I consider myself fortunate to believe that work is a game, and my life is my real work. If something is a game, you play. Work isn’t my life, but my life is my real work. I tend to work more hours than most people would want to work, and I am in a position to do so now. People who work many hours or do the same thing for many years often burnout. Here are five ways you can quickly eliminate burnout and find inspiration:
Make Things Better: It is one thing to “have” to do something and quite another to “get” to do something. Like many platitudes, this one contains a truth worth observing, but for my money, the value is in making the idea practical and tactical. If you want to avoid burnout and rekindle your drive, start by deciding to make it better. The effort it takes to improve something causes you to draw on your imagination and your resourcefulness.
Ask yourself, “How can I make this better?”
Track Your Progress: Daniel Kahneman’s work suggests that people don’t want to be happy but desire to make progress. If you feel you are not progressing, not growing, not improving, not moving towards your goals, it’s easy to get burned out. Setting goals and tracking your progress can keep you motivated.
Ask yourself, “How am I progressing?”
Project Focused: I think of everything as a project. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Treating everything like a project is one way to ensure you have something on which you make progress. You feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. You will likely discover your next project while you are working on one.
Ask yourself, “What projects do I need to work on now?”
Making Space to Explore: I schedule my weeks in advance, blocking time for what’s most important. What I don’t often write about is how much space I leave for things like reading, exploring, and finding ideas and inspiration. Creating space to explore refreshes your energy—and especially your creative energy.
Ask yourself, “Am I making space to explore and refresh my thinking? Am I learning?”
Doing Nothing: You rarely find me doing nothing, except for the times I am intentionally doing nothing. I meditate every day, even if it’s only for twenty minutes. I also use headphones to listen to binaural sound waves (sometimes Delta, sometimes Alpha, sometimes Gamma). I’ve recently read the idea that even a few minutes of unconsciousness is enough to reset.
Maybe don’t ask yourself anything here. Instead, close your eyes and listen.
I haven’t found that taking time off clears up burnout, even though there is every reason in the world to refresh and recover. What seems to work better is changing things up, pursuing new ideas, finding inspiration, and working to make things better.