On burnout

I have never suffered from prolonged burnout, but I do experience occasional short-term burnout that can last a few days to several weeks.

In these times, I notice a marked decrease in my productivity. I often find myself engaging in random tasks, neglecting important work, and wasting time on YouTube or streaming services. I believe burnout can stem from company culture or personal issues. In my experience, it’s been a combination of both: personal dissatisfaction and the nature of my work.

When I come to this realization, the primary challenge I face is an unclear sense of direction. I combat the lack of focus by creating a concise to-do list. This approach is effective; I’m able to tackle tasks I’ve delayed for weeks in a matter of hours, achieving significant progress. Just starting the work is the hurdle but the first step towards it goes a long way.

However, I can’t escape the guilt of not having addressed these tasks earlier. I console myself with the understanding that it’s normal not to always operate at peak efficiency. By acknowledging this, I aim to advance steadily, celebrating even minor accomplishments. Sharing quick wins with my team or manager mitigates my guilt and improves my mood. This encourages me to pick up the pace and maintain forward momentum.

Regular conversations and reflection on my progress at the company and in my career are beneficial. Setting goals and acknowledging the commonality of workplace struggles are also helpful. Nowadays, I ensure weekly check-ins with my team to understand their challenges and share my own past struggles, reinforcing that it’s normal. Nothing I said is new, but I give room for people to open up and feel a little vulnerable. Once a problem is acknowledged it’s easier to solve it.