It happens to everyone sooner or later. You’re producing great work, everything seems to be running smoothly, and in short – you’re on fire. Then soon you feel the first pangs of that fire turning on you, and within a short while you’re running on empty.
When this happens, ideas don’t flow as easily, and everything you try seems to take much more effort than you have available. Yet you still have to produce. You have to deliver the results you’re being paid to produce, and there is little reprieve from the pressure of the create-on-demand world.
So what do you do when you’re burned out? How can you begin to reclaim your creative energy and get “back in the game”?
Step One: Admit that you’re overextended.
This is critical, because many people are too afraid to admit such a thing because it breaks the illusion of invulnerability. Sometimes we’d rather perpetuate that illusion than engage in the kind of honesty that helps us be more effective. It’s important to accept that you have limits.
Sometimes it’s also helpful to share how you feel with your manager, though if it’s a season in which everyone is overextended, you’re likely to get the “yeah, me too” glare. Still, teams that are able to have these kinds of conversations openly and honestly are less likely to have massive explosions of distrust and anger down the road. (If you’re a team leader, encourage people to have these kinds of conversations with you, as it helps you gauge team members’ expectations and true limits.)
Create an inventory of your current commitments, upcoming obligations, and anything else that demands your focus, time, and energy. Get a good sense for where you are, how you got there, and the true scope of your current situation.
Read the rest of the article from Todd here.