Emotional Work

Day 310 and Short Burnouts

Is it possible to have brief periods of burnout? I’d always associated it with the years on the other side of a startup. If you’ve put in long hours for an extended period it makes sense to have a year or more of recovering from dipping into reserves for too long. But I wonder if it might be possible to have a week of burnout from a couple intense months.

I wrapped a few big projects last week. It was easier than anticipated and I felt a real sense of joy and accomplishment. But then this week I was a bit of a mess. I had several days of terrible sleep. Then I burned my hand making breakfast. Fun fact blisters are a form of burn, which finally made sense once I experienced a real burn as it’s healing looked exactly like a blister you get from a hiking boot. I’m feeling a sense of overwhelm with the drumbeat of preventative care and appointments that comes from 20 months off from things like dentists. I just felt like I got nothing done that was important to me this week. It was one thing after another. And it seems like others are feeling the stress as well.

Maybe it’s alright to have a week of feeling unproductive. I was very on for all of September and October and then I wrapped some stuff so it’s possibly normal to feel like all focus and willpower has gone out the window. But the temptation to force a fix on it is quite strong.

I’ve got a habit of turning everything into an opportunity for self improvement. I’ve been concerned about my capacity for using self control as a way to abuse myself. It’s been a running theme that I find myself concerned about the work that goes into keeping myself productive and healthy. So maybe it’s just par for the course. But I’m already worried about next week as I’ve got 4 fucking doctors appointment including one that involves a long drive. Maybe there is never a world where productivity is easy to come by and I should let go of the worry. The days are short but the years are long. And progress compounds over time.