Mike Saburenkov

Swamp surf

I'm afraid of being that bear to the gardener, but let's talk about burnouts.

Good things first. Burnout is not a stable condition. Once you remove yourself from the environment that caused it, you recover. I did. I even got curious about the work again. A thought of returning too soon and spoiling the time spent recovering was quite scary. At the same time, it was tempting to try to ride that motivation wave of curiosity to get back. In my case the timing was right. Trusting yourself worked.

It was clear that the wave would give me only that initial boost. Then I would have to jump from a board into good old surroundings which had once caused all that. What worked for me was resetting my goals and taking on projects with defined success metrics and intermediate milestones. All of them should be like that, right? Pause here and check yours.

Instead of following a schedule of slowly increasing load, I worked when I felt like I was making progress. I believe that's crucial. If you stop feel yourself efficient and stop relating to what you do, it quickly becomes a slippery burning slope.

It all happened in 2022. It's now 2023 and I feel I've managed to move on from burnout. Insights are unsurprising. Keep questioning yourself what you do and what sense it makes. Work-life balance is somewhat a hoax. You burn out not because you forget about this balance. Having ideally time-boxed 4-6-8 hours of meaningless work would burn you out quicker than you might think. And that'd be strange if it were different when you spend most of your time on something you don't really like and where you don't feel yourself efficient. Finding motivating and fulfilling projects helps. If you can't find that in your current job, it may be time to consider a change.