need to manage my enthusiasm so that it doesn’t damage my relationships. And I need to get better at making time for myself.

At a coffee shop, after my lecture, my friend Dwayne says, “I hope you don’t burn yourself out”. Pet hobo says, “This is Cate burnt out! Didn’t you realize?”

I had, it’s true, been feeling slightly at the end of my rope, and even talking about taking some time off, which is not like me. After the second presentation was over, I was shaking slightly and completely spaced out. But after I’d drank some tea, and eaten some dinner I ended up in my office with 15 minutes to kill. And decided it was a great time to clear out my desk.

The next day, I tried to lie in but I just had loads of ideas and was really motivated to do stuff. So I got up, and did stuff. I have had a fairly productive week, and my email is – finally – all processed and dealt with.

Maybe I wasn’t burnt out, I was just scared. Or maybe I was, but I don’t need to relax – I just need to achieve a big goal.

I think, though, that the real thing I need to keep me happy is the days where I get to do whatever I’m inspired to do. Constantly working on a big project because a deadline is looming and realizing that it’s been weeks since I sat down and said, “what’s inspiring me today?” is the real problem. This means:

  • Starting things earlier (when I’m choosing to do them).
  • Spreading big project deadlines out as far apart as possible.
  • Setting aside time to “be inspired”.

For me, there’s a fine line between being “burnt out” and invigorated. Which I think means I’m not burnt out so much as uninspired. A much easier thing to work on.

4 thoughts on “Burning Out

  1. I’m gonna quote you on that…”there’s a fine line between being burnt out and being invigorated”. It seems to me that there’s a fine line between just about everything…sheer stupidity and genius, love and hate, confidence and cockiness etc. Can you tell me where there is a really big well defined line….so I can go stand there?

  2. I’m gonna quote you on that…”there’s a fine line between being burnt out and being invigorated”. It seems to me that there’s a fine line between just about everything…sheer stupidity and genius, love and hate, confidence and cockiness etc. Can you tell me where there is a really big well defined line….so I can go stand there?

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